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Monday 22nd September 2014

Members of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham from the length and breadth of Britain were in London over the weekend of 19-21 September for the Ordinariate's first ever festival.

The main events centred around Mass at Westminster Cathedral on Saturday 20 September, celebrated by the Ordinary, the Rt Revd Mgr Keith Newton, assisted by some 40 members of the Ordinariate clergy. Mgr Newton also preached.

The Mass was preceded by presentations in the Cathedral Hall from the Darlington, Eastbourne and Torbay Ordinariate groups on the theme: Who are we? Where are we? What are we doing? as well as one from Joanna Bogle of the Ladies' Ordinariate Group. Fr David Lashbrooke, leader of the Torbay Ordinariate, unveiled his group's plans to buy a redundant Methodist church where it can establish a centre for worship, teaching, fellowship and outreach. "It will be a wonderful place of witness" he said.

The keynote addresses were in the afternoon. H.E. Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the guest of honour, told the gathering that his prayer for the Ordinariate was that "it would be shaped by a rigorous search for that which serves to draw people today closer to the Lord in prayer, in liturgy and in service". Mgr Andrew Burnham, Assistant to the Ordinary, who is on the liturgical commission set up by the Holy See to devise the texts for use by the ordinariates, outlined the stage that had been reached in the process of forming the Ordinariate liturgy. The final address was from the Ordinary, who spoke of the unique vocation of the Ordinariate and of the importance of all its members working together "to bring to reality the full potential of the gift given to them by the Holy See".

Other events of the festival included a talk on the evening of Friday 19 September by the Catholic journalist and author Dr William Oddie, who was an Anglican priest before he converted to Catholicism 25 years ago.  Dr Oddie said the Ordinariate was a wonderful gift" and said a particular joy for him, at his first experience of the Ordinariate's new liturgy, was singing the composer, John Merbecke's setting of the creed, which "all came back as if it was yesterday, and it was a wonderfully moving experience". The talk was followed by a reception in the crypt. A fuller report on Dr Oddie's talk can be read here.

There was also a reception organised by the Ladies' Ordinariate Group at the Church of the Most precious Blood, Borough on Saturday evening, attended by the Ordinary and Mrs Gill Newton, guests from various Ordinariate groups from across Britain, and from Catholic organisations including the Catenians, the Towards Advent Festival and the Knights of St Columba.

The festivities ended on Sunday at the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory, Warwick Street – the Ordinariate's central church – with Mass celebrated by the Ordinary, assisted by Ordinariate priests from England, Scotland and Wales. Mass was offered according to the Ordinariate Use and the setting was composed by the Ordinariate parish priest at Warwick Street, Fr Mark Elliott Smith, who played the organ. The guest preacher was Fr Warren Tange, a former Anglican who is now a priest of the Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore in the United States. The Mass was followed by a farewell reception.

Mgr Newton thanked the organising committee and said he thought the festival had been "a resounding success". There was general approval for his suggestion that it should become an annual event.

Pictures by Mazur/ For more pictures, plus keynote addresses in text and audio form, follow the links below

click here for pictures of the Westminster Cathedral Mass and Saturday afternoon session

click here  for pictures of the Saturday morning session in the Cathedral hall

click here for pictures of the Friday evening talk by William Oddie

For audio and texts of the addresses  click here

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The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham
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