The fruits of Anglicanorum coetibus: new Catholics join the Anglican Ordinariate

From the UK’s best Catholic weekly, the Catholic Herald. My emphases.

Ordinariate comes to life in Holy Week

By Anna Arco & Simon Caldwell

The world’s first personal ordinariate has grown dramatically during Holy Week.

New members of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham celebrated their first Easter as Catholics after the new structure expanded from 20 to almost 1,000 members after receptions and confirmations during Holy Week.

Groups of former Anglicans were received and confirmed at celebrations across the country, which began on the Monday of Holy Week. Most groups entered into full communion with the Catholic Church on Holy Thursday before or during the Mass of the Lord’s Supper though a number of groups were also received at the Easter Vigil.

Mgr Keith Newton, the Ordinary, or head, of the ordinariate, said that it was only now that the ordinariate was coming to life, although the structure was officially established in January.

He said: “This is the start of it. The lay faithful moving into the Catholic Church is really the start of the ordinariate. Until now there have been only about a dozen members, but now it is growing to between 900 and 1,000.

“It is not an enormous number of people in Catholic terms, or even for the Church of England, but it is quite significant that such a number of people are making this step together.”

The Ordinary said that the first wave of groups coming into the Catholic Church only marked the beginning of the ordinariate and that many Anglicans were watching the process carefully.

Ordinariate groups exist across England, Wales and Scotland, including in Greater London, Coventry, Cornwall, and Birmingham. The south of England was the part of Britain most strongly represented in the first wave of groups joining the ordinariate.

Fr Edwin Barnes, one of the five former Anglican bishops who have become ordinariate priests, celebrated the Easter Vigil for a group from St Barnabas in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, who had been received earlier that week. During his homily he told the group that joining the ordinariate was a kind of “resurrection moment”. The little beginnings of the different groups were “a new flowering of the Resurrection”.

“Easter is always the same, but always different,” he said. “For you the differences are very plain: no cavernous spaces of St Barnabas’s to help lift up your hearts. Until now you have been able to rely on the generosity and the prayers of those who preceded you in that place.”

The ordinariate group, Fr Barnes said, needed to “keep in touch with our former Anglican friends, to ensure by our kindness that we don’t put up barriers”. “We will be looked at by many to see just what sort of a go we can make of being ordinariate Catholics,” he said.

For James Bradley, the former curate of St John’s Sevenoaks, the Easter Triduum marked an important journey for his family. He was confirmed during the Mass of the Lord’s Supper with his former vicar, Ivan Aquilina and the Sevenoaks ordinariate group, while his sister was confirmed the day before at the Oxford Oratory. His parents were confirmed during the Easter Vigil.

Mr Bradley, who is due to be ordained as one of the ordinariate’s two transitional deacons, said: “It was wonderful to see my sister and parents received this week. Whilst they have made their own very personal journey into the full communion of the Church, it’s obviously also been something very profound for us to share.”

Archbishop Bernard Longley received three groups on Holy Thursday at St Chad’s Cathedral in?Birmingham. Ian O’Hara, who belongs to the Coventry group, said: “Maundy Thursday was a profoundly moving yet joyful and inspiring day. This was the culmination of a journey which for many of us had lasted several years.”

Speaking about the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Mr O’Hara said: “This Mass was especially significant and poignant for us as it marked the end of our Eucharistic Fast which we had all begun on Ash Wednesday. To make our Communion for the first time as Catholics on the very day our Lord instituted the Eucharist will have a deep and lasting affect on us all.”

For Easter the group joined the parish of St Joseph the Worker in?Canley where they had received instruction.

Mr O’Hara said: “We were delighted to be able to take a full part in the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday night and the Mass of Easter Day where we  celebrated our Lord’s Resurrection with even more joy and gusto this year.”

We would like to hear the stories of newly received members of the personal ordinariate. If you would like to share your story, please contact us at

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  1. David Homoney says:

    May Almighty God Bless them, and deepen their faith as they enter the sacramental life and as they, for the first time, receive our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

  2. SimonDodd says:

    Perhaps more acutely than for most, these new Catholics will “be the Church” to those around them, in the manner Fr. Z spoke of in the homily posted on Youtube: Their former Anglican friends will be watching closely.

    What I’m wondering is how this is panning out in bricks and mortar. The ordinariate is personal rather than territorial, but that doesn’t liberate it from the physical needs of a place to worship. Is the CofE playing ball, sharing spaces? (For that matter, are they sharing space in existing Catholic parishes?) Are separate buildings being purchased? What is happening in the meantime?

  3. Oneros says:

    “Most groups entered into full communion with the Catholic Church on Holy Thursday before or during the Mass of the Lord’s Supper though a number of groups were also received at the Easter Vigil.”

    Makes sense. Holy Thursday was traditionally the day for the reconciliation of public penitents. These were already baptized, and thus were not catechumens but rather [material] schismatics and heretics. Rather than at the Easter Vigil, I think it makes more sense for the already-baptized non-Catholics to make their first confession and be received on Holy Thursday.

    Perhaps someday such confirmations could then be postponed until the Pentecost Vigil, given its traditional connection also to Christian initiation.

  4. JonoShea1 says:


    Members of the Ordinariate are currently sharing space with the local Catholic churches. From what I understand, most (all?) of the CofE dioceses have prevented church sharing. The Ordinary has indicated that he is more concerned to provide housing for the incoming priests and their families, and will next turn his attention to a principal church. Humble but promising beginnings.

  5. moon1234 says:

    Would be interesting to know which Missal they are using? The BCP 1600 series, something newer, Tridentine Mass or Novus Ordo?

  6. nanetteclaret says:

    I’m pretty sure that a new Missal is in the works, but if it hasn’t been published yet they are probably using the Vatican-approved “Book of Divine Worship” which has been in use in the Anglican Use Catholic parishes here in the U.S. since it was published in 2003. It is pretty much the 1979 BCP, but includes prayers from the 1928 BCP and the 1973 “Missale Romanum.” The Roman Canon in Rite I seems to be an Elizabethan-era English translation of the Tridentine Roman Canon. Our Lady of the Atonement in San Antonio has a video on their website of Mass according to Rite I. Very Catholic, but with Anglican hymns and anthems. Very beautiful! Anglican Patrimony will be kept alive in the Catholic Church.

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