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Norfolk priests yet to join new Catholic group

NewtonPopeBenedict412A Catholic group set up to welcome former Anglican priests and members, and named after the Norfolk shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, is yet to establish a group or attract any priests from the county some 16 months after it was established. Keith Morris reports.

The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham was established in January 2011 to enable Anglicans to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church whilst retaining essential elements of their heritage and tradition.  

According to Ordinariate communications officer Rev James Bradley: "it aims to further good relations between Anglicans and Catholics through the ancient message of that holy place."


It now comprises around 1200 lay faithful and 60 clergy spread across the United Kingdom. It also includes three former Anglican bishops. There are now more than 40 Ordinariate groups of varying sizes meeting regularly for Mass and other devotions.


The new structure within the Catholic Church is a generous and pioneering attempt to heal the wounds of sin and division between Anglicans and Catholics, says its website.


Speaking at the end of his 2010 state visit to the UK, Pope Benedict XVI said the Ordinariate “should be seen as a prophetic gesture that can contribute positively to the developing relations between Anglicans and Catholics. It helps us to set our sights on the ultimate goal of all ecumenical activity: the restoration of full ecclesial communion in the context of which the mutual exchange of gifts from our respective spiritual patrimonies serves as an enrichment to us all.”


Ordinariate communications officer, Rev Bradley, said: “Walsingham in Norfolk has a special spiritual significance for us, which is why the Holy Father named the Ordinariate after Our Lady of Walsingham and we are planning a pilgrimage to the shrine on Saturday September 15. Our nearest group to Walsingham is in Ipswich, but we continue to build on our current links with both the Anglican and Catholic shrines".


The Ordinariate has recently been boosted by a donation from Pope Benedict XVI of $250,000 (£150,000) to support its work and establish it as a vibrant part of the Catholic Church in England and Wales.


Monsignor Keith Newton, the Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate, said, “I am very grateful to the Holy Father for his generosity and support. This gift is a great help and encouragement as we continue to grow and develop our distinctive ecclesial life, whilst seeking to contribute to the wider work of evangelisation in England and Wales.”


Pictured above is Monsignor Keith Newton with Pope Benedict XVI, photo courtesy of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.




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