Thursday, 1 January 2015

Chance Meeting

After Mass this morning in New Milton, children were gathering at the crib. One family told me they were visitors, from Byfleet. I knew it well half a century ago, when I served my second (Anglican) curacy in the parish of Woodham, with responsibility for the church on the Sheerwater estate. The visitors told me the Catholic church on the estate had closed down; and so had the one in Byfleet, so they had to travel to find a Mass near their home.

Crib beneath the altar in Our Lady of Lourdes, New Milton
In some dioceses churches have been able to be kept open because there are Ordinariate priests to serve them. In our own area  St Thomas More parishioners have a former Episcopalian priest, now in the Ordinariate, looking after them. He is one of several ex-pats in Portsmouth Diocese, indeed New Milton has a great young Polish Priest and there are two Nigerian clergy nearby.

Whereas the Catholic Church suffers, in this country at least, from a shortage of priests, in the Church of England it is congregations which are declining. I doubt if many churches in the C of E would have had sixty at a morning eucharist -  yet we had that many at New Milton today. So if Anglican clergy find it hard to face a move into the Ordinariate, perhaps they might listen to an appeal to "come over to help us". Of course they must first believe what the Catholic Church believes - but already there are many who do, except that they also think that their church is still somehow an authentic part of the Catholic Church.

Apres Messe
On another tack altogether, it was very good being with our Ordinariate Group yesterday in Bournemouth. One of its best features is the fellowship we enjoy after our mid-week Mass - so I though you might like to see a few of us gathered round the coffee and biscuits on the last day of the old year.

1 comment:

  1. Really interesting article! I enjoyed reading the history of this church. That meeting is also very informative. Well dear I am also going to host some corporate events in Berlin and looking for the recommendations for an inexpensive convention center for the event. Can you provide any suggestions?