Sunday 29 December 2013

Welsh Christmas

The journey to Wales for Christmas took more than five hours driving - for around 170 miles. But at least we got there, through the gales and traffic congestion. Others had much worse experiences.

View from the cottage

We were staying at a Farm where we have been before, in one of their converted barns. Tresigin (in English Siginstone, or Siggingstone, or some variant on these - try Googling it!) is a hamlet of maybe fifty residents and a pub. The Catholic Church is three miles away towards the coast, at Llantwit Major. The new parish priest there, Fr George Areekuzhy, C.M.I., invited me to concelebrate with him at Midnight, and at 9am I was principal celebrant and preacher. Fortunately the Vale of Glamorgan is almost exclusively anglophone so there was no wrestling with Welsh.

Some of the people in the congregation seemed glad to have a priest from the Ordinariate. They are looking forward to the time when there are Ordinariate clergy and congregations in Wales. At present there are, I think, exploratory groups. As in England, many catholic parishes are staffed by missionary priests from overseas. Fr George is from India, though he has served in South Wales for the past seven years.

On Boxing Day we had a little trip to the coast. The sea at Southerndown was furious, and it looked as though Somerset, on the opposite shore of the Bristol Channel, was getting many downpours.


Yesterday we made the journey home - just a three hours drive, despite quite heavy traffic. Now we are gearing up for Mass in Bournemouth this morning; and next Saturday, our Ordinariate Group comes to Lymington to have lunch with us. Should be a good start to the New Year. May 2014 be very happy for all who stumble across this blog.

Saturday 21 December 2013

Phillip Biles R.I.P

Sad news today of the death of a member of our Ordinariate Mission. Phillip has been a member of our Bournemouth Group from the very beginning. He had been a long-time member of St Stephen's Bournemouth. On joining the Roman Communion he missed that lovely building very much - one of the great works of J.L.Pearson, architect of such other one-time shrines of Anglo-Catholicism as St John's Upper Norwood and St Michael's Croydon - and he also missed many of those who had worshipped there. Yet he committed himself totally to our Mission in Bournemouth, and was a most loyal member of our Group.  Phillip had been a Server at St Stephen's, and those skills be brought with him into the Ordinariate. He had also been a Churchwarden, serving at one time alongside another of our Ordinariate members, Brian Harrison. He kept contact, though, with many old friends at St Stephen's, and always assured them there would be a great welcome for them in the Ordinariate. As welcomer and sidesman,  lesson reader or server, he was entirely reliable and self-effacing. We shall miss him sorely.

The photograph was taken back in the summer, when we were preparing to meet Fr Allan Hawkins.

Phillip's funeral will, we expect, take place in Our Lady Queen of Peace early in the New Year.
    Our Lady of Walsingham, pray for him, Blessed John Henry Newman, pray for him.
                                                          May he rest in Peace.

Wednesday 18 December 2013

Christmas in Southbourne

Not a post to say what we have been doing, rather what we are not going to do this year. Last Christmas it proved very difficult to arrange a Mass at a time when people could attend. We tried for 11.30 am, but the Parish's 10 o'clock was so popular and well attended that it was almost noon before we could begin. Fr Gerry has been very accommodating, but it would make life difficult for him and his people to abbreviate their Christmas morning mass. SO:-

We shall not be celebrating a separate Ordinariate Mass in Southbourne this year.
Fr Darryl, our most recent Ordinariate priest, will celebrate in his church of St Thomas More, Iford - the next door parish to Our Lady Queen of Peace, Southbourne - at 9.30am. Members of the Ordinariate will be very welcome at that Parish Mass; or, of course, in any other local churches.

There will be an Ordinariate Mass as usual at 9.30am in Our Lady Queen of Peace on both Sunday next, December 22nd, and on December 29th. On Wednesday January 1st we hope to celebrate the Mass of Mary, Mother of God, at 10.30am - our customary Wednesday time. If this has to be changed I shall use this blog to announce it.

A very Happy Christmas to all who read this blog regularly, or have just stumbled across it.


STOP PRESS! Good news, Mgr Keith comes to visit us on Sunday January 12th at our 9.30 Mass, and afterwards will talk with us about future plans for the Ordinariate, and for our Bournemouth Mission. Please put the date in your new diary and join us that day if you're able.

Tuesday 10 December 2013

First Mass

Now here is something you would not see at an Anglican Induction - though I have noticed a similar event in the enthronement of some  bishops. That is to say, one's predecessor present and assisting at the start of a new ministry. I do seem to recall a retiring Bishop of Ely handing on his cope and crook to his successor, but former Vicars and Rectors generally are kept well out of the way.

Fr Darryl and Friends
Fr Darryl Jordan had an extraordinary beginning to his taking over responsibility at St Thomas More, Iford. He has never had a parish of his own as an Anglican; and here he was as a newly ordained Catholic priest celebrating his first mass, assisted by his predecessor in the parish, Fr Vitalis Kondo MSP. Concelebrating with them were Fr John Lee who has pastoral responsibility for the Avon/Stour Area (in which St Thomas' is situated), Fr Gerry Onyejuluwa (like Fr Vitalis, a Missionary priest of St Paul Missionaries of Nigeria, and Fr Brian Copus and me from the Ordinariate Mission in Southbourne.

Fr John and fellow supporters
We presented Fr Darryl with a white stole from the Ordinariate, and some of our members laid on the bun-fight   - in reality a cheese and wine party. This time it was Sue who was the organising genius, and it seemed to be very well received. It was good to meet new friends from the parish of St Thomas More, together with a supporters' club for Fr Darryl from many other parishes (both Catholic and Anglican) around the area. After hearing his Texan accents one of the parishioners said to me, "Well, it's going to be different" - and so it is, and that is one of the best reasons Bishops have for making changes within their dioceses. We are less likely to get into a rut, sit back, and say "we've always done it like this".

There are pictures of the Ordination on the Ordinariate website  , and also a large selection on the Portsmouth diocesan site:

Monday 9 December 2013

Two Ordinations

So here they are, the two candidates; on the left, Fr Darryl Jordan of the Ordinariate, listening intently to Bishop Philip during the Ordination in Portsmouth Cathedral on Advent II - and with him, Fr Peter Kelly, now a Diocesan Deacon. It was a splendid occasion, with the choir in top form. We entered to 'Our' hymn. 'Praise to the Holiest'.'Come, Creator Spirit, Credo, Sanctus, Pater Noster and Agnus were all sung in Latin. Thanks to Madeleine's organisation (and her three-line whip) a coach load of the Ordinariate and friends attended to support Fr Darryl with their prayers; and most of them have said they will be at St Thomas More this evening for his First Mass as a Catholic priest.

I am sorry the pictures are a bit fuzzy (blame the incense). Here Fr Darryl is hiding modestly behind his daughter, and beside her Darryl's wife Lisa,who read one of the lessons. They also brought up the chalice and paten from the congregation, to be presented to the new Priest. On the left, Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth and on the right Mgr Keith Newton, our Ordinary, It was especially good that Bishop Philip had Darryl making his oath of obedience directly to our Ordinary, Mgr Keith, rather than kneeling before Bishop Philip himself.

Father Darryl will be on loan to the Diocese of Portsmouth, having been given responsibility (and a house) at St Thomas More in Iford. Fr Vitalis, who is moving on to a parish on the north of Portsmouth, joined me in vesting the new priest in his chasuble. These are small things, but they indicate how the Ordinariate is increasingly seen as a perfectly natural development within the Catholic Church and not as some odd idea of Pope Benedict's.

Thursday 5 December 2013

On Tour

This has been a week of 'journeyings often' (cf St Paul - though no shipwreck so far). We set off early on Sunday morning to get to Pembury in time for the 11 o'clock Mass. Fr Ed Tomlinson is in charge of the parish there; his next project is a Church Hall.They have applied for planning permission. Here is Father with some of the children who were in Church. They are having Plein Air refreshments, so you will understand why a Hall is urgently needed. There was a real family sense in the Church, and already the old building has been transformed and beautified by the efforts of Fr Ed, Fr Nicolas, and the congregation there.

We stayed with old friends who have recently moved from Crowborough into deepest Sussex countryside. Here is their beautiful old house (once a pub). In the middle of the last century (well, almost) Lisa was our babysitter; and now she is a grandma herself. Jane is Godmother to one of their daughters, and I solemnised the marriage of another, so we feel like family when we are with them.

We drove further East into Kent next day, to visit another friend. Fr Ron Gwyther SSC will be well-known to many. After his latest Incumbency in Swanley he retired to Fareham with wife Beryl. After her death he went into a very friendly nursing home in High Halden, near his daughter and son-in-law who live in Tenterden.

We were home again on Tuesday evening, ready for our Ordinariate Mass on Wednesday morning. Fr Darryl is now on top line ready for his priesting in St John's Cathedral, Portsmouth, at 3pm on Sunday afternoon. We hope many friends will join us there, or at his first Mass (of the Immaculate Conception) on Monday evening at 7pm.  This will be at the church of St Thomas More in Iford, where Fr Darryl will have the care of the Parish.

This morning it was again an early start, making for Andover. Farleigh School is a Catholic Prep School and Fr Simon, the Head there, is another friend from Anglican days, when he was Vicar of St John the Divine, Kennington. He had invited me months back to join in a team of Confessors. It is a humbling and very moving experience to hear children's confessions, and I was in distinguished company - two monks from Douai, another two from Downside, and Fr John Catlin - who is, dare I say it, yet another ex-Anglican from Portsmouth diocese. Where would the Catholic Church in England be without us? Sorry the vehicles rather spoil the view of the main house at Farleigh.

So, dear friends, retirement need not be boring - if there ever is such a thing as retirement in the present Government's brave new world. And if you are an Anglican cleric reading this, do know that the welcome will be tremendous for you if you decide to move from Ecclesia Anglicana into Ecclesia Romana - just don't leave it too late.