Saturday 9 July 2016


Arundel Cathedral: Our Lady & S Philip Howard 
One of our priests claimed a first in Arundel. As an Anglican he had celebrated in the Nave of the Parish Church. Ever since the Reformation that has been the Parish Church for the Church of England. Then after Anglicanorum Coetibus and his reception and Ordination in the Catholic Church he had celebrated Mass in the east end of the same church, which thanks to the Dukes of Norfolk had remained Catholic. So it is easy to see why such a place as Arundel was chosen as one of the Pilgrimage goals for the Ordinariate in this Year of Mercy.

The pilgrimage began in the Fitzalan Chapel, the quire of the old Parish Church, where our Ordinary was joined by a number of pilgrim priests hearing confessions in readiness for Mass. There, surrounded by the tombs of generations of Dukes of Norfolk and their kin the divided history of our nation became apparent. So many had suffered deprivation and worse at the hands of successive Tudors and Stuarts. Yet still the Duke of Norfolk remains, Earl Marshal and hereditary Marshal of England.
The Catholic East end of the Parish Church
So, for instance, the organisation of a Coronation is his responsibility. We processed, almost two hundred of us, from the Chapel across to the Cathedral. The Mass was celebrated by our Ordinary, Mgr Keith Newton, with a dozen or so concelebrants. who like the lay pilgrims came from across southern England. We were from Pembury and Deal in the east to Salisbury and Bournemouth in the west; from the balmy southern depths of  Eastbourne and the Isle of Wight to the frozen northern wastes of Reading and London.

Mass ended (when the organist finished his voluntary) with prayers at the shrine of St Philip Howard, one of the forty English Martyrs.

At St Philip's Shrine

Then we scattered across the town for lunch, and met again in mid-afternoon at the Cathedral for Benediction.
Communion being administered in the Cathedral

A great day, owing much to Fr Neil Chatfield's organisation. On unfamiliar territory his serving team did very well. Mgr Keith's sermon was especially apposite in such a setting. There were occasional logistical hiccups - a few people were mislaid for a while, there was no way of communicating with the Organist - but everyone seemed to have had a great pilgrimage, and greatly valued the chance of meeting and catching up with old friends and making some new ones.

Sunday 3 July 2016

No Ordinary Day

St Thomas More dressed overall
St Thomas More in Iford is a Catholic Parish Church, the home too of the Bournemouth Ordinariate and also of a congregation of Syro-Malabar Catholics. Today our Ordinary, Mgr Keith Newton, experienced all three during his visit. He preached for the parish Mass, celebrated and preached for the Ordinariate, and joined in the procession in the afternoon in honour of Saints Thomas the Apostle and Alphonsa, The Kerala Indians really know how to decorate a Church for a Festival; later they added coloured umbrellas and banners; all very jolly.
First umbrella in place

For us in the Ordinariate July 3rd, being a Sunday, had no special mention of Thomas the Apostle - though of course he appears in the Ordinariate Canon of the Mass. It is good to know he is not forgotten in the Syro-Malabar Rite. The Anglican Church where I began to learn the faith was St Thomas' Keyham in Devonport. In those distant days we celebrated him on December 21st, the very darkest part of the year, and even if it fell on a weekday,and despite being only a few days before Christmas, there would be good numbers in church both early in the morning (7am I think) and in the evening.

Chatting over the Bring and Share Luncheon
Mgr Keith had a very upbeat message for us all, reminding us of our vocation to evangelize. After Mass there was a terrific buffet lunch prepared by Madeleine, Lisa and their helpers, and before he left us to go to the Festival Mgr Keith stayed on for a while to give us further encouragement and advice, and to listen to some of our grumbles. The collect alas was in  bowdlerised form once again ['that we, loving thee above all things, may obtain thy promises which exceed all that we can desire' has had it balance upset with the addition of 'in all things' before 'and above all things'. American inclusivity, I suppose - in case something feels left out; and might even sue!] And of course "man's understanding" has to become "our understanding". Thank goodness the Catholic RSV does not go down that particular PC road. But we overlook these shortcomings when we can have such a joyful and tuneful celebration.
St Thomas the Apostle and St Alphonsa ready for the processio
May Blessed John Henry Newman, St Thomas More, St Alphonsa and St Thomas the Apostle pray for us, and bring us into ever closer unity with one another and with our Blessed Lord.