Today was in many ways an historic occasion. Prior to the commencement of the Mass of Ordination Archbishop Nicols read The Bull which established the Ordinariate as The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham under the patronage of Blessed John Henry Newman. We were told that former Anglican Bishop Keith Newton was appointed the first Ordinary by Pope Benedict. There was also a message from Cardinal Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
It was altogether a moving service in a packed Cathedral with standing room only. People were in their seats from 9.30 a.m. for a service which started at 10.30 a.m. I saw many colleagues present, some who had travelled long distances to be there to support Fathers Keith, Andrew and John. A group from the Havering and Redbridge Ordinariate Group were among the hundreds there. Thunderous applause greeted the new Ordinary and his two colleagues as they prepared to leave the Cathedral at the end of the Mass.
One of the regular Cathedral congregation I was talking to after the service remarked that in many years regular attendance at many Masses he had never heard the singing or the congregational responses made so well. Perhaps that is part of the Anglican Patrimony!!!!
I counted many Anglican bishops amongst the congregation including Bishop Edwin, Bishop Lindsey and Bishop David Silk and hundreds of Anglican priests there to pray for Keith, Andrew and John as they begin this new stage in their pilgrimage. Our prayers and good wishes accompany them.