Sunday, 27 February 2011

Fr Elliott announces his Resignation from Holy Trinity, Reading

I have informed the bishop of Oxford of my intention to resign my post here at Holy Trinity in order to be part of the Reading Ordinariate Group which will meet at S. James’ Church from Ash Wednesday. As a consequence my last Sunday at Holy Trinity will be 6th March 2011.

When the Lord appeared to his disciples beside the Sea of Galilee after the Resurrection he charged Peter three times to look after his flock. This duty as chief pastor has passed down to our own days in the office of the Pope. Mindful of this mission, on Good Friday 1994, Pope John Paul II renewed Christ’s call of unity to his disciples urging Christian believers not to remain divided. The following year in his Encyclical Letter Ut Unum Sint Pope John Paul gave notice of his intention ‘to promote every suitable initiative aimed at making the witness of the entire Catholic community understood’. The dawning of a new Millennium became a focus for this task of renewing the call to unity of all Christians ‘until they reach full communion’.

More recently in 2009 Pope Benedict XVI issued the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus as an initiative to further the goal of Christian unity, recognising those Anglican separated brethren seeking unity. Unity is demonstrated in the end not by words but by actions; ecumenical dialogue is cosmetic without the true intention of visible communion. Before he was given the charge to guard Christ’s flock, Peter instinctively swam ashore to be at one with the Lord. In that same spirit the Holy Father has made a bold initiative in erecting a Personal Ordinariate in England and Wales so that unity can be achieved, and I among others wish with gratitude to enter the full communion of the Catholic Church and be united to the See of Peter. It is for this reason I have tendered my resignation as priest-in-charge of the Church of the Most Holy Trinity in Reading.

Many of us had hoped in times past that the Church of England would as a whole be reconciled with The Catholic Church. It has however chosen another path and, surrendering its birthright by craving the Zeitgeist has forfeited the blessing of unity. However our brothers and sisters in the Church of England remain co-workers in God’s vineyard and it is with thanksgiving in my heart that I remember those who have given me support in my Christian journey thus far. I would especially like to thank everyone at Holy Trinity for their support, love, and prayers over the time I have spent here. This journey has brought me to the point where, with joy, I can hold fast to the rock of Peter, and take my place in the family of the Catholic Church which stretches round this globe. May the Pope as the Universal Pastor may continue to draw to himself the lost brethren of our world, and thus build up the Church militant here in earth.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Giving to the Ordinariate: Four Easy Steps

It is essential that members of the Ordinariate financially support the priests and the institution, especially in these nascent stages. The Catholic League have set up the 'Newman Fund' to facilitate this and members are encouraged to send their donations here. We therefore have four easy steps:

1) Cancel any previous Standing Orders you may have to your current Church.
2)   Use the Gift aid form (which you can download here) so that tax can be claimed back on any money you give. Return this to:

Mr Cyril Wood
The Catholic League Treasurer
‘The Newman Fund’
13, Merino Green
Oakridge Park
MK14  6FL

3) If you want to restrict any money so it can be used for the Reading Ordinariate Group you need to send an email to:
4)  To send money you can do one of the following:
a)      Set up a Standing Order using this form.
b)     Donate via Paypal using the link on the right hand side of the Ordinariate Portal:
c)      Send cheques to the Mr Cyril Wood at the above address.

Reading Ordinariate Plans

After our meeting last night we are able to release some details of how the Ordinariate group in Reading will work. Firstly the important dates:

9th March 2011 - The Reading group will join the Church of S. James, next to Reading Gaol for their Ash Wednesday Mass at 7.30pm.

12th March 2011 - The Rite of Election will take place at Portsmouth RC Cathedral at 11am. In this service there will be a new section included for Ordinariate groups in the diocese which the Bishop of Portsmouth will call and acknowledge.

13th March 2011 - On this and subsequent Sundays there will be an Ordinariate Mass at S. James at 9.30am followed by catechesis and preparation for reception into the full communion of the Catholic Church.

Holy Week 2011 - Individuals within the Ordinariate group will be received into the full communion of the Catholic Church. Details to be confirmed.

Our Sunday Masses at S. James will be celebrated by Fr Andrew Burnham. They will start at 9.30am and finish in time for preparation for reception sessions at 10.30am which will be held at S. James' Presbytery. While this mass is styled the 'Ordinariate Mass' it will be open to others as well and anyone will be welcome to join us. During Lent we will observe an 'Eucharistic Fast' and therefore not receive communion until we are received in Holy Week. Ordinariate group members may attend weekday masses at S. James or any other RC Church during this period. At S. James weekday masses are usually at 12.15pm. You can look at their website here.

It is important that members of the Ordinariate financially support their clergy and institution. For further guidance you can consult the Catholic League website which is arranging initial financing for the Ordinariate, or follow our guide here.

London Ordinariate Groups

There has been a rationalisation of the London Ordinariate Groups and therefore our 'Sister Ordinariate Groups' section has been amended. Thanks to the Ordinariate Portal for alerting us to this.  There are now distinct London South, London Central, and London North groups, so the link to London North has changed - the London Central is the old London North link, and the London South is the old South/Central. It is great to see that there will be three distinct groups from the outset, and we hope in due course that there will be a Principal Church in London which could eventually house one of the groups or be a seperate entity giving a fourth presence. Perhaps also we may in time see London East and London West groups emerge. Watch this space!!

Monday, 21 February 2011

The Chair of Peter

The Chair of Peter is a feast which recognises the importance of the See of Peter as a focus for unity. As we journey towards that unity we are called to pray that greater numbers will come into the full communion of the Catholic Church. A reminder therefore to Reading Ordinariate Group members that we are meeting tomorrow (22nd Feb) on the Feast of the See of Peter to discuss certain practicalities, and also have some time of meditation before the Blessed Sacrament. We are meeting at The Presbytery in Baker Street.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Sevenoaks: End of a blog, beginning of an adventure

The Sevenoaks blog has announced its final post which you can read here. The Incumbent Fr Ivan Aquilina and his curate, Deacon James Bradley have announced their intentions to resign. Fr Aquilina writes:
'For this reason I have written to the Bishop of Rochester notifying him that I intend to resign from this Parish in order to become a Roman Catholic in the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

Fr James has notified the same bishop that he intends to resign for the same noble reason.'
You can read Fr Aquilina's statement here. We here in Reading thanks them both for their friendship and look forward to journeying forward with them in the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

Our Lady of Walsingham, pray for us.
Blessed John Henry Newman, pray for us.

Receptions at Littlemore

The Vigil Mass of the Sixth Sunday of the Year is not normally a remarkable event. It is perhaps more remarkable when going to Littlemore: the place where Blessed John Henry Newman converted to the Catholic faith. It becomes of great note when a former Anglican curate and his wife are received into the full communion of the Catholic Church. Such was last night. A warm welcome was given to Daniel Lloyd and his wife as they became the forerunners of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. Why so early? Why not with everyone else at Easter? Well in the joking words of Fr Andrew Burnham, 'to give them something to do'. Daniel was until Christmas in his curacy in the north of the Oxford diocese and left with the intention of joining the Ordinariate... and now he has. It was good that Fr Burnham (who had ordained Daniel to the diaconate in the Anglican Church only six months ago, and who also married Daniel and Alex thirteen months ago) was able to receive them into the fullness of the Church. Fr Burnham celebrated the mass at the kind invitation of Fr John Hancock, himself a former Anglican priest who trained at St Stephen's House in the late 70s, and now Parish Priest at the Church of Blessed Dominic Barberi at Littlemore.

This was a low key occasion in comparison to the rites Fr Burnham has previously celebrated for the couple, but no less profound. There is in the Church a striking sculpture of Blessed Dominic Barberi and Blessed John Henry Newman in front of the fire depicting the moment Newman finally submitted to 'come home' to the Catholic Church. Now, just a stone's throw from that historic event, this historic event took place. Newman had given up his orders to come into the fullness of the faith, so now did another. Fr Burnham referred to this. He said in his sermon how people seem to be going backwards. Bishops are becoming priests, and deacons are becoming laymen. There is in this the important message of stripping ourselves back in order that we may go forward. In Newman's case he gave up his orders and ended up a Cardinal. For others they may give up their orders to become laymen, but all will be the stronger for it, and with the help of Holy Church to sustain, none will fall.

There is also something biblical in the order that things are happening. The Anglican bishops went first - the senior order in the Church. Now a deacon has become the forerunner - the order of deacons was established second. Now we wait for the priests. I do not think we will have to wait very long.