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Former Anglican bishop now Catholic priest
Monday 26th March 2012

A sixth Anglican bishop has been ordained as a Catholic priest at a ceremony in Portsmouth today.

Fr Robert Mercer, who served as the Anglican bishop of Matabeleland and as a bishop within the Traditional Anglican Communion, was ordained to the Priesthood by the Right Reverend Alan Hopes in St John's Cathedral in Portsmouth.

Fr Mercer will serve in the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, in England and Wales. This is the first structure, set up in 2011, following the provision of Pope Benedict XVI to allow Anglicans, including members of the Church of England and the Traditional Anglican Communion, to become Catholics whilst retaining much of their own tradition and heritage.

Serving within the Isle of Wight & Portsmouth Ordinariate Group, Fr Mercer will minister especially to those worshipping at the historic Portsmouth church of St Agatha's, Landport, who hope to be received into the full communion of the Catholic Church this Easter.

Monsignor Keith Newton, the Ordinary (leader) of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, commented on Fr Mercer's ordination, saying, "Fr Robert's witness to the truth of the Catholic faith, and his commitment to the unity of all Christians, has led to this very happy day when we can welcome him as a brother Priest in the Catholic Church. His ministry in Africa, in Canada and here in Portsmouth, has been exemplary, and we look forward to his renewed ministry now - bringing many rich gifts from the Anglican tradition into the Catholic Church".

Fr Jonathan Redvers Harris, who bears overall responsibility for the Isle of Wight & Portsmouth Ordinariate Group, said "As the Ordinariate continues to grow in Portsmouth, it will be good to have Fr Robert's expertise and great wealth of experience. I welcome him warmly as a colleague and a friend".


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The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham
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©  The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham is a company limited by guarantee with no share capital registered in England, Company Reg No: 07582943 and Charity Reg No: 1141536.