Friday 26th September 2014
A Portuguese priest who has been studying for a licence - an advanced degree - in canon law on the Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanorum Cœtibus, has sent the Ordinary greetings from Pope Emeritus Benedict and this picture of a recent meeting he had with him.
The priest, Fr Joao Vergamota, from Lisbon, was put in touch with the Ordinary after a Mass was held in June at the Ordinariate's central church, Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory, in London, to celebrate the church's historic ties wth Portugal, which were established in the early eighteenth century, when a Catholic church on the Warwick Street site was the chapel of the Portuguese embassy. The Portuguese ambassador to Great Britain was present at the Mass and it subsequently transpired that his sister had studied theology with Fr Vergamota, knew him to be studying Anglicanorum Cœtibus, and suggested that he should visit Warwick Street to talk to the Ordinary, Mgr Keith Newton, and the parish priest there, Fr Mark Elliott Smith, about the ordinariates.
The Ordinary (speaking during his address on Saturday 20 September to the Ordinariate Festival), takes up the story: "Fr Joao was a delightful young man and I enjoyed meeting him. He has recently completed his thesis and was privileged to meet with some other priests, Pope Emeritus Benedict in the Vatican. He reported and I quote from his email - 'I offered to the Pope Emeritus my work about Anglicanorum Cœtibus, and Benedict asked me what I think about the Ordinariates and why I consider them important: I answered that is a very good and real way to build Church unity! After I told him I was in London with Mgr Newton and Benedict expressed a big "OHHH!" with evident pleasure and friendship!"
The Portuguese Mass at Warwick Street, which is part of an ongoing initiative to deepen the ties between the church and the Portuguese community in London, was organised by a member of the Warwick Street congregation, Diana Morphew.