Monday 21st November 2011
A packed room at the Towards Advent Festival at London's Westminster Cathedral heard a talk on "Joy and Hope in the Church" from Mgr Keith Newton of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, on Saturday Nov. 19th. The Festival, an annual event started in 2000, always draws large crowds but this year's were exceptional, and the Cathedral's Hinsley Room was standing-room only and packed to capacity for Mgr Newton's talk,with people sitting on the floor and on the window-ledges. He explained the background to the foundation of the Ordinariate, and emphasised that it is the culmination of work and prayer for Christian Unity over several decades. Giving brief account of his own background in the Church of England he spoke of how he and others always sought to be part of the Catholic Church and longed for full unity and union with the successor of St Peter in Rome. After the main talk he answered a range of questions with great willingness and good humour. His talk and his message brought a storm of prolonged applause.
"This was a major highlight of the Festival" said Joanna Bogle, who chaired the session "A great many people came who did not really know anything about the Ordinariate or were puzzled or confused about it. They gained not only full information but an inspiring message and a sense of something important happening. There was a wonderful atmosphere of goodwill and hope."
The Festival, opened by Archbishop Vincent Nichols, included music from the Gallery Choir of the Cathedral Choir School, and a presentation from an Oxford-based youth drama group celebrating Blessed John Paul. The Cathedral Hall was filled with stalls and displays from a wide range of Catholic groups and organisations including the Catenians, the Knights of St Columba, the Association of Catholic Women, the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, Aid to the Church in Need, the Catholic Truth Society, and a number of charities, booksellers and publishers.