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Ordinariate conference in Devon attracts world-class theologian
An internationally renowned Catholic theologian has addressed a conference organised by the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham at a day conference in Devon.
Professor Tracey Rowland, Dean of the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family in Melbourne, Australia, addressed a group of a around 100 people addressing the topic The New Evangelisation in the thought of Pope Benedict XVI, with particular reference to the Ordinariate.
Professor Rowland took time out from meetings in Rome and Leeds, before returning to her native Australia to speak to the conference, which was organised locally by the priests and people of the Ordinariate in the southwest.
Fr Ian Hellyer, the organiser of the conference, described welcoming Professor Rowland as 'a coup'.
He said, "Professor Tracey Rowland is an internationally respected Catholic theologian. We are very grateful that she has taken valuable time; it is an enormous encouragement to us in the Ordinariate, especially as we seek to play our part in the urgent task of the New Evangelisation."
The Conference was hosted by the Benedictine Community at Buckfast Abbey in Devon.
Fr Hellyer said, "The Ordinariate is only a year or so old and most of us entered the Catholic Church through the Ordinariate in obedience to the call of God. We trusted in this new and special provision because it comes directly from Pope Benedict, whom we believe not only to be a great theologian of our time, but also prophetic in his vision for Christian Unity. In many ways we are now discerning in more detail what it is that the Lord wants us to be doing. One of the things we know is that an intrinsic part of the Ordinariate is that we are called to be missionary. We are not just called to 'convert Anglicans' but to reach out and evangelise the wider society with the good news of the Catholic faith. We have been given a new structure which does not have the burdens that many historic structures carry with them, we have nothing holding us back from the work of evangelisation".
Professor Rowland was encouraged to attend the conference by Monsignor David Silk, a former Anglican bishop and now priest of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, after they has worked together whilst he was Anglican Bishop of Ballarat in Australia.
Members of the Ordinariate from across the UK gathered to hear Professor Rowland, and they were also joined by local Catholics and Anglicans.
Fr Hellyer said, "Members of the Ordinariate just love to be together. We have made a tremendous journey in a very short time. Worshipping and being together gives us much joy as we seek to serve the Lord and his Holy Catholic Church".
The day at Buckfast Abbey began with a Mass celebrated by the Ordinary, Mgr Keith Newton, and concluded with Solemn Evensong and Benediction in the Abbey Church, as an expression of the liturgical heritage which is at the very heart of the Ordinariate's witness to the Catholic Faith.