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Plenary Meeting of Ordinariate Clergy
The clergy of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham met in the crypt of St Patrick's, Soho Square in London on Thursday 18th June for one of three annual Plenary Meetings. These form part of the ongoing theological and pastoral formation of the Ordinariate clergy, required by the Holy See.
In the morning the meeting was addressed by Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith, a priest of the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton and Parish Priest of St Hugh of Lincoln Catholic Church, Knaphill, Woking, who is perhaps better known through his regular column in The Catholic Herald of which he is a consulting editor.
He has a doctorate in Moral Theology which, as Mgr Keith Newton explained, "makes him well suited to speak to the meeting about some of the issues surrounding the forthcoming Synod on the Family and the New Evangelisation".
"The Fourteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops," Mgr Keith explained, "will take place from 4th to 25th October 2015 and will have as a theme 'the vocation and mission of the family in the Church and in the contemporary world'."
"It will 'reflect further on the points discussed' at the 2014 Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops 'so as to formulate appropriate pastoral guidelines" for the pastoral care of the person and the family'."
The 2014 Synod, called to define the status quæstionis (current situation) and to collect the participants experiences and proposals, "can be understood ,1% preparation for the 2015 synod, but they are meant to "form a single, organic unity."
Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith's talk, as well as being very funny, was both fascinating and thought-provoking as the response in questions and discussion from all those present proved.
In the afternoon the meeting welcomed the Revd Dr Stephen Morgan, a deacon of the Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth, where he is Œconomus and Secretary to the Trustees. Dr Morgan, a former Anglican, a Newman scholar, and a regular monthly contributor to The Portal, is a good friend to the Ordinariate, serving, with the agreement of Bishop Philip Egan, on the Ordinariate Finance Council. He spoke about progress in commending a pattern of agreements between the Ordinariate and dioceses and putting in place good practice with regard to care for sick and needy clergy and families and providing for the long term needs of young priests.
Fr Christopher Lindlar gave a report on the response to the recent Called to be Holy Novena of Prayer, an event which involved over 60% of Ordinariate Groups and Missions. The Novena of Prayer from Ascension to Pentecost was observed by many Catholics both within and beyond Ordinariate and in an amazing variety of locations.
Fr Lindlar explained that Called to be Holy, which was intended to contribute to the spiritual renewal of Catholic life by drawing on those elements of sanctification to be found in the riches of English spiritual writers, was a great success according to the responses he and the co-ordinating group had received and that such an event will be repeated in future years.
The "Called to be..." website – www.calledtobe.org.uk – will soon evolve to become a gateway to last year's Called to be One event, this year's Called to be Holy Novena of Prayers and next year's Called to be Catholic which will expand on the message of the Jubilee Year of Mercy. As well as a Novena of Prayer it is intend to hold a series of Ordinariate Pilgrimages to different locations around the country in England, Scotland and Wales.
Ronald Crane spoke about the 2015 Festival which will be held from Friday 18th to Sunday 20th September. The main Festival Event will begin at 10.30am in Westminster Cathedral Hall when the speaker will be Archbishop Joseph Augustine Di Noia OP of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Mass will be in the Cathedral at 12.30pm.
For those arriving early for the Festival, on Friday 18th September at 7pm at the Church of the Most Precious Blood, London Bridge, Fr Gerard Sheehan of Opus Dei, a supporter of the Ordinariate, will speak about the advantages and difficulties of belonging to a Personal Prelature or an Ordinariate in the Church. A Reception will follow.
On Sunday 20th September the Festival will end with Sung Mass at the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption and Saint Gregory, Warwick Street, London.
Mgr Andrew Burnham gave an update on the new Ordinariate Missal, which has now reached proof stage and may be published as early as later in 2015. It will be a significant important publication not just for the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham but for the Catholic Church in general, contributing to the family of Uses which make up the Latin Rite. He also reported that work will shortly begin on revising the Customary of Our Lady of Walsingham.
Mgr Andrew accepted that there are different views within the Ordinariate about the relevance and suitability of our liturgical material to priestly formation and public worship but emphasised that if the Ordinariate is to retain its unique identity, all priests and groups should carefully consider how the Ordinariate liturgical material is appropriately used.
At the conclusion of the meeting Mgr Keith Newton announced that the Chancellor, the Reverend Kristian Paver STB MA JCL, who has served the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham since its inception in 2011, is becoming Chancellor of the Diocese of Plymouth, in which he is incardinated, and will no longer be in a position to serve as Chancellor.
He then announced that he has appointed the Reverend Jonathan Redvers Harris LLB LLM MA (Leuven) as the Vice Chancellor of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.
Further details about this appointment and about Fr Jonathan Redvers Harris will be found here.
Finally, Mgr Keith expressed his gratitude to members of LOGS – the Ladies' Ordinariate Group – for preparing and serving lunch, much appreciated by all present. The Plenary Meeting ended with Mass celebrated according to the Ordinariate Use in St Patrick's Church.