Monday 10th February 2014
On Saturday 8 February a congregation of about 150 people joined the Isle of Wight and Portsmouth Ordinariate mission at the church of St Agatha's, Portsmouth, to celebrate its patronal festival. The congregation included Ordinariate and diocesan Catholics as well as a number of members of the Church of England and some from the Traditional Anglican Communion. The Mass setting was Mozart's Credo Mass, sung by the acclaimed Oxford choir, the Newman Consort.
The proceedings began with a procession around the historic church, made famous by the great 19th century Anglo-Catholic priest, Fr Robert Dolling. The celebrant at High Mass was Fr John Maunder; Mgr Robert Mercer was deacon and the preacher was the Rt Revd Dom Cuthbert Brogan OSB, the Abbot of Farnborough.
In his homily, Dom Brogan compared the isolation suffered by St Agatha in prison with that felt by today's Christians who are often mocked and ridiculed for professing their love of Jesus Christ and their attachment to His teaching. Dom Brogan said: "When in prison, St Agatha was visited by St Peter, who healed the wounds of her breast and vanished from her sight. And again here at St Agatha's Portsmouth, the story of Mighty Little Agatha is lived out again. Peter healing wounds in the establishing of the Ordinariate. God's providential care revealed afresh to us in the resurrection of life and worship in this place". The Mass was followed by a reception and lunch.