The Ordinariate Festival 2017 was a roaring success despite a slight downturn in numbers. One disadvantage of the feast of OLW falling in September is that it is a busy month when some are still away on holiday and others settling back into work and the new academic year. The good news, for those who did make it, was that it was time well spent. We found it a worthwhile experience.
The Festival began on Friday evening when the Bishop of Brentwood gave an address which- I am told -was extremely well received. This was followed by a reception and fellowship, which is important for those who travel a long distance and lodge in the capital overnight. I was not able to make the Friday engagement due to parish commitments.
On Saturday morning I was first up on the podium to deliver a lecture entitled ‘The Ordinariate and the English Way’. An opportunity to cement the importance of the Anglican patrimony which we are asked to retain for the sake of the wider church and its mission in this land. It was a speech first delivered at the Evangelium Conference. This was followed by Mass, according to Divine Worship, at Westminster Cathedral. The serving team, who were excellent, were drawn from the Most Precious Blood in London and- drumroll please- St. Anselm’s in Pembury. Congratulations to Gus, Peter and Michael; they did us proud!
The Mass certainly struck a chord with Fr. Alexander Lucie-Smith who went home and penned a wonderful article for the Catholic Herald. It is entitled “Every Catholic should witness the beauty of the Ordinariate liturgy” and I commend you to read it and pass it on to everyone you know. And you don’t actually have to wait until next year’s festival to experience our liturgy- it is offered every Sunday at 9:15am in Pembury and is available at most other Ordinariate settings these days.
Following Mass we trooped back to Westminster School to enjoy a splendid lunch in the canteen. Spaghetti Bolognese, salad and garlic bread with fruit salad to follow. I was interested to learn that, during the war, the school had been evacuated and amalgamated with the Judd in Tonbridge. A little bit of local history popping up in an unexpected place!
After lunch a final address was delivered by Fr. Lucie-Smith who spoke powerfully about the dangers of internet pornography and the need of the church to confront it. I couldn’t fault any thing he said and most pastors know, from hearing confessions, what an epidemic this is becoming. Fr. Lucie-Smith urged us to protect children as best as possible and to ensure we instruct them early on about matters of sexual morality-don’t wait for the pernicious material on the web to do it for us!
It was then time for Monsignor Keith Newton, to address the gathering. He was in great form and shared news from his recent trip to Australia. He suggested we read the excellent address given to the three Ordinaries (like the three tenors only better) by esteemed academic Tracy Rowland- you can read it here. He then thanked us for our attendance and asked that we continue to be generous in supporting the work of the Ordinariate. Of particular interest is a new initiative to allow people to become associate friends of the Ordinariate. Watch this space…
A great festival then and we are grateful to those who organised it. A wonderful moment I shall treasure was when a lady leant across the aisle as we processed out after Mass and bellowed “God bless the Ordinariate from a cradle Catholic!” Music to my ears…