Three former Anglican bishops were ordained to the diaconate yesterday, becoming the founding members of the world’s first ordinariate.
Auxiliary-Bishop Alan Hopes of Westminster ordained Andrew Burnham, former Bishop of Ebbsfleet, John Broadhurst, former Bishop of Fulham and Keith Newton, former Bishop of Richborough to the diaconate at Allen Hall Seminary in London.
The three men will be the founding members of the English and Welsh ordinariate, which will be the model for other such structures around the world.
Mgr Seamus O’Boyle, the vicar general of Westminster, presented the three men for ordination. The bishop examined the candidates and they promised to respect and obey the ordinary of the ordinariate, who has not yet been announced.
The private event was attended by approximately 50 people, family and guests of the deacons and the seminarians at Allen Hall.
After each receiving the book of the gospels, Deacon Newton prepared the altar, while Deacon Burnham and Deacon Broadhurst stood with Bishop Hopes to receive the gifts from their wives.
Before the end of the Mass, Bishop Hopes gave a thanksgiving for the wives of the three newly made deacons and there was a special blessing to aid them in their ministry with and to their husbands.
According to one eye-witness, it was a standard Roman Rite diaconate ceremony. The music for the main parts of the Mass was the Missa de Angelis sung by the Alan Hall Schola and it opened with Blessed John Henry Newman’s hymn, Firmly I believe.
The eyewitness said: “It was astonishing. The whole thing was handled with such sensitivity and generosity, especially the way in which Bishop Alan reached out to the wives of those being ordained. It was evident from the way it was done that the occasion was important for church, for them as individuals and their families and it was marked really well.”