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Record number of people to be received into the Church at Easter

By on Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Fr Keith Newton, who leads the ordinariate, at Westminster Cathedral during the Rite of Election (Mazur/

Fr Keith Newton, who leads the ordinariate, at Westminster Cathedral during the Rite of Election (Mazur/

A record number of people in England and Wales will be received into the Catholic Church in Holy Week and Easter.

Over 4,700 people took part in Rite of Election ceremonies in dioceses around England and Wales last weekend, marking a bumper year of new faithful, both catechumens and candidates for reception.

The number was unusually high thanks to the number of groups of Anglicans being received into the Church in Holy Week for the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham – about 800 lay people and 61 clergy.

The Archdiocese of Westminster had the largest numbers of candidates and catechumens come forward with almost 900, 62 of whom will join the ordinariate in Holy Week, while 829 people will be received or baptised at Easter. It marks a slight drop from 2009’s record of 850 people being received into the Church at Easter. Southwark Archdiocese had a record 684, of whom 167 people were joining the ordinariate.

Meanwhile, according to the figures released by the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, Brentwood diocese has the highest number of former Anglicans joining the Ordinariate of all the English and Welsh dioceses, with 240 people. The south of England had the largest number of people joining the ordinariate while 11 dioceses, located predominantly in the north of England and Wales, did not have any people joining the ordinariate at the Rite of Election. Attendance to the Rite of Election was optional for former Anglicans joining the ordinariate.

The Diocese of Portsmouth experienced a record number of candidates and catechumens, without even counting the 61 former Anglicans joining the ordinariate.

Speaking at the Rite of Election, Bishop Crispian Hollis said: “This is my 23rd celebration of the Rite of Election in this Cathedral and in the diocese, and this year we are seeing the largest numbers I have known coming forward for the final stage of the journey to the Easter sacraments.”

During his homily he specially greeted those joining the ordinariate, and added: “Wherever you are coming from and whatever has been the character of your journey of faith, we are blessed by your presence. You bring a huge variety and experience of Christian life and your own personal journeys of faith to this celebration, to your parishes and communities, to the diocese and to the Church. You all have much to offer.”

Speaking about those joining the ordinariate, Bishop Kieran Conry, who is in charge of the Bishops’ Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis, said: “The witness of so many people taking this life-changing step is so very encouraging. Each year people freely choose to come forward from all walks of life, bringing with them unique experiences and talents. The Catholic community welcomes them with love and the assurance of prayer. If you’re considering taking a similar step or are not sure yet, come and see. Give your local Catholic church a ring or ask a Catholic friend for help.”

Peter Jennings, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Birmingham, said there were significantly more people coming forward for reception into the Church this year than last year. In the past the archdiocese has had one ceremony for the Rite of Election but this year they had two, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. This included four ordinariate groups, two coming forward for the Rite of Election on each day.

  • Esnofla

    So much for those who say the Church is dead. No, when the Church is faithful to its Master, regardless of how difficult it is, how silly it may sound, how counterculture it may be, the people will come!

  • Alexandra Rochfort

    Woo hoo! It’s wonderful to see the Anglicans coming. I’m a former Anglo that was recieved into the Church on New Years Eve. All I can say is, the water’s fine! Jump in!

  • Syble

    New people into any mainstream Christian denomination is a great thing. I fear however the talk numbers is (a) a bit silly and (b) not always portrayed in a balanced way across the general media. People have been coming and going (both ways – not always to Rome but from it too) between the RC and Anglican church for a long, long time. It’s two way traffic which is rarely mentioned in the press.

    For more details and an interesting take on this read Cranmer’s recent blog:

  • Semper Fidelis

    This is the ” Catholic ” Herald ; so it is absolutely in order to publicise with a degree of pride these wonderful conversions to Rome. The Fourth Estate is quite capable of giving us the negative/begrudging news ( particularly relating to their old enemy, the Catholic Church ) without your help. Rejoice !. Just read recently, that world wide stats. last year showed a huge increase in the Catholic population. Rejoice even more !.

  • Christopher Robin Quinn

    One day there will be THE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH that stands the on the rock that JESUS had handed over to PETER. We Christians (all) will be in it. Thank You Mother Mary.

  • Marypettifor

    Deo Gratias!

  • Dcruz

    This is good news and the United kingdom needs to be re-evngalised as its lost its direction as far as faith and morals is concerned.

  • Dcruz

    From what I have seen people who have not been active in the catholic church or lapsed normally come back at some stage in their life after going to other denominations or religions

  • texasgrandmom

    I am heartened to see that kind of energy in the UK also,and it thrills me also to see the Anglicans crossing the Tiber. Welcome home!

    My parish is growing by about 20 families a week. We have already expanded the church and it’s standing room only every week, we added an extra 11:30am mass in the Chapel to accomodate the number of people. We already have 3 Catholic churches within 5 miles or so in our suburb. Officially we are over 7500 families in our parish. If everyone came to church every week, we would have to have Mass in the family center, the chapel, and the Church for all 5 Masses. There is great energy surrounding the church right now and I don’t think we’ve seen anything yet. She is still reving up for the real growth as people find their spiritual awakening and realize that the Catholic church and the real presence of Christ is the fulfillment of their longing.

  • Aging Papist

    Now the CofE will find it much easier to proceed with the consecration of women bishops. Something they should have done years ago. These Anglo Catholic whining pests, will be more valuable to Rome–as they always were– and an excellent model for Latin-rite Catholics. Who’ve managed to make their liturgy into a laughing stock; their Church into a sanctuary for Vatican-approved perversion and obstruction of justice. Right under the noses of incompetent prelates. These Anglican pests will be gone for good. They’ve struck a good bargain with Benedict. He should be making the three former CofE bishops, bishops for Rome now.

    These consolation prize titles, creating them honorary prelates, are an insult to what these men accomplished and had to put up with in the CofE. I respect their beliefs and what they had to put up with in the established church, but they are all dead wrong when it comes to the ordination of women to the priesthood. Benedict is simply using them as levers for a strategy destined to blow up in his own face. With Anglo Catholics leaving the CofE in increasing numbers, the greater the chances now of women being made bishops and the Anglican Communion preparing it’s own Roman Catholic Ordinariate in time. To which Roman Church women will flock like geese.

  • Aging Papist

    How right you are Syble. Anglicans have been flocking to Eastern and Oriental Orthodoxy since the Oxford Movement. However, I wouldn’t want to venture a guess if the numbers are greater to Rome or the east.

    In the United States the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) , the Western Rite of the Antiochene Orthodox Church, and the Western Rite of the Romanian Orthodox Church, headquartered in Paris, are made up largely of former Roman Catholics and/or Anglicans . Today, the first two bodies have a growing membership made up of evangelicals and pentecostals. What do these Orthodox churches offer, Rome isn’t offering them?

    A question Roman Catholics and Anglicans should be asking themselves as they assess their reasons for switching to a Church renowned for tyranny, mind control, a 40 year liturgical disaster on it’s hands, and now facing decimation by the outflow of outraged Catholics.

  • Aging Papist

    “From what I have seen people who have not been active in the catholic church or lapsed normally come back at some stage in their life after going to other denominations or religions.”

    DCruz, Some do and some don’t. You would never know from the Vatican’s statistics, since the 1.3 billion figure always includes simply those baptized. They never bother to check who has left the Church and why. The Vatican’s incompetence has led to a lazy approach to statistics and to serious pastoral efforts in recent years to win back anyone. When the money runs out from US Catholics, then Rome will start to worry, not until.

    Studies conducted in the U.S. show the number of Catholics who have departed the Church over the past 40 years or more, are less likely to return. They have said goodbye because they have completely rejected, not Vatican II, but “Humanae Vitae”. That was the beginning of the great trek to Protestantism and Orthodoxy in the early 70s. Not as the ultra traditionalist Catholics would have you believe, the dropping of Latin. Perhaps, no more than 17% of Catholics, according to the Pew Research Center, have left for liturgical reasons. In the UK, the reasons may be very different.

  • Aging Papist

    “THE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH that stands the on the rock that JESUS had handed over to PETER. We Christians (all) will be in it.” Jesus, Christopher, handed the Church over to the APOSTLES AND Peter. Peter is nothing without the other eleven apostles. Rome continues to perpetuate this heretical nonsense that the Church is governed by Peter alone and the others simply fall into line and do as he tells them. LOL LOL. Like a troop of incompetent boyscouts following the leader? I don’t think so., You and most Catholics have committed heresy, but I forgive you just the same. Even if Benedict XVI and the clowns about him won’t.

  • Catholicmilitant

    Really? This record number of people… many of them can tell me what the Ten Commandments are? How many can tell me what te Gifts of the Holy Spirit are? How many can tell me the Beatitudes? How many can explain to me the essential sacrificial nature of the Mass? How many can tell me the difference between a mortal and a venial sin? How many can express to me the reality of facing God in the flesh at Holy Communion? How many are aware that every Catholic church in the world is constantly filled with angels adoring our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacles? How many know to pray for the salvation of the dead? How many know that we do not automatically go to Heaven when we die? How many will go to Confession regularly with a trifold purpose: Absolution, Grace, to be able to receive our Lord in Holy Communion without “consuming our own damnation,” St. Paul??? How many?How many? How many??????

  • Catholicmilitant

    It’s about quality, not quantity!!!

  • stan zorin

    Can you point out to me a passage in the New Testament where Jesus goes to the nearest shopping mall and ask the resident keymaker to make 12 copies of his keys of His kingdom ?

  • stan zorin

    Mr.” aging papist ” aren’t you actually the notorious, now for some years unemployed, former communist sympathiser and soviet secret service agent activated at the height of the struggle against “the opium of the masses” ( the faith as taught by His church ) to the green pastures of thatcherite England, briefed on the mission personally by no less than at the time the (visible) jewish head of the above mentioned KGB – Youri Andropov ? Your role was to spy on some people from the religious organisations who were supporting anti-communist dissidents in the former Soviet Union and also to foment strife within and between religious communities so that would be less energy and effort spent to support those that were fighting the communist system. You were to meet your handlers and collect the payment at the MCU (Modern Churchpeople’s Union) meetings. Meetings of the Central Commitee for the Movement for the ordination of women were sometimes held there too. With the demise of the Soviet Union you lost your fellow traveler/agent pension, so i have an idea. Just go to 10 Duke St. in London, where the Supreme council of the 33rd. degree of Freemasonry resides and ask for your pension there. The communism  was freemasonic idea and project, they financed its birth, ensured it survived its first difficult years and guided it into maturity. Go there, they might even finance you to start and print socialist-progressive-feminist christian magazine. Right up their and your alley.

  • Catholicmilitant

    AP you make a fool of yourself and you expose the fact that you have not read the scriptures. It is quite clear in the gospels that Jesus was referring ONLY to Peter when He said, “Upon this rock I shall build my church.” I cannot understand the Protestant obsession with conveniently “not noting” specific biblical passages which vindicate the Catholic church, as in those in union with Rome!

  • Themaccauk11

    Hi i’m also considering the Catholic Church. I have been a non denominational Christian and once a Jehovahs Witness. I now find myself researching the truth about the catholic church and considering becoming Catholic