More than 50 people from a single parish in Darlington, northern England, joined the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham last night.
Led by Fr Ian Grieves, who has served at the Anglican church of St James, Darlington, for 23 years, 58 Anglicans formally joined the Ordinariate at the Catholic church of St Anne, Darlington.
In his homily, Mgr Newton said: “The journey you embarked upon on Ash Wednesday through the days of Lent to your reception into the full communion of the Catholic Church this evening is a model of the whole of your Christian life. It has meant for each of you, in a particular way, leaving behind what has been comfortable and familiar and stepping out in faith,certain in the knowledge that we do so in company of Jesus who prayed the night before he died that his disciples might be one.
“It is a journey that must be total and complete. But like all journeys in the faith it is oneleading to joy and fulfilment.”
Speaking about the importance of Christian unity and the role of the Ordinariate, Mgr Newton said: “We have prayed and longed for unity but it has been realised in a way we might not have expected. Our prayer has been answered by the Holy Father himself through the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus.
“We have travelled this road to further the unity of Christ’s Church; a unity in faith and communion symbolized by Peter amongst us- the visible reminder of the unity of Christ’s Church, a unity for which he reminded his listeners in Westminster Abbey is a particular responsibility of the Bishop of Rome”.
Ian Grieves, who is now Pastor of the Darlington Ordinariate Group, hopes to be ordained for service in the Personal Ordinariate in the coming months. After that, the group will begin to worship together, bringing together elements of Anglican tradition and liturgy with the Catholic faith.