The English Spiritual Tradition on the “Called to be” website

You will remember that the “Called to be” website has brought us reflections on images and texts from the English spiritual tradition at various times in recent years in association with the “Called to be …” projects

  • 2014: Called to be One
  • 2015: Called to be Holy
  • 2016: Called to be Catholic
  • 2017: Called to be Apostolic.

We have now discovered (one month late) that they have resumed their monthly postings under “English Spirituality” and we are reposting them here:



The Exaltation of the Holy Cross – 14 September

Lily Crucifix window, c. 1350, Long Melford, Suffolk

Lily Crucifix window, c. 1350, Long Melford, Suffolk

The Lily Crucifix is a particularly English way of depicting Christ’s cross: this mediaeval stained glass version miraculously survived the iconoclasm of the Reformation. Christ is crucified (the nail in his right hand is especially clearly visible) on a cross which is bursting into flower. The Catechism tells us: “The event of the Cross and Resurrection abides and draws everything to life” (CCC 1085). Event – singular: Cross-and-Resurrection. To enter fully into the drama of Holy Week, we need to separate the two in time, but today we can celebrate both together, just as the cross here has already become a blaze of Easter lilies (not forgetting, of course, the association of the lily with Our Lady, who stood at the foot of the cross and, according to some ancient traditions, was the first witness of her Son’s resurrection).

“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” (John 12:32)

Some versions of this text read “all things”: the whole of creation, even, as here, the wood of the cross, is redeemed and renewed in the risen life of Christ.

Image credit: Friends of Long Melford Church



St Luke – 18 October

The Healing of Malchus – Eric Milner-White

eric-milner-whiteEric Milner-White (1884 – 1963) is best remembered as a distinguished liturgiologist and writer of prayers. During his time as Dean of King’s College, Cambridge, he introduced the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols, first broadcast in 1928 and now a major part of the BBC’s Christmas schedule and an example of Anglican liturgical patrimony beloved around the world. He was Dean of York from 1941 until his death. During this time he directed the replacement of many of York Minster’s windows (he had a great interest in and knowledge of stained glass) and wrote two of his best known collections of prayers, A Procession of Passion Prayers in 1951 (from which this month’s selection comes), and My God My Glory in 1954.

Rather surprisingly perhaps, the small incident of the High Priest’s servant having his ear lobe cut off is included in all four gospels, although only John names the slave as Malchus (and also names Peter as the one who wounded him). Luke the physician, whose feast day this month is a kept as a special time to pray for healing, is the only one to tell us that Jesus healed the slave. In the face of the greater violence to come, this event is what Nicholas King calls ‘an absurd act of resistance’… a ‘fairly trivial (though doubtless tiresome to the slave in question) wound’. And yet the evangelists seem to wish us to learn from it. At a time when we are confronted daily with escalating violence in our world, and when Christians are asking what a right response should be, Eric Milner-White’s prayer is one we might make our own.

whose blessed Son, even in the fierce tumult of arrest,
turned to heal the wounded enemy:
Save us from taking the swords of wrath or hate,
lest we perish by them;
but arm us always with the holy and healing Spirit
of the same Jesus Christ our Lord;
who liveth and reigneth with thee
in the unity of the same Spirit,
one GOD, world without end.

Eric Milner-White, 1951. A Procession of Passion Prayers. York: Morley & Sons, Ltd., p. 53

Image: Eric Milner-White

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fr Simon Ellis inducted at St. Margaret Mary, Perry Common

14449734_1182173751848004_8273057383355776349_nOrdinariate Priest Fr Simon Ellis is the first married Catholic parish priest to take up a post running a Catholic parish in north Birmingham working in Perry Common, Kingstanding and Maryvale. Simon was inducted by Auxiliary Bishop Robert Byrne CO on Sunday 25th September at St Margaret Mary Parish, Perry Common. He is married to Kate, who works as a PA at John Taylor Hospice, and they have two daughters, Rebecca, who works in the city and Anastasia, who is studying medicine at Birmingham University.

Simon qualified as a secondary science teacher 25 years ago and taught in Stoke on Trent. He recently worked in a Jesuit secondary school – Mount St Mary’s College – near Sheffield. He was a Church of England vicar for 15 years and his father and grandfather were CofE vicars, but he transferred with his family into the Catholic Church 5 years ago.

Simon lists his interests as cricket, football, gardening and wildlife conservation. He also wrote a biography on Birmingham-born Michael Houghton, an educationalist and Church of England Bishop. (Sea Without a Shore – Additional Curates Society Store).

(from the OLW Ordinariate website)


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

7th – 8th October – Ordinariate Pilgrimage and Festival in Birmingham

This last weekend I was pleased to be able to take part in the UK’s Annual Ordinariate Festival, this year in the form of a Jubilee Year of Mercy pilgrimage to the national shrine of Blessed John Henry Newman at the Birmingham Oratory.

ordinariate-festival-and-pilgrimage-birmingham-2016-1aThe pilgrimage began with a service of Evensong in St. Chad’s Cathedral, sung by the Cathedral choir, who made a very valiant effort of singing an Anglican-style evening prayer, which they apparently enjoyed very much.

ordinariate-festival-and-pilgrimage-birmingham-2016-1After the Evensong and a reception where I was able to catch up with many friends, we were all looking forward to a talk on Newman and Vatican II by Fr. Ian Ker, the famous Newman expert. Unfortunately Fr. Ker was held up in traffic and we were lucky to have a couple of impromptu talks on the Friends of John Henry Newman and on Newman’s bereavement letters and his colloquial style before making our way to our hotels.

Fortunately I had booked a hotel across the road from the one at which most of the Ordinariate pilgrims were staying and so I was able to join the Hemel Hempstead group for a drink and a very interesting conversation in the bar. We were later joined by Monsignor Newton after his pizza supper.

On the next morning, after coffee and a chance to get to know some more people (in my case, Father Bernard Sixtus of Cardiff and his two young sons), we celebrated Solemn Pontifical Mass in the Oratory Church.

ordinariate-festival-and-pilgrimage-birmingham-2016-5Monsignor Newton was visibly moved at being able to carry Cardinal Newman’s crozier and in fact compared his own position with Newman’s in his homily (“we have at least one thing in common: we are both not bishops and yet we are able to use pontificals”). It has never felt more fitting to sing Newman’s famous hymns and to raise the rafters of the Oratory with our singing.

After Mass we were able to venerate the relics of the Blessed and pray for some time in his Shrine Chapel (with the crozier quickly returned to its glass case).

Lunch gave me a chance to continue my conversation with Father Bernard Sixtus, who is himself half-German and studied at the Bundeswehrhochschule (the German Armed Forces University) in Hamburg. Father Bernard is the Director of Religious Education in all the schools of the Archdiocese of Cardiff as well as pastoring the Ordinariate group which celebrates in the Cathedral. I was also glad to meet the Torbay group who have bought their own church in Chelston. The pastor’s wife, Mrs. Lashbrooke, explained how the family is already living in the slightly rearranged parish hall, hoping that it will one day be able to be converted into a proper prsbytery.

ordinariate-festival-and-pilgrimage-birmingham-2016-6There then followed talks by Dr. Stephen Morgan and Fr. Ignatius Harrison before Solemn Benediction. Since I had to leave early to catch my train, I shall allow Father John Hunwicke to tell us about the talks and Benediction in this report from his blog:

What a splendid way for the Ordinary, Mgr Newton, to conclude the Ordinariate observances he has organised for the Year of Mercy! A large gathering of priests and laypeople went on pilgrimage to the Birmingham Oratory, Blessed John Henry Newman’s own home and Church, along the Hagley Road.

The Oratory Church is an exquisite building, mirroring an earlier expression of Renaissance architecture than the full-blown baroque at Brompton. (If you want to ‘do’ Italian Renaissance art and architecture, you don’t need to go to Italy or even to the Victoria and Albert Museum: just go to the two Oratories … where, especially on Sundays, you can see what it’s all for.) At the Ordinariate Pilgrimage Mass on Saturday morning, I think it is blabbing no secret to say that Father Keith felt very emotional when he was given our Blessed Patron’s own crozier to carry during the Mass. After lunch, we heard two fine addresses, both by proven good friends of the Ordinariate: Father Deacon Dr Stephen Morgan upon Newman as Doctor Amicitiae and the relevance of this to the New Evangelisation; and Father Provost Ignatius Harrison, about our Anglican Patrimony in terms of our splendid Ordinariate Missal, which he thought gave much finer renderings of Latin originals than the ICEL Missal does. Father felt that we needed to be thoroughly distinctive … this is our great contibution to evangelisation … and thought that our own ‘Use of the Roman Rite’ did this very well; although, like many of us, he hoped that this would be ‘work in progress’ and might be edged closer to the dear old English Missal.

The Pilgrimage concluded with Solemn Benediction … a very Patrimonial service … with the English Hymnal translation of “Tantum ergo”. It was particularly appropriate to the place, types and shadows have their ending echoing Newman’s “ex umbris et imaginibus in Veritatem”.


David Murphy

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New group joins the Adelaide Ordinariate Community

Monsignor Entwistle writes:

On Sunday 2nd October, Msgr Harry Entwistle received a group of parishioners from St George and Michael, Clearview, Adelaide into the Ordinariate.

This community was formerly a member of the Anglican Catholic Church in Australia (TAC) and has now joined the community of Blessed John Henry Newman to enhance the Adelaide Ordinariate Community under the pastoral care of Fr Ian Wilson (left of Msgr Entwistle).

This joyous occasion was shared by Msgr Egar (right of Msgr Entwistle) who has followed the journey of the members of the Ordinariate for several years.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Chair of St. Peter Clergy Meeting in Niagara Falls, Canada

mt-carmel-spiritual-center-niagara-falls-onPlease pray for the priests and deacons of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, who are gathering this week (10th to 14th October) for their annual Clergy Assembly.

mt-carmel-spiritual-center-niagara-falls-on-chapelThe Governing Council met at the start of the assembly, being held this year at Mount Carmel Spiritual Centre in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bishop Lopes’ short interview with Salt and Light TV

During the Canadian Bishops’ plenary meeting in Cornwall, Ontario, this week, Bishop Steven Lopes was interviewed by Sebastian Gomes of Salt and Light TV. (Interestingly, both men have Portuguese names that I would prefer to pronounce “Lopesh” and “Gomesh”.) The interview begins at the 11 min. & 19 sec. mark.

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Ordinariate Europe Cycle of Prayer for October 2016

cycle_of_prayer_button_webTo access this month’s Cycle of Prayer just click on the logo on the left or on the similar logo in the right-hand side bar at any time in the month.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment