The Portal – October 2015

Just click on the front page photo below to reach the website of The Portal and select the tab Read The Portal to access this month’s edition of The Portal:

The Portal Oct 2015

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Ordinariate Expats Cycle of Prayer for October 2015

cycle_of_prayer_button_webYou will find this month’s Cycle of Prayer by clicking on the link below. All are welcome to join our praying community by adding the intentions for each day to your daily prayers. On the second page there is also a selection of prayers and the Holy Father’s Intentions for October 2015.

Ordinariate Expats Cycle of Prayer – 201510


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Feast of Blessed John Henry Newman at Warwick Street

The Feast of the Blessed John Henry Newman is on Friday 9th October, when there will be a Solemn Mass in the Ordinariate Use at 6.30 pm in Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory, Warwick Street, London W1B 5LZ.

The Celebrant will be the Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, the Rt Rev Mgr Keith Newton, and the Preacher will be the Rev Dr Stephen Morgan, a leading authority on Newman.

(from the website of the Friends of the Ordinariate)

click here to view the poster

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Some Photos from Portsmouth’s OLW Festival

WAT_1011 003On Saturday 26th September 2015, two days after the UK Ordinariate’s Titular Solemnity of Our Lady of Walsingham, there was a Festival of Our Lady of Walsingham at St. Agatha’s Church, Portsmouth. The celebrant was Monsignor Keith Newton. the Ordinary. The sermon was preached by CofE Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, formerly of Rochester. A further Anglican bishop was in attendance (as at the Ordinariate Festival in Westminster a week earlier), namely Bishop John Hind, formerly of Chichester.

Here are some photos with comments taken from the Portsmouth Mission blog:

The Ordinary prayed in front of the Blessed Sacrament on the St. George Altar before the beginning of the Mass. Notice the beautiful banners.

The Ordinary prayed in front of the Blessed Sacrament on the St. George Altar before the beginning of the Mass. Notice the beautiful banners.

Mgr Keith Newton with Fr Maunder and Fr Glaysher (St Mary’s, Isle of Wight). The throne for the Ordinary was on loan from St Mary’s.

Mgr Keith Newton with Fr Maunder and Fr Glaysher (St Mary’s, Isle of Wight). The throne for the Ordinary was on loan from St Mary’s.

The Gospel proclaimed from the nave by Mgr Robert Mercer

The Gospel proclaimed from the nave by Mgr Robert Mercer

Group photo at the end of Mass, with Bishop Nazir-Ali

Group photo at the end of Mass, with Bishop Nazir-Ali

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Fr Albert Scharbach (and 1200 others) concelebrates with Pope Francis

Former Anglican Priest, Now Catholic, Describes Concelebrating Mass With the Pope
“I saw myself as the pope’s priest,” says Rev. Albert Scharbach

by Zoe Romanowsky, Aleteia

After a full day of events and meetings on Wednesday, Pope Francis made his way to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception for the canonization Mass of Junipero Serra, which he celebrated with 275 bishops, almost 1,000 priests, 200 deacons and over 27,000 lay faithful and religious.

Fr Albert ScharbachOne of the priests in attendance was Rev. Albert Scharbach, an Ordinariate priest in the Archdiocese of Baltimore who is married with eight children. He was ordained in 2013 and now serves as pastor of Mount Calvary Church in the heart of the city.

The Ordinariate was established by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009 to enable groups of Anglicans to enter the Catholic Church while retaining aspects of their patrimony that can in turn be shared with the broader Catholic world.

It was Scharbach’s first time in the presence of the Holy Father and he spoke to Aleteia’s Zoe Romanowsky about it.

Fr. Scharbach, you concelebrated the Mass with the Holy Father; what was the highlight for you?

Simply being there. In a profound way, I saw myself as the pope’s priest — connected to the Holy Father. As an Anglican priest, when I would go to the hospital and someone would say, ‘Are you a Catholic priest?’ and I had to say ‘no,’ it became painfully apparent that something was lacking there. When, by conscience, I had to become Catholic, I had to lay down my priesthood not knowing if I’d ever be able to pick it up again; I didn’t know if I’d ever be able to make that visceral desire a reality again. After 5 years of being laicized, it was gratifying beyond words to be able to say Mass with my local bishop after I was ordained a Catholic priest, knowing he is connected to the Holy Father. But now to say Mass with the pope himself, really confirms that reality for me — that I am his priest, connected to the center of the Church, to that authority in an organic way.

A lot of Francis’ homily this evening, given in Spanish, was focused on the missionary call of the Church — to go out into the messiness, into the world as it is today, to not allow ourselves to grow apathetic or self-enclosed. How does this inspire you as a priest?

That’s what the priesthood is about, laying down our lives. I remember lying prostate, lying crucifix before the altar, and when we do that, we give our lives wholly to God, knowing it will mean the cross, giving our lives. The pope’s message also emphasized the fruit that comes from that commitment: healing and hope, especially for those who need it most.

You came into the Church under Pope Benedict XVI , who established the Ordinariate, and you were ordained under Pope Francis. What do each of these pontiffs mean to you in terms of your own priesthood?

Benedict was a doctrinal pope, coming from the CDF (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith), and that was so meaningful to me in becoming Catholic. It was the end of a big progress for me, embracing the full teaching of the Church, and Benedict represented that so well. And now as a priest, my role is to live out that teaching, in sacrificial love, and Pope Francis represents that so well. So as priest, in communion with him, I can’t help but be influenced by his charisms, but each of these popes has had a prudential influence on me.

What is Francis’s central charism, do you think?

Well, he’s doctrinal, too — and Benedict certainly illustrated missional love — these are broad emphases I’m giving here. Francis’ charism is missionary discipleship. Those are his own words. And we might say a “sincere life of evangelization.” It’s so easy to say these words— people have been talking about these things for many years. But under Francis’ influence it’s become more than words. Through his influence, people are thinking about what this really means. What does it mean to live out our missionary mandate? We need to be honest about confronting that call and truly embracing it.

Why do you think this Pope resonates so much with non-Catholics and unbelievers?

He makes an effort to meet them where they are. Sometimes people disagree with how he does this, but his heart is to meet them where they are, their place of appreciation and understanding. Not just to leave them there, of course — the point is to lead them further—but the completion might be for someone else. But to get their attention, to listen, to seek first to understand.

What do you hope Francis’ visit will do for the Church in the United States?

Invigorate the Church to be who She already is. I entered the Church for what She is, most fundamentally, not for what She is in this place at this time. People say to me all the time, “Why? Why did you become Catholic?” They see that many people don’t seem to believe, that they’re going through the motions. That’s how the Church looks to a lot of people. Sometimes you have to look hard to find people who are passionately living out the Gospel. But I didn’t become Catholic for that, and the Church is more than that, by virtue of Word and Sacrament. So I hope his visit helps the Church to be more fully who She is already is, from the beginning and for eternity.

Where does the Ordinariate fit into all this?

Part of the charism of the Ordinariate is to invigorate people with beauty and truth. A lot of Catholic churches have lost a passion for this. Many Protestants who come from churches that are not beautiful are drawn to the Ordinariate. And, of course, people from Episcopal churches are passionate about that — they find truth there, plus the beauty many of them are used to. The Ordinariate parishes provide what some crave— it fills a void for them. In this way the Ordinariate helps the Catholic Church to be more fully who She is, to embrace the fullness of the tradition that has always been there.

Zoe Romanowsky is Lifestyle Editor and Video Content Producer for Aleteia

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Worship the Lord in the Beauty of Holiness – Catherine Utley interviews Father Ed Tomlinson

FAITH MAGAZINE,  September – October 2015

In purely aesthetic terms, it’s hard to imagine a starker contrast than that which Father Ed Tomlinson and his family and flock must have felt four years ago when, as a group, they left their Anglican parish church of St Barnabas in Tunbridge Wells, where Father Tomlinson was vicar, entered the Catholic Church through the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham and began their new life at St Anselm’s in the nearby village of Pembury.

Behind them, they had left the magnificent Anglo-Catholic edifice of St Barnabas, built, with no expense spared, in the late nineteenth century and further glorified over subsequent decades with the addition of rich furnishings: a dazzling reredos in the Italianate style, a fine collection of stained glass, ornate statues and glittering banners. Their new home, in the Catholic Church, was a small 1960’s concrete dual use hall/chapel with a tiny altar (on wheels), a pool table stored in the confessional and a defunct freezer in the sacristy used for laying out the vestments.

It’s not a contrast, however, on which Father Ed – now a Catholic priest of the Ordinariate serving both his Ordinariate group and diocesan Catholics at St Anselm’s – dwells. ‘It was clear that an awful lot needed doing to beautify the church, so we got on with it,’ he says.


Four years on, and something akin to a small miracle has taken place at St Anselm’s. Funded largely by St Anselm’s parishioners with the help of loans from neighbouring diocesan parishes and some grants, a new parish hall has been built so that the church is now used exclusively for worship. A narthex has been added and a garden has replaced what had been a dense forest of trees, giving a pleasing sense of openness to the site. A restored antique lychgate will eventually form the new entrance to the church. Inside, a fine, permanent altar beautifully decked stands in place of the one on wheels. Stations of the Cross, communion rails and a pulpit have been installed, there are coloured hassocks, new candles and a new entrance bell and a vestment press has replaced the freezer in the sacristy.

I have come to the house near St Anselm’s where Father Ed lives with his wife, Hayley, and three children. Jemima, 8, and Benedict, 5, are at school, so Augustine – an unusually hospitable 3 year old (the cradle Catholic of the family) – happily assigns to himself the task of entertaining me while Father Ed and Hayley prepare lunch. After lunch, Father Ed settles down to talk to me about his remarkable spiritual journey to the Ordinariate – the structure set up by Pope Benedict to allow former Anglicans to become Catholics, bringing with them some of their Anglican traditions – and about what he sees as its particular mission, to revive authentic, English spirituality in the Catholic Church.

‘The beautification project at St Anselm’s is very much at the heart of the Ordinariate vision. We want to make our church look like a quintessential English parish, to return traditional treasures to the people and to re-capture that distinctive English spirituality that was lost to the Catholic Church at the Reformation’, he says.

Father Ed Tomlinson was born into an evangelical Protestant family in North West England when his father was coming to the end of his curacy there in the 1970s. The strong, biblical foundation which took root in his childhood has remained an important influence throughout his life, but by the time he went up to Cambridge, he was having doubts about whether evangelical Protestantism was for him. ‘It was a period of wilderness. I tried for a bit to be an atheist, but found I wasn’t very good at it. I kept finding myself popping into churches; God wasn’t letting me go.’ From Cambridge, he went to Colchester to teach and it was there that he encountered the Anglo-Catholic tradition and fell in love with Catholic spirituality. ‘I realised that there was a profound truth being taught and it began me on a journey, very similar to John Henry Newman’s, which led me ultimately to understand that the fullness of truth lay with the Holy Catholic Church’.

By the end of his Anglican curacy, disillusionment with the liberal, almost secularist, approach which he had found in some of his fellow churchmen, niggling doubts about the validity of Anglican orders and the dawning realisation that the C of E was attempting the impossible by trying to serve both God and State, had convinced Father Ed that he was in the wrong Church. Hayley, by now his wife, felt the same way. In 2007 he went to see the Catholic Bishop of Brentwood to discuss becoming a Catholic.

‘So I was all set at that stage to become a solo swimmer, but then a googley was thrown. Keith Newton, then the Anglican bishop looking after traditionalist clergy of the Catholic persuasion [now the Ordinary of the Ordinariate], asked me to go and look at the parish of St Barnabas in Tunbridge Wells and the minute I walked through the door, I had an enormous sense that I was meant to be there. I had no doubt at all that God was calling me to this parish’. Installed there as vicar, there followed, for Father Ed, a period of two years of inner turmoil and ‘getting cross with God’ in his prayers. ‘I didn’t understand why I was feeling both this burning call to be Catholic and yet, also, this overwhelming conviction that it was right that I was at St Barnabas. It was then that suddenly this incredible offer came from Pope Benedict XVl to join the ordinariates – a possibility, not to come on my own, to escape, if you like, from the Church of England, but a moment of exodus, to bring my people with me’.

Seventy-two of his people (‘it all felt rather biblical and wonderful, like the Lord’s sending out of the 72’) followed him. They left the Church of England on Ash Wednesday 2011, were received into the Catholic Church at Easter and later that year the group joined the similar number of diocesan Catholics who worshipped at St Anselm’s. What had been a Mass centre with no priest of its own became a quasi parish, with Father Ed in charge.


So began his part in the mission to make Pope Benedict’s vision a reality. Central to that vision, for Father Ed, is the idea that because of the Reformation the nation has forgotten that its roots are Catholic. ‘So many quintessentially English things – ancient village churches, great cathedrals and universities – have a Catholic foundation and we need to remind people of that’. During the Reformation, he says, the recusant Catholics, with incredible bravery kept Catholicism alive in England, but they lost that distinct, English way which characterised the pre-Reformation Church. ‘It was the Church of England, which, though it broke with Rome and lost its Catholicity, took on and kept alive the English way and the English spirituality. We see it still in Harvest Festivals and carol services, and in all the pomp and pageantry that we associate with great national events.’ It is now the job of the Ordinariate, he believes, to bring Englishness back to Catholicism ‘with a deliberate emphasis, always, on reverence, beauty and a robust, unchanging tradition that transcends time’. Hence the beautification project at Pembury, the second phase of which begins in September.

The early days at St Anselm’s were challenging for all. Not surprisingly, some of the diocesan Catholics felt threatened by the sudden influx of 72 ex Anglicans and there was some disappointment, too, for some of the Ordinariate Catholics because there were people from St Barnabas who had been going to come, but did not. Four years on, though, St Anselm’s is a manifestly happy parish with a vibrant spiritual and social life. ‘We are a body that breathes with two lungs. The beautification project has brought everyone together and diocesan Catholics and Ordinariate members are all delighting at the transformation,’ says Father Ed.

The earlier Sunday morning Mass at St Anselm’s reflects the English spirituality, music and all that is important to the Ordinariate; the later one is geared more towards the parish’s diocesan Catholics. But all the Masses are open to everyone and people can – and do – go to either. There is also Evensong and Benediction on Sundays and, crucially, an ‘Ordinariate Use’ Mass is offered on Saturdays. This is the liturgy devised especially for the ordinariates and approved by Rome. Drawing on the traditions of the Sarum Rite, used before the Reformation, it also integrates elements of the Church of England’s Book of Common Prayer into the Roman Rite. ‘Like all new liturgies, it takes a while for people to get used to it but I think when they do they find it profoundly moving. For me, it’s also powerfully evangelistic because the words teach people what the Church requires of them and explain what the Sacraments do for them.’

Concrete signs of the success of the Pembury project are the explosion of young families that have joined the congregation in the last four years and the fact that no fewer than five former Anglican clergymen have presented themselves at St Anselm’s for reception into the Catholic Church, on their way to becoming Catholic priests.

Plant the vision

I put it to Father Ed that another aspect of English Catholicism that was lost at the Reformation was its zeal and evangelising mission. Was that something, I ventured, that people like him could bring back?

‘I would hope so,’ he says. ‘The Anglo-Catholics of the nineteenth century, founded by Newman, the Ordinariate’s patron, were unbelievably bold men. They went out into the slums, they built parishes. They were unashamed about what they were doing. They had zeal and that has to be what the Ordinariate is about too. We are calling England home, with pride, with passion, to say to the English people: “remember you are Catholic. Your country flourished when you were Catholic and it’s maybe since we have lost that that we have suffered with a little bit of alzheimers and that’s allowed secularism to take over”.’

And was he optimistic that England could be won back?

‘If you said am I optimistic that we will win this country back in 2015 I would tell you that you needed to go and lie down for a while. But you know, there is a magnificent chestnut tree outside St Anselm’s. It has been there for hundreds of years and I always remember that that started life as a tiny seed and then a little sapling. The Ordinariate seed was only planted four years ago. That’s nothing in the history of the Church and it’s nothing compared with 500 years of Reformation history in this country. That seed has sprung into life. It’s going to need support. You have to nurture small saplings to help them grow. But I think the Ordinariate has got within it the power to do some truly amazing things. I think it changes the way in which ecumenism is done, by witnessing to what unity is all about – a return to the Church but without a loss of who we are and where we have come from and I think there is a call there to the whole of the Church of England to remember the rock from which they were hewn. So, for the next few years the Ordinariate may not be very big, but if we are talking in centuries, I think it will be huge. Our job is to plant the vision and hand it to the next generation.’

For further information about St Anselm’s, visit its website here:

Fr Ed Tomlinson’s blog can be found here:

(Catherine Utley was a Senior Broadcast Journalist at BBC World Service News for 30 years and has also worked as the Ordinariate’s Communications Officer. She is a cradle Catholic.)

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Presentation on the South East Wales Ordinariate Group from the Ordinariate Festival

(The following report on the Cardiff Group was given at the Ordinariate Festival by Matthew Wade Evans, a lay member of the group)

21597121086_7f404090d2_zThinking of an analogy for the South East Wales Ordinariate group, St Mark’s Gospel account of the Jesus calming the storm came to mind. As a group we have come together from a range of backgrounds, all feeling a call to follow Christ within the Catholic Church, there have been times where we may have felt that we were in the midst of a storm but finally we have reached a place where we are settled and now ask ‘What is our mission now?’

At present our group is small, but faithful and growing, there are 13 members within the Ordinariate group covering between us a range of ages from the young to young at heart, from different backgrounds and professions, and indeed from different Anglican parishes in South Wales. We have people who are enquiring and finding out more about the Ordinariate and so we continue to grow.

Ordinariate Use Mass is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of each month along with occasional services, on other Sundays members worship within their own diocesan parishes. Our priest, Fr Bernard Sixtus, is also a diocesan priest and Director of Religious Education within the archdiocese; in this manner we are fully integrated into the Archdiocese and so the group is able to make others aware of what the Ordinariate is all about.

To give some background to the group we have to go to England, in autumn of 2011 a group met with Monsignor Newton at Belmont Abbey and set up exploration groups for Cardiff, Abergavenny, and Swansea. There were also links with the Bristol group in 2012/13 and we are particularly grateful that the Bristol group’s pastor was able to celebrate the Ordinariate Use Mass for us while we awaited the ordination of Fr Sixtus which took place in 2014.

July 2014 saw the formation of the South East Wales group – originally the intention was that we would have a place in St Cuthbert’s Church, Cardiff. However, as that church is also used by the Ukrainian Greek Catholics it would have been impractical to remain there as the set up for the liturgy would not have suited the Ordinariate Use. We were therefore overjoyed when Archbishop George Stack offered us a place in the cathedral at the very heart of the diocese.

Within the cathedral we have a chapel to the right of the high altar. A reredos was donated to the group, having previously been housed in a convent. (This fine article was carved in Italy – let’s hope it doesn’t give rise to us being called the ‘Italian mission’.) A few months later we were given a generous donation from the Dean, Canon Peter Collins, to purchase an altar. This chapel is a beautiful addition to the cathedral and gives a real sense of presence of the Ordinariate within the Archdiocese. We are also blessed to have access to a relic of Blessed John Henry Newman, housed in the cathedral. The Friends of the Ordinariate have also been generous in providing means for us to purchase items for the group and we have been very lucky to benefit from offers made of lectionaries and vestments. As we are a small group our finances are limited, being housed within the cathedral we avoid overheads which would otherwise be incurred if we had a building of our own to maintain – we are indeed thankful therefore for the generosity shown towards us.

In October we will again welcome Monsignor Newton when he comes to bless a statue of Our Lady of Walsingham which was commissioned by the group as a result of very generous donations from people within the group and outside of it. This final and fitting part of the chapel will mark the end of a period of consolidation and so we must turn our eyes to our mission now.

We soon hope to see an increase in members, taking our numbers above 20. At present growth is achieved mainly through word of mouth and contact with family and friends. However, we need to discern our role within the Church and ask ‘What will be our mission?’ There will be interesting times ahead as we follow Our Lord, with faith, within His Catholic Church.

Today, I ask you to assist us in recognising our role by praying with and for us using the prayer for Wales:

O Almighty God, who in thy infinite goodness
hast sent thy only-begotten Son into this world
to open once more the gates of heaven,
and to teach us how to know, love, and serve thee,
have mercy on thy people who dwell in Wales.
Grant to them the precious gift of faith,
and unite them in the one true Church
founded by thy divine Son;
that, acknowledging her authority and obeying her voice,
they may serve thee, love thee, and worship thee
as thou desirest in this world,
and obtain for themselves everlasting happiness
in the world to come.
Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Our Lady, Help of Christians – pray for Wales

St David – pray for Wales

St Winifride – pray for Wales

Holy Martyrs of Wales – pray for Wales

Diolch yn fawr, thank you.

To view the photos from the presentation, click here)

(posted by kind permission of Fr Bernard Sixtus, pastor of the South East Wales Group)

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