On Thursday 8 January, the Friends of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham held their annual candlelit Epiphany Service of Lessons and Carols followed by Benediction at Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory’s Church, Warwick Street (London, W1).
The Service was led by Mgr Keith Newton, and featured readings from the works of Bl. John Henry Newman, T S Eliot and G K Chesterton, as well as seasonal lessons from the Scriptures. It concluded with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament and prayers of thanksgiving for the establishment of the Personal Ordinariate, which was founded nearly four years ago.
Guest readers included the former Cabinet minister and Conservative peer, Lord Deben (John Gummer), writer and broadcaster, Mary O’Regan, and the Mother Superior of the Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother Winsome.
In a change to the published schedule, the parish priest of Warwick Street and church musician, Fr Mark Elliott Smith, read one of the Scriptural lessons, while Fr David Irwin, Episcopal Vicar for Ethnic Chaplaincies for the Diocese of Westminster, kindly agreed to read another. The newly appointed Rector for the National Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, Mgr John Armitage, who was scheduled to read one of the readings, was delayed by unforeseen circumstances. Happily, though, Mgr Armitage was able to attend most of the Service and also the reception afterwards.
During a short address, Mgr Newton thanked especially the Friends of the Ordinariate and all diocesan Catholics who continue to generously support the work and mission of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. He also thanked the Schola Cantorum of the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School — mentioning especially the choir’s Director, Scott Price, and Organist, Iestyn Evans — for providing the evening’s “outstanding” music.
Reflecting on the fact that “next week marks four years since the establishing of the Ordinariate”, Mgr Newton spoke of the need that still exists to make this important ecumenical structure “more widely known”. Touching on the fact that some still ask why members of the Ordinariate don’t “just become ‘real Catholics’”, he said that the message needs to be made known that the Ordinariate is a “prophetic” and truly “ecumenical” structure which helps make manifest in the West the real “diversity” of the Catholic Church.
Music included The Lamb by John Tavener, The Three Kings by Peter Cornelius and Morten Lauridsen’s setting of O Magnum Mysterium, as well as hymns and carols, such as As With Gladness Men Of Old and O Come All Ye Faithful.
Dylan Parry, Friends of the Ordinariate