So far the groups, missions and parishes of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham in the UK have always been known by their geographical names (e.g. Tunbridge Wells Ordinariate Mission) and not by the name of a saintly patron (the Tunbridge Wells group is hosted at St. Anselm’s Catholic Church, Pembury, but this is not their title).
The practice in the United States and Canada on the other hand has been to adopt a patron as soon as possible. Those groups which came as a complete parish with their own church building naturally maintained their title, but also the new groups (e.g. Toronto) soon decided on a patron (in this case St. Thomas More). The Orange County group was in fact known as Blessed John Henry Newman even before a community existed.
There are, however, some British Ordinariate communities which are now gradually adopting patrons:
- In September 2014 Torbay Ordinariate Mission announced that their new church, if the fund-raising campaign proves successful, will be named Our Lady of Walsingham with St. Cuthbert Mayne
- Manchester Ordinariate Mission state on their website that they are under the patronage of St. Raphael
- On their monthly magazine the Presteigne Ordinariate group in Wales name their patrons as St. Athanasius and St. Theodore
- Since they have their own church with title it is probably fair to say that the Portsmouth part of the Isle of Wight and Portsmouth group is under the patronage of St. Agatha
- Similarly, since they have a contractual agreement with the Archdiocese of Southwark in perpetuity, the patronage of the South London Ordinariate group can probably be taken to be the Most Precious Blood
If other groups have adopted a patron, please let us know in the comments below.
One thing is clear: calling oneself, for example, St. Gregory the Great Church at St. Patrick’s Parish, Stoneham, MA, or the Fellowship of St. Alban, Rochester, NY, wherever one happens to be meeting during this interregnum period, gives the Ordinariate community a distinct identity which a geographical group or mission does not have, and the importance of a heavenly advocate cannot be overstated.
So I, for one, hope that more British groups will identify themselves with their own patron sooner rather than later.