The Famous Five!
Your prayers please for an Anglican clergyman and his wife who are in the process of informing archdeacon, bishop and parish about a desire to enter the Catholic Church as members of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. If all goes to plan they should be part of the congregation in Pembury within a matter of weeks. They need our welcome, support and prayers. Outsiders do not always appreciate the sacrifice they make to follow their conscience.
Yet God returns our gifts a hundredfold and I do not know of a single person who has regretted the move. Nevertheless it can be an unsettling bitter-sweet journey from one communion to the other. A time when those hostile to the Ordinariate can be cruel and when friendships and family relationships can be strained. Yet also a time of growth and delight as a new home is found and friendships forged.
Sometimes people like to imagine/suggest that the Ordinariate is not developing as it should be. I disagree. The reality is, despite little in the way of resources, four years on and there are lots of encouraging signs especially at the local level. Yes, some groups are struggling to survive and some people seem disinterested in upholding the Anglican patrimony and delivering on the promise, but others are doing great work and punching well above their weight. And this ensures that the seeds planted by Pope Benedict are showing signs of growth. Remember 4 yrs really is a drop in the ocean in terms of church history.
Here in Pembury there is much for us to be grateful for. We look ahead to a new parish room being built by the end of June. We celebrated a wonderful Holy Week and now have a fifth clergyman to process into the Catholic church! Myself, Father Nicholas, Father Gibbons (now in Maidstone), Father Jack and one in the pipeline making up the (in)famous five! And it is very encouraging, and a little humbling too, to hear from at least three of those on that list that my blog played an instrumental part in guiding them home. I really do urge all Ordinariate groups to engage with social media as part of their mission and mandate.
And I also urge you to develop a thick skin and dare to be bold and honest in what you say. For the truth does not need to be defended, it just needs letting loose that it might defend itself! A loosening that does not always allow for timidity out of fear of offending other people…
Father Ed Tomlinson