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