The Darlington Ordinariate Group at St. Osmund’s, Gainford

We have identified an increasing trend in the United Kingdom for an Ordinariate priest to be appointed priest-in-charge or parish administrator or parish priest of a diocesan parish, often taking with him a complete Ordinariate community. This is very different from the Ordinariate personal parish or quasi-parish.

In the latter situation the Ordinariate has a high degree of independence (more if the Ordinariate owns the church buildings than in a church-sharing constellation). The Ordinariate can develop a clear identity – liturgical, musical, spiritual, pastoral.

When the Ordinariate group forms only a part of a wider parish community (often the minority), it is quite difficult to develop and maintain the group’s distinctiveness and the risk of final total assimilation is much greater.

The Darlington Ordinariate Mission has always offered a fine example of a community which is proud of its heritage and has made a point of underlining its specialness. In this blog we have already reported on many elements of their distinctive identity:

  • first of all the numerous social events organised by the Ordinariate group under their own logo, which are also excellent fundraisers. This month the group’s blog gives us another example of such an event:

GRATEFUL THANKS TO ALL WHO GAVE AND SUPPORTED OUR ST GEORGE’S DAY DINNER in the Village Hall. We made a profit of £1,365 for the Darlington Ordinariate. A FANTASTIC RESULT!

  • an independent stewardship scheme. Again the group blog makes this clear:


More information from Miss Nicola Reeves (0778 858 7474) & Mr Harry Alderson (01325 284186). The Darlington Ordinariate has large financial commitments and needs regular and sacrificial giving. WE HAVE TO BE FINANCIALLY INDEPENDENT. PLEASE HELP US, AND CONSIDER GIVING BY STANDING ORDER. If you are a taxpayer, please sign up to our gift aid scheme and use the gift aid envelopes.

  • initiating and sponsoring emblematic projects in the parish, like the Church music, forming the backbone of the choir, providing a new and better organ, etc. We have seen the Music Lists. Here is another recent example of two such projects from their blog:

Please support our ORDINARIATE FLOWER FUND AND ORDINARIATE ORGAN FUND – donations to Father Grieves at any time.

  • having fixed times for Ordinariate-led liturgy – one of the Sunday Masses, two of the Easter Triduum services, Evensong, Lessons and Carols, etc. Even at parish events like the May Procession the Ordinariate carries a distinctive bannerMay procession
  • an Ordinariate pilgrimage of thanksgiving to Rome
  • etc., etc.

If you can give other examples of maintaining, celebrating and sharing an Ordinariate community’s distinctive identity within a diocesan parish, we should be interested to report on them too.

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5 Responses to The Darlington Ordinariate Group at St. Osmund’s, Gainford

  1. Edwin Barnes says:

    Congratulations to the Darlington Ordinariate Mission; the result of a good sized group of Anglicans all going at once with their incumbent into the Ordinariate. It’s more of a struggle when we came from a diversity of Anglican parishes and have a Pastor who joined at a different time. But we battle on.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      Reverend Monsignor,

      Actually, I think that there are serious challenges both ways.

      >> A group formed of those who came individually faces the challenge of establishing ties that bind in order to form a new community with common bonds. Nevertheless, such groups tend to be open to differences in custom and practice among their members as a matter of necessity since everybody is on more or less equal footing.

      >> A group who comes as an intact community, on the other hand, tends to have well established practices and customs and well established divisions of ministries and responsibilities, and thus faces a real challenge making room in its ranks for small numbers coming from other places to feel welcome and to participate as equals in the life and the ministries of the community. There are also strong common bonds forged by making the journey together that those coming from other places inevitably do not share.

      The situation of a group formed by a merger of two or three smaller communities that came intact is even more complex: ministries and need to be combined, with roles being reapportioned equitably while still making room for those who come from other places to join the ranks as equals. This inevitably causes the roles of individual members to diminish in one way or another (either those who serve in various ministries are able to serve less frequently or the tasks of various ministries get apportioned among more members so each does less), often giving rise to a sense of diminished role and diminished importance. Clashes over differences in practices among the merging communities, however slight, are inevitable.

      Ah, yes, pastoral challenges abound….


  2. EPMS says:

    Just trying to clarify the practical details. From what I can gather, the church and rectory are owned by the diocese. The titular Parish Priest is resident at another church. Fr Grieves is the Priest in Residence, providing services for diocesan and Ordinariate Catholics at St Osmund’s. The Ordinariate group, which seems to have very active lay leadership, raises money to pay his stipend (in whole? including benefits?). Comments here state that there are no OOLW full parishes but this may be out of date.

  3. EPMS says:

    While there are a number of priests of the OCSP now serving in local diocesan parishes, none of these parishes also hosts an Ordinariate group, which perhaps poses other kinds of problems but at least reduces the “pastoral challenges” of which Norm speaks.

    • Rev22:17 says:


      To be clear, I was speaking of the manner of formation of an ordinariate community rather than a situation in which an ordinariate pastor also has responsibility for a diocesan parish that hosts an ordinariate congregation. Where a diocesan parish and an ordinariate congregation share facilities, each typically has its own services and its own liturgical ministries (in most cases, except for the principal liturgies of the paschal triduum).


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