The Ordinariate celebrates its gratitude to Bl. Newman at Birmingham Oratory
October 19th 2016 by Jozef Lopuszinski
The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady Walsingham undertook a “Year of Mercy” pilgrimage to the Oratory of St Philip Neri, Birmingham, on Saturday (8th October). The day began with confessions, and then a concelebrated Solemn Mass according to the Ordinariate Rite (Divine Worship) led by Monsignor Keith Newton.
During his homily, Monsignor Newton spoke about the significance of being able to use this rite at the Oratory founded by Newman.
“What a great privilege and a pleasure it is for us as members of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham to celebrate Mass here in the Birmingham Oratory, founded by Blessed John Henry Newman, and using words in the Mass that he would have been familiar with from his days in the Church of England.”
“What Newman would have made of the liturgy we’re using this morning we shall never know, but I have no doubt that he smiles down upon us, and intercedes for us as our heavenly Patron.”
“It is significant that this new ecumenical initiative should have taken place during the Pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI, who was himself greatly influenced by Newman’s writings.”
“After all, Newman did envisage some such structure in the Catholic Church.”
“I’m using John Henry Newman’s crozier for the Mass today,” he continued, “and the thing that we have in common, but the only thing we have in common – except we were both in the Church of England once – is that he wasn’t a bishop either.”
Monsignor Newton also thanked the Oratory Community for their hospitality.
“I want to say a very deep thank you to Father Ignatius and the Fathers and Brothers of the Oratory in Birmingham for their very generous and warm welcome here this morning.”
When the Mass had finished, those present were invited to come to the communion rail to venerate a relic of Blessed John Henry Newman.
During a break for lunch, I spoke to Monsignor Newton and asked him why Birmingham Oratory had been chosen as a place for a National Pilgrimage.
“The Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham which was formed in 2011 is made up of former Anglicans who are in this new structure in the Church of which I’m the Ordinary — that’s the person with jurisdiction — and we’re spread all over parts of the country, and it was difficult for us during this Year of Mercy to do things together as most Dioceses do. So we decided that during the Year of Mercy we’d have a number of pilgrimages , so we had a pilgrimage to the Shrine of St Philip Howard in Arundel & Brighton for instance, we went down to the West Country to the Shrine of St Boniface, and so forth.
We’ve had about seven pilgrimages, but the two main ones are going to be to Walsingham because the Ordinariate is named after Our Lady of Walsingham, and here to Birmingham because John Henry Newman is Patron of the Ordinariate. Of course, John Henry Newman himself was a Church of England priest and became a Catholic and so we’re very interested and close to him and it was the first time we’ve been, and we’ve been made incredibly welcome and the Provost has been suggesting for a long time I should come and say Mass in the Oratory, and it’s been a great privilege and a great honour . We’ve had a great welcome.”
I also asked him if this is the first time there has been a Mass of the Ordinariate Rite in the Oratory,
“Oh, it is. Yes it is. This is the first time we’ve celebrated it here, although I know we’d be very welcome to do it again. In fact, the Friends of the Ordinariate (which is a separate charity) gave the Oratory a copy of our Missal, so we used the Missal that belongs the Oratory here. So that was really good.”
I asked Monsignor how it felt to be using Blessed John Henry Newman’s Crozier.
“It was a great honour and privilege for me to carry John Henry Newman’s own crozier at the Mass, so I didn’t bring mine with me. I used his, which is really beautiful.”
In the afternoon there were talks by Rev Dr Stephen Morgan and Oratory Provost Father Ignatius Harrison.
The Pilgrimage concluded with Benediction.