The English and Welsh Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham has launched a website to inform others about the new church structure for Anglicans who want to join the Catholic Church. Its head noted the “real excitement” at being involved in the new endeavor.
The website, www.ordinariate.org.uk, bears a welcome message from Fr. Keith Newton, the head of the ordinariate.
Fr. Newton, who is the former Anglican Bishop of Richborough, invited readers to learn more about the ordinariate’s structure and purpose.
“I am very happy to have this opportunity to present to you a true picture of the ordinariate as it grows and develops,” he commented.
Those who are considering joining the ordinariate should explore the site but “above all else” should make contact with local groups to help them discern their future, the priest said.
The site provides contact information for 39 groups in England and Wales. Other sections cover news, a calendar and a frequently asked questions guide.
Pope Benedict XVI established a framework for the new church jurisdiction in his November 2009 apostolic constitution “Anglicanorum Coetibus.”
Fr. Newton characterized the document as “a most generous response” to Anglican groups’ requests. The ordinariate allows Anglicans to enter the Catholic Church while retaining “a love and gratitude for the Anglican forms of faith and worship.”
The ordinariate website explains that an interim governing council is meeting regularly to oversee the development of the organization. An official governing council will be formed after Easter 2011.
The governing council will have at least six priests, presided over by the ordinary. Half of the membership is elected by the priests of the ordinariate. It will have a pastoral council for consultation with the laity and a finance council.
The council will have the same rights and responsibilities in canon law that the college of consultors and the council of priests have in the governance of a diocese. Out of respect for the synodal tradition of Anglicanism, the ordinary will need the consent of the governing council to admit a candidate to Holy Orders and to erect or suppress a personal parish or a house of formation.
The council will also have a vote in choosing a list of names of a new ordinary to submit to the Holy See.
Besides Fr. Newton, the other members of the interim council are Fr. Andrew Burnham, former Bishop of Ebbsfleet, and Fr. John Broadhurst, former Bishop of Fulham. All three were ordained to the Catholic priesthood in January.
“For those of us joining the ordinariate there are feelings of trepidation and excitement,” said Fr. Newton. “It will, we believe, bring us a step closer to the vision of Unity and Truth that we have worked towards for many years.”
His message concluded with a prayer that the ordinariate’s patron Bl. John Henry Newman and Our Lady of Walsingham will bless readers in their journey.