A former Anglican bishop from Wales will be received into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church next month and serve as a priest with the Anglican Ordinariate, which was set up by former Pope Benedict XVI in 2011.

The Right Rev. Richard Pain, who served as the Anglican bishop of Monmouth, will join the Catholic Church on Sunday, July 2, at St. Basil and St. Gwladys in Rogerstone, Wales. He is the first Welsh Anglican bishop to convert to Catholicism through the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. 

“We are delighted that after much prayer Richard has asked to be received into the full communion of the Catholic Church,” Monsignor Keith Newton, who serves as the ordinary of the ordinariate, said in a statement. 

“He will be the first bishop from the Anglican Church in Wales to be received into the ordinariate since its creation in 2011,” Newton said. “Richard has a long and distinguished ministry in the Church in Wales. He has many gifts which he will continue to use to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the people of Wales.”

The ordinariate is structured similarly to a diocese and allows former Anglican priests and bishops to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church while maintaining certain Anglican traditions. It has its own eucharistic liturgy, which is distinct from the standard Roman Rite liturgy, and incorporates elements of the Book of Common Prayer that do not conflict with Catholic doctrine. 

In the U.S. and Canada, the ordinariate is known as The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter and welcomes Anglican and Methodist converts.

Through the ordinariate, an Anglican priest or bishop can enter into full communion with the Catholic Church and serve as a priest even if he is married. Pain married his wife, Juliet, more than 40 years ago, and they have two sons. 

In a statement, Pain said the Benedictine understanding of obedience and hearing the Lord was significant is his personal formation and ultimate conversion to the Catholic faith. 

“The call to conversion which follows has led me to becoming a convert to the Catholic Church through the ordinariate,” Pain said. “I have much to be grateful for the experience gained over a lifetime as an Anglican. Yet the call to Catholicism seems natural and spiritual at the same time. To start afresh will be a welcome challenge and I come — as we all do — as a learner and a disciple. The ordinariate, through the vision of Pope Benedict, provides a generous pathway to walk a pilgrim way and I ask for your prayers.”

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Pain was born in London in 1956 and ordained a priest in the Anglican Church in Wales at Newport Cathedral in 1986. He was ordained the bishop of Monmouth in 2013 and retired in 2019. During his time in the Anglican Church, he assisted with the discernment and training of clergy.

At least 15 Anglican bishops have converted to Catholicism through the Anglican ordinariate since its inception, which included four bishops in 2021. 

One of the 2021 coverts, the Right Rev. Michael Nazir-Ali, had been a prominent member of the Anglican hierarchy. He was considered to be a future contender for the role of the archbishop of Canterbury, which is the highest-ranking position in the Church of England and in Anglican communion.