The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham is a new structure within the Catholic Church containing both priests and people.
Pope Benedict established it so that groups of Christians from the Anglican tradition could become members of the Catholic Church together, retaining some of their distinctive traditions. Much of this ‘Anglican patrimony’ is in fact Catholic patrimony which links back to the English Church before the Reformation. This does not replace ongoing ecumenical relationships with the Church of England, but is a way for Anglicans who believe the truth of the Catholic faith to be corporately reunited with the Catholic Church now, rather than waiting for the visible unity of the two churches in their entirety, which looks increasingly improbable. In that sense, it is a response to the prayer of Jesus, ‘that they may all be one’.
Members of the Ordinariate (clergy and laity) are fully members of the Catholic Church, and in full communion with the Pope and the See of Rome. They can receive communion in any Catholic Church, and ordinariate priests can, with the relevant canonical permission, celebrate the sacraments validly for any member of the Catholic faithful. However, they are not members of the diocese in which they reside (like members of religious communities), but belong canonically to the Ordinariate, under the jurisdiction of the Ordinary, Monsignor Keith Newton. The Ordinariate thus functions as their (non-geographical) ‘diocese’.
Liturgically, the Ordinariate has its own version of the Divine Office, which includes Choral Evensong, familiar from Westminster Abbey, York Minster and other places of choral tradition. It may use the new translation of the Roman Rite of the Mass, and (until its own distinctive liturgy is authorized) may also use the Eucharistic Rite from the Book of Divine Worship, which draws from the Book of Common Prayer in its traditional language. Reverent use of the Anglican tradition of hymnody is encouraged.
Anyone who is not already a Catholic can be received into the Catholic Church through the Ordinariate.
Anyone who is already a Catholic, but who was at some time in the past baptised or confirmed in the Church of England (or in a Protestant Church linked to the Church of England, such as the Lutheran or Methodist Church), is eligible to enrol in the Ordinariate, and become a full member of it.
Anyone who has a family member in the Ordinariate is eligible to enrol in the Ordinariate.
Anyone who received the sacraments of initiation in the Catholic Church (outside the Ordinariate) and does not have a family member in the Ordinariate cannot usually enrol in the Ordinariate.
Any Catholic who is a member of a Diocese may attend the Ordinariate Mass, either occasionally or regularly, and may fulfil their obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days at an Ordinariate Mass. All Catholics who are able to receive Holy Communion in the Catholic Church are able and welcome to receive Holy Communion at any Ordinariate Mass. Any Catholic who is a member of a Diocese may take a full part in the liturgical and community life of an Ordinariate Group, Mission or Personal Parish, whilst remaining under the jurisdiction of their Diocesan Bishop.
The pastor of the Manchester Ordinariate Group, Fr Andrew Starkie, was formerly vicar of St Gabriel’s (Anglican) Church, Middleton Junction, and was ordained priest in the Catholic Church in Salford Cathedral in July 2011. All are welcome to attend Mass or any of the Group’s events. Please see the Group website for details.