Eight New Deacons for the Ordinariate and for the Church
L-R: Fr Sam, Newly Ordained Deacon Steven Bould, Msgr Keith Newton, Ordinary of the Ordinariate, Fr Nesbitt, Parish priest of the ordinariate group in Folkestone
"Above all I would like to thank the Pope," Msgr Newton said at the conclusion of the ceremony, in which eight former Anglican priests were ordained to the order of the Sacred Diaconate for the Roman Catholic Church in the Aylesford Priory, in the evening of Saturday, May 7th. "I would also like to thank the priests, and everyone who has given us a very warm welcome, and this is important. The encouragement we have received from you has helped us on our journey."
I felt like he was thanking me personally because I personally have felt the desire to make our new brethren feel and know that they are mightily welcomed into full communion with the Catholic Church. I remember seeing them at the Rite of Election back on March 12th this year. I do remember how markedly I wanted to let them know that I am their priest, their servant, their brother and friend who is with them to welcome them warmly and celebrate with gusto their new life. It has not been an easy journey for them, but I hope in some small way to let them know that the priests of the Catholic Church, THIS priest of the Catholic Church, is so grateful to God for the grace of their conversion and their sticking through with the what may be a very scary change in their lives toward the unknown.
I mean put yourself in their shoes. How very painful it must have been to try to come to terms with the fact that the Anglican ecclesial community had departed from the faith of Jesus Christ and that they had to cross not only the Tiber River into Rome, but also cross that landscape of separation between Catholicism and Anglicism. It is like having to bridge a deep inner gulf in, a cultural identity, a national identification with something they thought previously was the very icon of being a good Englishman, being a good Anglican.
Now it is clear that if you love England you will be a bridge between England and the One Faith of Jesus Christ that shines forth only in its fullness within the confines of communion with the successor of St Peter, Pope Benedict XVI. St Thomas Moore repeatedly said as he was on the long journey to his death that being a good Englishman is being faithful to the Magisterium of the Church. It is the Universality of the Faith that England needs now.
Some people think that because I am an American, that I ought not speak about such things. It is from the perspective as a missionary who is charged with loving the English and sacrificing my life for them that I speak. It is out of listening to the way that Jesus loves England that I feel I am not being impudent or disrespectful toward the situation, in fact the opposite is true. It is because I was sent here by the Church to be a sign of God's love for this land that I can speak with a different kind of respect and a different perspective about this situation.
May these new deacons and sacred ministers of the Church serve the Church and serve England well, to come to God's plan for her, that she may one day soon again be Our Lady's Dowry.