As mentioned in the previous post last night I was due at the ordinariate May Festival in Gainford. This is way down south, somewhere near Darlington, and my sat nav told me it would take 70 minutes to get there. I`ve never been to Gainford before but had heard good reports from Fr Michael Melia who used to live there in retirement. I was somewhat alarmed when heading down the A1 to be welcomed to North Yorkshire as I thought it must at least be in Co Durham but eventually the side roads took me back into Co. Durham and I arrived on a lovely spring night which fortunately remained dry for the outdoor procession.
The Mass was lovely, the singing amazing. If you are ever near Gainford on a Sunday morning do go and you will hear something you will never forget. The Mass was simply that from the OF Roman Missal but everything was done with great care and attention to detail. After Mass we processed to the newly-restored grotto to sing the Salve and then went back to church for Benediction.
There were a number of the original Catholic congregation from Gainford at the Mass and the vicar of St Helen`s, Bishop Auckland with some of his flock. The church was almost full, At the refreshments afterwards I was able to speak to members of the congregation and was pleased to hear that the ordinariate congregation is growing with a number of converts to be received on Pentecost Sunday. The total membership of the ordinariate congregation at the minute is 71.
I am a great fan of the ordinariate and wish it had happened back in the 90`s. The question always arises what is the Anglican patrimony they seek to preserve so as to be a bridge into Catholic unity for the Anglican tradition? Well the Mass last night was straight from the Roman Missal but there is an ethos which made it distinctive. Catholics can be reluctant singers but this congregation raised the roof and like to sing all the verses of hymns. I`ve heard Catholics even complain about the ordinariate because they like to sing. Also the altar servers were impressive in their seriousness and attention to detail. All of this could be done in a mainstream Catholic parish but there is something about the ethos of our parishes which is not open to music of this sort outside of cathedrals or a few parishes in central London. I know because I have tried with introducing chant here at the 10.30 Sunday Mass at Forest Hall. Apart from complaints about having a Latin Gloria at all people expect the repertoire they have grown used to an I don`t know how to expand that.
As regards the ordinariate one thing which I would have thought was part of the Anglican patrimony was a married clergy. It is interesting to read that the ordinariate in England have accepted a married man for seminary training as is allowed in the provisions of Anglicanorum Coetibus and it is somewhat disappointing that Fr Bradley says this is a one-off. I hope the ordinariate will offer a familiar home to Anglicans looking for a bridge to enjoying full communion with the Catholic Church and won`t be overly-Romanised as has happened with Eastern Uniate groups in the West at times.