Is it not providential that the first reading for Mass on this day was about the appointment of the first deacons ever? In Apostolic Succession from that event, today, a successor of the Apostles, Bishop John Hine, laid hands and invoked the Holy Spirit on eight men, new deacons in the Catholic Church for the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.
At around 4.30pm all the ordinands were gathered by Msgr Keith Newton in a private chapel in Aylesford where the necessary oaths were taken around the altar. From there all proceeded to the sacristy to vest. The Friars pulled all the stops out to make us and the faithful truly welcome and some of them were present for the celebration. The presence of Frs Chalmers and Manning was appreciated as was all the sacristy team. The Prior was busy taking photographs throughout.
At 5.30pm exactly all joined in singing the Regina Coeli as the sanctuary party stood in front of the outdoor High Altar of the shrine dedicated to the assumption of the BVM.
To the words of “Come ye faithful, raise the strain”, the introit procession reached the altar of the relic chapel. The candidates joined their families for the Liturgy of the Word.
The homily of Bishop Hine was preceded by the presentation of the candidates done by the Ordinary. Two of the eight candidates took the promise of celibacy and after all the candidates were examined and their promise of obedience to the Ordinary made, a prayer was offered in thanksgiving for the ministry of these candidates in the Church of England.
This done the candidates fell prostrate for the Litany of Saints and then, one by one, they knelt in front of the bishop for the laying on of hands. The consecratory prayer over, the priests present helped the new deacons to vest. The Mass proceeded as usual. It was supported by a large number of faithful, the three Ordinariate Sisters, led by Fr Glandfield, private secretary to the Archbishop and a splendid MC, animated by an ad hoc choir that did extremely well and servers from each group.
The Mass came to an end with that wonderful Walsingham hymn. The Tunbridge Wells group provided refreshments for all.
Thanks be to God, the Blessed Virgin and St Simon of England in whose shrine this Ordination Mass took place. Thanks to Bishop Hine and our Ordinary. A huge thanks to our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI who has made this generous offer.
Please continue to pray for these new deacons so that they too may serve faithfully and joyfully the holy people of God.