The Rite of Election in the diocese of Portsmouth saw the largest number of people joining the Catholic Church for many years.
More than 80 Catechumens preparing for reception, Baptism and Conformation at Easter stepped forward when their names were called to be introduced by their sponsors to Bishop Crispian. They were followed by 133 Candidates, already baptised in other denominations who will be received and Confirmed at Easter Vigil services throughout the Diocese.
What made this Rite of Election very special was the group of over 60 men and women who are joining the Church through the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. They were introduced to Bishop Crispian and the Diocese by Father Edwin Barnes who was formerly an Anglican Bishop and who was recently ordained priest by Bishop Crispian. The former Anglicans were in three groups, from Christchurch, Reading and Portsmouth & the Isle of Wight, and each group was led by their priests who will be ordained as Catholic priests in June.
Bishop Crispian said: "This will be my most memorable Rite of Election, and probably my last as Bishop of Portsmouth as I am due to retire later this year. I was able to personally greet almost 300 men and women who will be received into the Church at Easter. It was a particular joy to welcome the members of the Ordinariate, a special moment of history in the life of our Church and I am thrilled that this is taking place before my retirement".