Pope Francis has said he is praying for the success of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham's forthcoming 'Called To Be One' exploration day, which it has planned with the aim of increasing understanding of the Ordinariate's purpose and reaching out to those who may feel called to join it.
The endorsement was delivered in a letter from the Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain, Archbishop Antonio Mennini, to Monsignor Keith Newton, the Ordinary of the Ordinariate.
The full text of Archbishop Mennini's letter follows:
"At the request of the Secretariat of State, I have been asked to inform you that the Holy Father Francis, on learning of the national day of exploration entitled "Called to be One", organised by the various Groups of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham and due to take place on Saturday 6 September 2014, wishes to convey his good wishes and prayers for a successful and inspiring event. The Holy Father cordially imparts his Apostolic Blessing upon all those persons who are participating in this significant event and working in any way for the promotion and presentation of the Catholic Faith and the Gospel in Great Britain".
The Nuncio ends with his own prayerful good wishes for a very successful day.
Pope Francis' blessing on the exploration day and Archbishop Mennini's words of support for it follow a statement of welcome for the initiative from Cardinal Vincent Nichols. In his capacity as President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, the Cardinal said: "the Ordinariate both enriches the Catholic Church with Catholic aspects of the beautiful heritage and culture of Anglican patrimony and advances the cause of unity which must be the ultimate aim of all ecumenical activity... I wish you every success with this initiative. I hope it will attract many interested enquirers".
Last week Mgr Newton warmly invited all those who are interested in the Ordinariate to attend the exploration day "whether because they are considering their future or just because they would like to see more of what we are and what we do". Mgr Newton's invitation came in his response to the Church of England General Synod's decision to allow women to be ordained as bishops. In the same statement Mgr Newton said that, though that decision was a very happy one for many within the Church of England, it made the position undeniably harder for those within the Anglican Church who still longed for unity with Rome.
The Ordinariate was set up by Pope Benedict in 2011 to make it possible for Anglicans who wish to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church to do so, bringing with them much of the heritage and traditions of Anglicanism. Pope Benedict described these as "treasures to be shared". On the exploration day, each of the 50 or so Ordinariate groups across the country will host a different event, with the common theme of the vision for Christian unity which is at the heart of the Ordinariate.
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