The last two days of the Pope Benedict's visit to the United Kingdom in September 2010 included two events that very heavily influenced many of those who have joined the Ordinariate and the wider Catholic Church this year.
The first of those was the Mass celebrated at Westminster Cathedral exactly one year ago today. The second, of which more tomorrow, was the Beatification of Blessed John Henry Newman.
The Westminster Cathedral Mass created huge interest and was of huge appeal. Those who watched it were moved by the solemnity, dignity, reverence and beauty of the liturgy, and by the obvious warmth and rapport between the Holy Father and all those gathered inside and outside.
For some who have joined the Catholic Church recently, it was an occasion that contained so many things with which we were so familiar, and which we loved: yet we were, in one hugely significant way, cut off from it. We were not in full communion with the Successor of St Peter: with the open invitation seen in Anglicanorum Coetibus and indeed generally, there seemed to some of us to be less and less justification for deliberately allowing that situation to persist. And so, from that date onwards, a thought process, which had been begun many times before but never concluded, finally started on its way to what became formal Reception.
One of the permanent video links on the right hand sidebar of this blog is of the Holy Father's procession into the Cathedral at the start of Mass, to the truly stunning accompaniment of James Macmillan's setting of Tu es Petrus. Please take a look at it now if you haven't before (and perhaps even if have). To complement this, here is the well known Bruckner setting of Ecce Sacerdos Magnus, as sung by Westminster Cathedral Choir as the Holy Father processed out after Mass, and paused for prayer at the new Shrine of St David.