That is in no way to denigrate the devotion to Our Lady which existed, and in many circles still does exist, in the Church of England. One year ago, the Facebook group page of our former Anglican parish contained a link to exactly the same youtube video as we now include below (you may have noted on this blog a weakness for Frank Patterson's performances of Catholic hymns, for example here, co-incidentally the hymn sung after Mass at St James's last Sunday). All people have recourse to Our Lady and to the power of her intercession on our behalf, and is that not indeed one of the most wonderful things about her.
Yet in those days, it was something that we knew was not widespread in our ecclesial environment. Other parishes and other clergy would view the May Procession at Bourne St as something eccentric, as something unfamiliar and exotic. In all honesty, it must be admitted that some of the congregation were rather bewildered by it too: although there, all credit must be given to those who were, and are, so determined to carry on with this longstanding tradition, something which tells so powerfully, so visually and so audibly of the solid Catholic tradition of devotion to Our Lady.
One of the first large scale public events to occur involving the Ordinariate after our reception into the Catholic Church was the annual Rosary Crusade of Reparation. If anything showed our new place in the order of things, and the solidity of the welcome given to us in the Catholic Church as Ordinariate members, that early event did, with Monsignor Newton leading the long procession from Westminster Cathedral to the London Oratory. Photos of that great day can be seen here on our group's Flickr site and here on the Flickr site of the Ordinariate itself. We are no longer at the edge of things, we are very much part of the core.
Much credit has been given to the Holy Father for his vision in bringing about the Ordinariates now springing up around the world. We must give thanks not only for this, but also for the intercession of Blessed John Henry Newman and of Our Most Blessed Lady, since Anglicanorum Coetibus has allowed us and well over a thousand like us in England alone, to work together in Unity.
We have said before that Ordinariate members should take Cardinal Nicholas Wiseman to their hearts, a wise Prince of the Church who showed great favour to Anglicans joining the Catholic Church. We have also exhausted the airwaves by posting his hymn Full in the Panting Heart of Rome more than a few times. On this the eve of Mary's month of May, perhaps his prayer for the Conversion of England is the most suitable way to conclude the opening blogpost of this special month.
O BLESSED VIRGIN MARY,
Mother of God and our most gentle Queen and Mother,
look down in mercy upon England thy "Dowry"
and upon us all who greatly hope and trust in thee.
By thee it was that Jesus our Saviour and our hope was given unto the world;
and He has given thee to us that we might hope still more.
Plead for us thy children,
whom thou didst receive and accept at the foot of the Cross,
O sorrowful Mother.
Intercede for our separated brethren,
that with us in the one true fold
they may be united to the supreme Shepherd, the Vicar of thy Son.
Pray for us all, dear Mother,
that by faith fruitful in good works
we may all deserve to see and praise God,
together with thee, in our heavenly home. Amen.