Ordination of Bishop David Waller as first Bishop of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham

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“A shepherd leads from within.” With these words, Cardinal Victor Manuel Fernández, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, encouraged Bishop-elect David Waller as he was about to be ordained to the episcopacy on June 22 at Westminster Cathedral in London and commence his ministry as Bishop of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

Established in 2011 under the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham is a diocese-like structure for groups of former Anglicans who have entered into communion with the Catholic Church. It has since expanded to around fifty communities across Great Britain. Bishop Waller, who was an Anglican minister before entering into full communion with the Catholic Church, is the first bishop of this Ordinariate.

The presence of Cardinal Fernández as the principal ordaining bishop reflects the special relationship the Ordinariates of Anglicanorum Coetibus have with the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, Bishop Stephen Lopes, Bishop of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter in the United States and Canada, and Bishop Anthony Randazzo, the Apostolic Administrator of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross in Australia, were the other ordaining bishops.

A Face of the Church

In his homily, Cardinal Fernández noted how the Ordinariate is structured to enable Anglicans entering into full communion with the Catholic Church to preserve what Pope St. Paul VI described as “the legitimate prestige and worthy patrimony of piety and usage proper to the Anglican Communion.”

Referring to its “rich English heritage,” the Cardinal remarked that “the Ordinariate is invited to see the positive aspects of the Anglican tradition preserved in it ‘as a precious gift […] and as a treasure to be shared,’” quoting the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus.

The Prefect added, “In this process, the Church not only gives but is also enriched. […] We can say, therefore, that the Ordinariate represents one of the faces of the Church which, in this case, receives certain elements of the rich history of the Anglican tradition: elements that are now lived out in the fullness of Catholic communion.”

Collaboration in Full Communion

Cardinal Fernández also emphasized the importance of the Ordinariate’s collaboration with local dioceses to promote unity and spiritual growth. He noted that the priests of the Ordinariate already collaborate with local dioceses across Great Britain and encouraged those present to “grow in a spirit of dialogue and sharing, including concerning pastoral goals in light of what Pope Francis proposes.”

Citing a homily of St. John Henry Newman on Christ the Good Shepherd, where the English saint observed, “Blessed are they who resolve—come good, come evil, come sunshine, come tempest, come honour, come dishonour—that [Christ] shall be their Lord and Master, their King and God!,” Cardinal Fernández highlighted how the example of English saints provides “encouragement and inspiration” for the new bishop to follow after “the love and dedication of these saints in caring for the flock entrusted to him.”

The Prefect added that “this is, in fact, what Pope Francis insists we must all do: to announce to everyone the love of God, manifested in the open arms of Christ, who today is active in our lives.”

Cardinal Fernández concluded, “For this mission today, Bishop-elect Waller receives the fire of the Holy Spirit: the only one capable of transforming our hearts […] and filling us with His fervour and with true joy in love.”

Source: Vaticannews.va