The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter. It’s a cool name – and, I think, a wise one. To have chosen a Marian name would have sent all the wrong signals to American non-Catholic Christians – whereas “Our Lady of Walsingham” pressed all the right buttons in the UK. It emphasises the purpose of the Ordinariate, which is, in the statement of the new Ordinary, Fr Steenson:
The parishes and communities of the Ordinariate have been called, not to live in relative isolation, but to be fully engaged in the life of the local diocese; not to be assimilated, but to be integrated into the rich life of the Catholic Church. This Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter must be, above all else, an effective instrument for evangelization. But Jesus taught us that the unity of Christian people is the essential condition for evangelization (John 17:21). So this must be our hallmark:to build bridges, to be an instrument of peace and reconciliation, to be a sign of what Christian unity might look like. And gaudete in Domino semper (Philippians 4:4) to be joyful and happy Catholics!
I love that little bit at the end, where sobriety seems to give way to joyous levity! When I first told my friend (and now boss), Fr Denis Stanley that I wanted to become Catholic, I was most encouraged by his own description of himself as a “happy Catholic”. I wanted to be just such, and by the grace of God, I think that today I can say that I am.
Happiness and joy should characterise our lives as Catholics. This will make our task of evangelisation and Christian Unity so much simpler, because others will see and be attracted to that which gives us such joy. So:
New Year’s Resolution No. 1: To be a happy Catholic in 2012.
So, all sourpusses and grumblebums be warned: this is not your blog! My intention is not to turn a blind eye to our failings as Catholics; it is rather to emphasise the joy and beauty and truth of the Faith which we have received from the apostles, to seek the twin goals of Evangelisation and Christian Unity, and always, always, always to propose (not impose!) as the path of true happiness the dictum: “Sentire Cum Ecclesia”!