England's Catholic jurisdiction for former Anglicans has received a $250,000 donation from Pope Benedict XVI, prompting an expression of thanks from its top cleric.
“I am very grateful to the Holy Father for his generosity and support,” said Monsignor Keith Newton, head of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, in a May 1 statement.
The monsignor, himself a former Anglican bishop turned Catholic priest, said the Pope's gift was “a great help and encouragement as we continue to grow and develop our distinctive ecclesial life, whilst seeking to contribute to the wider work of evangelization in England and Wales.”
Archbishop Antonio Mennini, the Vatican's apostolic nuncio to Great Britain, helped the ordinariate obtain the Pope's financial support. He said Pope Benedict's gift was “a clear sign of his personal commitment to the work of Christian unity and the special place the ordinariate holds in his heart.”
The nuncio noted the need for further contributions, urging “all those who share our Holy Father’s vision to lend their spiritual and material support to the ordinariate, especially in these early days.”
Established in January 2011, the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham was the first jurisdiction formed in response to Pope Benedict's apostolic constitution “Anglicanorum Coetibus.” The document gave Anglicans a means to become Catholic while retaining parts of their own tradition.
During Easter 2012, the British ordinariate received over 250 former Anglicans into full communion with the Catholic Church. Two priests were ordained for the jurisdiction in April, and a group of deacons are scheduled to be ordained by Bishop Alan S. Hopes at Westminster Cathedral on May 26.
At present, the United Kingdom's Anglican ordinariate counts approximately 1,200 faithful and 60 clergy.