... take heed to thyself and to doctrine: be earnest in them. For in doing this thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear thee ... (1 Timothy 4:16)

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Becoming Catholic – a statement made to the congregation of St Mary-the-Virgin, Kenton on Sunday September 5th 2010

clip_image002I met recently with the Bishop of Fulham to discuss the future relationship between myself, the Church of England and this parish. Following that discussion, I offered my resignation as the Vicar of St Mary-the-Virgin, Kenton, and Bishop John graciously accepted my resignation.

I have reached a point in my journey in the Faith at which I have become firmly and prayerfully convinced over a period of months that I should seek to be received into the full communion of the Catholic Church without further delay.

I have been the Vicar of St Mary’s for four years, during which time you have been a supportive and generous community to serve. The particular decision to leave this parish has been harder than the joyful decision to be received into the Catholic Church – although the two are of necessity connected, and as the Lord tells us in today’s Gospel, we must be willing to change fundamentally the context and the detail of our lives if we are truly to be His disciples. That call is always present to all of us, but can present itself more immediately at particular moments in life. This is such a moment for me and my family.

I realize that some of you may feel that I am leaving just as you most need to be led through the difficult times which Traditionalist parishes of the Church of England are to face over the next few years.

To those of you who will remain as committed members of the Church of England, I am on a path that is for now different from yours. I trust that one day, in God’s good time, our particular journeys may reconverge. In the meantime, I cannot provide the Anglican leadership you expect and so it would be wrong for me to remain as vicar of this parish.

To those of you who are considering becoming Catholics, either as members of the forthcoming Ordinariate under the provisions of Anglicanorum coetibus or in a local Catholic parish, I trust that I am, in the manner of a middle-eastern shepherd, walking ahead of the flock, leading you by my example to safe pasture.

I shall cease formally to be vicar of this parish on November 1st 2010. On that date, this parish will enter an interregnum, during which your churchwardens, Trish Royle and Ken Elliott, supported by the members of the Parochial Church Council, will be responsible for the administration of this parish until such time as a new vicar can be appointed. The Bishop Fulham, the Archdeacon of Northolt and the Area Dean of Harrow will also support Trish and Ken in their task, and I urge you to do everything you can as a congregation to support them too.

Fr John and Fr Malcolm and others will lead your worship and provide your pastoral care, and I ask you to support them gratefully as they do so, especially if from time to time during the interregnum it is necessary that the regular pattern of worship be varied.

I shall keep you in my prayers, and I ask you to keep me and my family in yours, both over the next few weeks and into the future.

Thank you.

48 comments:

  1. A very warm, Welcome! Welcome! Welcome!!!! God bless you all in your journey of faith!!

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  2. A very difficult decision for you to take, and I have such admiration for your courage in preparing to swim the Tiber.

    Prayers for you and your family at this time... and for your parishioners, that they can understand your decision.

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  3. A warm welcome home! May the good Lord walk alongside you along the path you have chosen.

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  4. Congratulations and I hope that you thoroughly enjoy the forthcoming Papal Visit.

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  5. Welcome. Like the above commenters I have nothing but admiration for your courage and commitment to what you feel is truth and the right thing to do.

    It will not have been an easy decision for you, your family and your parishioners.

    Prayers for all.

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  6. A hundred thousand welcomes !! Prayers and asking God to bless you and your family.

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  7. A hard decision, but one you will not regret.
    I am afraid that a degree of vacillation and uncertainty in the episcopal leadership of Catholic-minded Anglicans makes more decisions like yours inevitable.

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  8. I am from Spain and hve spent three months in Lond. I have come back from England two weeks ago and I am eager to read news like this (from 'De cura animarum' blog).
    Congratulations! And welcome home!

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  9. What a noble, pastoral, and dignified letter to your people! I add my own congratulations and welcome. You will be in my prayers at Holy Mass this evening.

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  10. Many welcomes and blessings to you and your family. Your decision must have required huge courage and enormous amounts of prayer. May God bless the deed and continue in you that which he has begun. Please do be in touch (see blog) if I can help in ANY way. Fr Terry Martin

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  11. I have been a Catholic for 1/2 my life, Father Giles; I am nearly 50. It is impossible to have regrets except that I cannot add the first 1/2 of my existence to these 25 years. I think that adds to my gratitude to God, to Christ the Lord, and to His Church. Pure joy. The pain of what "alters" in the mind and heart as you come Home---and I know there may be some---will be replaced a thousand-fold. Welcome.

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  12. May I too join with all in welcoming you. It is a noble path you have taken with great courage. May the prayers and intercessions of John Henry Newman accompany you on your way.

    Deo Gratias

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  13. Splendid! In the time ahead know that you and your family are not alone and remain in our prayers here at the Shrine of Our Lady of Willesden.

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  14. Ah, sure now, this is mighty news, sure it is!

    Does someone who dies to their old life for the sake of the one true Faith, count as a 'living martyr'?

    In which case, you are in the vanguard of a new saving flood of 'living martyrs'.

    You're a great man!

    God love you!

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  15. My dear brother, may God bless you and your family abundantly as you put out into the deep. I have been moved deeply by your journey over recent months and will continue to support you with my prayers. I am so glad that soon we may be one at the Lord's Altar.
    Your parish is also in my prayers: I know that they will find this hard, and this will cause you pain too. Sometimes one has to make the prophetic act, and this is the most loving thing of all.
    Seán

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  16. My prayers are with you as you face this challenging transition.

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  17. Welcome, welcome, welcome, indeed!
    Everyday prayers for you and your family before the Blessed Sacrament in our little French village church.

    All should read Msgr. Vernon Johnson's 'One Lord, One Faith', (1929) to even begin to understand what you have been through in the build-up to this decision, and may go through in its aftermath. Strangely, even before I read your news on Mulier Fortis, I re-read Msgr Johnson's book myself yesterday, for the first time in 50 years.

    God bless

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  18. A brave step, Giles. My prayers for you all at this time.

    + Andrew

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  19. Welcome! Although it can seem very hard and daunting I can assure you (as I'm a covert to Catholicism myself) this is the best and most fulfilling journey you'll ever embark upon. My prayers are with you and your family.

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  20. Welcome! The hardest part is making the decision. Now that you have done that, everything else will surely fall into place. Every blessing to you and your family.

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  21. Welcome, welcome, welcome! I salute you and your family on making this difficult but brave decision. Know that the Lord is guiding you and watching over you always and you will be in my prayers.
    God bless you and may He grant abundant blessings in your future ministry in the Catholic church.

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  22. You may depend on the continued prayers of BOTH the Shrines of Our Lady of Willesden. After no doubt some sadness and sense of bereavement, I hope S Mary's Kenton will be come to cherish your clear and principled pastorate and the dignified and courageous manner of your departure. Pray for us who have yet to discern and respond to the groanings of the Spirit.

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  23. Congratulations and welcome. As you know from Twitter, perhaps conincidentally, perhaps providentially my husband did exactly the same thing yesterday.

    As of midnight yesterday, he is no longer the Rector of St Peter's West Blatchington, as he wishes to complete his journey into catholicism.

    Our prayers go with you as indeed I know yours do with us. It is a time of great joy and also some sadness as we bade our farewells. It is also like the lifting of a great burden, my husband made the decision some time ago, however due to our particular circumstances, we were bound to confidentiality until yesterday.

    The road ahead is not any easy one, losing house and income, we have 2 children, aged 6 and 9 months and I have recently fallen pregnant again, but is beset with joy and yesterday's readings could not have been more apt, as we said our farewells.

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  24. Welcome home - you have taken a very courageous step. I crossed the Tiber just before Christmas last year after 34 years as a priest in the CofE and start formation for ordination at Wonersh this week. "Re-ordination", or "topping up" as I call it in 2012 at the age of 63! Prayers for you all. It might be a good idea if those of us clergy who have taken this step in the last year or so keep in touch and support each other - what do you think? My email is nick.dekeyser@btinternet.com

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  25. Congratulations on a wise decision.

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  26. Welcome. You will never regret it. I have been Catholic for 10 years and I am still thrilled to be Catholic.

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  27. As former RC Chaplain of Harrow School and your near neighbour, I would like to wish you every blessing and assure you of my prayers.

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  28. "I offered my neck, then, to the yoke of Christ, and now I see myself engaged on tasks that are too great for my deserts and for my understandings. I know that I have been admitted and accepted into the secret shrines of the highest God, that I partake of heavenly life, and that, brought nearer to God, I dwell in the very spirit, body, and illumination of Christ. With my puny mind I can as yet scarcely understand the sacred burden I bear, and, aware of my weakness, I tremble at the weight of my task." ~ Paulinus of Nola

    Forge ahead. God bless you and best of luck to you as well.

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  29. I came here via Fr. Longenecker's good blog to add my prayers of thanksgiving for you and to welcome you home!! I look forward to reading your conversion story, and to reading much more as you continue your journey in faith. +JMJ+

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  30. Dear Father Giles,

    We do not know each other but I have heard about you. Welcome into the Church. I trod the same path as you some 23 years ago and have always been content that I made the right decision. A married man necessarily makes this decision in close consultation with his wife. If you are married, as I believe you are, then you have a very courageous wife and family. God bless you all, and again I say, welcome. Fr John I Fleming (Australia)

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  31. It's sad. The Anglican church, for all it's incoherence, is a great deal less objectionable than the the monolith of Rome.

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  32. I didn't see my earlier post. I hope this message isn't that late. I and my family welcome you with warmth to the Catholic Church.

    God bless you and your family.

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  33. Welcome Father Giles.

    It's a good news to all of us.
    From Philippines with love.

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  34. Te Deum and Non nobis!

    Congratulations, and prayers for you and your family, and your former parishioners. It is difficult but right to do as you are doing.

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  35. You have come into our house which is your own too. Welcome!

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  36. Father - is your route going to be through the Ordinariate or individual conversion?

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  37. Your Guardian Angels have guided you and your family safely through the rocks and crevasses to the road that is straight.
    May you and your family know many blessings. Welcome home

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  38. In the words of Sir Cliff, "Congratulations."

    http://catholicgossip.blogspot.com/2010/09/anglicanorum-coetibus-hots-up.html

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  39. A hundred thousand welcomes. Father. I took the step you are making twenty-five years ago and I have not regretted it for an instant. You are a courageous man and so is your family. I shall keep you in my Masses and pray for your future happiness in the Church.

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  40. You might hate it & come back. In England it's not what you think. One convert has recently come back and has been warmly received.
    I doubt that women should be priests but they can still be "ministers of the Gospel" as PB XVI recognises them to be. Most would not claim to be priests in the Catholic/Orthodox sense.
    Surely you are a one issue convert or you would have converted before. Are you happy to say your career to date has been "utterly null and completely void" for that is what you are saying!

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  41. I glance at a site called "New Catholic Blogs" every now and then, and found yours. It's a bit of a surprise compared to others I read on occasion, yet I think yours shall be of interest to me. If you don't mind, I'll tag along for the journey. I pray you have a safe and soul-filling trip.

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  42. I'll be praying for you during this transition

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© Giles Pinnock
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