Ordinariate – 10th anniversary

The inauguration of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham ten years ago, was a significant moment in the life of the Catholic Church, particularly in this country.

Friday, 25th June marked the 10th anniversary of the Ordination of Fr. Jonathan Redvers Harris to the Holy Priesthood at St. John’s Cathedral, Portsmouth by Bishop Crispian Hollis and 30th June marked the 30th anniversary of his Ordination as an Anglican priest.

As reported in our June issue, Father was received into the Catholic Church in St. Mary’s, Ryde at the Easter Vigil, 2011, together with seventeen other former Anglicans, after just over eight years as Vicar of All Saints C. of E. Church, Ryde (just a stone’s throw from St. Mary’s). He celebrated his first Mass the day after his Ordination. It was most apt that this was the Solemnity of Corpus Christi (transferred).

After the Corpus Christi procession, a barbecue was held in the church garden to celebrate (jointly) Father’s Ordination and the parish children’s First Communion.

The parish priest at the time at St. Mary’s, Fr Anthony Glaysher, was himself a former Anglican, who, at one time, considered Anglican Orders. Hence, he was very enthusiastic and supportive to the Ordinariate.

He was thanked by Fr. Jonathan for his encouragement and hospitality and presented with an olive tree. As Fr. Glaysher was a horticulturalist, this was much appreciated.

For several years after Ordination, Fr. Jonathan studied Canon Law by distance-learning and physical attendance at the Catholic University of Leuven, gaining a Licentiate in Canon Law (JCL) in 2016, which built on his earlier legal qualifications in both civil and canon law. He now serves as the Chancellor of the Ordinariate, and, in the Diocese of Portsmouth, he works for the Tribunal as one of the Defenders of the Bond.

Fr. Jonathan’s priestly ministry was initially in Ryde, before he was appointed as parish priest of St. David’s, East Cowes in 2013, whilst still offering Ordinariate Masses at Ryde. In 2015 he was appointed to St. Thomas’s, Cowes (in addition to East Cowes). He sometimes remarked that he had started collecting parishes!

A few years ago, when the Island Catholics were left without a priest to celebrate the E.F. Mass he learnt to celebrate the Extraordinary Form. Now he is one of the few priests in the Diocese who offers Mass in three Forms of the Roman Rite (Ordinary, Extraordinary and Ordinariate).

All this is in addition to his work as Chaplain to Ryde Sea Cadets and Chaplain to the Priory School of Our Lady of Walsingham. Father is a keen supporter of our Island Catholic History Society and has accompanied pilgrims on several pilgrimages. Hence, Father does not have much free time on his hands!

We congratulate Fr. Jonathan on this anniversary. People have appreciated his ministry and the witness of the Ordinariate over the past ten years.

On the Feast of St. John the Baptist (24th June) Fr. Jonathan offered Mass at St. Thomas’s, Cowes in thanksgiving for his 10th anniversary. In his sermon he reminded people that John the Baptist was a colossus in terms of biblical figures. “He straddles both the Old and the News Testament. He is the precursor of Christ, who was filled with the Holy Spirit whilst still in his mother’s womb. His message was that he (John) must decrease, whilst the One who comes after him (Christ) must increase. So, it is in our own lives. We must decrease, whilst the Lord must increase.” At a small (socially distanced) reception in the church garden after Mass, Father was presented with a statue of Our Lady of Walsingham.