Fr Michael Ward, the 100th priest to be ordained a Catholic priest for the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham shares his experience of ordination with The Catholic Herald. Here’s an excerpt. Please go on over and read the whole thing!
As I drive up the M40, I rehearse these parallels more to amuse myself than for purposes of serious reflection. Newman was the greatest theologian of the 19th century and some say his was the most powerful Catholic mind since that of St Thomas Aquinas. I, on the other hand, know a lot about Narnia.
In The Last Battle, CS Lewis’s final Chronicle of Narnia, the foolish donkey, Puzzle, finds himself standing next to the noble unicorn, Jewel. Jewel is very kind to Puzzle, “talking to him about things of the sort they could both understand, like grass and sugar and the care of one’s hoofs”. That’s the sort of conversation Newman would have with me.
The clergy gather in the sacristy. The time is drawing near. We vest with more solemnity than usual. The archbishop greets the candidates quietly and warmly, one by one. Everyone lines up. The room goes quiet. Then someone whispers urgently to the archbishop: “Where’s your crozier?” Sudden panic, it seems. But someone just forgot: he won’t be using his own crozier because these are ordinariate ordinations, not diocesan ones.
A young oratorian hastens from a doorway, carrying what the archbishop has agreed to use. Like wildfire the news runs round: it’s Newman’s crozier! My heart lifts. Newman’s crozier. How often is a precious relic actually pressed into present-day use? But here is the very shepherd’s crook Newman himself carried. I eye it with awe as I pass into the church.
Congratulations Fr. Ward and to the other new priests!
Fr. Michael Ward is the author Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of CS Lewis