19 December 2006

A great joy

Dwight Longenecker is now Fr Dwight Longenecker. I have never met him but I rejoice, greatly.

One Sunday afternoon about four years ago, at Prinknash Abbey, I was having a look at the books and found "The Path to Rome": a new book charting the journey various Anglican converts had made in the 1990s to come to Rome. Dwight's (I'm sure he'll forgive the presumption) journey was particularly impressive: from Bible Belt fundamentalism, through Anglophilia to the Anglican Church in the UK, and forwards to Rome. I don't know why this book made such an impression on me, but it did: the testimonies of Anglicans who had converted, who had, in Graham Leonard's words, sought fulfimment of their earlier ministry in the Catholic priesthood, spoke to me very loudly and confirmed me in my faith.

He went on to work for the St Barnabas Society - the successor to the Converts Aid Society - until he recently returned to the US where he was ordained priest last week. Ad multos annos!

In the midst of great joy, there is but one small sour note: a comment on his blog (see link on the left) from England expressed sadness that for whatever reason, it wasn't possible for him to exercise his priesthood here. He answered:

"It wasn't for want of trying to be ordained in England. I waited twelve years for Catholic bishops to act! Never mind, the Lord had other things in mind, and he always knows best."

He does: of course He does. And there are probably times when he finds the earthly vessels through which He has to work a bit of a trial.

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