One of those who joined the Church during the Triduum is a former Anglican priest with eight children — and, for now, no job.
But Hellyer is losing no sleep over his decision. He believes he is answering God’s call to become a Catholic priest in the newly created Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.
On Palm Sunday, he formally gave up his 20,000-pound ($33,000) yearly salary as rector of four Church of England parishes in the Dartmoor area of southwest England.
On Holy Thursday, during the Mass of the Lord’s Supper at the Benedictine Buckfast Abbey in Devon, he was confirmed by Abbot David Charlesworth. His wife, Margaret, and children, who are already Catholic, were his sponsors.
Hellyer then made his first Communion as a Catholic, joined by 12 members of the ordinariate group he will lead after his ordination to the Catholic priesthood June 17. The small faith community will be based at the abbey.
“I truly feel that this is God’s call, and there has been nothing to make me think that it isn’t,” he told Catholic News Service April 20.
“It has been a wonderful, wonderful journey,” he said. “There are some practical issues that haven’t been resolved, but I don’t worry that they are not going to be resolved.”
With two of his oldest children preparing for final high school and college entrance exams and a baby due at the end of May, the first issue to address might be finding a home.
In the meantime, the Church of England has come to the rescue. The Number 1 Trust, a charity established in the days of the Blessed John Henry Newman’s Oxford Movement to further the teaching and practice of the Catholic faith within the Church of England, has allowed the family to live rent free at their present residence — St. John’s Vicarage in Bovey Tracey — until the end of August.
Then there is the question of income. Because of its size, the family is eligible to receive cash benefits from the government and tax credits.