Cardinal George Pell is to ordain 10 men as deacons for the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham next month.

The ceremony, at St James, Spanish Place, London, will be the largest mass ordination in the ordinariate’s six-year history.

It is likely the 10 candidates will be ordained to the priesthood next year.

Two of the men have undertaken their entire formation within the ordinariate. If ordained as priests they will be the first clergy to have joined the ordinariate as lay people. The other eight are former Anglican priests who have taken a tailored two-year course.

Among them is Dr Michael Ward, a senior research fellow at Blackfriars College, Oxford. He is the author of several books on CS Lewis and is described by the Times Literary Supplement as “the foremost living Lewis scholar”.

Dr Ward said he was inspired to join the ordinariate as it “brings ecumenism to reality, helping to heal the wounds of schism, and provides a continuous thread all the way back to the pre-Reformation English Church”.

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