A FORMER Church of England bishop who converted to Catholicism will visit Teesdale this weekend to welcome two more ex-Anglicans into the local congregation.

Monsignor Keith Newton, former Bishop of Richborough, in Kent, now holds the title of Ordinary with the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, whose Darlington group is based at St Osmund's Church, Gainford.

The Ordinariate is the Catholic body into which former Anglicans are received when they convert.

Mgr Newton will be the celebrant and preacher at the 11.15am mass at St Osmund's on Sunday.

Father Ian Grieves, resident priest at St Osmund's said it was an important visit and one the congregation was looking forward to.

It was Mgr Newton who received both Fr Grieves and more than 50 members of the congregation at St James the Great, Darlington, into the Ordinariate last year.

“In diocesan terms, it is like a visit from the bishop,” explained Fr Grieves.

“He will welcome our first two converts to Catholicism since 58 of us were received last year.

“I felt it was important for Mgr Newton to come and see us. It's a big deal and we are grateful to him for coming.”

As well as attending mass, there will be a reception in the parish house followed by lunch. Mgr Newton will also preside at benediction.

Fr Grieves said he hoped Mgr Newton's visit would also inspire others who were thinking about their faith and worship to find out more about the Ordinariate.

“People are now coming to church not quite sure how to behave. They have not rejected Catholicism – they have just not heard it.”

For more information on this weekend's visit of Mgr Newton or the work of the Ordinariate, contact Fr Grieves on 01325-730191.