London: Disaffected Church of England members and a number of priests are marking Ash Wednesday by taking a first step to joining the Roman Catholic Church.
They won`t be able to receive the sacraments, however, until they are confirmed just before Easter.
Church officials haven`t released numbers, but a Catholic magazine, The Tablet, has reported that 20 priests and 600 lay people are making the move.
They are joining the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, a unique grouping formally created by the Vatican in January. Those joining the ordinariate will be allowed to keep some of their Anglican customs and liturgy, and their priests will be able to be ordained to the Catholic priesthood even if they are married.