Welcoming Anglicans Home: Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter is Off and Running
Ordinary Holds First Press Conference in Houston
In opening the press conference, Cardinal DiNardo underscored the historic nature of the events that are unfolding, saying, " The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter begins a new chapter in the life of the Catholic Church. Today's announcement is the culmination of much prayer and discernment by those who have longed for reconciliation with the Roman Cathoic Church."
Reverend Jeffrey N. Steenson, Ordinary Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter
Present with Fr. Steenson in Houston were Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston, whose archdiocese will be hosting the new Ordinariate headquarters and Bishop Kevin Vann, from the Diocese of Fort Worth, who was a part of ad hoc committee with Cardinals Wuerl and DiNardo for the founding of the Ordinariate and has recently been appointed as the new Ecclesiastical Delegate for the Pastoral Provision.
The call-in conference also included Fr. Scott Hurd, from Cardinal Wuerl's office in Washington, who has served as the administrator of the work in its pre-Ordinariate stages and will now continue to serve as the Vicar-General to the new Ordinary.
In opening the Press Conference, Cardinal DiNardo underscored the historic nature of the events that are unfolding, saying, " The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter begins a new chapter in the life of the Catholic Church. Today's announcement is the culmination of much prayer and discernment by those who have longed for reconciliation with the Roman Cathoic Church."
The cardinal also went on to give a strong endorsement to the man chosen by the Holy Father to lead this new jurisdiction in America, Fr. Jeffrey Steenson. "He is a wise and prudent administrator," he stated, "who will bring a vibrant intellect and humility to his role as head of the Ordinariate.
"He has a very deep sense of the meaning of Church. Father Steenson is not only an outstanding patristic scholar, but a priest with a strong pastoral sense and an abiding respect for all people. He will surely be an effective, kind and joyful leader who will love and guide God's people with the attitude of Christ.
"On behalf of the U.S. bishops, I pledge our personal support for the success of this Ordinariate. This announcement is the culmination of much prayer of those who have longed for reconciliation with the Catholic Church."
Fr. Steenson, in addressing the media during the call-in conference, departed from his prepared remarks, commenting that since all the reporters were given copies, he would highlight a few things and then move to questions.
He first wanted to thank all those who had labored to bring about the Holy's Father's intention for the Anglican Ordinariate in America.
"There is so much to learn," the new Ordinary stated, "and it is a steep learning curve. Be patient with us as we embark on this journey. Pray that we may strive to learn the faith, laws, and culture of the Catholic Church with humility and good cheer.
But pray too that we do not forget who we are and where we have come from, for we have been formed in the beautiful and noble Anglican tradition. The Holy Father has asked us to bring this patrimony with us: 'to maintain the liturgical, spiritual and pastoral traditions of the Anglican Communion within the Catholic Church, as a precious gift nourishing the members of the Ordinariate and as a treasure to be shared.'
"Here is one thing I earnestly desire to share with you from the outset - Anglican spirituality has always emphasized the need to be gentlemanly in all of our relationships. May you see in us always the virtue of courtesy!
"The establishment of the Personal Ordinariate is an historic moment in the history of the Church. For perhaps the first time since the Reformation in the 16th century, a corporate structure has been given to assist those who in conscience seek to return to the fold of St. Peter and his successors.
"But I would like to go back a little further, to the end of the 6th century, to see that this is not such a new thing. Pope Gregory the Great writes to St. Augustine, the first Archbishop of Canterbury, to go and evangelize in Britain. He gave St. Augustine some wise counsel that is very much echoed in words Pope Benedict has given us today, too.
"I hear the voice of Pope Gregory the Great in what Benedict has done. "For things are not to be loved for the sake of places, but places for the sake of good things." I find this a beautiful testimony to all that Catholic Christianity is!"
In his remarks, Bishop Vann called this "an historic moment" for the Church, offering his personal enthusiasm regarding the erection of the Ordinariate and congratulating Fr. Steenson, whom he had first met seven years ago when appointed Bishop of Ft. Worth and Steenson was Bishop of the Rio Grande in the Episcopal Church.
He was a member of the ad hoc committee for the Ordinariate along with Cardinal Donald Wuerl and Bishop Robert McManus of Worcester, Mass. The committed was established by the ...
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