Welcoming Anglicans Home: Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter is Off and Running
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to assist Cardinal Levada and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the implementation of the Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanrum Coetibus, in the United States.
During the question and answer period, Fr. Steenson was asked to comment on the title - the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.
He responded, "I'm so excited about the title that we have because it really gets to the main issue, that we who are pilgrims who are coming to the Catholic Church want to embrace this beautiful ministry of Peter - his primacy - and it's represented in the idea of the chair, where Peter sits and teaches and presides over the Church. That chair passes on through the generations of the Church in the person of the bishops of Rome. It's a very vivid symbol to us of why we're on this journey in the first place and to come into full communion with Peter."
Another question had to do with financing; how the Ordinariate would support itself.
"My favorite saint now is St. Francis of Assisi," Fr. Steenson replied with a chuckle, noting that the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter has been launched in a spirit of apostolic poverty.
"We're going to go out and lay out the needs to the people. In the 30 years or more now that I've been in the Christian ministry, I have always operated under the principle that God's work never lacks worthy adequate resources, He moves the people to support it.
"Our job is going to be to present as compelling a vision of what we can be, to be true to what our calling is, and I have the faith that these things will come."
Cardinal DiNardo and Bishop Vann both pledged to help with some of the funding for this fledgling jurisdiction, indicating that they and many other bishops would be supporting the Ordinariate during these early days.
As was noted earlier, Fr. Scott Hurd has been appointed as Vicar-General for the Ordinariate. In Anglican terminology, this is the same as Canon to the Ordinary. This will be a three-year term.
In addition, Margaret Pichon, a parishioner at Our Lady of Walsingham and former assistant for the Secretary of the Ecclesiastical Delegate for the Pastoral Provision, has been chosen to be the Assistant to the Ordinary. She has been active in the Anglican Use Society for many years.
Reverend Jeffrey N. Steenson will be installed as Ordinary of the Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter on February 19, 2012, 3 p.m., at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Houston. More details will be provided by the Ordinariate as the date of installation draws closer.
Statement by Fr. Steenson:
Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter
Reverend Jeffrey N. Steenson
The Ordinary of The Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter
Jan. 2, 2012
On behalf of so many pilgrims of Catholic unity who have looked forward to this day, I wish to thank His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, for this priceless gift, the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter under the patronage of Our Lady of Walsingham. I pray that we who will come into full communion through this Ordinariate will bring the Holy Father much joy through our love and faithful service to the Catholic Church.
To His Eminence Donald Cardinal Wuerl and His Excellencies Kevin Vann of Fort Worth and Robert McManus of Worcester - thank you for laying this good foundation for the Ordinariate. To His Eminence Daniel Cardinal DiNardo - thank you for your generous hospitality in providing for our principal church and a place in the University of St. Thomas and St. Mary's Seminary for the formation of our future clergy. And, personally, to His Excellency, Archbishop Michael Sheehan of Santa Fe, who brought me into the Church and ordained me - my wife and I love you dearly. You all represent so many people who have worked so hard to bring the Holy Father's vision to reality!
I ask for your prayers for me and for those who will become members of the Ordinariate. There is so much to learn, 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" [Anglicanorum coetibus 3]. 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 parishes and communities of the Ordinariate have been called, not to live in relative isolation, but to be fully engaged in the life of the local diocese; not to be assimilated, but to be integrated into the rich life of the Catholic Church. This Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter must be, above all else, an effective instrument for evangelization. But Jesus taught us that the unity of Christian people is the essential condition for evangelization (John 17:21). So this must be our hallmark - to build bridges, to be an instrument of peace and reconciliation, to be a sign of what Christian unity might look like. And - gaudete in Domino semper (Philippians 4:4) - to be joyful and happy Catholics!
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, recently arrived from Rome, to urge him always to be a gracious and patient pastor in the way he gathers his flock. Anglicans love to read these letters, preserved in the Venerable Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation, for they are a great witness to how the Church gathers her people from many different cultures and lands. The decree which this day establishes the Ordinariate begins with these words:
"The supreme law of the Church is the salvation of souls. As such, throughout its history, the Church has always found the pastoral and juridical means to care for the good of the people." In what Pope Benedict has given us today, I hear the voice of Pope Gregory the Great: "For things are not to be loved for the sake of places, but places for the sake of good things" (1.27). What a beautiful testimony to all that Catholic Christianity is!
Randy Sly is the Associate Editor of Catholic Online and the CEO/Associate Publisher for the Northern Virginia Local Edition of Catholic Online (http://virginia.catholic.org). He is a former Archbishop of the Charismatic Episcopal Church who laid aside that ministry to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church.
- - -
Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Anglican Ordinariate, Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, Fr. Jeffrey Steenson, ordinariate, Pope Benedict
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More U.S. News
- Gay youths to be allowed to join Boy Scouts: Controversy rages
- Bridge that collapsed in Washington State was structurally unsound
- 12,000 homes damaged or destroyed in Moore, daunting road to recovery underway
- Eric Garcetti becomes Los Angeles' first Jewish mayor
- Violent Tsarnev friend killed by FBI after blaming Tamerlan for unsolved murders
- Homeless man whose face was eaten away in cannibal attack recovering
- Priests for Life: Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act Most Significant Legislative Step Forward
- In the Wake of the Moore Tornado: What Can we Learn from the Disaster?
- US Supreme Court Accepts Religion Case: Will Legislative Prayer Survive Religious Censorship?
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?