Sunday, January 1, 2012

Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter

It is most unusual for anything official to come from the Vatican on January 1st but today the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has erected the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter within the territory of the United States Episcopal Conference. This juridical structure, equivalent to a diocese, will welcome former Anglicans in the US who wish to be or are already members of the Catholic Church.

The decree of erection can be found at the website of the US Ordinariate. The Ordinariate has its principal church at Our Lady of Walsingham in Houston, Texas. The British Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham does not yet have a church. Their American counterparts clearly have an advantage here having been able to make use of a pastoral provision which enabled former Anglicans to worship as Catholics but with a so-called Anglican use liturgy and their own churches.

The Ordinary is Father Jeffrey Steenson. The Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter has as its patron the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of Our Lady of Walsingham. It is wonderful that this little shrine in Norfolk, England, is a uniting focus. May Our Lady of Walsingham's prayers bring about the unity of Anglican and Catholics.

The Ordinariate has a very smart looking website with lots of information. Of interest is its mission page which describes the Ordinariate's mission under the three headings of liturgy, ecumenism and evangelism.

Other places with news of this historic event:

Catholic Online
Rorate Caeli
Fr Stephen Smuts Blog
Ordinariate Portal
And many others - just google Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter.

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