Statement by Fr. Jeffrey Steenson, Ordinary for new Anglican Ordinariate established Jan. 1

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!



Posted Wednesday, January 04, 2012 7:50 AM By JLS
Implicit in Fr Steenson’s presentation is his note on culture. He speaks of integration instead of assimilation into the Church. There is great wisdom in this point he is making.

Posted Wednesday, January 04, 2012 8:42 AM By Charles
Our Lady of Wallsingham must be so very pleased of this dedication. Good journey for all of the committed.

Posted Wednesday, January 04, 2012 10:00 AM By Maryanne Leonard
This is so thrilling! I am covered in goosebumps. God bless our wonderful Pope Benedict, and God bless Fr. Steenson in his wonderful new appointment. What a blessing to us all.

Posted Wednesday, January 04, 2012 12:44 PM By JLS
Anyone know of a list of parishes of this new ordinariate?

Posted Wednesday, January 04, 2012 4:30 PM By Robert Bushlow
Welcome home and May God richly bless all of our new brothers and sisters in the new Ordinariate.

Posted Wednesday, January 04, 2012 8:26 PM By nnc
This is a historic time to witness – thanks be to Him!

Posted Wednesday, January 04, 2012 10:24 PM By Jeffery
Anyone heard lately about the relationship between the SSPX and the Vatican?

Posted Thursday, January 05, 2012 9:12 AM By Ann T.
JLS, as far as I know the Anglican Use Society website is the only site that has all the links to the Anglican Use Catholic Churches. They are either in the eastern or southeastern areas of the United States from what I can gather. Perhaps one will open up on the West Coast though. I do know that some Anglicans have split from the Episcopal Church in California, but so far they have not come over to Rome but remain Anglican.

Posted Thursday, January 05, 2012 9:17 AM By Anne T.
The Eternal Word Television Network also keeps us updated on all this. If you do not have access to their programming through cable, you should be able to get smaller videos of their programs from their website on your computer. Just put EWTN in your search bar and click on the proper area.

Posted Thursday, January 05, 2012 11:05 AM By Anne T.
Excuse me, you put EWTN in your search bar, click on their offical website and click on “televison” or “radio”, whichever you want.

Posted Friday, January 06, 2012 8:03 AM By Maria
Welcome Home!

Posted Monday, January 23, 2012 5:49 PM By Abeca Christian
Yes I will pray for you. God bless you and welcome! : )