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Ordinariate set up for former Anglicans in the United States

WASHINGTON (CNS): The Vatican announced on January 1 that Pope Benedict XVI has established an ordinariate in the United States of America (US) for former Anglicans who wish to become Catholics and named a married, former bishop of the Episcopal Church to head it. 

The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, functionally equivalent to a diocese, but national in scope, will be based at a parish in Houston, Texas. It will be led by Father Jeffrey N. Steenson, the former Episcopal bishop of the Rio Grande who was ordained a Catholic priest for the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, New Mexico, in February 2009. 

More than 100 former Anglican clergy have applied to become Catholic priests in the ordinariate and 1,400 people from 22 communities have expressed interest in joining. In the autumn of  2011, the members of St. Luke’s in Bladensburg, Maryland, and St. Peter of the Rock Community in Fort Worth, Texas, were received into the Catholic Church with the intent of joining the ordinariate. 

It is the second such jurisdiction established under the provisions of Pope Benedict’s 2009 apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus. The first was the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, created for England and Wales in January 2011. Others are under consideration in Canada and Australia. 

The parishes and communities accepted into the ordinariate will be fully Catholic but retain elements of their Anglican heritage and traditions, particularly in the liturgy. 

The new ordinariate has been in the works since September 2010, when the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith asked Donald Cardinal Wuerl of Washington, to be its delegate for the implementation of Anglicanorum coetibus in the US......

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