Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter

For information on personal ordinariates in general, see Personal ordinariate.
Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter
Ordinariatus Personalis
Cathedrae Sancti Petri

Coat of arms
Country United States
Deaneries Deanery of St John the Baptist
Parishes 45[1]
Denomination Roman Catholic
Rite Roman Rite (Anglican Use)
Established January 1, 2012
Cathedral Our Lady of Walsingham
Patroness Our Lady of Walsingham
Secular priests 64 (2016)
Current leadership
Pope Francis
Bishop Steven Joseph Lopes
Vicar General Timothy Perkins

The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter is "a structure, similar to a diocese, that was created by the Vatican in 2012 for former Anglican communities and clergy seeking to become Catholic. Once Catholic, the communities retain many aspects of their Anglican heritage, liturgy and traditions".[2] The ordinariate uses a missal called Divine Worship, a variation of the Roman Rite commonly referred to as the "Anglican Use"[3] or the "Ordinariate Use", which incorporates aspects of the Anglican liturgical tradition.[4]

Based in Houston, Texas, with the Cathedral of Our Lady of Walsingham as it principal church, the ordinariate includes 45 parishes throughout the United States and Canada.[3]

Originally, its territory was the same as that of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).[5] However, it was announced on December 7, 2012, that the Holy See, after consulting the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), had extended its territory to include Canada also.[6] Accordingly, the head of the ordinariate is a full member of both episcopal conferences.[2]


Cathedral of Our Lady of Walsingham in Houston

The second personal ordinariate to be established after the promulgation of Anglicanorum coetibus, the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter is, according to the decree of its erection, juridically equivalent to a diocese.[7] The faithful of the ordinariate are led by an ordinary who is named directly by the pope. The ordinary may be a bishop, if celibate, or priest, if married.[5] So far, the pope has named all married ordinaries as apostolic protonotaries—that is, monsignori of the highest rank—soon after the respective appointments to that office. Either way, the ordinary holds the same power of governance over the ordinariate that a diocesan bishop holds over a diocese. The only practical difference is that a bishop may ordain clergy for the ordinariate personally, whereas an ordinary who is not a bishop must ask a bishop to ordain clergy of the ordinariate on his behalf in the same manner as the major superior of a clerical religious order.

The ordinary of a personal ordinariate is the equivalent to a diocesan bishop, and thus wears the same ecclesiastical attire and uses the same pontifical insignia (mitre, crosier, pectoral cross, and episcopal ring) as a diocesan bishop, even if he has not a bishop.[8] The ordinary is also, ex officio, a full member of the episcopal conference(s) of the territory of the ordinariate.[7]


Chancery building in Houston, Texas

From the reign of Pope Pius XII if not before, popes have granted dispensations from the norm of celibacy for the ordination of married former Protestant and Anglican clergy in the Roman Catholic Church - but the numbers were generally small so the Vatican processed those cases individually. The situation changed in the late 1970s when hundreds of former clergy of the Episcopal Church (TEC), including several who brought their congregations with them, sought ordination in the Catholic Church and, in the case of those who brought congregations with them, provision of liturgical books that followed their Anglican tradition. Pope John Paul II responded to this situation, first, by establishing a "Pastoral Provision" to facilitate processing of the large number of requests for dispensations coming from former TEC clergy the United States in 1980 and, second, by authorizing the Book of Divine Worship based on the Anglican Book of Common Prayer for use by intact communities of former Anglicans, which variously became parishes, missions, or chaplaincies of the local Roman Catholic diocese. The Vatican also prescribed the use of the Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition translation of biblical texts, rather than the New American Bible translation then in use in the United States, in conjunction with the rites of the Book of Divine Worship. The Book of Divine Worship was officially deemed to be an interim work, authorized ad experimentum pending completion of a final edition, but there was no further work on "approved liturgical books of the Anglican tradition" in the decades that followed.

In the first decade of the 21st century, a number of bishops from the Church of England and the bishops of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC), a global "continuing Anglican" body, independently approached the Vatican seeking some manner of corporate reunion that would preserve their autonomy and their ecclesial structure within the Catholic Church. Pope Benedict XVI promulgated the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, permitting erection of personal ordinariates equivalent to dioceses, on 4 November 2009.[9] The Vatican subsequently erected three ordinariates: the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham in the territory of the episcopal conference of England and Wales on 15 January 2011, the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter in the territory of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) on 1 January 2012, and the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross in the territory of Australian Conference of Catholic Bishops on 15 June 2012.

The decree erecting the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter designated the Church of Our Lady of Walsingham in Houston as the principal church of the ordinariate, analogous to the cathedral church of a diocese..[7] This church was home to one of the congregations that came into the church under the "pastoral provision," effectively transferring that parish from the Diocese of Galveston-Houston to the ordinariate. On the same day, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Rev. Jeffrey N. Steenson, who had served as Bishop of the Rio Grande of The Episcopal church prior to his reception into full communion and ordination in the Catholic Church, as its first ordinary. Since its creation, over 100 Anglican clergy have applied to be Catholic priests in the ordinariate, while around 1,400 lay people have since joined.[9] Monsignor Steenson was installed as ordinary on February 12, 2012 during a Mass celebrated at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Houston led by cardinals Daniel DiNardo and Donald Wuerl

Mount Calvary Church in Baltimore voted to join the ordinariate in 2010. In December 2011, the parish had settled with the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland over the church and associated building. Thus on January 21, 2012, Mount Calvary parish was receive together as the first ordinariate parish.[10]

On June 26, 2012, Randy Sly, a former archbishop in the Charismatic Episcopal Church, was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Paul Loverde in Potomac Falls.[11] On September 16, 2012, the Cathedral of the Incarnation, the cathedral of the Diocese of Eastern United States of the Anglican Church in America, was received into the ordinariate along with their bishop, Louis Campese.[12] The ordinariate formed a deanery for Canada, the Deanery of Saint John the Baptist, on December 7, 2012.

On November 24, 2015, Pope Francis appointed Steven J. Lopes the first bishop of the personal ordinariate. It was announced that on February 2, 2016, that he would succeed Steenson.[3] This appointment was the first time a bishop has been named to any of the world's three Anglican Use ordinariates.[13] With the appointment of a bishop to head the ordinariate, the principal church was elevated to a cathedral, the third in Houston.[3]

Upon erection of the first ordinariates, the Vatican established the commission Anglicanae Traditiones to prepare liturgical books of the Anglican tradition for their use, and also for use of the communities of former Anglicans who remain under the jurisdiction of their local dioceses. This commission, under the direction of Steven Lopes, first published Divine Worship: Occasional Services containing rites for baptisms, weddings, and funerals, followed by Divine Worship: The Missal containing the rite for Mass to replace the respective rites in the Book of Divine Worship. The ordinariate missal took effect on the first Sunday of Advent (27 November) in 2015. Lopes, who was in Houston following the announcement of his new appointment as the new ordinary, was the principal celebrant of the first Mass at the ordinariate's principal church according to the new missal.[3][13] The new rites retain the use of the Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition translation of scriptural texts.

Deanery of St John the Baptist

The apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus drew significant interest in Canada, but the number of communities were too few to support a separate ordinariate for that country. Thus, Cardinal Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, approached Msgr. Steenson to work out a solution that would extend the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter into Canada.

While all of this was pending, the parish of St. John the Evangelist in Calgary, Alberta, formerly of the Anglican Church in Canada (ACC), came into the full communion of the Catholic Church with its priest, Fr. Lee Kenyon, in December 2011, initially as a parish of the Diocese of Calgary with faculties to celebrate the liturgy according to the Book of Divine Worship. On 15 April 2012, former bishops Peter Wilkinson and Carl Reid of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (ACCC), the Canadian province of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC), and their congregations also came into the full communion of the Catholic Church.

In April 2012, Monsignor Steenson had expressed his agreement with the idea that all groups of Canadian Anglicans who had taken or would in the future take the step of joining the Catholic Church should be organized as parishes of a deanery of the Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter.[14] On December 7, 2012, the ordinariate formally erected the Deanery of Saint John the Baptist for the Canadian parishes and the ordinary appointed Fr. Lee Kenyon as its first dean, with the approval of the Holy See and the support of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.[6] The name, first proposed by then-ACCC bishop Peter Wilkinson, is that of a patron saint of Canada whose feast was significant in the discovery of Canada by both the English and the French.

On December 8, 2012, the day after the announcement of the extension of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter to Canada, Peter Wilkinson, the former Metropolitan Bishop of Canada of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (ACCC), was ordained to the priesthood in the Catholic Church by Bishop Richard Gagnon at St. Andrew's Cathedral in Victoria.[15] Wilkinson was later named a Prelate of Honor by Pope Benedict XVI.[16] On January 26, 2013, Carl Reid, a former ACCC bishop, was ordained by Archbishop Terrence Prendergast at the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica in Ottawa.[17]

The Deanery of St. John the Baptist now encompasses 11 communities from New Brunswick to British Columbia.

Liturgical calendar

The liturgical calendar of the ordinariate was approved by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in early 2012. In the main, it is identical with the two current Roman Rite liturgical calendars for the dioceses of the United States and Canada, but it has retained some elements that form part of the Anglican patrimony.[18]

In the Proper of Time:

Regarding the Proper of Saints, the ordinariate observes the proper calendar of the United States (or in the Deanery of St. John the Baptist, that of Canada), as well as the following saints:


See also


  1. List of Parishes from the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter Official Website
  2. 1 2 "Ordinariate Questions & Answers".
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Barned-Smith, St. John; Turner, Allan (November 24, 2015). "From Houston, new bishop will reach out across the nation". The Houston Chronicle. Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  4. "Ordinariate unveils new Mass text that draws on Cranmer". Catholic Herald. London , England, UK. October 11, 2013. Retrieved June 29, 2016.
  5. 1 2 Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (January 1, 2012). "Decree of Erection of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter". Holy See.
  6. 1 2 "Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops".
  7. 1 2 3 4 Patel, Purva (12 Feb 2012). "Cardinals install Catholic convert in rarefied post". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 13 Feb 2012.
  8. Ceremonial of Bishops, Congregation for Divine Worship, 14 September 1984, No. 1206.
  9. 1 2 3 "Anglicans have U.S. home in Catholic church". USAToday. AP.
  10. Sutton, Eugene Taylor (January 21, 2012). "One spiritual family living in two houses". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  11. "Area Man Transitions from Anglican Archbishop to Catholic Priest". Leesburg Today. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  12. "American Anglican bishop goes to Rome, brings cathedral congregation with him". Virtue Online. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  13. 1 2 3 4 SMITH, PETER JESSERER (November 25, 2015). "Historic Day for Catholics of Anglican Heritage as Pope Francis Names First Ordinariate Bishop". National Catholic Register. EWTN News, Inc. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  14. "Canadian Anglican Bishops Received Into Church". ZENIT - The World Seen From Rome.
  15. "Former Anglican Archbishop is Happy to be a Catholic parish priest". s-National Catholic Register. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  16. Pope Bestows Papal Honor on Canadian Ordinariate Priest
  17. "Former Anglican Archbishop ordained as Catholic priest". s-The B.C. Catholic Peper. Retrieved 26 January 2013.
  18. "Liturgical Calendar for the Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter" (PDF).

Further reading

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