Dedication of New Chancery Building

The dedication of the Chancery of The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter is scheduled for Sunday, February 1, 2015, at 4:00 p.m., beginning with Choral Evensong at Our Lady of Walsingham Church.  The Chancery is located behind and adjacent to Our Lady of Walsingham, located at 7730 Westview Drive in Houston.

Earlier that day, Mass will be celebrated at 11:15 a.m. at Our Lady of Walsingham in the presence of His Eminence William Cardinal Levada, who will also officiate at the formal service of dedication.

Our Lady of Walsingham is the Principal Parish of the Ordinariate, which was established on January 1, 2012, by Pope Benedict XVI as a vehicle for bringing Anglicans and Episcopalians in the United States and Canada into full communion with the Catholic Church. Our Holy Father Pope Francis has embraced and expanded the mission of the Ordinariate to take part fully in the New Evangelization of the Church.

The Ordinariate includes parishes, communities, fellowships and clergy throughout the United States and Canada, under the leadership of Monsignor Jeffrey Steenson, Ordinary.  Companion Ordinariates were also established by the Holy See in England and in Australia.

For more information, please contact the Ordinariate office at 713 609-9292.

Ordinary’s Christmas Letter 2014

Ordinary’s Christmas Letter 2014

Dear People of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter,

In Rome on Christmas Day, 1852, Pope Pius IX received into the Catholic Church Dr. Levi Silliman Ives, the second Episcopal Bishop of North Carolina.  It is a fascinating, little-known story about a courageous soul involved in the Oxford Movement that re-introduced Catholic teaching to Anglican life.

Blessed John Henry Newman was the progenitor of the movement, which was perhaps to have its greatest impact on these shores.  Ives’ theological formation came as this Catholic movement began to influence a new generation of Anglican clergy and laity.  In 1822 he married the daughter of Bishop Hobart of New York; the father must have been pleased, since he ordained him the next year.  In 1831, at the age of 33, he was elected Bishop of North Carolina.

His episcopal career was a difficult one.  The diocese did not welcome his high church ways.  A diocesan commission took up charges that he was teaching confession, transubstantiation, reservation of the Blessed Sacrament, devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the need for Anglicanism to be reunited to the Catholic Church.  Bishop Ives was forced to backtrack and assure the diocese that he was unreservedly Anglican.

But it didn’t work.  One’s conscience cannot survive such convolutions, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches: “A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience” (¶1790).  In 1852, the bishop asked the standing committee for a sabbatical, for health reasons, and journeyed to Rome.  Perhaps we in the Ordinariate have some sense of his struggles and the relief that came when the decision was finally made.  Three days before the Pope received him, he wrote to his diocese to resign his office so that he might obey his conscience, informed by “clear and settled convictions,” and make his submission to the Catholic Church.  He would later write a moving account of his journey, Trials of a Mind in its Progress to Catholicism: A Letter to His Old Friends (1854).

The response from his old friends was not so gracious.  To leave the Episcopal Church back then was regarded as an act of apostasy.  Such converts (turning around) were then called perverts (turning in a bad way).  He was said to be suffering from a form of mental illness: “the bishop had been in a state of mental illness that impaired his judgment.” Thankfully today we are in a (mostly) different place!

Dr. Ives returned to America to teach at an institution that would later become part of Fordham University.  He and his wife had found the peace and joy that full communion brings.  These courageous pioneering souls laid the foundations for the ecumenical progress that would one day come in Anglican-Roman Catholic relationships.  They were the “first fruits” of the work of Christian unity, the legacy that now falls on us to continue.

“This is a strange Christmas letter,” you may be saying.  But his Christmas reception would not be coincidental.  Dr. Ives would find his life’s work in the founding of the Catholic Protectory in the Bronx, the largest Catholic orphanage of its day.  Just as St. Joseph, he would find his vocation in the nurture and care of God’s little children.  In 1867, Dr. Ives died with these words on his lips: “Oh, how good God has been to me!”  He was buried at the Protectory, today St. Raymond’s Cemetery, a wonderful witness to the social and doctrinal integrity of Catholic life.

The Son of God came to share not only his Father’s mind but also his heart.  Dr. Ives’ journey to full communion began as deep theological engagement, but his act of conscience would become a life of service.  And this is how he would be remembered, his work inspiring the foundation of many such orphanages throughout the Catholic Church in America.

Pope Francis spoke in this way of St. Joseph on his feast day this year:  “How does Joseph respond to his calling to be the protector of Mary, Jesus and the Church?  By being constantly attentive to God, open to the signs of God’s presence and receptive to God’s plans, and not simply to his own.”

May God bless you with a joyous and holy Christmas!

Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson

P.S.  Full credit to Prof. William Tighe of Muhlenberg College, who introduced me to Ives’ inspiring story at the time of my conversion. 


Mark the date.

imagesThe feast of Saints Peter and Paul falls on a Sunday this year, June 29.  On this day, Holy Rosary parish will be blessed by the presence of our Archbishop, Joseph Tobin, who will pontificate at the 11:30 a.m. Extraordinary Form Mass. Our St. Joseph of Arimathea choir will be singing for this rare event and we hope you will be able to join us. The repertoire roster includes: “Missa Lauda Sion” by G. P. da Palestrina, “Tu es Petrus” by Christobal de Morales and “Jehova quam multi sunt hostes mei” by Henry Purcell.


Ordinary’s Ad Populum Letter Lent 2014

Lent: A Pilgrimage of the heart

My de20130330-064238.jpgar brothers and sisters, by now we are settling into the familiar routines of the Lenten season.  The sights, sounds, and smells of Ash Wednesday are lingering in our minds, the multifaceted preparations for Holy Week and Easter are suddenly appearing on our short-term calendars, and we find that our hearts are somewhere in-between – between the ashes and the empty tomb, between the wilderness of temptation and the joyful reunion in the upper room.  Even as we are adjusting to the familiar and wonderful rhythm and flow of this holy season, we are reminded in our Ash Wednesday gospel that we have once again embarked on a pilgrimage of the heart.  We are on our way to Easter, but the Lenten path at this moment leads through the wilderness.

As always, during these early Lenten moments, we discover that we are “in progress.”  If ever there were a concept that we in the Ordinariate understand with full clarity, it is the idea of being in progress!  For many of us, we have been “in progress,” or “in the process,” for quite some time, leaving behind decades of familiarity for a new life in a new world.  For many of us, the glorious realization of our arrival in the Holy Catholic Church still captures our breath.  We find that we are still overwhelmed by the graciousness of the Lord, and of his servant the Holy Father, for bringing us here.  We are still enthralled by the newness of our lives, our ministries, our perspectives.  But along with the realization that we have traveled through a great wilderness to get to this joyful reunion with St. Peter, we also discover that we are still traveling, still moving, still pushing forward, still “in progress.”  Thus it will always be in the Season of Lent.

The words of our Savior in Matthew Chapter 6 are wonderfully clear: While we are moving forward in our faith, we are to persevere in our tasks of almsgiving, prayer, and fasting; but we are to “take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them.”  We are to conduct our works of mercy in such ways that our left hands do not know what are right hands are doing.  We are to pray in secret, so that our Father in heaven receives our undivided attention.  And we are to fast in such ways that we “may not appear to be fasting.”  We are to lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven – humbly, meekly, faithfully.  We are to follow the example of the Lord Jesus, who gave us the perfect example and model of humility, simplicity, and service to others.

Let us joyfully enter this holy wilderness with our Lord.  Let us spend these forty days and forty nights close to his Sacred Heart, drawing our strength, hope, and confidence from Him, knowing that these “in-between” times – these times when we continue to find ourselves “in progress” – are truly sacred moments for all of us.  Let us renew ourselves in prayer, fasting, and works of mercy during this holy season.

Please know that you are all in my prayers.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson

Original post here.

Evensong is moving to Fridays during Lent

Our community’s hosting parish, Holy Rosary Catholic Church, has numerous events scheduled during Lent. Here is a link to the Sunday bulletin which lists the dates and times for these events.

Wednesday’s Evensong has been preempted by “Spaghetti and Spirituality” – now in its 14th year at Holy Rosary! – and we are being moved to Fridays at 5:15. We precede the afternoon 5:45 Extraordinary Form Mass which is immediately followed by Stations of the Cross.

We hope to see you Fridays at 5:15, bulletins will be provided to help follow along.

‘All eyes are on you,’ Cardinal Müller tells ordinariate

By  on Thursday, 6 March 2014

‘All eyes are on you,’ Cardinal Müller tells ordinariate

Ordinariate members attend a papal audience at the Vatican (CNS)

Ordinariate members attend a papal audience at the Vatican (CNS)

The Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith (CDF) has told the leaders of ordinariates from across the world that “all eyes” are upon them.

Addressing the three ordinaries from around the world during a meeting in Rome last month, Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller reminded them of the delicacy and importance of their task in the first few years and added: “You will come under scrutiny from many quarters. All eyes are upon you!”

Mgr Keith Newton of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham in the UK, Mgr Jeffrey Steenson, Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter in the United States and Mgr Harry Entwistle, Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross in Australia visited Cardinal Müller in the run up to him being made a cardinal.

The ordinaries’ visit to Rome – three years after the first of the three ordinariates was established- was the first time three of them had all met together.

Cardinal Müller said: “Anglicans will be interested in how well you are able to make a home in the Catholic Church that is more than just assimilation, while Catholics will want to know that you are here to stay, strengthening our ecclesial cohesion rather than setting yourselves apart as another divisive grouping within the Church…It is your delicate, but all-important task both to preserve the integrity and distinctiveness of your parish communities and, at the same time, help your people integrate into the larger Catholic community”.

Turning his attention to the importance of the sacred liturgy as the expression of communion, Cardinal Müller said that the ordinaries’ role in this regard was critical. “By ensuring that the sacred liturgy is celebrated worthily and well, you further the communion of the Church by drawing people into the worship of God who is communio”. He said that the sacred liturgy was also the “privileged place” for encountering Anglican patrimony, which was how ordinariate parishes and communities distinguished themselves, bearing witness to the faith in the diversity of its expression.

“In this sense, the celebration according to the approved Divine Worship [or Ordinariate Use] texts is both essential to the formation of the identity of the Ordinariate as well as being a tool for evangelisation”, Cardinal Müller said.

The prefect went on to issue a word of warning about the potential problems caused by the “new media”, particularly through blogs. He said that some of the ordinariate clergy and faithful wrote blogs, which, while being a helpful tool of evangelisation, could also “express un-reflected speech lacking in charity”. The image of the ordinariate was not helped by this, he said, and it fell to the ordinaries to exercise vigilance over these blogs and, where necessary, to intervene.

Cardinal Müller said that, in responding to the Holy Father’s invitation to serve as Ordinary, each of the three men had demonstrated great courage and deep faith and that their journey had called for considerable personal sacrifice. “I want you to know that I have spoken to our Holy Father, Pope Francis about the ordinariates and the particular gift they are to the Church. The Holy Father is following the development of the ordinariates with great interest”.

Original article

A Reminder


All are welcome to join us each Wednesday at Holy Rosary for sung Evensong. Service begins at 5:45 and is concluded with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Booklets are provided.


The Liturgy and the Anglican Ordinariates: An Evangelical Opportunity

A very thoughtful post by a Byzantine priest in the UK about the new Ordinariate Mass liturgy.  Here’s how he concludes his essay:

It seems to me that, at this early juncture in the history of Anglicanorum Coetibus, it is incumbent on Anglicans who have entered communion with the Catholic Church to reflect on their identity as Catholic Anglicans, and to understand what distinguishes them from their more numerically significant Roman brethren. I, for one, would argue that the answer to this must be the liturgy above all: not only that it is celebrated with a certain Anglican dignity, but that it also draws on the legitimate heritage that Pope Benedict himself identified, and which resides in the services derived directly from the Book of Common Prayer. I believe that in deciding thus, the Ordinariates – but especially the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham – have an unsurpassed opportunity to meet the people where they are, and represent something that truly speaks to them. The legitimate heritage of Anglicanism has been doing so on some level for generations, and that heritage has now been recognised and taken up by the Church of Rome. I pray that we may all benefit from it.

Read it all here.

We here at St. Joseph of Arimathea, Indianapolis, are unfortunately not being allowed to use the newly approved Ordinariate order for Mass. We are still making due with the Book of Divine Worship which is based on more modern Anglican sources, i.e. the 1979 ECUSA Prayer Book.

An Interview with an Ordinary

Very nice interview of Msgr. Steenson and great article by Deborah Gyapong.

Head calls for redoubling of efforts to build and rebuild relationships with confreres still in Anglican Church
By Deborah GyapongFour former Anglican clergy lie prostrate for the Litany of the Saints. Deborah Gyapong / CCN.Four former Anglican clergy lie prostrate for the Litany of the Saints. Deborah Gyapong / CCN.

Ordinariates for former Anglicans must be a bridge to Christian unity and a force for true ecumenism says the head of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.

“If the ordinariate is to be anything worthy and worth keeping for the long term, it must be an instrument of Christian unity,” said Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson in a homily Dec. 14 as Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, SJ, of Ottawa ordained four former Anglican ministers Catholic priests.

“It’s a remarkable balance we are called to embrace today,” the Houston-based Chair of St. Peter ordinary said. “We believe everything that the Catholic Church teaches and ultimately this requires we have to join the Catholic Church, in saying the life we left was, while holy, and good and praiseworthy and honourable, was incomplete and we needed fullness.”

“But we also can’t be obnoxious converts either,” Msgr. Steenson said.

“We are called to redouble our efforts to build and rebuild our relationships with confreres who have stayed behind in the Anglican Church,” he said. “Because remember, it is Christ’s will that we should be one.”

“The heart and soul of the ordinariate is the conscientious conviction of our members that we must embrace the Petrine ministry in all its fullness,” he said, noting the Second Vatican Council’s text Lumen Gentium says “if in conscience one has come to believe that the Catholic Church has been made necessary by Christ, then one has an absolute obligation to enter it and to remain in communion with it.”

“This is why these four men and their people have made great sacrifices in leaving behind the ecclesial homes that once nurtured them,” he said. “But the Catholic Church asks us also to keep these old relationships alive, for we are to be the first fruits of the harvest of Christian unity.”

The Catholic Church’s theology of orders is oriented to the goals of the unity of faith and the fullness of Christ, he said. “The great Western Schism that brought Christian individualism and private judgment and untold numbers of ecclesial communities, this has certainly affected the way that many Western Christians think of the Church.”

In an interview, Msgr. Steenson called the Petrine Ministry a “non-negotiable.” This is the role of the Successor of Peter, the Pope, as the head of the Church and a sign of unity.

“I don’t mean to be harsh about this,” he said. “Ecumenism has been hurt because neither side has been really been telling the truth to each other, or it’s the elephant in the living room they don’t want to talk about.”

Ecumenical talks must be “clear on what divides us,” he said. “It’s important for Anglicans to understand there are certain things they have embraced in their common life that are simply forever irreconcilables with the Catholic faith.”

The ordination of women and “new teachings on human sexuality” are among them, he said.

Though Msgr. Steenson has the jurisdiction of a bishop, as a married Catholic priest he cannot become one. Therefore, in Ottawa’s Notre Dame Cathedral, the Ottawa archbishop ordained Bryan Kipling Cooper, Douglas Hayman, both of Ottawa, John Hodgins of Toronto and James Tilley of Oshawa to serve as priests in the ordinariate.

“Kipling, Douglas, John and James, my sons, your lives have been ones of commitment and patient witness as your credentials were studied, your competencies honed and your commitment tested,” Prendergast said. “Clearly, your formation and ministry in the Anglican tradition have provided you solid spiritual bedrock on which you have been shaping your lives since you entered into full Communion with the Roman Catholic Church. You are witnesses to Christ and to the truths of Catholic Christianity—often at a cost to yourselves.”

With these ordinations, the POSCP now has 53 clergy, but Msgr. Steenson expects that number to grow to 60 by the summer of 2014. Pope Francis has approved former Anglican clergy in Edmonton and Vancouver and they will be ordained, Msgr. Steenson expects, by Easter. He also hopes to have a priest ordained for the ordinariate in Atlantic Canada next year as well. That will bring priests in the POSCP’s Canadian Deanery of St. John the Baptist to 15, he said. Canada’s Dean, Father Lee Kenyon was unable to attend the ordination due to a recent fall on slippery stairs outside his rectory in Calgary. Msgr. Steenson said the Deanery is set up so that all monies donated in Canada stay in Canada to serve ministry there.

In the first two years, the emphasis has been on clergy formation, but now the ordinariate has clear direction from Rome to put its energy “into building up communities” so it does not become “a simple missionary society for Anglican clergy that want to come serve in the Catholic Church,” Msgr. Steenson said.

“Now we’re going to have to emphasize congregational development and evangelization,” Msgr. Steenson said. “We need to strengthen these parishes and make them attractive places that will function for the purpose they were created, to bring people into full communion.”

Msgr. Steenson estimates about 3500 lay members for the ordinariate, but its communities are already growing.

The POSCP, established Jan. 1, 2012, was the second of three ordinariates that have been established around the world under Pope Benedict’s 2009 Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus. The first is the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, established Jan. 2011; and the third is the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross, established in June, 2012.

In Advent, all three ordinariates began using an approved Divine Worship for Catholics of Anglican patrimony that incorporates the sacral language of the Book of Common Prayer with its “thees” and “thous” and many elements of the English Missal (a translation of the Tridentine Mass into sacral English) that many Anglo-Catholics around the world preferred.

The Catholic Church “has bent over backwards to welcome us,” said Msgr. Steenson. “They have been incredibly accommodating in terms of helping us with the traditions that are important to us.”

Msgr. Steenson sees ordinariates’ Divine Worship as a vehicle for new evangelization as well, especially in its recovery of sacral language, something the Congregation for Divine Worship aimed at in its new translations of Mass texts for the Roman Rite.

“Young people seem to really get it; they really appreciate it,” he said. “You cannot use pedestrian language when you are talking about the great mysteries.”

“At 61, I am in a different generation, but I have been just astonished by young people in North America how interested they are in the recovery of this traditional language,” Msgr. Steenson said. “It creates a space in their souls; it sanctifies a space in their souls.”

“They have to deal with all of this noise and garbage the culture throws at them. It’s important their prayer language is different,” he said.

Click for original article.

Located in Indianapolis, Indiana. Part of the Anglican Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.