Local Anglican Community Joins Catholic Church During Holy Week
The rector and members of St.Michael the Archangel Anglican parish in Philadelphia were received into the full communion of the Catholic Church on April 2, becoming the first Anglican community in Pennsylvania to enter a new U.S. ordinariate for Anglican groups and clergy seeking to become Catholic. David Ousley, the rector, is preparing to be ordained a Catholic priest later this year.
Monsignor Jeffrey Steenson, the head of the ordinariate nationally, will celebrate Mass and preach for the new Catholic community on Holy Thursday, April 5, 6 p.m. at Holy Cross Church, 140 E. Mount Airy Avenue in the Mount Airy section of Philadelphia. [All are invited.]
The Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter is similar to a regular Catholic diocese, but national in scope. Pope Benedict XVI established the ordinariate on January 1 following requests by Anglicans worldwide seeking to become Catholic, and appointed Msgr. Steenson, a former Episcopal bishop, as the leader. Ordinariate parishes will be fully Catholic while retaining elements of their Anglican heritage and traditions, including liturgical traditions.
“We are very grateful to Pope Benedict for giving us this opportunity to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church while retaining our identity as Anglicans,” said Father Ousley.
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia said, “It’s my pleasure to prayerfully welcome Father David Ousley and the faithful of Saint Michael the Archangel Anglican Parish as they enter into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church. We will support our brothers and sisters in Christ on their spiritual journey. May the Lord grant them peace and every blessing.”
Fr. Ousley noted, “We look forward to developing the work of the Ordinariate in Philadelphia, in cooperation with Msgr. Steenson and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Father James Cox, pastor of Holy Cross and St. Madeleine Sophie Catholic parishes in Mount Airy, and Auxiliary Bishop John McIntyre have been welcoming and unfailingly helpful in our transition into full communion. As with any such transition, it has been a challenging journey. Yet, we already have heard from former Anglicans who are interested in joining us.”
Msgr. Steenson added, “I deeply appreciate the support that Archbishop Chaput and the Archdiocese have given to assist this community in this great adventure of Christian unity. I think this is precisely what Pope Benedict intended when he created the Ordinariate for Anglicans who desire to join the Catholic family that Anglicans originally came from. Fr. Ousley himself is a distinguished representative of this great tradition of learning and spirituality. I have known him for many years and am confident that he and his congregation will find a warm welcome within the Catholic community of Philadelphia."
The 25 members of St. Michael’s studied the United States Catechism of the Catholic Church for Adults, working closely with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The parishioners are among more than 1,400 people in 20 communities across the United States who have asked to join the Ordinariate. Nearly 40 former Anglican priests also are studying to be ordained Catholic priests.
St. Michael’s traces its roots to the Episcopal Church of St. James the Less, founded in East Falls in 1846. For the past five years, the parish has been part of the Anglican Church of America. The community will be moving its Sunday services to Holy Cross Parish at 9 a.m. after Easter. Weekday services are at the St Michael's Rectory in Mount Airy.
For more information on the Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter, visit usordinariate.org.
April 3, 2012