The first principle of the Ordinariate is then about Christian unity. St. Basil the Great, the Church’s greatest ecumenist, literally expended his life on the work of building bridges between orthodox brethren who shared a common faith, but who had become separated from one another in a Church badly fragmented by heresy and controversy. He taught that the work of Christian unity requires deliberate and ceaseless effort...St. Basil often talked with yearning about the archaia agape, the ancient love of the apostolic community, so rarely seen in the Church of his day. This love, he taught, is a visible sign that the Holy Spirit is indeed present and active, and it is absolutely essential for the health of the Church.

- Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, Homily on the Occasion of his Formal Institution as Ordinary

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Historic Day at Mount Calvary-Baltimore

On Sunday, I had the privilege to visit Mt. Calvary Church in Baltimore, Maryland, as its clergy and people were received into the full communion of the Catholic Church by Fr. Jeffrey Steenson who heads the personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. The congregation was joined by many others in a joy-filled day that many of the people characterized as a home-coming.

Before the service began in the morning, the beauty of the church and its appointments were quite conducive to prayer, and despite the large gathering, there was a deep sense of devotion as people prayerfully prepared for the day.

The sanctuary of Mount Calvary before Mass.
A side altar in the Church.
The 52-rank organ which would soon produce glorious music
to accompany the expert choir which led us in singing
praise to God.
The pews were filled by people from Baltimore, other parts of Maryland, and well-wishers from New Jersey, D.C., Pennsylvannia and Virginia. Many of these had been received into the Church's communion years before, and came to prayerfully support the congregation of Mount Calvary.

Father Steenson preached on the Gospel text for the day, the calling of the fishermen to be Apostles, and emphasized that the call of all of those who would form the ordinariate was similar: to evangelize and to bring souls to Christ. This would be done within the context of a structure which would preserve and promote the Anglican patrimony of the founding members of the ordinariate, in pastoral care and reverent worship.
Ably assisted in the sanctuary by the clergy of Mount Calvary, the service, conducted according to the ritual of the Book of Divine Worship, stretched to nearly two hours. But it was a time that passed quickly. The clergy of Mount Calvary, who will now help administer the parish, await incorporation into the clergy of the Catholic Church. Jason Catania, who has been rector of the parish, is expected to be ordained to the Catholic priesthood in the Spring. In the interim,
Fr. Carlton Jones, O.P., has been appointed chaplain, to oversee the sacramental ministry to the parish. He will be assisted by some of his Dominican brethren.

In the afternoon, we were joined by several members of the St. Thomas More Society from Scranton, Pennsylvania. Fr. Eric Bergman, who leads the STMS, officiated at Choral Evensong, with Fr. Dwight Longenecker preaching on the course ahead for the new Catholic congregation. Noting how John Henry Newman left the pinnacle of the Anglican establishment of his day for Littlemore, he said that all of those who enter the communion of the Catholic Church have to be prepared for the same pilgrimage: to go to their own Littlemore, where they will have become little in order to receive the more that will be theirs as Catholics.

In the quiet contemplation of the Lord's mercy before
the Blessed Sacrament during the service of
Benediction that followed Evensong.

Randy Sly (right), Associate Editor for Catholic Online
(, who will begin the formation process for
ordination this month with the others who will form the
first cadre of Ordinariate clergy.

Fr. Scott Hurd (right), Vicar General for the
Ordinariate, speaking to a congregant after Evensong.

Fr. Carlton Jones, O.P., listens to one of the congregants he will
shepherd over the next few months as chaplain to Mount Calvary.

In a conversation with Fr. Steenson following Evensong, he told me that the process of developing the particular norms for the Ordinariate were underway, and that when the new rules were complete, which will encompass everything from the way parishes are to be incorporated to the acceptance of individual petitions for membership in the Ordinariate, they will be reviewed in Rome and need to receive approval. Fr. Steenson said that three "classes" of groups were anticipated, Public Associations of the Faithful for some of the smaller groups, quasi-parishes for larger groups (but which do not have a church, for example), and parishes, of which he was sure Mt. Calvary would be one. Parishes would likely be individually incorporated, with a governing board that would include the ordinary and vicar general and pastor; in other words, the parishes would be incorporated in a way that Rome has preferred for decades, one which recognizes parishes as juridic persons in their own right, and not the corporation sole that is typical in the US dioceses. Fr. Steenson then spent about a half-hour speaking privately with some Continuing Church clergy from Towson, Maryland who had come to attend the Evensong.


  1. MANY YEARS! to Mount Calvary ( a very 'protestant' sounding name if I may say so) and Many Blessings! to the congregation.
    Lovely photos, well the one of the Benediction is really blurry! Other wise very good.
    Surplice (almost put 'surplus', my bad!) and stole. Truly hope the Ordinariate does not lose this piece of 'Anglican Patrimony' from Mattins (morning prayer) and Evensong (evening prayer).
    Good to see the Ordinary talking to the clergy from 'Christ the King' Towson. To think their jewel of a church might not be added to the Ordinariate would be a crime. A lot of TAC people are truly disappointed by the lack of recognition for what they have done to keep the Catholic and Orthodox Faith alive under the name 'Anglican'. It has been stated on other sites that the reason is they are deemed "schismatic" from the Anglican Communion. This is redicuilous. How can clergy and people who depart from error in an already 'schismatic' Church be 'schismatic'? The Episcopal Church and half of the Anglican Communion is now deemed heretical!

    In any event, I hope the Ordinariate begins its journey by adding the Pastoral Provision parishes with property and the TAC parishes with property ASAP to allay the fears of many waiting to see.

  2. Oh, left out one thing. Was really surprised to see the Dominicans involved. Which Dominicans are they? Back in my younger days I was into the Franciscans (Brother Sun Sister Moon, Donovan music etc.) and saw the Dominicans as "EVIL"! Now I have a softer place in my heart for them and a greater appreciation for what they are doing. I still don't buy the whole Saint Dominic revelation of the Marian Rosary. It existed in various forms long before Dominic had his 'vision'.
    Glad to see them helping out!

  3. Matthew, I can assure you that Fr. Steenson in no way fails to see the TAC people as important to the Ordinariate. While he recognizes that TAC parishes and Episcopalian parishes (not to mention Anglican Use parishes) all have different cultures that must be brought together in one ordinariate and that this will require great charity and sensitivity and hard work, he is on record as thanking the TAC for their leadership; and in the three weeks he has been ordinary he has sent a message about his hopes to work with the ACCC in Canada and now has met with ACA clergy here in the states. Fr. Steenson has been very busy, but he is looking out for everyone.

    Fr. Carlton Jones, O.P. was a Cowley father in Massachusetts (and Fr Steenson knew him while studying in seminary). He became Catholic and then entered the Dominicans. He was very helpful to Fr. Bradford and the AU congregation of St. Athanasius in Boston, and is now the chaplain for Mount Calvary, in part because he is pastor of a nearby parish. He helped catechize the people of Mount Calvary over the past year.


  4. Outstanding! Thanks Steve. I had a feeling more was going on than we've heard about or have seen on the new Ordinariate of St. peter website.

  5. The Holy Spirit was obviously at work there today. I think that what is happening in the anglican use ordinariate represents what will eventually happen in the future in the entire latin church. This was the most beautiful mass I've ever been to, besides the traditional latin mass and byzantine rite masses. I was taught by dominicans of the St Cecilia Congregatioh, Nashville, seeing their smiling faces afterwards made me happy. Dominicans love music they wouldnt have missed this for the world.