HOUSTON, TX: New American Ordinary Jeffrey Steenson formally introduced to the media
News conference held at Our Lady of Walsingham -- the Ordinariate's new principal church in Houston
A VOL EXCLUSIVE
By Mary Ann Mueller in Houston
January 3, 2012
The formal announcement naming former Episcopal Bishop Jeffrey Steenson as the founding Ordinary of the Chair of St. Peter Ordinariate came from the Vatican early New Year's Day. Less than a day later, the new American Ordinary held his first press conference flanked by Daniel Cardinal DiNardo of the Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and Bishop Kevin Vann of the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth.
A slimmer-trimmer Fr. Steenson, looking every inch a Roman Catholic priest, towered over his United States Catholic Conference of Bishops brethren as he looked out over the assembled media, fellow Catholic priests and the faithful who came out to greet him in his day of introduction as a new chapter in the life of the church started to unfold. The new Ordinary was all smiles as he listened to what his brother bishops had to say about him and his new ecclesial responsibilities.
The former Episcopal bishop received an extended ovation when he was introduced to the crowd by Cardinal DiNardo who described Fr. Steenson as a "wise and prudent administrator who will bring a vibrant intellect and humility to his role as head of the Ordinariate."
Fr. Steenson sported a new set of Christmas cufflinks on which the words "Keep Calm & Carry On" were written. He felt those were words-to-the-wise as he under takes the herculean task of transforming a theological concept into a living reality.
The new Anglican Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter encompasses the entire United States weaving through all 194 Catholic dioceses from Alaska to Florida and Hawaii to Maine.
"There is so much to learn, and it is a steep learning curve," Fr. Steenson explained. "Be patient with us as we embark on this journey."
He said it was his prayer "that we may strive to learn the faith, laws, and culture of the Catholic Church with humility and good cheer ..." yet not forgetting " ... who we are and where we have come from, for we have been formed in the beautiful and noble Anglican tradition."
As the first Ordinary Fr. Steenson is going to have to walk a fine line between having his Anglican Use parishes and other Ordinariate faith communities fully engaged in the life of the local Catholic diocese but not let them to be assimilated into the Church of Rome but rather integrated into the rich spiritual and cultural life of the Roman Church by which both the Catholic Church and the former Episcopalians and Anglicans in the Ordinariate are all enriched.
Fr. Steenson said he felt that the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter must be an effective instrument for evangelization because Christ taught that that the unity of Christian people is the essential condition for evangelization.
"So this must be our hallmark," Fr. Steenson noted. "...to build bridges, to be an instrument of peace and reconciliation, to be a sign of what Christian unity might look like." As the Ordinary he wanted to see to the converting Anglicans become happy and joyful Catholics.
Cardinal DiNardo interjected that this was a "win-win situation" and a bridge-building opportunity to making Jesus known. The good Cardinal has been Catholic bishop to Our Lady of Walsingham Anglican Use Catholic Church since 2006. He inherited the unique Pastoral Provision congregation at the retirement of his predecessor Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza.
The Houston Cardinal hopes that after Our Lady of Walsingham joins the Ordinariate that the congregation would welcome him back to the OLW altar on an occasion. The Cardinal's comment was met with enthusiastic applause...
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