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

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Day to Remember

Some things happen in life, and they are of such a nature that you not only remember them, but you also remember where you were when they happened. For instance, my earliest memory is of the Texas City explosion in 1947. I remember where I was, and with whom, when we heard in Houston the noise from the explosion all the way down in Texas City. Most people old enough remember where they were when they learned that President Kennedy had been killed.

This Sunday should prove to be one of those days that we remember, not just for one event, but for four. It is the First Anniversary of Deacon John Denson's ordination to the diaconate. I am sure that you join me in congratulating John and in thanking him for all his outstanding and faithful service to the Church and to this parish, especially during this past year in the Office of Deacon.

The second event commemorated Sunday is the Eighth Anniversary of the Dedication of our church building. It is hard to believe eight years have passed since we gathered on that Saturday morning back in 2004 as then Bishop Fiorenza was with us for the dedication liturgy of our church building, which seems to impress all who enter with its beauty and sense of the Spirit of Holiness.

The third and fourth events go hand-in-hand and will take place at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart on Sunday afternoon. In the presence of our own Cardinal DiNardo and of Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., the Anglican Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter will be officially inaugurated. At the same liturgy, Father Jeffrey Steenson will be installed as our first Ordinary. This weekend we keep in our prayers in a special way both the new Ordinariate and Fr. Steenson as he begins his new tasks of leadership for us.

For some of us the waith for this day has been thirty years in coming. It is something none of us could have ever imagined when Our Lady of Walsingham was begun as a house church in 1982 by Father Moore, myself, and about twelve people. With the Lord's blessing and the prayers of the Blessed Mother, and through much hard work, patience, and perseverance, we have arrived at today, a day which is truly historic: it marks the first time since the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century that the See of Peter has admitted a Reformation body back into its ranks while allowing us to retain our Anglican Patrimony.
Sunday is thus a day we should always be able to remember where we were when these events happened, as we echo the word of the angels at Bethlehem, "Gloria in excelsis Deo."

Fr. James Ramsey

From the Sunday bulletin of the Church of Our Lady of Walsingham, Houston, Texas

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