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

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Shepherd of Fort Worth writes about the Ordinariate

Msgr. Steenson and Bishop Vann with candidates for the Ordinariate

Sunday, February 12th, saw the liturgical establishment of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter at Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral in Houston. Donald Cardinal Wuerl and Daniel Cardinal DiNardo presided, along with a number of other Bishops and Archbishops, when Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson PA, celebrated the Mass that inaugurated the Ordinariate. There were approximately 800 people in attendance at the beautiful new Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral in Houston. Anglicans that had already been received in the Church, or were part of Anglican use personal parishes were present, along with many priests, deacons, and religious. There was a very good sized group from the Diocese of Fort Worth, along with Lucas Pollice, our Director of Catechesis, and Bert and Rosary Guidry of St. Michael’s parish in Bedford who assist in the catechesis for all of those seeking full communion.

In his homily, Msgr. Steenson relied on the Fathers of the Church to show that Church’s ancient concern for reconciliation and full communion. He especially saluted the priests present who came into the Church years ago as “pioneers’ in the Pastoral Provision. I would especially mention here Fr. Allan Hawkins who was present, and he, along with his congregation of St. Mary the Virgin in Arlington, made careful preparation, study and prayer in their journey to full communion years ago. Their pioneer journey of Faith years ago has now begun to bear fruit in a significant way. An Anglican priest friend of mine mentioned years ago, at a meeting, “we are just looking for someone to reach out to us with a hand.” And, so it has been done in the person of Pope Benedict XVI. As another priest said, this is not just about “swimming the Tiber”, but the Pope has built us a bridge.” All of this is certainly the fruit of the ecumenical movement which predated the Second Vatican Council, but as well is found in the documents of the Council.

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