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

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Ordination of Fr. Andrew Bartus in California

Unusual Mass Turns Anglicans Catholic
An Episcopal priest and Anglican congregations from Orange and San Diego counties join the Catholic Church in San Juan Capistrano on Tuesday.
Fr. Bartus gives his first blessing to Ordinary Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson at the conclusion of the ordination Mass.

Nearly 500 years after the Church of England broke away from Roman Catholicism, a small group of Episcopalians returned to the fold Tuesday during a special Mass at Mission Basilica in San Juan Capistrano.

As part of a reunification program authorized by Pope Benedict, two Episcopal congregations and a married Anglican priest were welcomed into the Catholic faith during the service, which was led by Bishop Tod Brown.

The Anglican churches, Blessed John Henry Newman of Santa Ana and Vista-based Saint Augustine of Canterbury, are now organized in “ordinariates,” geographic regions similar to a Catholic diocese.

In addition, Anglican priest Andrew Bartus was officially ordained as a Catholic priest Tuesday, even though he is married and has a child. Like others joining the Catholic Church across the nation, his congregation will maintain distinctive elements of Anglican practices.

All told, about 70 members of both congregations were confirmed as Catholics at the ceremony.

“What a joy it is for me to be a part of this holy work today," Msgr. Jeffrey N. Steenson told the crowd...

Read the rest of the story at Mission Viejo Patch.

Hat tip to Deborah Gyapong writing at The Anglo-Catholic, which also includes Msgr. Steenson's homily at the Mass.

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