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, April 23, 2013

A step toward unity

Former Episcopal minister ordained as a Catholic priest

BEVERLY — Nothing like it has ever happened at St. Mary Star of the Sea Church before.
On Saturday morning, more than 400 people gathered to see Jurgen Liias join the Catholic priesthood. Included among them were his two children, his grandchildren and his wife, Gloria.
Mike Springer/Courtesy photo Cardinal Sean O'Malley,
archbishop of Boston, prepares to lay his hands on the
head of the Rev. Jurgen Liias during an ordination ceremony
Saturday at St. Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church in
Beverly. Liias is a former Episcopal clergyman with a wife
and two grown children
The ceremony was not in defiance of the Vatican policy of celibate priests — rather, Cardinal Sean O’Malley officiated, instituting a policy set during the tenure of Pope Benedict. In 2012, he established the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, welcoming to the Catholic fold Anglican clergy dissatisfied with their own church.
This followed an earlier welcome to their unhappy parishioners from Pope John Paul II.
Liias literally grew up in the Episcopal Church and served as a minister for 40 years, including 14 at Christ Church in Hamilton. He now finds he cannot reconcile with new policies like welcoming homosexual clergy and countenancing abortion.
He describes these policies as an attempt to “compromise and sell everything out in an effort to be liked. ... The Catholic Church is closer to the things that are right and true.”
By becoming a Catholic father, he brings a dramatic new dynamic to that church — a priest with a wife and family.
Liias won’t say this speaks to things to come, but, “It at least shows the church it’s not impossible to be a married priest.”
In an interview prior to Saturday’s ceremony, Liias acknowledged that the priesthood has previously taken on widowers with children in a program of late vocations.
He is only the second Episcopal priest with a wife ordained in the Boston Archdiocese..

Read the rest at The Salem News

Hat tip to Deborah Gyapong at Foolishness to the World, where she has loads of great photos.

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