Wednesday, May 16, 2012

More Canadian Anglicans break away to join the Roman Catholic Church

As reported by Sheila Dabu Nonato of Postmedia News, April 18, 2012:

Pockets of breakaway Anglican groups in Canada, including their married priests, are joining the Roman Catholic Church in ceremonies across the country.

Conservative Anglicans say their beliefs are more in line with Rome than with increasingly liberal teachings of some of their own bishops regarding hot-button issues, such as female priests and same-sex marriage.

Deborah Gyapong, an Ottawa-based freelance journalist who reports for Catholic and evangelical newspapers, was one of about 40 Anglicans recently welcomed at a rite of reception in Ottawa on Sunday, part of several Anglican parishes across the country that will be entering into "full communion" with the Catholic Church.

There will be about 100 new members in Canada. They will become part of the Canadian Deanery of St. John the Baptist of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter under Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, a former Anglican bishop who is a married Catholic priest based in Houston.

Meanwhile, dozens of Anglicans will join from parishes in Oshawa, Ont., Kingston, Ont., Montreal, Edmonton, Vancouver and the Tynendinaga Mohawk Territory in southeastern Ontario, in the coming weeks. Groups recently have joined from Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont., Calgary and former Anglicans in Toronto.

Gyapong said it's been a "difficult" journey to join the Catholic Church because of some "internal splits," but adds she is overjoyed and "grateful we're finally home."
"People talk about us as disgruntled, disaffected. We love the Catholic Church. We love Pope Benedict. We were rooting for him long before the conclave," she said.

Gyapong is a member of the Traditional Anglican Church that sought formal unity with Rome in 2007, with two requests: that they are able to keep their Anglican liturgy and married clergy. Two years later, Pope Benedict signed a papal document opening the door to Anglicans who wished to join the Catholic Church.

About 700 people packed Ottawa's St. Patrick's Basilica to witness the ceremony on Sunday.
In Victoria, 22 Anglicans joined the Catholic Church in a recent ceremony attended by about 600 people at St. Andrew's Cathedral.

Ottawa Archbishop Terence Prendergast celebrated the "Anglican Use Liturgy" approved for use in the Catholic Church, the first Roman Catholic archbishop outside of the United States to celebrate the liturgy.

Prendergast told Postmedia News he hopes this will move Christians "towards greater unity," instead of "hardening" people's positions on Christian unity because they oppose these developments.

He stressed that it was not about "poaching" churchgoers, but acting upon the request of Anglicans who want to join the Catholic Church.

Prendergast explained that married Anglican clergy who are applying to become Catholic priests can remain married, but the move will not affect the celibacy rule affecting Catholic clergy.
Ms. Gyapong had reported on the April 15, 2012 event beforehand in Canadian Catholic News, April 6, 2012:

OTTAWA - On the Octave Sunday of Easter, two bishops of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (ACCC) — Bishop Peter Wilkinson in Victoria and Bishop Carl Reid in Ottawa — will lead their clergy and people into the Catholic Church.

Other congregations and fellowships across the country, part of the ACCC’s temporary Pro-Diocese of Our Lady of Walsingham, will follow on April 22 or dates soon to be announced. They will become Ordinariate parishes-in-waiting in their respective Roman Catholic dioceses, including groups in Edmonton, Oshawa, Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, Montreal and possibly Vancouver.

Victoria Bishop Richard Gagnon and Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast will receive the groups at special Masses. Afterwards, the bishops will provide spiritual oversight and priests to celebrate the Anglican Use liturgy for the new Catholics until their own priests are ordained and the parishes can join the American Ordinariate.
These parishes will join two previously received into the Catholic Church to eventually form the Canadian Deanery of St. John the Baptist of the American Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. It was established on Jan. 1, 2012 with Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, a former Episcopalian bishop and married Catholic priest, as Ordinary.

Prendergast described the move as “among the first fruits” of the response to Anglicanorum coetibus, Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Constitution that offered a way for Anglicans to become Catholic while retaining some aspects of their tradition, including their liturgy.

“While the Apostolic Constitution left open the possibility of an Ordinariate in Canada, this linking of Anglicans in Canada to the United States Ordinariate as a Deanery attached to it is a good step for now,” said Prendergast.

The decision to enter the Catholic Church now began as a meeting between Gagnon, Wilkinson and some Catholic and ACCC clergy late last year.

“We’ve been met with nothing but kindness,” said Wilkinson. “Catholic bishops have stepped up to the plate across the country and cared for us.”

Never licensed as an Anglican priest in Canada because he was too “catholic,” Wilkinson founded the ACCC in 1977 and Reid assisted as a lay person in building the new church.

In the past two years, the worldwide Traditional Anglican Communion and the ACCC both experienced pressures that disintegrated them. In Canada, many parishes have split, sometimes more than once, or abandoned the ACCC altogether. This is a sad result for Wilkinson who believes the TAC played a key role in the Holy Father’s response in the Apostolic Constitution.

“I still believe that it was the TAC’s letter that we took to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that began the process because we had taken doctrine off the table and made the Catechism of the Catholic Church our statement of faith,” he said.

Gagnon will receive Wilkinson, five priests, two religious sisters of the Servants of the Sacred Cross, a nun and several dozen lay people at the 5 p.m. service in his cathedral that “will contain music that is generally no longer heard at our Masses in Canada but is common to their tradition — and still possible within ours,” according to the diocesan bulletin.

In Ottawa, Prendergast will receive the Ottawa group as the first Roman Catholic archbishop anywhere to celebrate the Anglican Use liturgy approved for use in the Catholic Church.

“It is quite a reverent liturgy, more formal than even our newly retranslated Roman Missal, but quite accessible,” he said. It has “affinities with the Extraordinary Form of the Mass that I knew and served as a boy and more recently have celebrated on several occasions for the parish entrusted to the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter here in Ottawa.

“How this gift will be shared with the wider Church remains to be seen. Clearly, just as members of the Anglican Communion who are now being received individually and as groups will be free to attend Mass and receive Communion at other Roman Catholic parish churches in their neighbourhoods, so their Roman Catholic friends will, from time to time, attend this liturgical usage and communicate.”

He has also kept the Anglican Bishop of Ottawa John Chapman informed of the developments.

Toronto Cardinal Thomas Collins, the episcopal delegate for the Apostolic Constitution in Canada, has been involved in every step. Prendergast realized that in addition to consulting with Collins and Gagnon, he should also consult Steenson, who is based in Houston, Texas.

“I found him a delightful person, a real leader with clear ideas and principles who knows Canada a good bit already,” Prendergast said. “He is looking forward to a visit to Ottawa when time permits.”

In March, Steenson visited with Wilkinson and Gagnon in Victoria and stopped in Calgary to visit the parish-in-waiting of St. John the Evangelist, the only Ordinariate-bound parish from the Anglican Church of Canada. This parish was received into the Calgary diocese last Dec. 18.

On Jan. 1, Hamilton Bishop Douglas Crosby received members of an ACCC group based in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont.
Afterward, Ms. Gyapong filed this report on April 19, 2012:
OTTAWA - Bishops in Ottawa and Victoria received two groups from the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (ACCC) into the Roman Catholic Church April 15, including two former ACCC bishops and about a half dozen clergy.

"Today, the Body of Christ is a little more healed, a little more unified," Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast told more than 700 people who packed St. Patrick's Basilica. "Today, after half a millennium, separated brethren are separated no more. We are brethren, rejoicing at the same banquet table. Hallelujah."
In Victoria, an estimated 600 people packed St. Andrew's Cathedral, where Bishop Richard Gagnon welcomed the former metropolitan bishop of the ACCC, Peter Wilkinson.

The two groups received on Divine Mercy Sunday will soon become part of the Canadian Deanery of St. John the Baptist of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter under Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, who was named the Ordinary when the American Ordinariate was erected Jan. 1. Steenson, a former Episcopal (Anglican) bishop, is a married Catholic priest who teaches theology at the University of St. Thomas and St. Mary's Seminary in Houston.

"I am overjoyed to be a part of your journey today and to welcome members of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church," Prendergast said in his homily.

Prendergast celebrated the Anglican Use Liturgy using the Book of Divine Worship approved for use in the Catholic Church. He was the first Roman Catholic archbishop outside of the United States to celebrate this liturgy.

"I commend the courage and fortitude of our brothers and sisters of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada. Your journey has not been easy," Prendergast said. "I commend your humility and your sacrifice. You have suffered much. I commend your tradition and your zeal. You will bless and strengthen the Roman Catholic Church by your presence.

"You are not just favoured guests. This is your home," he said. "We love you. I love you. May our public witness of unity draw many from the edges of faith into God's Kingdom, no longer subject to judgment but to Divine Mercy."

About 30 were welcomed in the rite of reception in Ottawa, while other members of the former ACCC were received beforehand or will be soon. In Victoria, about 22 were received.

More groups will be received from the ACCC in the coming weeks. On April 22, Toronto Auxiliary Bishop Vincent Nguyen will receive an ACCC parish from Oshawa, Ont., and Kingston Archbishop Brendan O'Brien will receive an ACCC group from the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory.

An ACCC group from Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont., was received on Jan. 1 by Hamilton Bishop Douglas Crosby. ACCC groups in Vancouver, Edmonton, Montreal and Sydney also hope to be received soon.

A former Anglican Church of Canada parish in Calgary, St. John the Evangelist, was received on Dec. 18. Steenson visited the Calgary Ordinariate group on April 15 and baptized the daughter of former Anglican priest Lee Kenyon and his wife Elizabeth. Kenyon will be ordained soon as a Catholic priest.

There is also a Toronto Ordinariate group composed of former Anglicans. Toronto Cardinal Thomas Collins received four former Anglicans into the Catholic Church on Dec. 18.

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