Much as Pentecost marks the “birthday” of the church, it’s rare that this 50th Day of Easter actually lends itself to seeing a community of the faithful take shape and grow in real-time. This year, though, that just so happens to be the case in our midst.
Along those lines, while an early-month briefing on the global Anglican Ordinariate effort said that the first priestly ordination for the venture’s North American branch would take place on June 3rd in South Carolina, to use a Roman term, the report has been superseded.
According to a Friday announcement from the Houston-based Chair of St Peter and the archdiocese of Mobile, the first priesting for the key papal project will instead take place a day earlier, as a 31 year-old former Episcopal cleric is ordained alongside the Alabama church’s own quintet of candidates.
His clearance for orders received from Rome just prior to the weekend, Matthew Alan Venuti will be ordained a transitional deacon tonight by Mobile’s Archbishop Thomas Rodi in the chapel of a local parish. The married father of one became an Episcopal priest in 2010 and was received into full Catholic communion last September.
As previously noted, the first cleric ordained for the new structure — now Deacon Jon David Chalmers — will become a priest on Trinity Sunday in the Palmetto State.
Said to be on-track to receive 30 new priests just over the summer months (with just as many elsewhere in the pipeline), the twin lone ordinations will take place alongside at least two sets of mass additions to the Ordinariate’s clerical ranks just within the next week. On Tuesday, Bishop Kevin Vann of Fort Worth will make transitional deacons of six former Episcopal priests; including a father and son (Charles Hough III and IV), the North Texas group will become priests on June 30th. And next weekend in Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl — the CDF delegate for the domestic Anglicanorum project — will ordain five metro DC candidates as transitional deacons.
The capital group includes Randy Sly, a lead editor of the Catholic Online portal, and Mark Lewis, the once and future rector of St Luke’s, Washington’s lead Anglicanorum hub, and one of the few groups able to make the journey while keeping its building.
Wuerl will ordain at least two of the men to the priesthood on June 23rd in St Matthew’s Cathedral; the others should likewise have their journey completed by month’s end.
Meanwhile, the shot above comes from across the Pond as the founding arm of the project — Britain’s Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham — ordained 17 transitional deacons yesterday in London’s Westminster Cathedral. The group are part of an eventual priesthood class of 30 in the structure’s second wave.