Former Anglican Archbishop Is Happy to be a Catholic Parish Priest

Fr Peter Wilkinson. The National Catholic Register:

VICTORIA, B.C. — When Peter Wilkinson returned to his home town of Victoria,  British Columbia, 42 years ago, with five years of service in the Anglican  Church in England under his belt, he was deemed too “Catholic” by the local  bishop and never got an Anglican parish of his own.

But as an Anglican-Catholic member of a world-wide communion of dissenters  from liberal trends in Anglicanism, he rose swiftly to bishop and then to  Metropolitan for Canada — before giving that all up earlier this year to be  received as a simple layman into the Catholic Church.

On Dec. 8, at the ripe age of 72, he was ordained a Catholic priest and  immediately assumed his duties as priest and pastor of St. Columba of Iona  Church. Father Wilkinson’s flock comprises 22 former Anglican Catholics who with  him were received into the Catholic Church early this year, and at the same time  into the Personal Ordinariate  of the Chair of St. Peter.

The Ordinariate, which is headquartered in Houston, Texas, was  created on Jan. 1 to provide a North American structure for Anglicans coming  into the Catholic Church who wish to retain distinctive elements of their  theological, spiritual, and liturgical patrimony as Anglicans.

Father Wilkinson’s ordination was the first in Canada for a former Anglican  cleric who has entered the Church though the Ordinariate of the Chair of St.  Peter, and it coincided with a key announcement for these new Catholics and for  other Canadian Anglicans who are considering following in their footsteps.

On Dec. 7, Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, the leader of the Ordinariate, jointly  announced with Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto that the Holy See had approved  the establishment of a new deanery for groups of Anglicans and Anglican clergy  in Canada who have come into the Church.

In a  statement, Msgr. Steenson announced he had appointed Father Lee Kenyon,  administrator of the first Ordinariate congregation in Canada at St. John the  Evangelist Church in Calgary, Alberta, as dean of the new Deanery of St. John  the Baptist.

Cardinal Collins, who is the ecclesiastical delegate for the Ordinariate in  Canada, and Msgr. Steenson jointly petitioned the Holy See to create the new  deanery after receiving unanimous backing for the proposal from the Canadian  bishops in September.

It’s Not About Me

“I’m loving it,” Father Wilkinson told the National Catholic Register when  asked about his membership in the Catholic Church. “I haven’t regretted this for  a moment.”

As for his demotion in ecclesial rank, he laughingly commented, “It  isn’t about me. I simply want to be a holy priest and serve out my remaining  years in that capacity.”

Anglican Catholics like Father Wilkinson are part of a spiritual revival that  was initiated in the English Anglican Church, whose leaders included Blessed  John Henry Newman before his conversion to Catholicism in 1845. It looked to the  restoration of pre-Reformation liturgy, celebration of the full range of  sacraments, devotion to Mary, communal religious life, and, for some, ultimate  reunion with Rome.

But Father Wilkinson believes that from right from the time of the English  Reformation (when King Henry VIII nationalized the church in 1534 under the  authority of the English crown), there was a movement within Anglicanism for  reunion with Rome.

Many of today’s Anglican-Catholics broke away from their national Anglican  Churches in the U.S., Canada and elsewhere when these churches voted to ordain  women.

“It was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” explained Scott Vannan, a  Victoria Anglican Catholic who joined the Catholic Church earlier this year  along with Peter Wilkinson. Anglicans who were praying and working for reunion  with Rome saw women’s ordination as an insuperable obstacle, given Rome’s  adamant rejection of women priests, not to mention the similar stance of the  Orthodox Church.

“But there were many other doctrinal issues which pointed to the question of  authority,” said Vannan. “Anglicanism has never had a Magisterium, but it did  believe that it shared a common deposit of faith which nobody was authorized to  change. Now they do change it.”

Some of the disaffected Anglicans left for Catholicism, the Orthodox Church  or Lutheran churches as individuals, but many left their national Anglican  churches within whole parishes. These then coalesced into two distinct, and  sometimes competing, traditional Anglican communions in North America.

The one Wilkinson and Vannan joined was the Anglican-Catholic Church of  Canada, which became part of the 240,000-strong worldwide Traditional Anglican  Communion (TAC), as did the like-minded Anglican Church in America.

Wilkinson became the pastor of Victoria’s traditional Anglicans, then the  Western Canadian bishop and finally the Metropolitan of a scattering of 38  parishes comprising 1,500 individuals across Canada.

In 2007, Wilkinson and two other TAC bishops proposed to Pope Benedict XVI a  package deal: bring in the Anglican-Catholics en masse, but with  provisions for the retention of existing parishes, those elements of the  Anglican liturgy compatible with Catholicism, and the married priesthood.

Benedict’s Inspiration

Pope Benedict was as enthusiastic as the TAC leaders had hoped.

“Some of our bishops had been meeting with him personally since the 1990s,” said Father Wilkinson. “They really liked him. And I had corresponded with him  myself — in fact I wrote him a fan letter. I even had an appointment to meet him  but it was the very week Pope John Paul II died and he couldn’t see me.”

Father Wilkinson’s own personal road to Rome was partly paved by Pope  Benedict’s 1986 book, Seek  That Which Is Above, which “spoke in a reasoned way but also from the  heart in a way that was fresh. It revealed the whole man. I hadn’t found that in  other Catholic books.”

He said that the Pope shares the Anglican Catholic belief “that the saints  and beauty are the Church’s two great converting forces.” This is why the Pope  permitted the Anglican-Catholics to keep their traditions centered on the Book  of Common Prayer.

“It is in our bones,” said Father Wilkinson of the 463-year-old prayer book. “It is written in beautiful, sacral English, intentionally using a higher  register of language.”

After the Pope issued his invitation to Anglican converts in November 2009  through his apostolic constitution Anglicanorum  Coetibus, many Anglican-Catholics turned out to be less enthusiastic  than the leadership for communion with Rome. Of 38 parishes Canada-wide, only  three have entered into full communion, with 150 members.

The parish Father Wilkinson started in Victoria has split twice over such  issues as the authority of the Pope and the loss of local autonomy. In the  second split it lost its pastor. A similar reduction in expectations has  occurred in the U.S.

But this is not necessarily a bad thing, said Vannan. “Before, the tension  was always there under the surface. Now we are completely united. There is a  great sense of peace.”

Warm Welcome

On the other hand, some Catholics have had difficulty grasping the  Anglican-Catholic attachment to its liturgy and wondered why Wilkinson’s group  could not simply have converted as individuals. But most have been “very  welcoming,” said Wilkinson. He praised Victoria Bishop Richard Gagnon and Father  John Laszczyk, the rector at St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Victoria, for their  support.

“Everybody has been wonderful,” said Father Wilkinson. As for Father  Laszczyk, who stood in as pastor for the past few months and is a strong  proponent of beauty in liturgy, he described his experience with the  Anglican-Catholics as “profound.”

The small parish of 22 people now has its own home in a former Anglican  church. And instead of Father Laszczyk celebration of the Mass in a deep  baritone, they will again have Peter Wilkinson’s tenor chanting.

Looking ahead a few days before Father Wilkinson’s ordination, Scott Vannan  commented, “It’s a wonderful time for us. I am looking forward to his next Good  Friday sermon on the Crucifixion. It is the same every year and each time I  understand a little more of it.”



Fr Peter Wilkinson Ordained Catholic Priest

After waiting, with what one could best describe as great patience and grace, former TAC Bishop Peter Wilkinson was ordained a Catholic priest for the Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter.


There are photos plenty here.

And as Deborah Gyapong (HT) notes:

This makes me so happy.  What a journey it has been.  And how he trusted in God and helped us all to do so as well.  Of course, I came kicking and complaining half the time, but he would always say, “Kiss the Cross, Deborah.”   I am so proud of him!


Ordinariate Ordination of Former TAC Bishop Peter Wilkinson

Over at Foolishness to the World.

Former Anglican Bishop in Victoria, British Columbia, to be Ordained a Catholic Priest

Former Anglican bishop Peter Wilkinson of Victoria, British Columbia, will become part of history on Saturday, Dec. 8 when he is ordained a Catholic priest for the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. The ordinariate was founded by Pope Benedict XVI earlier this year to welcome former Anglican groups and clergy seeking to become Catholic. They retain many aspects of Anglican tradition and liturgy.

Victoria Bishop Richard Gagnon will ordain Wilkinson on Dec. 8, 10 a.m. St. Andrew’s Cathedral, 740 View Street, Victoria, BC V8W 1J8. Monsignor Jeffrey N. Steenson, the leader of the Ordinariate, will concelebrate the Mass.

Wilkinson is the former Bishop Ordinary of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (ACCC). A native of Victoria, BC, he was ordained a priest for the Anglican Church of Canada in 1965. In 1977, he joined the ACCC and in 1999 he was elected Suffragan Bishop. Six years later, in 2009, he became Bishop Ordinary. He received his undergraduate degree at Victoria College of the University of British Columbia, and attended seminary at the College of the Resurrection, in England. In 2006, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from St. Bede’s Anglican Catholic Theological College.

He became Catholic in April 2012 and currently leads the Fellowship of Blessed John Henry Newman in Victoria ( The group holds sung Catholic Mass, using an approved liturgy that is based upon the traditional Anglican liturgy, on Sundays at St. Columba, 40 High Street, View Royal, BC.

Since January 1, 2012, 25 former Anglican priests have become Catholic priests for the ordinariate, including two others in Canada (Fr. Lee Kenyon of Calgary and Fr. John Wright of Chestermere), and over 1,500 people in 35 communities throughout the United States and Canada have joined the ordinariate. In several cases, entire parishes entered the Catholic Church together. By the end of the year, nearly 30 men will have become priests for the ordinariate; more than 60 others are in or are seeking to be accepted for the formation process.

Equivalent to a diocese, but national in scope, the ordinariate was created on Jan. 1, 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI for Anglican groups and clergy in the United States seeking to enter the Catholic Church. It has since expanded to include Canada. Three ordinariates exist in the world, in the United States, United Kingdom (Our Lady of Walsingham) and Australia (Our Lady of the Southern Cross). The North American ordinariate is led by Msgr. Steenson, a former Episcopal bishop who is based in Houston, Texas. In speaking about the ordinations this year, Msgr. Steenson noted that they “mark a significant moment in the history of Catholic unity.”



So It Comes To Pass… Canadian Anglicans Received into Full Communion

Vatican Radio:

In Canada, this Divine Mercy Sunday sees two former Anglican bishops, Peter Wilkinson and Carl Reid received, with members of their congregations, into full communion with the Catholic Church, in accordance with Pope Benedict XVI’s 2009 Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, which provides a structure for welcoming Anglicans into the Catholic Church. The ceremonies of reception will be held at special Masses, one in Ottawa, the nation’s capital; the other in Victoria on Canada’s west coast.

“We’ve tried to respond to a request from a certain group of Anglicans, who wish for full communion now,” said Catholic Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa. “And we also realize that we have to continue to work for the full unity of the Church in whatever way Christ would like that to be, however He wants to bring it about with the remaining Anglicans.”

Archbishop Prendergast spoke about Sunday’s liturgy: “I’ve learned how to celebrate Mass in the Anglican tradition that’s been approved for this group of Anglicans to come over, and I’ll be celebrating their liturgy on Sunday afternoon. And the priest who’s has been working with them has also learned their liturgy as well, so I think that will encourage them and comfort them.”

He also put the event into a larger, ecumenical context: “I think anything that will strengthen unity among Christians is going to be a positive sign for others. One of the great scandals, of course, in our world is that there are so many Christians who believe in Jesus Christ and all that He has brought to us and yet that we go about it in such different ways. Our disunity is a countersign to the evangelisation of our world, and  I think anything that will bring us closer together that recognises unity in diversity is going to be rich blessing for us and a help to evangelisation.”

Listen to the full interview with Archbishop Terrence Prendergast here (Mp3).



Canada: 2 Anglican Bishops to Enter Catholic Church, Will Become Part of US Ordinariate

I fear I need to count my words more carefully these days – lest I be misinterpreted or (dare I say) misrepresented…

The following article is in the Catholic World News today, is relevant, AND MAY OR MAY NOT BE OF INTEREST TO THE READERS OF THIS BLOG:

Joined by clergy and laity, two of the three active bishops of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (ACCC) will be received into the Catholic Church on Divine Mercy Sunday. Bishops Peter Wilkinson and Carl Reid will be received into the Church by Bishop Richard Gagnon of Victoria and Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa at separate Masses. Bishop Wilkinson is the head of the ACCC.

Their parishes–along with two Anglican parishes already received into the Church, and up to six other ACCC parishes–will become the Canadian Deanery of St. John the Baptist of the US Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, which Pope Benedict established on January 1.

“While the apostolic constitution[Anglicanorum Coetibus] left open the possibility of an ordinariate in Canada, this linking Anglicans in Canada to the United States Ordinariate as a deanery attached to it is a good step for now,” said Archbishop Pendergrast.

Founded in 1977, the  Anglican Catholic Church of Canada is part of the Traditional Anglican Communion.



Canadian Anglicans to Unite with Rome

Deborah Gyapong in WCR:

Ottawa – On Divine Mercy Sunday April 15, 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 to become ordinariate parishes-in-waiting in their respective Roman Catholic dioceses. There are 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 and afterwards provide spiritual oversight and priests for the new Catholics until their priests are ordained and the parishes can join the American ordinariate.

Until the ACCC priests are ordained, Catholic bishops will supply priests to celebrate the Anglican Use liturgy for the new ordinariate parishes-in-waiting.

These parishes will join two already 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 that 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’s apostolic constitution that offered a way for Anglicans to become Catholic while bringing in approved aspects of their tradition, including their liturgy.

“While the apostolic constitution left open the possibility of an ordinariate in Canada this linking Anglicans in Canada to the United States ordinariate as a deanery attached to it is a good step for now,” said Prendergast.