Archdiocese for the Military Ordains two Ordinariate Priests for Service

The Anglican Use of the Roman Rite:

The Archdiocese for the Military Services (AMS) is celebrating the Catholic priestly ordinations on Saturday of two United States military chaplains and former Episcopal priests, both entering the Catholic priesthood through the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, established by the Holy See in 2012 for former Anglican communities and clergy seeking to enter the Church.

Father Joseph Francis Vieira, III, CH (MAJ) USA, was ordained in Grafenwoehr, Germany by His Excellency, the Most ReverendTimothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services.

Father Richard Rojas, Ch Capt USAF, was ordained in Inarajan Guam by His Excellency, the Most Reverend Anthony S. Apuron, OFM Cap., DD, Archbishop of Agana.

In his homily at the ordination Mass for Father Vieira, Archbishop Broglio said the faithful expect the new priest to “ignite a blaze of new evangelization as he is ordained in the Year of Faith.”

Addressing Father Vieira directly, Archbishop Broglio said:

“You will be empowered to nourish the community of faith with the most precious gift she has to offer, the Body and Blood of Christ. No one else can give it and so your contribution will be priceless. For the Army, the greatness of that gift is so appreciated, because it is in short supply. Every Catholic who has been deployed knows the value of what you and your brother priests alone can give. You will, to quote Karl Rahner, ‘lift the chalice with the blood that was redeemed and sanctified in the truth.’”

Click here to read the full text of Archbishop Broglio’s homily.

Father Vieira, a married father of two, holds a Master of Divinity from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Mill Valley, California. He was ordained an Episcopal priest in December 1994 and entered Active Duty with the U.S. Army in July 1995.

Father Rojas, a married father of four, holds a Master of Divinity from Westminster Theological Seminary in Glenside, Pennsylvania. He has been a military chaplain for eight years.

Father Vieira said:

“It is with great joy that I enter this next stage in my faith journey which has led me ever closer to the Throne of God, through the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church He established.  I have been convinced of the veracity of the Catholic Church for many years, but until recently I have been unable to act on that faith.  Through the grace of God and the beneficence of the Catholic Church I now have the privilege to serve God in the Church I love. I wish to express my deep gratitude to the Holy Father, Pope Francis; and to my family, for their trust and unwavering support.  I also want to thank each of the Military Catholic Communities which have nurtured me as one of their own for over thirteen years as I walked the line between the Catholic and Protestant churches. I have truly come home!”

Father Rojas said:

“I am overjoyed to be in full communion with the Catholic Church.”



Newly Ordained Married Catholic Priest: ‘My New Journey is Just Beginning’

From Arkansas Catholic: 

On his ordination day Aug. 3, Father George Sanders reflected on his journey that got him to Christ the King Church in Little Rock kneeling before Bishop Anthony B. Taylor.

As the bishop laid hands on him, as he prostrated himself during the Litany of Saints and had his hands anointed with chrism oil, he thought back on his life.

At 14, he first heard the calling to become a priest.

At 27 he got married.

When he was 39 years old, the El Dorado native joined the Charismatic Episcopal Church and served as a priest in that church for three years. When he left the church in 2001 he was told he could never become a Catholic priest.

When he was 47 years old, he and his wife Brenda joined the Catholic Church.

Four years later, he finally began his studies for the Catholic priesthood. It was initially believed that Sanders would be able to be ordained in 2011, but it took another two years of training and patiently waiting for the ordination date to be set.

Now at 57 years old, he is looking at a new journey as a hospital chaplain and administrator at St. Patrick and St. Mary churches in North Little Rock.

“I remembered all the ups and downs and remembered the journey. My greatest thought is that this journey has come to end and my new journey is just beginning. I am really excited to get out and work in God’s kingdom.”

Sanders’ youngest son Eric, said, “It’s about time. … It seemed like a lot of doors were closed to him, but I guess God just kept leading him.”

Rest here.

HTThe Deacon’s Bench



ACNA to Review Women’s Orders

Via George Conger:

The College of Bishops of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) has agreed to launch a Task Force examining the question of the Holy Orders of women clergy.  Meeting last week in Orlando, the ACNA bishops set down a five part protocol studying the question of women clergy in conjunction with the issues of Prayer Book reform, the creation of a Catechism for the church, and a review of its ecclesial structures.

In ordering their priorities, the bishops decided to begin with a study of Scripture and church traditions and them move to the creation of church policies.  One bishops told The Church of England Newspaper the ACNA bishops wanted to ground their actions in doctrine, rather than find a doctrine to support their actions.

The election and translation of five bishops were approved by the College of Bishops, while time was also spent seeking to heal the hurts caused by the break-up of the Anglican Mission in America last year.

The ACNA currently permits dioceses to ordain women to the diaconate and priesthood, but not to the episcopate.  However, Forward in Faith and the Anglo-Catholic Diocese of San Joaquin have urged the province to review its “two integrities” structure.

The bishops announced they had appointed a task force to study the doctrine of Holy Orders – not limiting their work to the question of women clergy – and would begin by with the Bible and then move to a study of doctrine and tradition.

At Phase 4 “the Task Force will discuss the arguments, pro and con, related to the ordination of women, considering the relevant Scriptural texts and historical arguments, and reviewing studies conducted within and without the Anglican tradition.”

The College of Bishops said that before final action is taken, their recommendations will be passed to the theological commission of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans.  The conservative reform movement within the Anglican Communion is divided on the question of women clergy with Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda strongly in favor, while Singapore, Sydney and the Anglo-Catholic provinces of Africa are opposed.

A report on overlapping dioceses and episcopal jurisdictions was also presented to the College.  A communique from the meeting stated the ACNA sought to bring the church into conformity “with historic Anglican practice. The goal of the work is to organize each region for the long-term sustainability of the movement in recognizable, godly Anglican Church structures.”

The bishops received a map showing the location of each of the their 951 congregations, which enabled the bishops to identify “11 regions of overlapping mission work among the various jurisdictions of the Province.”

While no diocese or group was slated for elimination, the bishops’ communique stated the challenge of overlapping jurisdictions “will result in enhanced collaboration, responsive structures and ministry oversight, with better sharing of resources, clearer communication and more profound unity in the mission that we share.”



Some More Ordinations

For those curious. Not so long ago, we had Ordinations at Christ the King, in Kimberley, in the Northern Cape. A second lot of Ordinations took place yesterday at All Saints Pro-Cathedral, Seshego, which is in the Limpopo Province. This photo was sent in and I share it with great joy:

Ordination All Saints Seshego 137

Yes, Africa is a BIG place!

Our Lord Jesus so rightly say,

He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.

– St Matthew 12:20

So, instead of doing the Devil’s bidding, in your charity, why not join us in love and support? And please do travail in prayer, as we are about the Lord’s work – the harvest is indeed plentiful (Luke 10:2). Here’s a prayer, authoured by the anti-apartheid hero, Rev Trevor Huddleston, which you may wish to use:

God Bless Africa;
Guard her children;
Guide her leaders
And give her peace, for Jesus Christ’s sake.

– Amen.



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.”