FIRST ANGLICAN ORDINARIATE BISHOP ORDAINED: ‘IT MEANS WE’RE HERE TO STAY’

Here’s a great article by my EWTN colleague Kathleen Naab for the National Catholic Register about Tuesday’s ordination of Bishop Steven Lopes as Bishop of the Ordinariate of the Chair of Peter. I say “colleague” as we are both in the EWTN family but I never did meet her in Houston!

The photos and explanations are mine.

FIRST ANGLICAN ORDINARIATE BISHOP ORDAINED: ‘IT MEANS WE’RE HERE TO STAY’

National Catholic Register – Kathleen Naab

HOUSTON — In a majestic Mass at Houston’s Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart on Tuesday evening, history was made for the Anglican ordinariates established by Pope Benedict XVI: Their first bishop was ordained.

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“In a nutshell, it means we’re here to stay,” summarized Msgr. Harry Entwistle, the ordinary of Australia’s ordinariate, which is under the patroness of Our Lady of the Southern Cross.

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The new bishop, Stephen Joseph Lopes, 40, a native of California, was in fact instrumental in the creation of the ordinariate that he now leads — the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.

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The ordinariates were established as the Vatican’s pastoral response to repeated and persistent inquiries made by Anglican individuals and groups who desired full communion with the Catholic Church, in a history that goes back to at least Pope Pius XII.

Three of the six cardinals at the ordination Mass: Donald Wuerl, Gerhard Mueller and William Levada. Also present but not in this photo were Cardinals Daniel DiNardo, Roger Mahony and Edwin O’Brien.

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In November 2009, in response to these inquiries from Anglican groups worldwide, Pope Benedict XVI issued an apostolic constitution, Anglicanorum Coetibus. This document authorized the creation of “ordinariates” — communities that would be fully Catholic yet retain elements of Anglican heritage and liturgical practice.

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So far, there are three ordinariates globally: The first was established in the United Kingdom (the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham) in 2011. The following year, an ordinariate was established here in the United States, with jurisdiction also including Canada, and another in Australia.

(This man in black with a small staff or baton-like item is a verger. A verger (or virger, so-called after the staff of the office) is a person, usually a layperson, who assists in the ordering of religious services, particularly in Anglican churches. This is part of the Anglican tradition that was allowed when the personal ordinariate was created)

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Bishop Lopes was working in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) as this process unfolded, having been named an official of that congregation in 2005. For seven of his 10-plus years at the Vatican, he served as secretary to the cardinal prefect, and he was in effect the coordinator for the three ordinariates. Hence, he knows well his flock and their unique home in the Church.

Cardinal William Levada, former prefect of the CDF, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, gave a beautiful homily.

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Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, prefect of the CDF, ordained Bishop Lopes:

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An act of humility by the bishop-to-be before the laying on of hands and anointing as the faithful chant the litany of the Saints.

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Placing the Gospel over the bishop’s head:

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Anointing the new bishop:

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Blessing the staff or crozier:

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HABEMUS EPISCOPUS!

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Mass

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‘Stories of Faith and Courage’

Bishop Lopes explained at the end of his ordination Mass that his episcopal motto — Magna Opera Domini (“Great are the works of the Lord”) — flows from this intimate knowledge of the ordinariate.

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Addressing the priests gathered for his ordination — just for the U.S.-Canada ordinariate, there are 62 of them, along with six deacons, four candidates for the priesthood or diaconate and one seminarian, in service to 42 parishes and communities — he noted, “I have met each one of you.”

Reminiscing about a clergy assembly held several years ago in Florida, he explained that the event was one of the first occasions that he had to put faces to the names and autobiographies that he had read and studied at the CDF.

“Yours were stories of faith and of courage, and of a passion and zeal for the truth and the search of the truth in sacred Scripture,” Bishop Lopes told the priests. “And they were also often enough stories of sacrifice, suffering and the anguish of leaving what was familiar and comfortable in order to embark on an unknown and sometimes lonely path toward the fullness of Catholic communion.”

Seeing the faces of these priests and knowing their stories, he said as he named some of them by name, “in that moment, beholding, if you will, before me, the great work of communion manifest in that chapel, my heart was moved to only one thought: We did not do this. God did this. This is the work of the Lord, and great are the works of the Lord!”

For his priests as well, Bishop Lopes’ long involvement with the ordinariates is a source of consolation and hope.

“We all know him very well. He knows each one of us priests very well,” explained Father John Vidal, pastor of St. Anselm Catholic Community in Corpus Christi, Texas. “It’s like a brother priest is being ordained. He’s not coming from the Anglican Communion, but he knows it just as much as we do, if not better, which is really exciting.”

Father Vidal remarked that Bishop Lopes is, in fact, “kind of the one who defined who we were.”

“I’m just thrilled,” he said. “For him, but even more for us.”

Proper Catholics

The ordinariates are still in their infant stage (what’s five years in the history of the Church?), so much of the work before Bishop Lopes is furthering their establishment.

And many Catholics are still unaware that the ordinariates even exist. Msgr. Keith Newton, the ordinary of the U.K. ordinariate, in a presentation prior to the ordination Mass, joked that he still gets Catholics asking him, “Why don’t you become a proper Catholic?”

But the ordination of a bishop will undoubtedly help to further awareness of the ordinariates and their mission.

With our own bishop, said Msgr. Entwistle, “we have become a particular Church. This is a statement of confidence from the Holy Father.”

The Australian ordinary added that the ordinariates’ mission is for the entire Church: “We have a spirituality and a distinctiveness that will enrich the whole of the Catholic Church,” he said. “So we are not a ship passing in the night. … The influence of that English spiritual, theological and pastoral tradition will in fact hopefully enrich [the whole Church].”

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the archbishop of Galveston-Houston and thus the host for Tuesday’s celebrations, echoed those thoughts, noting the distinctiveness of the ordinariate now having a bishop. He said the ordination underlined “a sense of the unity of the Church” and “a true sense of unity with Peter, too.

Said Cardinal DiNardo, “I think it’s great.”

(For further information, the website of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Peter is here: http://ordinariate.net/)

FRANCIS ADDRESSES SYNOD OF ARMENIAN CATHOLIC CHURCH – USCCB REPORTS INCREASE IN PRIESTLY ORDINATIONS

Pope Francis’ 18 million followers in 9 languages on Twitter saw this tweet today: Lord, give us the gift of tears, the ability to cry for our sins and so receive your forgiveness.

The Holy Father today welcomed President Andrej Kiska of the Slovak Republic. The audience took place before the 25th anniversary of the restoration of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the then Czech and Slovak Federative Republic on April 19, 1990 following St. John Paul II’s visit to the country. (photo: news.va)

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FRANCIS ADDRESSES SYNOD OF ARMENIAN CATHOLIC CHURCH

On April 12, Divine Mercy Sunday, Pope Francis will preside at Solemn Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica for the faithful of the Armenian Rite, in commemoration of the centenary of the “Medz Yeghern” (the “Great Crime”) – the massacre of Armenians by the Ottoman government in what is now Turkey.

During Mass, the Holy Father will inscribe the great Armenian Saint Gregory of Narek among the Doctors of the Universal Church.

Ahead of this commemoration, Pope Francis on Thursday met with 20 bishops of the Patriarchal Synod of the Armenian Catholic Church, who will be present for Sunday’s Mass. In prepared remarks, the Pope prayed that Divine Mercy “might help us all, in love for truth and justice, to heal every wound and to hasten concrete gestures of reconciliation and peace among the Nations that have not yet reached a consensus on the reading of such sorrowful events.”

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In his address to the bishops, the Holy Father remarked that on Sunday they will “raise a prayer of Christian intercession for the sons and daughters of your beloved people, who were made victims a hundred years ago.”

Pope Francis greeted not only the many Armenians who travelled to Rome with their bishops, but also the many Armenians of the diaspora throughout the world,, “such as the United States, Latin America, Europe, Russia, Ukraine, up to the Motherland.”

He recalled Armenians in those places that, during the Medz Yeghern were places of safety for Armenian Christians, but are now places where Christianity itself is threatened: “I think with particular sadness of those areas, such as that of Aleppo, that a hundred years ago were a safe haven for the few survivors. In such regions the stability of Christians, not only Armenians, has latterly been placed in danger.”

The Holy Father noted the long history of Christianity in Armenia, and its rich spiritual and cultural heritage going back to 301, when Armenia became the first Christian nation. Pope Francis called on the Bishops to “always cultivate a feeling of gratitude to the Lord” for the ability to keep the Faith even in the most difficult times. He reminded them that, if the Armenian people have, in a certain sense, shared in the Passion of the Lord, their suffering nonetheless contains the seeds of His Resurrection.

Concluding his remarks, Pope Francis also paid tribute to those who worked to relieve the suffering of the Armenian people during the “Great Crime,” notably Pope Benedict XV, the Pope at the time, who intervened with the Ottoman rulers to try to halt the massacres.

In closing, Pope Francis entrusted the ecumenical dialogue between the Armenian Catholic Church and the Armenian Apostolic Church to Saint Gregory of Narek, while recognizing that the shared sufferings of one hundred years ago have already produced a certain “ecumenism of blood.”

The ecumenical aspect of Sunday’s Liturgy was also highlighted by the Catholicos Patriarch of Cilicia, Nerses Bedros XIX. He noted that, in addition to the Armenian Catholic Bishops and faithful, representatives of the Armenian Apostolic Church – including Catholicos Karekin II of Etchmiadzin and Catholicos Aram I of Antelias – will also be present for the Liturgy, along with the president of the Republic of Armenia. (sources: VIS, Vatican Radio)

USCCB REPORTS INCREASE IN PRIESTLY ORDINATIONS

An April 7 post on the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) notes that the ordination class of 2015 shows an increase in the number of ordained, and says this “reflects positive impact of support from families, Catholic schools, and parish priests.” http://www.usccb.org/news/2015/15-055.cfm

The reports states that the 2015 class of men ordained to the priesthood reports that they were, on average, about 17 when they first considered a vocation to the priesthood and encouraged to consider a vocation by an average of four people. Seven in 10 (71 percent) say they were encouraged by a parish priest, as well as friends (46 percent), parishioners (45 percent), and mothers (40 percent). On average, they lived in the diocese or eparchy for which they will be ordained for 15 years before entering seminary. Religious ordinands knew the members of their religious institute an average of six years before entering.

The total number of potential ordinands for the class of 2015, 595, is up from from 477 in 2014 and 497 in 2013.

The Georgetown University-based Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) gathered the date for “The Class of 2015: Survey of Ordinands to the Priesthood.” CARA collects the data annually for the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat for Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations. Approximately 69 percent of the 595 potential ordinands reported to CARA. These 411 respondents include 317 ordinands to the diocesan priesthood, from 120 different dioceses and archdioceses, and 94 ordinands to the religious priesthood.

Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Raleigh, North Carolina, chair of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, found that the data gave reason for hope but also provide areas for further growth.

“It is encouraging to see the slight increase in the number of ordinations this year in the United States,” Bishop Burbidge said. “When asked about the positive influences they encountered while discerning the call, those to be ordained responded that the support from their family, parish priest, and Catholic schools ranked very high.”

Father W. Shawn McKnight, executive director of the Secretariat, cited educational debt as a growing concern. “Over 26 percent of those ordained carried educational debt at the time they entered the seminary, averaging a little over $22,500 in educational debt at entrance to the seminary. Considering the high percentage of the men ordained already having earned an undergraduate degree, it will be important to find ways to assist in debt reduction in the future.”

Among the survey’s major findings: •  The average age for the Class of 2015 is 34. The median age (midpoint of the distribution) is 31. Eight in 10 respondents are between 25 and 39. This distribution is slightly younger than in 2014, but follows the pattern in recent years of average age at ordination in the mid-thirties.

  •  Two-thirds (69 percent) report their primary race or ethnicity as Caucasian/European American/white. Compared to the adult Catholic population of the United States, they are more likely to be of Asian or Pacific Islander background (10 percent of responding ordinands), but less likely to be Hispanic/Latino (14 percent of responding ordinands). Compared to diocesan ordinands, religious ordinands are less likely to report their race or ethnicity as Caucasian/European American/white.
  •  One-quarter (25 percent) were born outside the United States, with the largest numbers coming from Colombia, Mexico, the Philippines, Nigeria, Poland and Vietnam. On average, respondents born in another country have lived in the United States for 12 years. Between 20 and 30 percent of ordinands to diocesan priesthood for each of the last ten years were born outside of the United States.
  •  Most ordinands have been Catholic since infancy, although 7 percent became Catholic later in life. Eighty-four percent report that both of their parents are Catholic and more than a third (37 percent) have a relative who is a priest or a religious.
  •  More than half completed college (60 percent) before entering the seminary. One in seven (15 percent) entered the seminary with a graduate degree. One in three (34 percent) report entering the seminary while in college. The most common fields of study for ordinands before entering the seminary are theology or philosophy (20 percent), liberal arts (19 percent), and science (13 percent).
  •  Half of responding ordinands (51 percent) attended a Catholic elementary school, which is a rate higher than that of all Catholic adults in the United States. In addition, ordinands are somewhat more likely than other U.S. Catholic adults to have attended a Catholic high school and they are much more likely to have attended a Catholic college (45 percent, compared to 7 percent among U.S. Catholic adults
  •  Six in ten ordinands (61 percent) report some type of full-time work experience prior to entering the seminary, most often in education. Four percent of responding ordinands report prior service in the U.S. Armed Forces. About one in six ordinands (16 percent) report that either parent had a military career in the U.S. Armed Forces
  •  Eight in 10 (78 percent) indicate they served as an altar server and about half (51 percent) reporting service as a lector. One in seven (14 percent) participated in a World Youth Day before entering the seminary.
  •  About seven in 10 report regularly praying the rosary (70 percent) and participating in Eucharistic adoration (70 percent) before entering the seminary.
  •  Almost half (48 percent) indicated that they were discouraged from considering the priesthood. On average, two individuals are said to have discouraged them.