What is the Ordinariate?
The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter is equivalent to a diocese for Roman Catholics who were nurtured in the Anglican tradition or whose faith has been renewed by the Ordinariate’s liturgy and evangelizing mission. The Ordinariate was created by the Vatican on Jan. 1, 2012 and has its Chancery in Houston, Texas. It is composed of over forty and counting, Catholic parishes and mission communities.
Why the Ordinariate was Created
The establishment of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter was the Vatican’s pastoral response to repeated and persistent inquiries made by Anglican individuals and groups in the United States and Canada who, over time, have come to identify the Catholic Church as their home. Those joining the Ordinariate have discerned they are truly Catholic in what they believe and desire full membership in the Catholic Church.
The Ordinariate exists for those who are and who will be coming into full communion with the Catholic Church. Through the reverence and beauty of our traditional worship, the study of Sacred Scripture and charity for those in need, we desire to share the joy of being Roman Catholic! We wish to build bridges with all our brothers and sisters who are drawn to the Catholic Church, so that we might build up the one Body of Christ.
In the Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Ecumenism (Unitatis redintegatio), the Catholic Church specified what it would look like to bring all Christians together into communion. The Council said Christian groups would bring their own distinctive traditions to the Catholic Church; they would not be suppressed or absorbed. The Vatican’s generous expression of care in establishing the Ordinariates affirms the Catholic Church’s vision for Christian unity, in which
diverse expressions of one faith are joined together in the Church.
The Ordinariate’s priests and deacons are clergy who were ordained after an extensive formation process in the Catholic Church. This process requires: a background check; the approval of the Ordinariate and the Vatican; the completion of an approved formation program; and an examination. Celibacy is the norm for clergy. Permission has been given on a case-by-case basis by the Pope for former Anglican priests who are married to be ordained Catholic priests for the Ordinariate. If widowed, they may not remarry.
Members of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter are united with the entire Catholic Church under the leadership of Pope Francis. As of Nov. 24, 2015, the Ordinariate is particularly led by Bishop Steven J. Lopes, who serves under the direct authority of the Holy Father to build up the Catholic Church through mutual mission and ministry.
Learn more about the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter