Pope Benedict XVI will continue the expansion of the new Catholic Church structure created for former Anglicans by launching an ordinariate for Australia on June 15.
“I am confident that those former Anglicans who have made a journey in faith that has led them to the Catholic Church will find a ready welcome,” said Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne, who serves as president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.
Australia’s Anglican ordinariate will be called the Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross, under the patronage of St. Augustine of Canterbury. It will have the status of a diocese.
The ordinariate is intended for Anglicans and former Anglicans who wish to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while retaining some of their customs and liturgical traditions.
The Australian bishops have put in place procedures to help Anglican clergy and laity join the Catholic Church through the ordinariate, the bishops said May 11.
The ordinariate for England and Wales launched in 2011, while the U.S. ordinariate launched on January 1, 2012.
In England and Wales there are at least 40 ordinariate groups with 60 priests, the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham magazine The Portal reports. Several of its members are former Anglican bishops.
As of January, 1,400 individuals from 22 communities have expressed interest in joining, the U.S. ordinariate. About 60 current or former Anglican priests are preparing to be ordained Catholic priests for it, according to the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.
The U.S. ordinariate will open its first parish in Scranton, Pa. this August.