Calgary, Canada, Dec 12, 2012 / 00:02 am
The Vatican has approved a new Canadian deanery for the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter that will minister to Anglicans and their clergy who wish to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church.
Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto said he is "delighted" at the approval of the new deanery, the ordinariate reports.
He and Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, the head of the Houston, Texas-based ordinariate, announced the news on Dec. 7. They had petitioned the Holy See to create the deanery after the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops stated its unanimous support at its September plenary assembly in Quebec.
Pope Benedict XVI established the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter on Jan. 1, 2012. It is a special church structure the Pope allowed in his 2009 apostolic constitution "Anglicanorum Coetibus." The ordinariate aims to promote Christian unity by allowing Anglicans and Episcopalians to enter the Catholic Church as communities that maintain many of the traditions of Anglicanism.
There are two other Anglican ordinariates: the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham for England and Wales and the Ordinariate of the Southern Cross for Australia.
Msgr. Steenson said the North American ordinariate covers "enormous" territory and it will be a "great blessing" to delegate duties.
Fr. Lee Kenyon, the administrator of St. John the Evangelist Church in Calgary, will be dean of the new Deanery of St. John the Baptist. His church is the first ordinariate congregation in Canada. Fr. Kenyon served as a parish priest for the Church of England in the Anglican Diocese of Blackburn from 2005 to 2009.
He arrived in Calgary in 2009 and entered the Catholic Church along with his parish in 2011. In June 2012, Bishop Frederick Henry of Calgary ordained him to the Catholic priesthood.
Fr. Kenyon is married and was ordained under a special provision for some Anglican clergy. He and his wife Elizabeth have three children.
Msgr. Steenson said Fr. Kenyon has a "superb foundation" in Anglicanism, adding "he brings this patrimony to the Catholic Church with a wise and generous pastoral heart."
Cardinal Collins said Fr. Kenyon will provide "excellent pastoral leadership." He offered his prayers for the deanery, calling it an "important initiative."
Msgr. Steenson said he is "full of gratitude" for the Canadian bishops' encouragement and support for the deanery and for Pope Benedict's vision for what the priest called "intentional communities of Christian unity."
Over the last year 25 priests and 1,500 laity in 35 communities across the U.S. and Canada have joined the ordinariate. There are almost 70 candidates for the Catholic priesthood undergoing formation for possible ordination in the ordinariate.
Peter Wilkinson, the former Anglican Bishop of Victoria, British Columbia, was ordained a Catholic priest in Victoria on Dec. 8. He is the third priest ordained for the ordinariate in Canada.
One of the newest converts is Laurence Gipson of Houston, Texas. Gipson served as rector for 14 years at St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston, whose parishioners include former President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara Bush. Gipson and his wife entered the Catholic Church in October.
The ordinariate recently received a $5 million land donation for a chancery adjacent to Our Lady of Walsingham Church, an Anglican Use parish in Houston that is the ordinariate's present headquarters.