Welcome   |   Login   |   Sign Up   |

U.S./ Fort Worth: Anglicanorum coetibus begins

Rocco Palmo comments on the beginning of the Anglicanorum coetibus, a ground-breaking venture by Pope Benedict XVI to bring Anglicans into communion with the Roman Catholic Church.

Anglicans entering the Church Anglicans entering the Church

Two years since Anglicanorum coetibus, they say the day is coming soon -- the release of the CDF decree establishing a Stateside jurisdiction for groups of Anglicans entering full communion with Rome, bringing with them distinctive elements of their lifelong patrimony of faith.

Yet even without the formal starting-gun, the groundbreaking B16 venture has already begun taking root on these shores, reaching a new level of its ramp-up last weekend.

At a Sunday Mass in Fort Worth, some 30 former Episcopalians became the first US group to enter the Catholic fold in preparation for the American Ordinariate's launch. Fourteen months since beginning their catechesis, the group's Professions of Faith, Confirmations and First Eucharists in St Patrick's Cathedral took place four years after four priests of North Texas' Episcopal diocese met privately with Bishop Kevin Vann to investigate the possibility of swimming the Tiber.

Two of those clerics were among the group received by Vann, including the former canon, or top deputy, to the area's Episcopal bishop. Both have received the nulla osta, the Vatican clearance to proceed to priestly formation in the Catholic church.

While the bulk of the community -- named St Peter the Rock -- made its full entrance into the fold at the weekend, a handful who are on a later track took part in the preliminary Rite of Welcome; they'll be fully initiated once their catechesis concludes.

For the record, the liturgy was the standard post-Conciliar Latin-rite, except for the propers of the day, which were taken from the Anglican Use Book of Divine Worship, which is likely to form the template for a Missal and Office for the global Ordinariates currently in the works in Rome.

Long the nation's de facto seat of Anglo-Catholicism, it's fitting that the final turn toward the new national jurisdiction began in Lone Star Country: Stateside Catholicism's two oldest Anglican Use parishes are in San Antonio and the Fort Worth church, all American clergy making the journey will have their formation at St Mary's Seminary in Houston, and many expect one or another locale in Texas to serve as the US Ordinariate's operational base.

All told, as many as 2,000 Anglicans (including a hundred or so priests) are expected to undertake the Canterbury-Rome trip in the domestic Ordinariate's first wave. Yet much like in England -- where its Ordinariate's launch birthed the UK's largest RCIA class in years last Easter -- an even larger second wave is expected once the structure is up and running. Along those lines, a second community in the Fort Worth church is soon to be established.