January 16, 2012

Pope Benedict has established a U.S. ordinariate for former Anglicans who wish to become Catholics and named a married former Episcopal bishop to head it.

The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter – functionally equivalent to a diocese, but national in scope – will be based in Houston.

It will be led by Father Jeffrey Steenson, the former Episcopal bishop of the Rio Grande who was ordained a Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, N.M., in February 2009.

More than 100 former Anglican priests have applied to become Catholic priests in the ordinariate and 1,400 individuals from 22 communities have expressed interest in joining.

It is expected the St. John the Evangelist Anglican Parish in Calgary, whose members were received into the Catholic Church Dec. 18, will become part of the U.S. ordinariate.