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Jun 06, 2011

Washington, D.C. Parish Hopes to Join Roman Catholic Church

[Episcopal News Service] The rector and parishioners of St. Luke's Episcopal Parish, Bladensburg, Maryland, have decided to leave the Diocese of Washington and seek entry into the Roman Catholic Church.


A June 6 diocesan press release said Saint Luke's is the first church in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area to take this step through a new structure called an ordinariate, approved by Pope Benedict XVI.

"The transition is being made with the prayerful support of Bishop John Bryson Chane of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Catholic Archbishop of Washington," the release said.


The landing page of St. Luke's website is headlined "We are Ordinariate Bound!"


"We look forward to continuing to worship in the Anglican tradition, while at the same time being in full communion with the Holy See of Peter," the page says.

Wuerl said in the release that "the proposed ordinariate provides a path to unity, one that recognizes our shared beliefs on matters of faith while also recognizing and respecting the liturgical heritage of the Anglican Church."


Wuerl is the United States delegate of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which will handle requests for membership in a yet-to-be-formed "ordinariate" in the United States.


In October 2009, Pope Benedict XVI authorized the formation of "ordinariates" for former Anglican parishes seeking to enter the Catholic Church as a congregation. Anglicanorum coetibus, the papal document authorizing the establishment of ordinariates, is here.


An ordinariate is a geographic region similar to a diocese, though typically is national in scope. Under the proposal, ordinariate parishes are fully Catholic, while retaining aspects of their Anglican heritage and liturgical tradition.


"We've been asked now to prepare dossiers on each of those members of the Anglican clergy who would like to be ordained and be part of this ordinariate, and profiles of the communities," Wuerl said in a May 24 interview with a reporter from EWTN, a Roman Catholic televsion network. "Once that's all in the hands of the Congregation, they've indicated they intend to announce -- down the road -- the formation of an ordinariate."


Read more from ENS.