The journey has consisted of gut-wrenching decisions, difficult conversations, tests of personal faith, and moral resolve. But for former Anglicans looking back on the first anniversary of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, it was all worth entering the true fold of Christ.
“Like Jesus’ parable of the man who sells all he has to buy a pearl of great price, that is what becoming Catholic has been,” said Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, a former Episcopal bishop who was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to lead this historic homecoming.
In early 2012, the Knights of Columbus made a key contribution to the critical task of forming the scores of former Anglican clergy who are seeking to be ordained to the Catholic priesthood. The Supreme Council donated $100,000 to purchase technology for a specially designed, long-distance formation program at St. Mary’s Seminary in Houston.
The price for many, though, would include the possibility of leaving priestly ministry forever, in addition to saying goodbye to the communities they loved, the faith of their fathers and, in some cases, the church buildings their ancestors had built.
For married men trained and formed for lives as Episcopal clergy, financial concerns loomed about how they would be able to provide for their families on the stipends provided for celibate Catholic priests. Msgr. Steenson noted that the Knights’ life insurance and financial services have been a wonderful resource in that regard.
Former Anglican communities have also had to wrestle with the loss of members, property issues and finding their financial footing.