H/t Fr. Christopher Stainbrook via Facebook for this interview with Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter Ordinary Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson! An excerpt:
Msgr. Steenson: What we’ve discerned is that this requires a very intentional catechetical approach. We have to get into the business of proclaiming the Gospel, proclaiming the New Evangelization, helping people to understand why the Catholic Church is important and compelling, and the need that if you’re going to be Catholic, you have to be in communion with Rome. We’re now helping clergy and lay leaders in the ordinariate understand what evangelization is all about.
OSV: What have been some of the challenges and difficulties thus far?
Msgr. Steenson: I spent 28 years in the Anglican ministry, but it’s hard to get your mind wrapped around what is required of administering an ecclesial group within the Catholic Church. We basically had to create a quasi-diocese. I’ve found that to be very challenging. We had to create a body of laws and particular norms to govern it. We had to set up not only the church structures but also the civil structures. Most us (clergy) in the ordinariate are also not full-time. I spend half of my time teaching in a seminary in Houston. A few are full-time pastors in their communities, but most of us are doing something else, whether we’re working as hospital chaplains, teaching in Catholic schools, helping out as parochial vicars in Catholic parishes and serving as military chaplains. It gets pretty involved and challenging for us. We’ve also had to bring together groups of Anglicans who were never together in the past. Some were part of the Episcopal Church or the Anglican Church of Canada. Others left the church for various reasons, and now we’re bringing them all together. Where in the past we weren’t in community with each other, we’re now learning to be in communion with each other as Catholics.
OSV: What are some reasons why individuals and communities from an Anglican tradition join the ordinariate?
Msgr. Steenson: I think the main reason is their desire to really connect with the apostolic faith, and their experience within the Anglican tradition is that it’s becoming harder and harder to do that. But the reason why you enter the Catholic Church should be because you think it’s true, and that you agree when the Second Vatican Council says that it’s Christ’s will that the Church be constituted around Peter and his successors. The thing we want to avoid above all else is the ordinariate becoming a safe harbor of refuge for people who are disgruntled with their previous church experience. That’s what we absolutely don’t want.