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Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast at the Rite of Reception of Anglican Catholic Church of Canada members. Photo by Robert Du Broy, courtesy of the Archdiocese of Ottawa

Canadian Anglican groups welcomed into Catholic Church

  • April 19, 2012

OTTAWA - Bishops in Ottawa and Victoria received two groups from the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (ACCC) into the Roman Catholic Church April 15, including two former ACCC bishops and about a half dozen clergy.

"Today, the Body of Christ is a little more healed, a little more unified," Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast told more than 700 people who packed St. Patrick's Basilica. "Today, after half a millennium, separated brethren are separated no more. We are brethren, rejoicing at the same banquet table. Hallelujah."

In Victoria, an estimated 600 people packed St. Andrew's Cathedral, where Bishop Richard Gagnon welcomed the former metropolitan bishop of the ACCC, Peter Wilkinson.

The two groups received on Divine Mercy Sunday will soon become part of the Canadian Deanery of St. John the Baptist of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter under Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, who was named the Ordinary when the American Ordinariate was erected Jan. 1. Steenson, a former Episcopal (Anglican) bishop, is a married Catholic priest who teaches theology at the University of St. Thomas and St. Mary's Seminary in Houston.

"I am overjoyed to be a part of your journey today and to welcome members of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church," Prendergast said in his homily.

Prendergast celebrated the Anglican Use Liturgy using the Book of Divine Worship approved for use in the Catholic Church. He was the first Roman Catholic archbishop outside of the United States to celebrate this liturgy.

"I commend the courage and fortitude of our brothers and sisters of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada. Your journey has not been easy," Prendergast said. "I commend your humility and your sacrifice. You have suffered much. I commend your tradition and your zeal. You will bless and strengthen the Roman Catholic Church by your presence.

"You are not just favoured guests. This is your home," he said. "We love you. I love you. May our public witness of unity draw many from the edges of faith into God's Kingdom, no longer subject to judgment but to Divine Mercy."

About 30 were welcomed in the rite of reception in Ottawa, while other members of the former ACCC were received beforehand or will be soon. In Victoria, about 22 were received.

More groups will be received from the ACCC in the coming weeks. On April 22, Toronto Auxiliary Bishop Vincent Nguyen will receive an ACCC parish from Oshawa, Ont., and Kingston Archbishop Brendan O'Brien will receive an ACCC group from the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory.

An ACCC group from Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont., was received on Jan. 1 by Hamilton Bishop Douglas Crosby. ACCC groups in Vancouver, Edmonton, Montreal and Sydney also hope to be received soon.

A former Anglican Church of Canada parish in Calgary, St. John the Evangelist, was received on Dec. 18. Steenson visited the Calgary Ordinariate group on April 15 and baptized the daughter of former Anglican priest Lee Kenyon and his wife Elizabeth. Kenyon will be ordained soon as a Catholic priest.

There is also a Toronto Ordinariate group composed of former Anglicans. Toronto Cardinal Thomas Collins received four former Anglicans into the Catholic Church on Dec. 18.

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