Anglicans invited to Catholic Church conference

  • January 19, 2011
Archbishop CollinsOTTAWA - Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins has invited Anglican groups interested in joining the Catholic Church through the formation of a Canadian Ordinariate to attend a conference in Mississauga March 24-26.

“To help move our dialogue and planning forward, I would like to extend an invitation to all those interested in Anglicanorum coetibus to join me for a conference dedicated to this topic,” Collins said in an open letter posted Jan. 18 on the Toronto archdiocese’s web site.

“I look forward to meeting with clergy and laity from across the country this March to engage in prayer, fellowship and dialogue as we move forward with this important initiative.”

Selected by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Collins is the episcopal delegate for Canada charged with liaising with Anglican groups interested in an ordinariate, the congregation and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Collins has invited Fr. Christopher Phillips, who founded the first Anglican Use parish in the United States in 1983 under Pope John Paul II’s Pastoral Provision, to attend the conference.

Phillips, a married Catholic priest, started Our Lady of the Atonement Anglican Use parish in San Antonio, Texas. The parish has since grown to more than 500 families and runs a school that has more than 500 students.

“When Archbishop Collins contacted me and asked if I would be able to take part in this meeting, I was impressed with his sincere desire to provide an opportunity for all the Canadian Ordinariate-bound folks to get together,” said Phillips.

“The archbishop’s dedication to the successful launch of the ordinariate was very evident.”

Registration will open Feb.1. Details and registration information can be found at The web page also includes background information on the formation of an ordinariate in Canada, links to the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, and a Q&A on the “practical aspects” of an ordinariate in Canada.

“I’m excited by the chance for us all to get together in March,” said Anglican Catholic Church of Canada Bishop Peter Wilkinson, who is based in Victoria, B.C.  “I look forward to meeting all concerned and expect there will be a good outcome to our time together.

“It appears as if our hopes of the last 20 years since our first contact with the Holy See are about to bear fruit.”

“Because this is a new structure in the Church, and because the situation in each country is quite different, it will take some time to establish ordinariates, but the process is underway and the various unresolved issues are being identified,” Collins said. “There are some challenges when the number of potential members of an ordinariate is likely to be very small, at least in the beginning, as is the case in Canada; we can, however, accommodate relatively small numbers.”

The first ordinariate, the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, was erected Jan. 15 in the area covered by the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales. Three former Church of England bishops were ordained as Catholic priests and one of them, Keith Newton was named the first Ordinary.

Reports say two more Church of England bishops, both retired, will be received and ordained in March. The English Ordinariate is expected to eventually include about 50 Church of England clergy and about 500 lay people to start.

There is also former Anglican bishop of Matabeleland, Zimbabwe, Bishop Robert Mercer, CR, who lives in England since his 2005 retirement as bishop of the Anglican Catholic Church, a part of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC).

Mercer was among the three bishops who delivered to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith the 2007 TAC petition for corporate reunion with the Holy See. The TAC church in England is small, but could add another 12-24 clergy and additional groups of lay people to the English Ordinariate.

In Canada, the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada has about 46 licensed clergy, including three or four who are over 80, who wish to join the ordinariate, and between 500-700 lay people in parishes and missions across the country.

A group of Anglicans in Toronto has also approached Collins, and an Anglo-Catholic parish in Calgary, St. John the Evangelist, has also voted to leave the Anglican Church of Canada to join an ordinariate. Other Anglicans as well as former Anglicans who have already become Catholics have also expressed interest in an ordinariate.

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