by Deborah Gyapong, Canadian Catholic News
OTTAWA – Former Anglicans who convert to Catholicism must be a bridge to Christian unity and a force for true ecumenism, said the leader of North America’s Anglican ordinariate as four former Anglican priests were ordained to the Catholic priesthood.
“If the Ordinariate is to be anything worthy and worth keeping for the long term, it must be an instrument of Christian unity,” said Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, head of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter (POCSP).
In a Dec. 14 ceremony in Ottawa’s Notre Dame Cathedral, Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast ordained Bryan Kipling Cooper, Douglas Hayman, both of Ottawa, John Hodgins of Toronto and James Tilley of Oshawa, Ont., to serve as priests in the Ordinariate.
The POSCP, established Jan. 1, 2012, is based in Houston and encompasses the Ordinariate groups of the United States and Canada. It was the second of three Ordinariates created worldwide under Pope Benedict’s 2009 Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, which allowed Anglicans to become Catholic while preserving some elements of their tradition.
With these four ordinations, it now has 53 clergy, but Steenson expects that number to grow to 60 in 2014. Pope Francis has approved former Anglican clergy in Edmonton and Vancouver and Steenson expects they will be ordained by Easter. He also hopes to have a priest ordained in Atlantic Canada next year, to bring the number of former Anglican priests in the Canadian deanery to 15.