That’s the happy headline from the website for St. Luke’s Episcopal Parish in Bladensburg, Maryland (not far from where I grew up, actually).
The website notes:
It is with great joy St. Luke’s announces its intention to join the Personal Ordinariate of the Roman Catholic Church. We have been discerning the leading of the Holy Spirit since the Holy Father’s announcement of Anglicanorum coetibus in October of 2009. Since that time we have been in close dialogue with both the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and the Archdiocese Washington.
Over the next few months the people of St. Luke’s Ordinariate Catholic Community will undergo formal preparation to become Roman Catholics. This formal preparation will take place at St. Luke’s primarily on Sunday’s at 9:00am, and on Thursday evenings at 7:00pm. If you are interested in joining the people of St. Luke’s on this journey you are encouraged and welcomed to attend.
We are deeply grateful to Cardinal Wuerl and to Bishop Chane for their support throughout this discernment. We look forward to continuing to worship in the Anglican tradition, while at the same time being in full communion with the Holy See of Peter.
These are exciting times!
And an e-mailed press release from the Archdiocese of Washington has more:
Saint Luke’s is the first church in the Washington metropolitan area to take this step.
The transition is being made with the prayerful support of Bishop John Bryson Chane of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Catholic Archbishop of Washington.
“We welcome the St. Luke community warmly into our family of faith. The proposed ordinariate provides a path to unity, one that recognizes our shared beliefs on matters of faith while also recognizing and respecting the liturgical heritage of the Anglican Church,” Cardinal Wuerl said. “We also recognize the openness of the community to the guidance of the Holy Spirit in their faith journey.”
In fall 2009, Pope Benedict XVI authorized the formation of “ordinariates” for former Anglican parishes seeking to enter the Catholic Church as a congregation. An ordinariate is a geographic region similar to a diocese, though typically is national in scope. Until one is established for the United States, St. Luke’s congregation, which has approximately 100 members, will come under the care of the Archdiocese of Washington.
“This was a transition achieved in a spirit of pastoral sensitivity and mutual respect,” said Bishop Chane. “Christians move from one church to another with far greater frequency than in the past, sometimes as individuals, sometimes as groups. I was glad to be able to meet the spiritual needs of the people and priest of St. Luke’s in a way that respects the tradition and polity of both of our Churches.”
Under the terms of a letter of agreement signed last week with the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, the St. Luke congregation will continue to worship in their current church, at 4006 53rd Street, Bladensburg. The agreement is a lease with a purchase option. The community will begin preparations for reception into the Catholic Church later this year while Rev. Mark Lewis, rector of St. Luke’s, hopes to begin the process to be ordained a Catholic priest.
Meantime, in related news: 54 Anglican Clergy to Defect to Catholic Church in Pentecost Ordinations