Posted by: L. E. Barnes | June 7, 2011

A Historic First

I pray that many more follow their example:

Episcopal Church in Maryland to Become Roman Catholic

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Staff Journalist

An Episcopal church in Bladensburg, Maryland became the first in the nation to convert to Roman Catholicism yesterday when their application was officially approved by the local bishop.

The Washington Examiner is reporting that St. Luke’s Episcopal parish will enter the Catholic Church under the guidance of Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl and the Vatican, which is forming a national diocese for Episcopalians who want to convert to Catholicism.

The parish, which has 250 parishioners, of which 100 are active, is scheduled to complete its conversion to Catholicism by the end of this year. They signed a three-year lease with the Episcopal Diocese of Washington last week to continue to worship in their church with an option to buy the premises when it expires.

The parish will enter the Church through the program initiated by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009 that receives Anglicans into the Catholic Church while preserving their liturgy and heritage. The process, which unites the two churches that have been divided for more than 500 years, came as a godsend for disaffected Anglicans who were upset over liberal changes in their communion, such as the ordination of females and active homosexuals.

“We have been discerning the leading of the Holy Spirit since the Holy Father’s announcement of Anglicanorum Coetibus in October of 2009,” said an announcement on the parish website. “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.”

The Rev. Mark Lewis, pastor of St. Luke’s, said the Pope’s new process “opened the door for us. This is a natural progression. We’ve always been close to Catholic theology and this is an answer to our prayer for unity.”

Lewis, who is a married clergyman, said the people who usually attend Mass at St. Luke’s are very supportive of the move.

“It’s a miracle,” he said. “Any reservation that was there was wiped away. People’s attitudes changed and hearts softened. It was a beautiful thing to witness.”

Mount Calvary Church in Baltimore also has announced its intention to become Catholic, but is still negotiating the details.

Taken from the Women of Grace website.

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Responses

  1. This is great news, Evan!

    • It certainly is. Hopefully there will be a ‘domino effect’, with other such churches being reconciled with the Catholic Church.

  2. The whole Anglican thing the Pope has set in motion is awesome for the Church of the 21st century. Especially keeping the Anglican Catholic liturgical heritage. No one has seemed to draw the connection between this act of the Pope and Summorum Pontificum, but it is clear to me. The Roman rite has room for many forms and is a path to sanctity no matter which form one attends. I am happy for the people of St. Luke’s. Surely the Holy Spirit is hard at work here. I pray other parishes will follow this example.

    • A hearty amen to that!

  3. I expect a trickle, then a flood.

    • Let the floods come!

  4. Wow, I’ve heard of these things, but the thing about the lease made me really think about how awkward and difficult this must be for those people. Definitely worth keeping in prayers.

    • I was pleasantly surprised to hear of an entire congregation ‘swimming the Tiber.’ I’m sure there is both joy and awkwardness involved! May God bless them and give them peace during this transition.

  5. Wow. Looks like the Holy Spirit has been very busy. This is just awesome!

    • Awesome indeed!


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