Ordinariate bishop appointed

California native Msgr Steven Lopes appointed Bishop of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter

Pope Francis has appointed a member of the curia to lead the Anglican Ordinariate in the United States and Canada. On 24 Nov 2015 the Vatican press office announced that Msgr. Steven Lopes, (40) an official with the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith and a priest of the Archdiocese of San Francisco would succeed Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson — the former bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande — as the head of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. One of three ordinariates — the UK, Australia and the US/Canada — the Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter was formed in 2009 as a diocesan like structure for Anglican communities seeking to enter the Roman Catholic Church in under the provisions of the 2009 apostolic constitution, “Anglicanorum coetibus.” Msgr. Lopes will be the first bishop ordinary of any of the three ordinariates. Msgr. Steenson, along with his Australian and British counterparts are former Anglican bishops/priests who are married. Catholic canon law allows them to serve as priests, but reserves the office of bishop for unmarried men. Born and raised in Fremont, Calif., Msgr. Lopes was educated at the St. Ignatius Institute at the University of San Francisco and trained for the ministry at St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park, Calif. and later in Rome, at the Pontifical North American College and earned licentiate and doctoral degrees in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. The press release from the Ordinariate noted that with this appointment, Pope Francis “affirms and amplifies Pope Benedict’s vision for Christian unity, in which diverse expressions of one faith are joined together in the Church.” “By naming Bishop-elect Lopes, the Pope has confirmed that the Ordinariate is a permanent, enduring part of the Catholic Church, like any other diocese – one that is now given a bishop so that it may deepen its contribution to the life of the Church and the world.” The new bishop’s appointment comes five days before the launch on the first Sunday of Advent of the Ordinariate’s new liturgy entitled: “Divine Worship: The Missal”. Since 2011 Msgr Lopes has served as the executive coordinator of the Vatican commission “Anglicanae Traditiones,” which prepared the new liturgies.

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