The new Cathedral !!!!

With a few pictures, we can get to know the new Ordinariate Cathedral of Our Lady of Walsingham in Houston, Texas (just click on each photo for a full-size image):

(all photos are from the Our Lady of Walsingham, Houston website)

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Video of the Press Conference in Houston yesterday

Here is the video of yesterday’s live press conference held at 10.30 a.m. CST in the Ordinariate Chancery in Houston, TX:

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First message of Bishop-elect Steven Lopes

Here is the text of the statement made by Bishop-elect Lopes both at the live press conference at 10.30 a.m. and at the telephone conference at 12 noon:

Praised be Jesus Christ!

Dear Friends,

It is with humility and in a spirit of obedience to our Lord that I accept this appointment to serve as Bishop of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. Trusting in the intercession of Our Lady, the consciousness of my limitations yields to gratitude, hope, and joy.

I am grateful for the ecumenical vision of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who reminded us that unity of faith allows for vibrant diversity in the expression of that faith. I am grateful for the fatherly care Pope Francis continues to show for the Ordinariates, born from the rich patrimony of English Catholicism. Indeed, in the approval of the new Missal for the celebration of Mass, in the careful consideration of clergy who desire to join us, and in the appointment of the first Ordinariate Bishop, Pope Francis is making this model of communion-in-diversity ever more concrete.

Monsignor Jeffrey Steenson has been for me an outstanding example of wisdom, graciousness, and evangelical zeal. He truly has the heart of a Priest and I am confident that all of the faithful and clergy of the Ordinariate join me in saying: Thank you. We could not have asked for a better leader to lay the foundations for the Ordinariate in the United States and Canada.

Through my work at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, I have come to know firsthand the Priests and communities of this Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. They have a passion for the communion of the Church and for the truth of the Gospel as contained in Sacred Scripture and Tradition that fills me with hope. I see the vitality that the Ordinariate brings to the Universal Church, and I know that there is a bright future ahead.

It is a great joy and privilege to be joined to this Particular Church under the patronage of St. Peter and to share in its mission of proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I stand among women and men for whom “Catholic communion” is no abstract concept. They have sacrificed for it. They have displayed courage and fortitude in favor of it. They have thrown wide open the doors of their hearts to the infinite possibilities of what God’s grace can accomplish in and through them. It can and should move the heart of every Catholic to witness this amazing courage and this vitality in our Church.

So here we stand, together, in this thing with a peculiar name, “Ordinariate,” but with a dynamism and beauty all its own. It is the Lord who has accomplished this in his Church, and great are the works of the Lord!

Rev. Msgr. Steven J. Lopes

Bishop-elect of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter

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With the appointment of a Bishop Ordinary, Our Lady of Walsingham, Houston, becomes a Cathedral

At 12 noon today, CST, I was able to take part in a telephone press conference with the Ordinariate Chancery in Houston, at which Monsignor Jeffrey Steenson introduced the newly appointed Bishop-elect Steven Lopes.

Apart from the Ordinariate Communications Director, Jenny Faber, the participants also included Mary Ann Mueller of Virtueonline and Mark Anderson of the Catholic News Service.

Asked why he had retired, Monsignor Steenson quipped that he had not had enough time for his hobby of piloting his own small aircraft (as opposed to the thousands of airmiles which he had accumulated in one of the largest Catholic circumscriptions in the world – Msgr Steenson was known to describe the territory of the Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter as from Hawaii to Newfoundland and from the Rio Grande to the Arctic Circle).

But in a more serious tone he went on to elucidate his belief that the Ordinariate was incomplete without a bishop leading and teaching his clergy and people. He quoted St. Ignatius of Antioch who, as in Chapter VIII of his Letter to the Smyrnaeans, described the Christians gathered around their bishop, as around Jesus Christ.

“Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as where Christ is, there does all the heavenly host stand by, waiting upon Him as the Chief Captain of the Lord’s might, and the Governor of every intelligent nature.”

Monsignor Steenson explained that he has a full teaching load at St. Thomas’ University for the Summer Semester, but until Bishop-elect Lopes’ ordination on February 2nd, 2016, in Houston (the location is still to be fixed) he will act as Apostolic Administrator of the Ordinariate. He will then remain a priest of the Ordinariate as Ordinary emeritus.

Asked what his first activities will now be, Bishop-elect Lopes jokingly mentioned flying but then went on to say that he would preach at the first Solemn Mass at Our Lady of Walsingham using the new Divine Worship Missal on the First Sunday of Advent in five days’ time. The principal celebrant will be Monsignor Steenson and he will concelebrate. In this context the new bishop referred to his “Cathedral”, and when specifically queried on this point, he stated that just as Military Ordinaries have a cathedral, as in the United Kingdom (Aldershot), the Bishop Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate would have his “cathedra”, the seat from where he teaches and presides, in his principal church, which will then become the Cathedral of Our Lady of Walsingham. The following photograph taken on November 24th shows Bishop-elect Lopes with his new cathedral in the background.

Bishop-elect Lopes 20151124Bishop-elect Lopes will take up permanent residence in Houston from the beginning of 2016 after clearing his desk at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome. He is particularly looking forward to his work in the US and Canadian Bishops’ Conferences, of which Msgr Steenson will remain a member as Ordinary emeritus.

One of the questions directed to Bishop-elect Lopes concerned the fact that he will be leading an Ordinariate made up of former Anglicans nourishing their Anglican patrimony although he himself is a cradle Catholic. Monsignor Steenson did not hesitate to explain how Monsignor Lopes had been closely involved with the Ordinariate project for the last ten years at the CDF. He was the secretary of the Anglicanae Traditiones commission  which drew up the Divine Worship liturgy and therefore had more experience in matters of Anglican patrimony than most people.

On the question of vocations to the priesthood, the bishop-elect explained how the Ordinariate is subject to the discipline of celibacy and that there is already one seminarian preparing for the celibate priesthood and two candidates waiting to enter seminary. The Ordinariate will continue the practice of petitioning Rome for a dispensation from the obligation to celibacy for married former Anglican clergymen, but the Ordinariate will not be putting other married men (so-called “viri probati“) forward for ordination.

In the conference I took the opportunity to thank Monsignor Steenson for his work as Ordinary and to wish Bishop-elect Lopes every blessing and Godspeed for his new mission.

David Murphy

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Here is the official announcement from the Vatican at 12 noon Central European Time

Rinuncia dell’Ordinario dell’Ordinariato Personale The Chair of Saint Peter (U.S.A.) e nomina del Vescovo ordinario

Il Santo Padre Francesco ha accettato la rinuncia al governo pastorale dell’Ordinariato Personale The Chair of Saint Peter (U.S.A.), presentata dal Mons. Jeffrey N. Steenson, in conformità al can. 401 § 2 del Codice di Diritto Canonico.

Il Papa ha nominato Vescovo Ordinario dell’Ordinariato Personale The Chair of Saint Peter (U.S.A.) il Mons. Steven Joseph Lopes, del clero dell’arcidiocesi di San Francisco (U.S.A.), finora Addetto di Segreteria della Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede. Mons. Steven Joseph Lopes

Il Mons. Steven Joseph Lopes è nato il 22 aprile 1975 a Fremont, California. Ha compiuto gli studi filosofici presso la University of San Francisco e la Leopold-Franzens Universltat Innsbruck. Entrato nel Seminario dell’arcidiocesi di San Francisco, ha studiato teologia nel St. Patrick’s Seminary a Menlo Park, California, e a Roma come alunno del Pontificio Collegio Nord-Americano.

È stato ordinato presbitero per l’arcidiocesi di San Francisco il 23 giugno 2001.

Dopo aver svolto diversi ministeri pastorali, ha conseguito il Dottorato in Teologia presso la Pontificia Università Gregoriana. Dal 1° settembre 2005 è Officiale della Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede. Ha anche insegnato teologia presso la Pontificia Università Gregoriana. Dal 2012 è Segretario della Commissione interdicasteriale Anglicanae traditiones. Nel 2010 è stato nominato Cappellano di Sua Santità. Oltre l’inglese, conosce l’italiano e il tedesco.

(from the Bollettino of the Sala Stampa)

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Msgr. Steenson’s Statement on the appointment of Bishop-elect Lopes

November 24, 2015
by Monsignor Jeffrey N. Steenson

msgr steensonWhat wonderful news from the Holy See this morning, that Pope Francis has appointed Msgr. Steven Lopes to be the first bishop of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter for Canada and the United States!

This is the happy outcome of much careful consultation with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to whom I first made this request almost a year ago. I welcome this news with all my heart, for the Ordinariate has now progressed to the point where a bishop is much needed for our life and mission. A bishop will help to give the Ordinariate the stability and permanence necessary to fulfil its mission to be a work of Catholic unity, whose roots are to be found in the great texts of the Second Vatican Council.

That the Ordinariate would ultimately be headed by a bishop has been the intention of Anglicanorum coetibus, the apostolic constitution under which we were established in 2012. It is indeed an encouraging sign that we have reached that goal. With the inauguration of our new missal, Divine Worship, on the first Sunday of Advent, the time seems especially propitious.

It was on the occasion of my reception into the Catholic Church in 2007 when I first met Msgr. Lopes, and we have worked closely together ever since. There is no one who knows better the work of the Pastoral Provision and the Ordinariates: those entities created in response to Anglicans seeking full communion with the Catholic Church. Msgr. Lopes has been deeply involved the Anglicanae Traditiones Commission, charged with identifying “that liturgical expression which has nourished and maintained Catholic faith amongst Anglicans throughout the period of ecclesial separation and which in these days has given rise to aspirations for full communion with the Catholic Church.” He is thus uniquely qualified to be our first bishop.

It is particularly noteworthy that the Holy Father’s appointment is the culmination of a process for selecting an ordinary laid out in Article IV of the Complementary Norms of Anglicanorum coetibus. This provides for a significant consultative process that begins with the Governing Council of the Ordinariate presenting a terna of candidates. I am grateful to the members of the Governing Council, who accomplished this task with discernment and discretion.

I am grateful, too, for the encouragement, wise counsel, and support of the members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops during these first four years of the Ordinariate’s existence. I will always treasure the friendships made with these bishops. Their warm welcome for us pilgrims has certainly deepened the joy we know as Catholics.

– Monsignor Jeffrey N. Steenson, Ordinary Emeritus

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Monsignor Jeffrey Steenson retires as Ordinary with immediate effect. Monsignor Steven Lopes is appointed as Bishop-elect of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter.

The Chancery of the Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter in Houston has announced:



  • Bishop-elect Steven Lopes to be introduced at press conference today in Houston, Texas
  • Rome sends top official to North America to lead structure equivalent to a diocese
  • Vatican also approves use of new texts for the celebration of Mass

HOUSTON — Pope Francis has named the Rev. Monsignor Steven J. Lopes to be the first bishop of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter: a structure equivalent to a diocese for Roman Catholics who were nurtured in the Anglican tradition.

The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter was established by Pope Benedict on Jan. 1, 2012, with its headquarters located in Houston, Texas. Founded to serve Roman Catholics across the U.S. and Canada, it is the first diocese of its kind in North America.

The Ordinariate was created to provide a path for groups of Anglicans to become fully Roman Catholic, while retaining elements of their worship traditions and spiritual heritage in their union with the Holy Roman Church.

Msgr. Jeffrey N. Steenson, the leader of the Ordinariate since 2012, will introduce Bishop-elect Lopes at a news conference TODAY:

Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015
10:30 a.m. CST
The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter
7730 Westview, Houston, Texas 77055

12 p.m. CST/ 1 p.m. EST
Call-in number: Contact Jenny Faber, or 832-819-2686

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.

Bishop Lopes’ appointment comes just five days before the Ordinariate begins using Divine Worship: The Missal, a new book of liturgical texts for the celebration of Mass in the Personal Ordinariates around the globe. The texts were approved by the Vatican for use beginning the first Sunday of Advent, Nov. 29, 2015.

Bishop-elect Lopes was directly involved in developing these texts for worship; since 2011, he has served as the executive coordinator of the Vatican commission, Anglicanae Traditiones, which produced the new texts.

The new missal is a milestone in the life of the Ordinariate, since the Ordinariate’s mission is particularly expressed through the reverence and beauty of its worship, which shares the treasury of the Anglican liturgical and musical traditions with the wider Catholic community.

Pope Benedict’s vision for Christian unity and the concrete ways that Pope Francis is implementing that vision demonstrate that unity in faith allows for a vibrant diversity in the expression of that faith. The Ordinariate is a key ecumenical venture for the Catholic Church and a concrete example of this unity in diversity.

Steven Joseph Lopes, 40, is a Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of San Francisco. As the bishop-elect of the Ordinariate, he will reside in Houston, Texas.

Bishop-elect Lopes was born and raised in Fremont, Calif. The only child of Dr. José de Oliveira Lopes (deceased) and Barbara Jane Lopes, he attended Catholic schools in the Golden State, including the St. Ignatius Institute at the University of San Francisco. He earned licentiate and doctoral degrees in sacred theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

He was ordained a priest in June 2001 and spent the first several years of his priesthood as an associate pastor at two parishes: St. Patrick Catholic Church in San Francisco and St. Anselm Catholic Church in Ross, Calif.

Since 2005, he has served as an official of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican office responsible for promoting and preserving Catholic teaching. He was named a monsignor in 2010.

His family includes his mother, Barbara Jane; his step-father, Abilio Dias; five step-brothers; and a step-sister.

Bishop-elect Lopes follows in the footsteps of Msgr. Jeffrey N. Steenson, who was named the first Ordinary (or head) of the Ordinariate when it was established in 2012. Msgr. Steenson’s retirement from his position as Ordinary is effective today, upon Pope Francis’ appointment of Bishop-elect Lopes. However, Msgr. Steenson has been appointed Administrator of the Ordinariate and will continue to oversee its day-to-day activities until Feb. 2, 2016.

Bishop-elect Lopes is the first bishop to be named for any of the three Personal Ordinariates in the world: Our Lady of Walsingham in the United Kingdom; the Chair of Saint Peter in the United States and Canada; and Our Lady of the Southern Cross in Australia.

The ordination of Bishop-elect Lopes is planned for Feb. 2, 2016 in Houston.

A biographical summary, photos, statements from Bishop-elect Lopes and Ordinary Emeritus Msgr. Steenson and other materials are online at

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