June 30, 2012
|The six former Anglican priests, (left to right) Christopher Stainbrook, Charles Hough,III, Joshua Whitfield, Timothy Perkins, Charles Hough, IV, and Mark Cannaday, present themselves to the congregation prior to their ordination.|
Hundreds gathered under the ornate dome of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Keller Saturday, June 30, for the ordination of six men as Catholic priests in an event with weighty implications.
Bishop Kevin Vann ordained Mark Cannaday, Charles Hough III, Charles Hough IV, Timothy Perkins, Christopher Stainbrook, and Joshua Whitfield as Catholic priests to serve in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, the “diocese” for former members of the Anglican community and priests created through the Anglicanorum Coetibus of Benedict XVI. The ordination Mass marked the first class of the ordinariate.
“This is an emotional day for me and many who are here,” said Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, the head, or Ordinary, of the Ordinariate, based in Houston with Our Lady of Walsingham Parish as its principal church. “They will make a great impact through the blessing and strength of our Lord Jesus Christ in the life of the Church.”
Through the Ordinariate — which has the status of a diocese — former Anglican parishes are being welcomed back into full communion with the Church across the U.S. and Canada, while being allowed to retain some of their Anglican traditions of liturgy, most notably the use of many elements of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer in the Book of Divine Worship (revised in 2003).
Msgr. Steenson was ordained to his post and bestowed the title “Monsignor” during a Mass officially erecting the Ordinariate at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of the Diocese of Galveston-Houston, Feb. 12.
Though he is a voting member of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Msgr. Steenson cannot be ordained as a bishop because he is married.
Five of the former Anglican priests are seated with their families. Their vestments are seen draped over the pews. (Photo by Donna Ryckaert)
The U.S. ordinariate, based in Houston at Our Lady of Walsingham, was the second to be formed worldwide in response to increasing requests in recent years from Anglican priests and congregations to join the Roman Catholic Church while maintaining some of their traditions.
The first was formed in England and Wales last year, the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. A third, the Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross, was established in Australia on June 15.
The ordinations at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton were yet another momentous step in the growth of the Ordinariate.
The six are among 60 former Anglican priests to be ordained as Catholic priests this year, including 35 this summer.
“You are being called to priestly ministry in the Catholic Church in which your role as a witness is much needed,” Bishop Vann told the men.
The bishop has said that the Ordinariate is the culmination of the work of the Holy Spirit, going back to the Oxford Movement that began in the 1830s and Blessed John Henry Newman’s efforts to unite Anglicans and Catholics.
Reunification efforts continued through the Second Vatican Council and further advanced with Pope John Paul II’s Pastoral Provision of 1981 that served as a mechanism for Episcopal priests to become Roman Catholic.
Anglicans have always considered themselves Catholic, a point each of the new priests emphasized, saying their journey of faith to become Catholic priests has less, or nothing, to do with the political turmoil existing within the Episcopal church.
Father Dennis Smith, parochial vicar of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, gives Fr. Charles Hough, IV a customary welcome hug following his ordination.
“Newman, I think, would have been thrilled to bits [by the ordinations],” said Father Allan Hawkins, who as pastor brought the congregation of St. Mary the Virgin Parish of Arlington into the Church in 1991. The ordinariate “is the fulfillment” of his movement.
“Sometimes I thought it was all lost, but it is not. It is here, gloriously flourishing.”
His father, Charles Hough III, 57, was an Episcopal priest for 31 years, including 18 as Canon to the Ordinary of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth before stepping down in September 2011. Father Hough III and his wife, Marilyn Ann have been married for 32 years and have one other adult child.Father Charles Hough IV, 30, of Keller will be appointed as pastor of Our Lady of Walsingham Church in Houston. He was served as an Episcopal priest beginning in 2007 until entering the Catholic Church in June 2011. Hough is married and has two sons.
Father Timothy Perkins, 57, was received into the Catholic Church in September 2011 after more than 21 years as an Episcopal priest. He and his wife, Jody, have children ages 19 to 30.
Father Christopher Stainbrook, 52, was pastor of St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Fort Worth. His congregation was received into the Catholic Church in May.
Father Joshua Whitfield, 34, was ordained an Episcopal priest in 2003, and published his book “Pilgrim Holiness” in 2009. He has served as a curate and rector in the Episcopal Church in Fort Worth. He and his wife of nine years, Allison, have two young children.
Father Mark Cannaday, 63, was an Episcopal priest for 36 years holding positions in the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas and the Diocese of Fort Worth, most recently as rector of St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Gainesville. He and his wife of 43 years, Doris, have two adult children and three young grandchildren.
In a brief message from the ambo after the ordination, a humble Father Perkins told those gathered Saturday that his ordination doesn’t feel like a “culmination” but rather another new beginning.
“We are dabbling in a moment of history that touches on eternity,” Perkins said. “We are sharing the great mystery
“We are conjoined, not just we who have been ordained priests, but all of you faithful people of God.”of unity for which Christ prayed his priestly prayer.