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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Vatican decision to receive Anglicans prompts US, Canadian reaction

By Carol Zimmermann

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Parishioners at Our Lady of the Atonement in San Antonio, the largest Anglican-use Catholic parish in the U.S., have plenty to talk about these days.

"Everyone is excited, but they have lots of questions," said the pastor, Father Christopher Phillips, about the Vatican's Oct. 20 announcement of a special structure for Anglicans who want to be in full communion with the Catholic Church.

Father Phillips -- once an Episcopal priest and now a Catholic priest who founded Our Lady of the Atonement 26 years ago -- doesn't have detailed answers yet for the parish's 500 families. He said more details will be known once the pope's apostolic constitution and norms for implementing it are revised and published, which was to take a few weeks.

In the meantime, he told Catholic News Service he couldn't be more pleased.

The priest has been telling parishioners that they should view the new provisions "as a confirmation that what we've been doing has been found worthy."

The Anglican province in the United States is the Episcopal Church.

Other Anglican-use Catholic parishes are located in Houston and Arlington, Texas, and in Columbia, S.C. In addition there are Anglican-use congregations sharing the facilities of regular Catholic parishes in Corpus Christi, Texas; Scranton, Pa.; Kansas City, Mo.; Boston and Phoenix.

These communities began forming after the Vatican approved a pastoral provision for the United States in 1980 allowing the retention of some elements of Anglican identity in liturgy when a number of Episcopalians from the same congregation or area entered full Catholic communion. That provision also allowed a special procedure to admit former Episcopal priests who had become Catholic into the Catholic priesthood... Read the whole article.

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Fr. Phillips is the founding pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church, the first Anglican Use parish, established on August 15, 1983. Not that there is any confusion, but he is on the left, shown in his younger, less gray-headed days.