During the first year of its work -- while leaders wrestled with thickets of legal and liturgical questions -- the North American ordinariate ordained or accepted 30 new priests, all former Anglicans, and took in 1,600 members from 36 parish communities. It is now expanding into Canada, preparing for a second wave of incoming clergy and making plans for its own chancery facilities in Houston.
The Vatican's goal has been to "build a safe haven for orthodox people who don't mind saying that they're loyal to the Holy Father and to the church," said Catania, who attended the Houston meetings. "Our goal was to show that we're not just a bunch of Episcopalians who wanted to get out of that church. ... We always thought of ourselves as Catholics, but now our Catholic identity is clear to everyone. We made it all the way home."
(Terry Mattingly is the director of the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities and leads the GetReligion.org project to study religion and the news.)
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