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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Episcopal Parish Coming Home to Rome...

An Episcopal parish in Baltimore, Maryland is in the process of coming into "full communion" with the Roman Catholic Church (see article here)

In a letter to parishioners, the rector of Mount Calvary Episcopal Church, Reverend Jason Cantania, announced that parish leaders voted unanimously to leave The Episcopal Church (TEC) and become an Anglican Use parish, which would allow them join Rome, under recent provisions announced by Pope Benedict XVI in his apostolic letter, Anglicorum Coetibus.

The move is part of an ongoing and growing trend of non-Catholic Christians, who are "Crossing the Tiber," (converting to Catholicism), in the last few decades. 

For years, groups of conservative Anglicans petitioned the Vatican to allow them to enter the Roman Catholic Church, while keeping some of their traditional faith practices (which do not deviate from Catholic teachings).  Last year, Pope Benedict accepted their petitions and set the conditions necessary to allow parishes and individual Anglicans, and Episcopalians, to enter the Church.

In his apostolic letter, Pope Benedict stressed the unity that Christ wants for His Disciples:

The Church, a people gathered into the unity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, was instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ, as “a sacrament – a sign and instrument, that is, of communion with God and of unity among all people.” Every division among the baptized in Jesus Christ wounds that which the Church is and that for which the Church exists; in fact, “such division openly contradicts the will of Christ, scandalizes the world, and damages that most holy cause, the preaching the Gospel to every creature.” Precisely for this reason, before shedding his blood for the salvation of the world, the Lord Jesus prayed to the Father for the unity of his disciples.
Meanwhile, in his letter to the parish, Mount Calvary's Reverand Catania states:

This is not about rejecting our past and our heritage, but rather fulfilling it. We have before us the opportunity to carry with us the richness of the Anglican tradition into full communion with the wider Catholic Church. I therefore ask that each of you pray that God's will be done in this place which we all love so dearly as we approach this momentous decision.
Godspeed on your journey home.

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