Anglican parishes in Philadelphia and Indianapolis were received into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church in early April, and two Anglican bishops in Canada were slated to lead their clergy and congregants into the church later in the month. The Anglicans are joining the new U.S. Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, based in Houston, a structure for Anglicans to become Roman Catholics while retaining some of their Anglican heritage and traditions, including liturgical traditions.
The numbers are not large by Catholic parish standards. At St. Michael the Archangel Anglican Parish in Philadelphia, the congregation numbers 25 plus its rector. The St. Joseph of Arimathea Anglican Use Society in Indianapolis totals 18. In Canada, many parishes have split -- sometimes more than once -- over doctrinal disputes that have roiled the Anglican Communion in recent years, or abandoned the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada altogether.
The head of the ordinariate, Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, is the former Episcopal bishop of the Rio Grande. A married man with children, he was ordained a Catholic priest for the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, N.M., in 2009, and named to head the ordinariate by Pope Benedict XVI Jan. 1