Cardinal-designate Edwin F. O’Brien, apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, announced Jan. 19 that Mount Calvary Church, a Baltimore parish of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, will be received into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church through the newly created Anglican Ordinariate for the United States.
Father Jason Catania, Mount Calvary’s pastor, informed the archdiocese that it has reached an agreement with the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, effectively ending the parish’s 169-year history with the Anglican Church. In October 2010, the parish’s vestry unanimously voted to leave the Episcopal Church and to become an Anglican-use Catholic parish.
Mount Calvary’s reception into the Catholic Church marks the second such Anglican community in Baltimore to do so. In 2009, Cardinal-designate O’Brien welcomed 10 Episcopal nuns and their chaplain to the Archdiocese. In 2011, the nuns, members of the All Saints Sisters of the Poor in Catonsville, were welcomed into a newly erected Roman Catholic diocesan priory of the same name. Their chaplain, Father Warren Tanghe, was ordained a Catholic priest in June.
“The steady flow of Mount Calvary alumni to Rome, combined with the decision by the All Saints Sisters and the publication of Anglicanorum coeitbus, made it clear to the people of the parish that our future lies with the Catholic Church,” Father Catania said.
Mount Calvary will continue to worship at its Eutaw Street church. A settlement was recently reached between Mount Calvary and the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland that will enable the parish to retain the property.
Representatives from the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland met for mediation on Nov. 17 with representatives from Mount Calvary and the Joseph Richey House hospice. Joseph H. H. Kaplan, a retired judge, served as mediator. Though a settlement was not reached that day, significant progress was made and negotiations continued. The agreement states that the property currently occupied by Joseph Richey House, a hospice that started as a joint ministry by Mount Calvary and the All Saints Sisters of the Poor, will be permanently deeded to Joseph Richey House along with the parking lot shared by the congregation and Joseph Richey House. The Anglican Use Congregation will be deeded the church building, adjacent offices, and rectory, will keep all furnishings and personal property, and will retain the right to use the parking lot shared with Joseph Richey House. The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland will receive a monetary sum as part of the settlement, and will retain first right of refusal if the congregation vacates the property.
The Rev. Canon Scott Slater, on the bishops’ staff and part of the mediation team representing the Episcopal diocese, said, “This has been a thoughtful, prayerful, and respectful process by all three entities, and I am pleased that we have reached a solution that meets the needs of all three groups.”
Mount Calvary is expected to be the first Anglican-use community in the United States to enter the Catholic Church through the new Anglican Ordinariate since it was announced Jan. 1. The head of the new ordinariate, Father Jeffrey N. Steenson, will receive Father Catania, three fellow priests and 40 parishioners on Jan. 22 at Mount Calvary.
“The ordinariate stems from the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus issued by Pope Benedict XVI in November 2009 that authorized the creation of ‘ordinariates,’ geographic regions similar to dioceses but typically national in scope,” according to a United States Conference of Catholic Bishops November 2011 press release. At this time, the only other ordinariate exists in the United Kingdom.