Monsignor Keith Newton has enthusiastically welcomed the appointment of the Reverend Dr Jeffrey Steenson as the first Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of The Chair of St Peter, erected today in the United States.
On hearing the news of the appointment by Pope Benedict XVI, Mgr Newton said, ‘Fr Steenson is a warm and compassionate priest with a wealth of experience, and I am delighted by his appointment’.
The appointment of Fr Steenson marks the official establishment of the second Personal Ordinariate for those from the Anglican tradition who wish to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church, whilst retaining those elements of Anglican liturgical and spiritual patrimony consonant with Catholic faith and practice. Dr Steenson formerly served as a bishop of the Episcopal Church before being received into the Catholic Church, and ordained under the Pastoral Provision.
Speaking of the erection of the US Ordinariate, Mgr Newton said, ‘The Holy Father’s vision for the visible reunion of Anglicans with the Holy See continues apace. As we enter in 2012, we pray that many more will take up Christ’s call – ut unum sint – and fulfil the prayer of generations for an Anglicanism united but not absorbed’.
Biography of the Reverend Dr Jeffrey Steenson
The Reverend Dr Jeffrey Neil Steenson was born on 1st April 1952 and spent 24 years in the ministry of the Episcopal Church, serving in parishes in Pennsylvania and Texas. He holds an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and an M.A. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and completed a doctorate on Basil of Ancyra at the University of Oxford in 1983. In 2005, he was made bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande in New Mexico, having previously served there as Coadjutor and Canon to the Ordinary. His resignation as bishop took effect on 1st December 2007, and he was received into the full communion of the Catholic Church that day. Having petitioned for ordination under the terms of Bl. John Paul II’s Pastoral Provision, Fr Steenson studied at the Pontifical Irish College in Rome. He was ordained to the diaconate by Cardinal Bernard Law in 2008, and to the sacred priesthood on 21st February 2009 by the Archbishop of Santa Fe, the Most Reverend Michael J. Sheehan. He has since taught at the University of St Thomas and at St Mary’s Seminary, both in Houston, Texas. Fr Steenson is married to Debra, and has three grown-up children.