[Episcopal Diocese of Maryland] Following several months of prayerful discernment, the majority of members of St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Catonsville, Maryland, have decided to enter the Catholic Church as part of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.
Members voted on Feb. 10 whether to leave the Episcopal Church and whether to enter the Ordinariate. Eighty of 100 parishioners were present; 55 were voting members. Of the voting members, six people abstained; 83 percent elected to leave the Episcopal Church and 76 percent to enter the Ordinariate. The vote was held in the presence of the Rev. Scott Slater, canon to the ordinary for the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, and Rev. Scott Hurd, vicar general for the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.
Slater stated, “This has been a thoughtful, prayerful and respectful process. While the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland is saddened when any of its members leaves one of its parishes, we rejoice that several members of St. Timothy’s have found a new spiritual home and we wish God’s blessing on them.”
“This has been a long process of discernment, guided by the Holy Spirit,” said the Rev. Terry Sweeney, rector. He added, “I am grateful for the gift of faith nurtured within the Episcopal Church and for the opportunity for those members who have been called to continue their journey of faith within the Catholic Church to be able to do so without losing the beauty of Anglican traditions.”
Sweeney will retire as an Episcopal priest on April 1, 2013.
The parish property, 200 Ingleside Ave., Catonsville, MD 21228, is held in trust for the Episcopal diocese. The new Catholic community will identify its new home immediately after Easter. In the meantime, two worship services will be held on Sundays: 9 a.m. for those who wish to remain in the Episcopal Church and 10:30 a.m. for those entering the Ordinariate.
“We welcome the members of St. Timothy who are making this faith journey, and thank the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland for being open to the to working with the community during this transition,” said Hurd.
The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland is a Christian community of 22,000 households in 111 congregations covering 10 counties and Baltimore City.
The Episcopal Church is a community of 2.4 million members in 100 nationwide dioceses, 10 overseas dioceses and six extra-provincial territories. The Anglican Communion is a global community of 77 million Anglicans in 38 member churches/provinces, including The Episcopal Church.
Two other churches in the Baltimore area, Christ the King Anglican in Towson, and Mount Calvary Episcopal in Baltimore, became Catholic through the Ordinariate in 2012. The Ordinariate includes 36 communities, 30 priests and more than 1,600 people in the United States and Canada. It was established on January 1, 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI. In 2009, the Pope issued an apostolic constitution, Anglicanorum coetibus, permitting the creation of ordinariates, which are similar to dioceses, for former Anglicans who were seeking to enter the Catholic Church in a “corporate manner”; that is, in groups. While fully Catholic, these communities retain many aspects of their Anglican traditions and heritage. Ordinariates also exist in the United Kingdom and Australia.
The Catholic Church includes 77 million people in the United States and 1.2 billion people worldwide.