The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter is equivalent to a diocese for Roman Catholics who were nurtured in the Anglican tradition. The Ordinariate was created by the Vatican on January 1, 2012. Members of the Ordinariate are fully Roman Catholic, while retaining elements of Anglican heritage in their celebration of Mass and in the hospitality and ministries of their Catholic parishes.
Based in Houston, Texas, the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter has more than 40 Roman Catholic parishes and communities across the United States and Canada. Members of the Ordinariate are united with the entire Catholic Church under leadership of Pope Francis. As of November 24, 2015, the Ordinariate is particularly led by Bishop Steven J. Lopes, who serves under the direct authority of the Holy Father to build up the Catholic Church through mutual mission and ministry.
The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter gives reference to the office of the apostle Peter, the first pope, and his successors. The chair of a bishop is placed in the mother church of a diocese and is a symbol of his authority and mission to tend to the people of God and keep them united in faith and charity. For the Ordinariate, the mother church is located at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Walsingham in Houston. The Chair of St. Peter is a symbol of the mission of teacher and pastor conferred by Christ on Peter, and continued in an unbroken line through the present pope. The feast of the Chair of St. Peter is celebrated on February 22 and commemorates St. Peter’s place as the servant-leader of the entire Church.
The Ordinariate exists for those who are and who will be coming into full communion with the Catholic Church. Through the reverence and beauty of our worship, the study of Sacred Scripture and charity for those in need, we desire to share the joy of being Roman Catholic! We wish to build bridges with all our brothers and sisters who are drawn to the Catholic Church, so that we might build up the one body of Christ.
In the Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Ecumenism (Unitatis redinlegatio), the Catholic Church specified what it would look like to bring all Christians together into communion. The Council said Christian groups would bring their own distinctive traditions to the Catholic Church; they would not be suppressed or absorbed. The Vatican’s generous expression of care in establishing the Ordinariates affirms the Catholic Church’s vision for Christian unity, in which diverse expressions of our faith are joined together in the Church.