I have just returned from the Procession and Mass of Palm Sunday at the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Orlando, Florida, my home parish. In addition to the pageantry of this Sunday beginning Holy Week, there was a large class of First Communicants, and perhaps just as special, Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, the Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, was among us.
Having met together with Bishop John Noonan of the Orlando Diocese, Bishop Louis Campese of the Anglican Pro-Diocese of the Holy Family, and other clergy yesterday evening, Msgr. Steenson assisted at Mass in Choir. He also gave a touching homily for the great benefit of those children celebrating their First Communions.
At the following reception (or as Fr. Barnes would put it, "bun-fight") in the Royal Hall, Monsignor had the opportunity to meet many of the congregation and First Communion guests. He remarked several times that he was simply "blown away" by the vitality and youth of the congregation; he had not expected to find such, especially in a parish having its roots in the Traditional Anglican Communion (to which, by the way, the parish and Pro-Diocese have no substantive connection; the TAC is for all intents and purposes dead, though we have chosen not to cover the tragic events surrounding its disintegration over the past months).
While the Cathedral clergy humbly continue in the formation process, the entire parish is looking forward to the moment when the community will be allowed to enter the new Ordinariate. Everyone is anxious, and folks were queuing up to meet and thank the man who will soon be, God willing, their Ordinary. Msgr. Steenson was very generous with his time, making a point to speak, sometimes at length, with everyone who wished to meet him.
I had the opportunity to speak alone with Msgr. Steenson for quite some time, and I came away very much encouraged for the future of the Ordinariate. There are challenges ahead, to be sure, but the good Monsignor is coming to understand the singular needs of the various groups in the United States and Canada waiting to find their permanent home in the Catholic Church and the Ordinariate. Pray for him.
Pictures of the event will follow shortly.