The U.S. Ordinations Begin!

Good news from the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter:

Mobile, Alabama man to be first of 30 priests ordained for U.S.-based Ordinariate

A former Episcopal priest, Matthew Venuti of Mobile, Alabama, will make history when he becomes the first priest ordained for the Catholic Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. The U.S.-based ordinariate was created by Pope Benedict XVI to welcome Anglican groups and clergy seeking to become Catholic while retaining elements of their Anglican heritage. It is equivalent to a diocese, but national in scope.

Mobile Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi will ordain Venuti a priest on Saturday, June 2, 10 a.m. at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, 2 South Claiborne Street, Mobile, AL 36602, along with four priests for the Archdiocese of Mobile.

Venuti’s ordination will be followed by 29 more ordinations of former Anglican priests across the United States this summer. They include hospital executive Jon Chalmers on June 3 in Greenville, South Carolina, followed by a father and son in Fort Worth, Texas; an editor of a major Catholic website in Virginia; military chaplains; and former Anglican priests in Arizona, California, Iowa, Maryland, Pennsylvania and other states.

The ordinariate is led by former Episcopal bishop, Monsignor Jeffrey N. Steenson of Houston, Texas. Only one other exists, in England, and a third will be established in Australia on June 15. Dozens of communities are in the process of joining the U.S. Ordinariate and 60 Anglican priests are in formation, including the 30 to be ordained this summer.

Archbishop Rodi noted, “Matthew’s ordination is both a joy and a sign of hope that the unity Jesus prayed for at the Last Supper may one day be fully realized. We welcome him to serve the people both of the Archdiocese of Mobile and the Ordinariate.”

In speaking about the ordinations nationally, Msgr. Steenson said, “These ordinations mark a significant moment in the history of Catholic unity. Our expedited formation program, approved by the Holy See, has been a wonderful testimony to the deep respect that the Catholic Church has for the former Anglican ministries of these men.”

“They will continue to engage in ongoing formation and it is my hope that our brother priests throughout the Catholic Church will come along side us as mentors and friends. Together we will strive to lay a good foundation for this apostolate of unity that Pope Benedict has made possible,” he added.

“Coming home to the Catholic Church has been an amazing experience. I am ever grateful to the Holy Father for calling Anglicans back home and extending such pastoral generosity,” said Venuti.

Matthew Venuti, 31, received an undergraduate degree from the College of St. Rose in Albany, NY in 2002. He worked in the music industry, in the jazz and pop music fields, before entering Virginia Theological Seminary. After receiving a master of divinity degree in 2010, he was ordained an Episcopal priest.

He served as curate for the Episcopal Church of the Nativity in Dothan, Alabama until entering the Catholic Church in September 2011. He currently serves as the coordinator of faith formation for St. Mary Catholic parish in Mobile. He also leads the Society of St. Gregory the Great, an Anglican use group that is based at St. Mary’s and is online at He and his wife, Minerva, have been married for five years and have a young son. Special permission has been given for those former Anglican priests who are married to be ordained Catholic priests.

Prior to ordination, the men must go through an extensive process that includes submitting detailed background information to, and receiving approval to move forward from, the Vatican; undergoing a criminal background check and psychological assessment; receiving an endorsement from the local Catholic bishop; participating in an intensive formation program; passing an examination; and receiving a rescript from the Vatican permitting ordination. Ordinations are being scheduled as rescripts are received.

Author: Deborah Gyapong

Deborah Gyapong is a member of the Sodality of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary ( in Ottawa, a former parish of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (Traditional Anglican Communion) whose members were received individually and corporately into the Roman Catholic Church on April 15, 2012 by Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast at St. Patrick’s Basilica. Under the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, the community will celebrate an approved Anglican Use liturgy and hopes to soon join with other sodalities across Canada to form the Canadian Deanery of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter under Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, Ordinary. As we wait for our priest(s) to be ordained as Catholic priests, God willing, Archbishop Prendergast will provide priests to celebrate our Sunday Eucharist according to the Anglican Use. Deborah is a journalist who covers religion and politics in Canada’s national capital, writing primarily for Roman Catholic newspapers since 2004. Her novel The Defilers, published in 2006, was not a best seller, alas. She spent 17 years at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in news and current affairs, including 12 years as a television producer.

11 thoughts on “The U.S. Ordinations Begin!”

  1. One can imagine how busy has been and still is the CDF, examining documents and issuing rescripts for the 21 English Priests of the second batch (17 of them having been deaconed yesterday), the 30 American Priests to be ordained this summer, and another 30 later; and most certainly, already forms and documents coming from Australia from the 14 ACCA/TAC Priests and a number of Forward in Faith-Australia Priests, in anticipation of the erection of an ordinariate there in 3 weeks. Santa Maria "Bureaucratica", ora pro nobis!

    + PAX et BONUM

  2. The Ordinariate has far more meaning and purpose in America than it will ever have in Britain where it is an anachronism.

    1. Anachronism is preferable to secularization. Let us contemplate in the etymology and meaning of the words "Anachronism" and "Secular"; the former means "Against Time" and the latter means "Of an age." I tell you, even if meaning and purpose has to come from the Ordinariate in America, Catholics don't abandon each other to secularization; our current zeitgeist is particularly anti-Christian, anti-theistic, and anti-religion, no matter how sugarcoated the poison. We must fight with all our might the battle against the world as members of the Church Militant.

    2. IMHO, quite the contrary.

      CofE is clearly in TEC's footsteps, though about 5-10 years behind. With the UK Ordinariate in place, people there will have a safe place to go and will not have to experience an ordeal of splinter traditional Anglican communities in the US, embattled by TEC and ever-dividing. Think if there had been such a sound alternative (rather than limited AU offer) in place in the US at the time of bp Robinson's disgraceful affair.

      Clearly, the impressive number of priests in the UK, much above their current needs, is an indication of some long-term thinking. We may see the true importance of Ordinariates in 10 or so years.

      1. I reiterate, with no trace of snarkiness, that this phalanx of OAPs will not be in the vanguard of anything in ten years.

        1. Then let's encourage the youth… If they aren't idolatrous or atheists… Yeah.

          Here's a scenario; those in the Latin Rite who feel the Latin Liturgy isn't very Roman and is very secularized will find the English Rite to be the proper place for English-speakers. Yes, this is one of those loopy, outlandish "what if" moments about issues that many people in the United States don't care for very much. And it's not likely to happen, given the influence of the Roman Church. (Not that it's a bad thing.)

          It's a general problem in our Catholic Church today that folks don't want to serve or make any commitments that demand they give their life and everything for Greater Glory. (Yes, I'm guilty of this too.) But relatively speaking, more vocations come from traditional communities.

  3. Bishop Harry Entwistle will be ordained a Catholic priest in St Mary's Cathedral in Perth on June 15th, the same day as the erection of the Australian Ordinariate. This would seem to be a pretty good indication that he will be named Ordinary.

    1. I would be cautious about this information as I have only seen it on one Australian blog (linked to by Fr. Stephen Smuts) and have not been able to find any corroborating information.

      Though I would not be surprised if this is true, and if it is, it is really good news in that there will be ordinaries from the Church of England, the Episcopal Church and the Traditional Anglican Communion. This might help eliminate some of that second-class feeling that many folks in the TAC or from the TAC carry around due to their treatment or perception of their treatment.

      1. I agree that caution is needed. Has + Entwhistle already been received? When will he be deaconed? Even Mgr Newton had to observe some slight hiatus.

  4. Even Mgr Newton had to observe some slight hiatus.

    He entered the Catholic Church on 1st January and was Ordinary by 15th January. Some hiatus! I'd imagine if the information about Bp Entwistle is correct events could very well move just as quickly.

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