The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter
The Catholic Church of the Holy Nativity is a member parish of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. An Ordinariate is similar to a Catholic Diocese. A Catholic Diocese is erected over a particular geographic area. For example, Payson is within the Catholic Diocese of Tucson. An Ordinariate, however, is a jurisdiction over persons rather than geography.
In our case, we are persons primarily of former Episcopalians or Anglican background (also former Methodists, Presbyterians and Lutherans) who have become Roman Catholics and now are part of this Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. We also have Roman Catholics who are lapsed Catholics and those that are active Catholic but love our liturgy and our traditions. This Ordinariate covers the entire United States and Canada. Two other Ordinariates also exist which provide pastoral care for persons living in Great Britain and Australia.
The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter (OCSP) was established on January 1, 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI and is headquartered in Houston, Texas. The Cathedral is under the title of Our Lady of Walsingham; and the Chancery offices are located next door to the Cathedral.
Our Apostolic leader (Bishop) is the Most Rev. Steven J. Lopes who was ordained a bishop in February 2016 especially for this Ordinariate. He is a member of the United States and Canada Conference of Catholic Bishops and works with all Catholic bishops to build up the Church through mutual mission and ministry.
As part of this special Ordinariate, our worship here at Holy Nativity uses especially approved Missal and Rites based on catholic usage and the ancient English tradition. England was catholic for over a thousand years before the break from Rome under King Henry VIII in the 16th century. This Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter is the means by which Catholic believing persons of this background can worship using their familiar forms. It brings back a unity lost in the English tradition over 500 years ago.
These early years in the life of the Ordinariate will be full and exciting with challenges and new opportunities for person of the Protestant background to come into the fullness of Catholic life while retaining the beauty of many of their reformed traditions. Join with us as we participate in the healing of Christ’s Body, the Church. We pray and work in union with Christ’s own prayers: “That we may all be one.”