Old Bishop, New Priest

WITH PRAISE AND THANKSGIVING TO

ALMIGHTY GOD

THE ARCHDIOCESE OF SANTA FE

ANNOUNCES

THE ORDINATION TO THE

SACRED PRIESTHOOD OF

JEFFREY N. STEENSON

THOUGH THE IMPOSITION OF HANDS AND THE INVOCATION OF THE

HOLY SPIRIT

BY HIS EXCELLENCY

MICHAEL J. SHEEHAN

ARCHBISHOP OF SANTA FE

SATURDAY,THE TWENTY-FIRST OF FEBRUARY,TWO THOUSAND AND NINE

AT  TEN-THIRTY O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING AT ST.THOMAS AQUINAS CATHOLIC CHURCH, RIO RANCHO, NM

Jeffrey M. Steenson will be new to the Roman Catholic priesthood, but not new to our Lord’s vineyard.  When ordained February 21, 2009 by Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan of the Santa Fe Diocese of New Mexico, Steenson will continue a faith adventure that still astounds him.

It was much more than the divisions within the Anglican Church over issues such as the affirmation of the openly gay Gene Robinson as bishop, and the election of Katharine Jefferts Schori as the first female presiding bishop, that coaxed the then Bishop Steenson onto a new path.  These issues were monumentally troubling to his church and he was himself,  “deeply troubled about where the Episcopal Church is heading.”  Bishop Schori had also blessed same-sex unions.  Though grave, still more important issues than these motivated his faith journey to the Roman Catholic Church.  No less than the Fathers of the Church held great sway in this matter of faith, conscience and desire.

Before he even entered the ministry, Jeff thought about entering the Roman Catholic Church.  One of his professors, a nun, did a very good job showing him that the early Church looked and was as it continues to be very Roman Catholic.  She also pointed out that she thought he might have a vocation to the priesthood but he was married and so that was then not to be.  Years passed, Jeff became an priest and then a bishop in the Anglican Church .

The Church Fathers still sounded Roman Catholic but life got very complicated.  It took the powerful personage of the inimitable Pope John Paul II to re-ignite his Catholic leanings.  He made a promise to himself that he would revisit his Catholic inclinations and act if that meant becoming a Roman Catholic.  Acting on the promise was tougher and so a bit late in being fulfilled.  He meant to act while JPII was still alive, and not doing so troubled him, but life as Rt. Rev Steenson of the Rio Grande Diocese of the Anglican Church made serious decisions too serious to rush.  Prayer, study, meetings and mentors,  more prayer and more study, soon demanded that conscience be honored.  The promise he made to himself ended with his resignation as bishop.  This was not without pain.  There were explanations to be given and loose ends, at all ends.  In his customary gentle manner,  Jeff reached out as best he could to make clear with persuasive reason and Patristic history the underpinnings of his choice.

Happily, eventually the sun did shine on the road ahead for Jeff and his wife, who shared these dilemmas and discoveries.  Soon came his entry into the Roman Catholic Church. and now, more promises to be made, the promises of the sacred priesthood.  Jeff goes forward carrying his faith-filled past in his heart, grateful for loved ones in his Anglican Church family and his beloved deep Anglican roots.   At this, a new beginning on a continuing faith journey, may God bless Jeffrey Steenson and his family.

Who's the Leper Now?

The Leper, who comes to Jesus in today’s Gospel (Mark 1:40-45,) is often seen as an embodiment of those who are the “untouchables” of  our society (the poor, the weak, the unwed mother, the addict.)  The Leper, in another view, is one who is “outside the camp”.  The leper is the one cut off from worship and cut off from community.

In the United States today, the Leper is 75% of those who call themselves Catholic, yet no longer celebrate Mass or practice their Faith. No matter the reason that they left the Church (disbelief, anger, lifestyle, boredom), they are now “outside the camp.”

The tragedy is that our worship, while directed to God, has an effect on us.  Worship orders the one who worships.  Worship grounds the worshiper once again in the Truth of Who it is he worships.  It prepares a man for battle, so to speak.  “Happy the people that know the joyful shout!” (Psalm 89:16)  Without worship, the World becomes the voice that lies to him, tempts him and in the end may even conquer him.

The poor and the weak are in the Lord’s camp. The true outsider is one Jesus calls home. “I do will it.  Be made clean.” (Mark 1:41)

I Want a Miracle!

According to the Drudge Report and Rep. John Culberson of Texas, Speaker Nancy Pelosi may already be in Rome; on the supposed agenda, a meeting with His Holiness Benedict XVI.

Nancy strikes me as an upfront,in your face,no apologies-type gal.  I can see her kissing the papal ring while sporting a Pro-Choice tee? However, despite my knee jerk emotions, I'll be joining the Anchoress praying for Nancy's enlightenment. I can hang with hope, since I must, but I want a miracle!