Great news about Atonement Parish!

IMG_4008From the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter’s website:

Under Latest News.

Becoming One.

HOUSTON — The first Pastoral Provision parish in the U.S. is coming into the Ordinariate.

Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church and its school, the Atonement Academy, have been transferred to the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter, effective March 21. At the direction of the Holy See, all parishes of the Pastoral Provision are to be incorporated into the Ordinariate: a special diocese for Roman Catholics who were nurtured in the Anglican tradition or whose faith has been renewed by the liturgy and evangelizing mission of the Ordinariate.

Founded in 1983 in San Antonio, Our Lady of the Atonement was a parish of a “Pastoral Provision” established by Pope John Paul II to allow for former Anglicans to form Catholic parishes within existing U.S. dioceses. With the establishment of the North American Ordinariate in 2012 and the ordination of its first bishop in 2016, the Holy See now expects all Pastoral Provision parishes in the U.S. to be integrated into the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter.

Read the rest over at the Ordinariate website!

What glorious news!

Atonement Parish, led by Fr. Christopher Phillips holds a special place in the hearts of all of us who have been gathered into Ordinariates in North America.  Atonement was the first pastoral provision parish and it started with only 18 people including five children.

During the run-up to the establishment of the Ordinariate in North America, Fr. Phillips was a constant source of encouragement to those contemplating entering the Catholic Church during a time of great uncertainty and difficulty.  He is a pioneer and a hero to us.

The picture is of Msgr. Peter Wilkinson who was then Bishop of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada and Fr. Christopher Phillips taken at the Anglicanorum Coetibus  Conference in Mississauga, Ontario that then Archbishop (now Cardinal) Collins organized in 2011 for those interested in joining the Catholic  Church.

16 thoughts on “Great news about Atonement Parish!

    • THIS IS wonderful news, the Work of the HOLY SPIRIT continues to bear fruit within the Ordinariate. Praise the LORD. My prayers at Holy Mass this morning will be for, Thanksgiving and continued Blessings for all concerned with this wonderful news. God Bless, BILL H.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. What a relief! All of us have prayed for this (particularly with a beautiful Novenna before the Solemnity of the Chair of St Peter). I’ve followed Fr Phillips on Facebook and he has never, for a single moment, lost his faith in Our Lady’s protection over a parish dedicated to Her. Furthermore, he has not allowed a single word against the archbishop, humbly conforming to all restrictions imposed on him.
    I think, the total actual membership of the three Ordinariates (i.e. the actual number of people reached by their parochial activity) may be close to 20,000 (as from today).


    • The latest membership figures I can find for OLA (in a recent article in the National Catholic Reporter) is 630 families, which would perhaps represent 1500 individuals. This is a substantial addition to the 8,000 people Bp Lopes estimated as the number of full and affliliate members of the OCSP in an interview on EWTN last year. However the OCSP has far more lay members/affiliates than the OOLW and the OOLSC, which together might total 2,000.


      • You’ve misquoted bishop Lopes. He said that “there are about 8,000 canonical members” and added “that’s not everybody”, specifically mentionining “cradle Catholics” “attracted to the Ordinariate” as not included and “amplifying” the figure. The interview is still available to listen to. And the same pattern is true for “Ordinariate parishes” in full care of OOLW. MBP alone attracts ca. 300 people on average Sunday (and ca. 450 on solemnities).
        Hence, 20,000 “people reached by [Ordinariates] parochial activity” is a rather accurate estimate.


      • PS. You have also underestimated the OLA figures. Already in Dec 2009 (i.e. 7 1/2 years ago), it was indicated that “Father Christopher Phillips has watched his parish at Our Lady of the Atonement grow from 18 people to a congregation of more than 2,000.” And it has further grown since then.


      • For what it’s worth, the bishop’s membership figures make the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter about the same as the Catholic population of the Diocese of Juneau (Alaska) here in the States, and considerably larger than a couple of the sui juris ritual churches of Byzantine Rite.


        Liked by 1 person

  2. And an additional piece of information (confirming the sense of continuity offered by the Ordinariate):
    “Jenny Faber, the ordinariate’s spokeswoman, said Phillips would remain at the parish as pastor emeritus and a new pastor would be named in about a year to 16 months.”


    • Bp Lopes said there were 8,000 members, which he then clarified as “members and close affiliates”. I would assume by the the latter he means members of Ordinariate parishes who are not eligible to join the Ordinariate. So I think that is a comprehensive figure for the OCSP, before we add in OLA.


      • If you made an effort to listen to the interview again, you would immediately realise that what you say is incorrect.
        „About 8,000. But that number is a little misleading. Those are canonical members. That’s not everybody in terms of who comes to mass on a Sunday morning at an Ordinariate parish. That number would be amplified by people who could not join the Ordinariate, like cradle Catholics, for example.”


    • The OOLW seems content to put out its membership as 1462, which I assume is the number of full members. The OCSP model is a parish or parish-in-formation where a DW mass is celebrated every week. Their statistics seem to include full OCSP members, parish members ineligible to join the OCSP, and other attendees. The OOLW model is a monthly or bi-weekly worship and fellowship meeting of former Anglicans now worshipping in local Catholic parishes, The group takes its name from the local area; it is an “Old Boys” association, not a parish. There are a few exceptions to this, such as MPB, Pembury, and St Agatha’s, but they involve perhaps ten percent of OOLW clergy. So the statement that “the same pattern [as the OCSP] holds true in the OOLW” is not accurate.


      • Unfortunately, this is a perfect example of strawman fallacy on your part.
        My statement, which you attempt to argue with, has not been that “the same pattern holds true in the OOLW”, but rather that the “the same pattern holds true in the Ordinariate parishes in full care of OOLW”, which is clearly a difference.
        (By now, there are at least six such parishes.)


      • In reply to godfrey1099’s comment of March 27, my editing was indeed misleading. The six parishes in question are certainly comparable to OCSP parishes and parishes-in-formation. They are relatively small, however; perhaps a combined ASA of 750.


  3. This is wonderful news on several fronts.

    >> The addition of the Parish of Our Lady of the Atonement in San Antonio most assuredly will strengthen the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter considerably, both in numbers and financially.

    >> And for the parish, this puts an end to a series of events, including suspension of Fr. Phillips and appointment of an administrator a couple months ago. The matter to which the archbishop takes exception in the linked letter is precisely the terminology by which members of clerical religious orders of pontifical right routinely describe their relationship to their local dioceses, and it is equally true of an ordinariate parish.

    >> I also note that Fr. Phillips sent a notice of a meeting with Bishop Lopes regarding the status of the parish at the church hall this evening. This is an indication that he is resuming his duties as the canonical pastor, with an end to the canonical process that Archbishop Garcia-Siller had inaugurated to remove him from that office.

    >> And this decision from the Vatican also has clear implications for the St. Athanasius Community here in Massachusetts, for any other congregations erected under the so-called “Pastoral Provision” that have not yet made the move, and for the community of All Saints — Sisters of the Poor in Catonsville, Maryland.

    I suspect that more details will emerge in the next several days, as those who are at the meeting this evening begin to communicate what is transpiring as I write this.

    May God bless the next chapter in the life of this parish!



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