Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, 63, as Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter, the ecclesial structure in the United States and Canada that ministers to former Anglicans who have entered the Catholic Church. The Pontiff has named Msgr. Steven Lopes, a priest of the Archdiocese of San Francisco and official of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as the Ordinariate’s first bishop. Msgr. Steenson, a former bishop of the Episcopal Church, has been ordained to the Catholic priesthood but is not eligible for ordination to the episcopate because he is married. He welcomed the appointment of Msgr. Lopes:
What wonderful news from the Holy See this morning, that Pope Francis has appointed Msgr. Steven Lopes to be the first bishop of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter for Canada and the United States!
This is the happy outcome of much careful consultation with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to whom I first made this request almost a year ago. I welcome this news with all my heart, for the Ordinariate has now progressed to the point where a bishop is much needed for our life and mission. A bishop will help to give the Ordinariate the stability and permanence necessary to fulfil its mission to be a work of Catholic unity, whose roots are to be found in the great texts of the Second Vatican Council. That the Ordinariate would ultimately be headed by a bishop has been the intention of Anglicanorum coetibus, the apostolic constitution under which we were established in 2012. It is indeed an encouraging sign that we have reached that goal. With the inauguration of our new missal, Divine Worship, on the first Sunday of Advent, the time seems especially propitious.
Steven Joseph Lopes was born in 1975 in Fremont, Calif. to Barbara Jane and (the late) Dr. José de Oliveira Lopes. His father was Portuguese and his mother is Polish. José emigrated to the U.S. in the early 1960s and became an American citizen in 1970. Barbara Jane was born and raised in Detroit, where much of her family still resides. …On June 23, 2001, he was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of San Francisco by Cardinal William J. Levada (then Archbishop Levada). As a priest of the Archdiocese, he served as an associate pastor at two parishes: St. Patrick Catholic Church in San Francisco and St. Anselm Catholic Church in Ross, Calif. In 2005, he was named an official of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican office responsible for promoting and preserving Catholic teaching. For seven of his 10-plus years at the Vatican, he served as secretary to the Cardinal Prefect. He was named a monsignor in 2010. Pope Francis named him the Bishop of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter on Nov. 24, 2015. He will succeed Msgr. Jeffrey N. Steenson as leader of the Ordinariate on Feb. 2, 2016. For his motto, Bishop-elect Lopes selected the Latin phrase, “Magna Opera Domini,” or in English, “Great are the works of the Lord.” By these words, the new bishop expresses his awe of God’s grace in drawing His people to the fullness of Eucharistic communion.
Photo: The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter