Catonsville Episcopal church makes switch to Catholocism

St. Timothy's Episcopal Church in Catonsville is now Catholic.

Members of St. Timothy's voted on Feb. 10 whether to leave The Episcopal Church and whether to enter the Ordinariate. Eighty of 100 parishioners were present; 55 were voting members. Of the voting members, six people abstained; 83 percent elected to leave The Episcopal Church and 76 percent to enter the Ordinariate.

The vote was held in the presence of the Rev. Scott Slater, canon to the ordinary for the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, and Rev. Scott Hurd, vicar general for the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.

"This has been a long process of discernment, guided by the Holy Spirit," said the Rev. Terry Sweeney, rector. He added, "I am grateful for the gift of faith nurtured within the Episcopal Church and for the opportunity for those members who have been called to continue their journey of faith within the Catholic Church to be able to do so without losing the beauty of Anglican traditions."

Sweeney will retire as an Episcopal priest on April 1, 2013.

The parish property, 200 Ingleside Ave., Catonsville, MD 21228, is held in trust for the Episcopal diocese. The new Catholic community will identify its new home immediately after Easter.

In the meantime, two worship services will be held on Sundays: 9 a.m. for those who wish to remain in The Episcopal Church and 10:30 a.m. for those entering the Catholic Church.

Two other churches in the Baltimore area, Christ the King Anglican in Towson, and Mount Calvary Episcopal in Baltimore, became Catholic through the Ordinariate in 2012.

The Ordinariate includes 36 communities, 30 priests and more than 1,600 people in the United States and Canada. It was established on January 1, 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI. In 2009, the Pope issued an apostolic constitution, Anglicanorum coetibus, permitting the creation of ordinariates, which are similar to dioceses, for former Anglicans who were seeking to enter the Catholic Church in a "corporate manner"; that is, in groups.

While fully Catholic, these communities retain many aspects of their Anglican traditions and heritage. Ordinariates also exist in the United Kingdom and Australia.

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