Yesterday, I received news via Facebook that my long time friend, a college friend I have known for 21 years, when I was in the St. Ignatius Institute at the University of San Francisco, Steven J. Lopes, was going to be the first ever Bishop of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. To say that this news was exciting would be an understatement. Instantly, some of us used social media to spread the great news that one of our own, those who were in the original St. Ignatius Institute (1976-2001), had been elevated to Bishop. We were also text messaging each other to share the news. It’s my hope, once I talk to my boss, that I will attend his Mass of Ordination on February 2, 2016 in Houston, Texas.
I first met Bishop-Elect Lopes when we were undergraduates together from 1994-1997 (I transferred in Fall 1994). He lived down the hall from me on the 4th floor of Gillson Hall (a footnote: his roommate my first year is now a Benedictine brother). Since we would both graduate in 1997, we were in many of the same classes together in the St. Ignatius Institute. Even now, I can think of the many great times we shared in so many fantastic classes taught by Professors who truly loved their craft and their Catholic faith. There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t give thanks for that Great Books Liberal Arts education.
From the moment I met him, I can remember that he always desired to be a Catholic priest. He was a superb student and loved learning. Although my love for the Catholic faith blossomed while in college, and my academic conversion began, there was something different that separated him from me. For many of us that knew him in college, we had a feeling that he was destined to do great things for the Catholic Church. I look forward to speaking to him soon and hopefully seeing him in February. If I attend the Mass of Ordination, I will write more then.
For those of you that are not aware, the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter is essentially the Anglican Rite of the Catholic Church. Taken directly from their website it says,
“The Ordinariate exists for those who are and who will be coming into full communion with the Catholic Church. Through the reverence and beauty of our worship, study of sacred Scripture and charity for those in need, we desire to share the joy of being Roman Catholic! With respect and gratitude for the Anglican heritage that nourished us, we seek to build bridges with all our brothers and sisters who are drawn to the Church, so that we might build up the one Body of Christ.”
I would encourage you to read more about the Ordinariate. You might have a parish in your area that you could attend. Since they are part of the Catholic Church, just as the Eastern Rites (Maronite, Byzantine, Melkite, and others) are in the Church, a Latin Catholic (Roman) can attend these liturgies and receive Holy Communion on any given day when Mass is offered. There is a parish part of this rite about 90 minutes from where I live. It’s my hope to attend Sunday Mass there soon.
Do me a favor: Please pray three Hail Mary’s through the intercession of Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary; for Bishop-Elect Steven J. Lopes has he begins his new ministry as Shepherd.