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Episcopal priest embraces Catholicism as Vatican establishes “superdioceses” for Anglican congregations

The Rev. Jurgen Liias leads a Catholic parish that is an alternative for former Anglicans.
The Rev. Jurgen Liias leads a Catholic parish that is an alternative for former Anglicans.Credit: Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe

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Pope John Paul II extended to Anglicans, including married priests, the opportunity to become Catholic in the early 1980s. Over the next 30 years, 100 or so Anglican priests entered the Catholic Church, mostly as individuals, and were incorporated into local dioceses.

But some in the worldwide Anglican Communion — particularly the Episcopal Church, the religious body’s US Province — wanted a way for whole congregations to become Catholic.

At their request, Pope Benedict XVI in 2012 established special “ordinariates” — roughly, superdioceses — especially for Anglican priests and parishes. The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, which spans the United States and Canada, includes some 30 churches, including the Rev. Jurgen Liias’s, St. Gregory the Great, which held its first Mass in April.

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