St. Luke's Ordinariate Catholic Community began its history as a parish of the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Maryland. After transferring to the newly formed Diocese of Washington and closing and re-opening several times within its first 80 years, St. Luke's present church facility was completed in 1956. Father Arnold, the rector at the time of St. Luke's move into the present church building, and successive rectors, fully engrained St. Luke's as a bastion of Anglo-Catholic faith within the Episcopal Diocese of Washington.
In 2006, Fr. Mark Lewis accepted the vestry's call and began his ministry here at St. Luke's. Fr. Lewis immediately began to bring a multitude of positive changes to the spiritual life of the parish. Through his preaching and teaching he has brought the parish closer to Christ, and taught them the faith of the one Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
Part of Father Mark's teachings involved a Thursday night Bible Study series, during which Father Mark taught parishioners the tenets of the Anglican faith. It was during these Thursday night sessions, during 2009, that Father Mark began comparing the Catechism of the Catholic Church to Anglican beliefs. Participants in this study, many of whom were Vestry members, realized what Father Mark already knew—our beliefs were clearly more Roman Catholic than Anglican. The group soon realized that the See of Peter and the Magisterium, the rock-steady teaching authority of the Mother Church, was calling us home. There was at the time, unfortunately, no clear path available for the entire parish to meet that end.
Then in November 2009, Pope Benedict XVI issued the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus (Groups of Anglicans), which provided Personal Ordinariates (non-geographical diocesan-like structures) for Anglicans seeking to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church while still maintaining parts of their Anglican worship styles and heritage. After a period of discernment, the Vestry of St. Luke's voted to seek this full communion. Father Mark and Wardens of St. Luke's entered into discussions with the Episcopal Bishop of Washington and representatives of the Catholic Archdioceses of Washington to effect an orderly withdraw of the Parish from the Episcopal Church, and eventual entry into any Personal Ordinariate that might be formed in the United States.
On 6 June 2011, Father Mark Lewis, The Episcopal Diocese of Washington, and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington jointly announced St. Luke's intent to be received into full communion with the Catholic Church. After engaging in a period of catechesis, on 9 October 2011 almost 80 parishioners participated in a Rite of Reception and were welcomed into the Roman Catholic Church by the Archbishop of Washington, Donald Cardinal Wuerl.
While St. Luke's entry into the Archdiocese of Washington as a Catholic Community has been an answer to our prayers, one milestone has yet to be attained: Mark Lewis' ordination as Deacon, then Priest, in the Catholic Church.
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Few souls understand what God would accomplish in them if they were to abandon themselves unreservedly to Him and if they were to allow His grace to mold them accordingly.
- St. Ignatius Loyola