Former Anglican priest and Fort Richardson Army Base Chaplain Deacon Ken Bolin will be ordained as a Catholic priest on Thursday, March 7, at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Anchorage at 4 p.m.
Anchorage Archbishop Roger Schwietz will ordain the 38-year-old Deacon Bolin who is coming into the priesthood as part of the new Anglican personal ordinariate established by Pope Benedict XVI in January 2012.
The new structure — formally known as the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter — allows former members of the Anglican church to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church, both as individuals and as whole communities, while preserving many of their Anglican traditions and forms of worship.
The new ordinariate has about 36 priests serving 1,500 people in approximately 35 communities in North America. Similar ordinariates exist in England and Australia.
The new ordinariate in North America is led by Monsignor Jeffrey N. Steenson, a former Episcopal bishop who was ordained a Catholic priest in 2009. Because he is married, Msgr. Steenson cannot become a bishop in the Catholic Church and therefore cannot ordain priests for the new ordinariate.
In November, Msgr. Steenson asked if Archbishop Schwietz would ordain Bolin, first to the diaconate and then to the priesthood. Monsignor Steenson plans to be in Anchorage to witness the ordination.
Bolin only recently entered into full union with the Catholic Church on Nov. 24 at St. Patrick Church in Anchorage. His wife Sharon and their three kids will follow him at the Easter Vigil when Deacon Bolin — then as a new priest — will administer the sacraments as his family joins the Catholic Church.
Pope Benedict XVI’s unprecedented call to form an ordinariate that allows former Anglicans to enter the Catholic Church while preserving their traditions also provides for Anglican clergy to become ordained Catholic priests, even if they are married, with families.
Deacon Bolin is under the jurisdiction of Msgr. Steenson who has directed him to continue serving as a military chaplain after his ordination.
Once ordained to the priesthood Deacon Bolin will be authorized to celebrate both the standard Roman Missal Mass as well as the adapted Anglican Mass. Archbishop Schwietz said he is not opposed to there being a celebration of the Anglican Catholic liturgy in the archdiocese but so far he has not received any requests.