In front of a church filled with family, friends and fellow
Catholics, local man Randy Sly was ordained to the priesthood
last Saturday by Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde at Our Lady
of Hope Parish in Potomac Falls.
A former Anglican archbishop, Father Sly, 63, was raised in
the Episcopal Church. For more than 30 years, he worked in
parish and denominational ministry in the Wesleyan Methodist
Church and in an Anglican jurisdiction serving churches in
Michigan, Oklahoma, Kansas and Virginia. In 2006, while
serving as an archbishop for the Eastern Province of the
Charismatic Episcopal Church, he entered into the Catholic
Church, along with his wife of 39 years. He is an active
member of the St. Gregory the Great Ordinariate Community, a
group of Anglicans entering the Catholic Church in Northern
As a Catholic priest, Father Sly will serve in the new
Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. The
ordinariate, similar to a national diocese for Anglican
converts, was created earlier this year by Pope Benedict XVI
and is run by Msgr. Jeffrey N. Steenson of Houston, a former
Episcopal bishop. One of only three ordinariates in the
world, it is meant to provide a spiritual home for Anglican
groups and clergy seeking to become Catholic while retaining
their own liturgical and musical traditions.
Father Sly was one of four men ordained to the ordinariate
last Saturday, as three others were ordained by Washington
Cardinal Donald Wuerl at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the
Apostle in Washington. Nationwide, 30 Anglican priests from
across the country will be ordained to the ordinariate this
summer. Another 30 men are preparing for ordinations within
the next year.
"These ordinations mark a significant moment in the history
of Catholic unity," said Msgr. Steenson in a recent
statement. "Our expedited formation process, approved by the
Holy See, has been a wonderful testimony to the deep respect
that the Catholic Church has for the former Anglican
ministries of these men."
During his homily, Bishop Loverde called the ordination "a
day of overflowing grace and joy and gratitude."
He advised Father Sly always to follow the example of the
"The Lord Jesus is at your side and you're about to be His
friend in a unique way," he said. "Be rooted in Him."
Father Sly was joined Saturday by his wife, Sandy; his
daughters, Dena Rickert and Deborah Wilson; and his son,
For David, who entered the Catholic Church in 2007, the day
was a chance to see his father finally return to his role in
"He's clearly been called to the ministry for as long as I
can remember, so this is both a kind of coming home and a
trailblazing experience," David said. "In a lot of ways, we
share him now because he is our father and the father of
Sandy also said the day felt like a homecoming and said she
is tremendously grateful to the pope for starting the
ordinariate and giving her husband an opportunity to serve as
a Catholic priest.
"It's so unreal and so real, to have this happen and to just
have that role given back to him," she said. "We honestly
didn't know how long it would take or if it would happen."
As a Catholic priest, Father Sly said he is most looking
forward to celebrating the sacraments, including his first
Mass, which took place Sunday at Our Lady of Hope. Mostly, he
said he is eager to find out how God will use his gifts for
the ordinariate and the Church.
"(I hope) to help guide pilgrims like myself into the
fullness of the Catholic faith," he said.
"I feel like this is the culmination of a long journey to the
heart of the Church.
I feel very honored and blessed