Parishioners of St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Maryland arrived at services Sunday and got an unexpected sermon: Rev. Mark Lewis informed the congregation that he and other church leaders wanted the entire parish to convert to Catholicism. “We didn’t know for sure how people would react,” says one person who took part in the two-year planning process. But in the end, only one family out of the church's 100 members wasn't sure about the move. St. Luke's will be the first church to take advantage of new Vatican rules looking to recruit dissatisfied Protestants, the Washington Post reports.
While the church will be under the authority of the Roman Catholic Church, the new rules will allow it to keep many of its Anglican traditions, including its married pastor. But it will get some new additions, including a new sign, instruction on how to pray the rosary and say confession, and of course, a large Mary statue. Church leaders wanted to make the move not because they are unhappy with the Episcopal Church's ordination of gays and women, but simply because they want an authority figure—Pope Benedict. Says one lay leader, “In the Episcopal Church, bishops in one place say one thing and in another say another." (Read more Episcopal Church stories.)