Anglicans in the United States who want to become Roman Catholic will have a formal structure to oversee the conversion starting New Year's Day.
Catholic Cardinal Donald Wuerl announced Tuesday the equivalent of a diocese for converts who want to retain some of their Anglican heritage.
The new body will be called the Anglican Ordinariate for the United States. It follows an unprecedented invitation from Pope Benedict XVI in 2009 for Anglicans to join the Catholic Church in groups or as parishes. Formerly, converts were accepted on a case-by-case basis.
The Vatican created the first such ordinariate last January in Britain.
Anglicans have their roots in the Church of England. They split from the Holy See in 1534 when English King Henry VIII was refused a marriage annulment.