The Old Catholic Church, Province of the United States, is a nascent American denomination with deep historical roots. Several independent Catholic jurisdictions across the United States, yearning for greater community and to model a different way of being Catholic, came together in a series of discussion. In September 2010, these jurisdictions formally became The Old Catholic Church, Province of the United States (TOCCUSA).
Our historical roots are not only embedded in the teachings of Jesus the Christ and the ancient church, but also in the Old Catholic Churches in Europe, which began as a reform movement after the First Vatican Council in 1870. In 1889 the break from Rome was formalized with the formation of the Utrecht Union of Old Catholic Churches. Claiming the name “Old Catholic”, the Utrecht Union reclaimed the ancient, undivided, and apostolic church before rancorous divisions and legalistic dogma severed the continuity of the Christian tradition and inhibited the movement and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
The ecclesiology of TOCCUSA is modeled after the Utrecht Union of Old Catholic Churches. That means we are episcopal and synodal in structure. The local church gathers around its bishop whose authority flows from election by the diocesan synod, which is composed of clergy and laity. Clergy and laity have equal voice and vote on all matters of local and national church life. As Catholics, we celebrate the seven sacraments. Recognizing that the sacraments are a means to God’s mysterious, inclusive, and abundant grace and that God withholds that grace from no one, so we bar no one from any sacrament: all baptized Christians are welcome at Eucharist, same-gender couples are welcome to celebrate the sacrament of matrimony, LGBT persons and women are welcome and encouraged to the holy orders of deacon, priest, and bishop.
Fully embracing Jesus’ declaration in John 10.10, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly”, the Old Catholic Church takes seriously its task to proclaim the gospel of freedom and life. These are indeed the cornerstones of Old Catholic identity and mission. In serving the world in the 21st Century, we ask ourselves, how do we teach and proclaim life and freedom in a world that equates a free life with hedonism. As we struggle to live into this question through mission and ministry, we do so committed to celebrating diversity: the diversity found among humanity and the diversity of gifts bestowed by the Holy Spirit. The movement called the Old Catholic Church in general, and The Old Catholic Church, Province of the United States, in particular, remains steadfast in building unity in diversity within our own church and in the world through a commitment to ecumenism. It is in embracing our diversity that we find our strength and heal our world.
We are The Old Catholic Church, Province of the United States:
Welcoming & Inclusive Church
Serving the Modern World
+Robert T. Fuentes Moderator, TOCCUSA
Bishop, Old Catholic Diocese of Napa
Chairperson for the House of Delegates
National Assembly 2013
This year, the Diocese of New England hosted the National Assembly.
September 19-22, 2013
Both the House of Bishops and the House of Delegates, having met jointly during National Assembly, September 19-22, 2013, are pleased to announce the following:
Acknowledging our work toward becoming an authentically Old Catholic church, such acknowledgment based upon our ecclesiological structure, our efforts to educate our clergy and laity through the creation of the Institute of Old Catholic Studies, and our purposeful growth in establishing strong parishes and ministries, the Archbishop of Utrecht, Joris Vercammen, on July 15, 2013, asked the leadership of The Old Catholic Church, Province of the United States, to submit a formal report to him on the progress of the Church’s work; and to our great astonishment and pleasure, on July 19, 2013, agreed that the Rev. Dr. Gunter Esser, Director of the Old Catholic Seminary at the University of Bonn, Germany, and Instructor of the Institute of Old Catholic Studies, will act as liaison between The Old Catholic Church, Province of the United States and the Office of the Archbishop of Utrecht.
The Second Sunday of Advent
In Matthew's Gospel 3: 1-12 John the Baptist is preparing the way for the Lord, Jesus the Christ.
How is john doing this? First John is being different in the way he lives. He is not living in a lavish home, he made his home in the desert. He is not wearing garments of fine cloth, he wore clothes made from camels hare and a simple leather belt around his waist. His food was not gourmet but simple wild honey and locust. People notice you when you dress different from others. They tend to gauge your status in society and they have a good idea from which side of the tracks you live on.
Second, John had a message that he seriously wanted to be heard by all whom would listen. The message was about something of interest to the people because this message was about their future, their freedom.
Third, John informed them that they needed to take an active part in preparing for the coming of the Lord. John not only baptized them with water and acknowledge their sins. They need to change their ways and produce good fruit.
During the weeks before Christmas, we are reminded that we too need to look within ourselves, seek where change is needed so we are prepared. Are there people who are drawn to us because they see something different about us? Do we willingly share with others our experience of a loving God of all people? Are we taking action and bearing good fruit?
Peace and Blessings this Advent Season