Our Message: The love of Christ urges us on. Old Roman Catholics in the Americas have a rich heritage, but ours is not a preservationist movement, keeping old ways only as a “museum piece” or source of nostalgia. We have indeed received the rich treasures of the Catholic Faith, and we are moved onward by God’s love through Christ, to receive Him and His Love manifestly through the Word and Sacrament in our churches; to share that Love with each other as a community of Christians, and to take it into the world, our neighborhoods and communities, so hungry for the Divine Compassion. So our message is at once one with the centuries, and one with the present time, that God’s Love is so limitless that it reached down from heaven in the Divine Person of Jesus Christ, and is present and available to us all. He is with us in Word and Sacrament, and He seeks a dwelling place in each of our hearts.
Our Lord, Jesus Christ, commissioned the Apostles with two great missions to fulfill. First, to go into all the world and carry His message of Love to all people (St. Matthew 16:15), and secondly, to give sustenance to community of believers, that they might grow in His Love and service ( cf. St. John 21:15, et seq.; St. Luke 22:32). In addition to fulfilling these two roles, of spreading the gospel, and nourishing the faithful, the Church has inherited with the sacred deposit of Faith from the Apostles, a responsibility to tend to the needs of the poor, the outcast, and the suffering (St. Matthew 25:37-40; St. James 1:27, 2:14-17). The Old Roman Catholic Church in the Americas, descended from the Apostles through the See of Utrecht, is bound to this Holy Mission: Spreading the Gospel message to all, instructing and encouraging the faithful in discipleship, and as a community and individuals, acting on Christ’s mercy to all in need. Our ministry, then, is an embodiment of Jesus’ message of Love, and we are uniquely situated as a small body of Christians to act on our charge without becoming enmeshed in the intricacies of institutionalism.
Our Bishops, as modern day apostles, are real members of our local communities, both large and small. You will find us gathering in conventual parish churches, with their spired buildings and high altars, but also in storefront missions, rented meeting halls and even private living rooms, even police squad rooms and military chapels – in each case as faithfully as possible celebrating the mysteries of the Sacrifice of the Mass; sharing Word and Sacrament, whether in Latin or faithful English translation. You will find us, too, administering food pantries, working in hospices and hospitals for those near death, and ministering on the streets of the inner-city and the neighborhoods of towns and villages. Old Catholics in the Twentieth Century have not lost touch with our forebears in the ancient Sees of Utrecht, Haarlem and Deventer who built glorious temples as witnesses to the majesty of God, but also met secretly during times of oppression in guild halls and barns. We provide as we can for beautiful surroundings and vestments for our Liturgies, yet we believe that our financial resources should be used wisely for Christ’s work, not for ostentatious display of ecclesiastical finery.
Our people come from all walks of life, and come together to share the love of Christ together, to deepen their experience of Him, and then to take His love back out into the world. Our clergy – deacons, priests and bishops, include men of God who are devoted full time to Church service, and those who also devote a portion of their time to secular labor. Just as Our Lord meets each of us as individuals, and tends to our particular needs, so too the Church as the Body of Christ, while being faithful to the Faith and Practice we have received, must also tailor its ministries and institutions to the particular needs of its people in particular times and places. Thus, the Old Roman Catholic Church of America, as a part of Christ’s One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, can be seen to bear all the marks of the body of believers Christ has drawn unto himself. Like all of the streams in that current known as the Church Catholic, we suffer under the dreadful disunity which has fallen upon Christ’s Church on earth, and are praying and working toward restoration of visible unity, first among our sister churches within Old Roman Catholicism, and ultimately, as we believe is God’s will, among all Christians. But we cannot wait upon that day to meet the challenges of Christ’s mission for His Church. We are a body of the faithful gathered under the protection and care of our bishops, through our priests, and the Church of Christ is present wherever any of our faithful are present.
Metropolitan David of Louisiana