St. Michael’s Old Catholic parish is an ecumenical Catholic community founded in October 1978. We have enjoyed the shared
facilities and Christian fellowship of Hollywood Lutheran Church since January 1980. After over twelve months of constant
negotiation , in 1986 we were received into the jurisdiction of the North American Old Roman Catholic Church by the Metropolitan-Primate,
The Most Reverend James Hubert Rogers in New York. Episcopal ministrations are currently provided by the Most Reverend John
Ganes, of St. James' Parish in Delaware. Formerly, episcopal ministrations were provided during the annual visits of The
Most Reverend Hilarios Ungerer from Munich Germany from 1992 to AD 2002, with the approval of Msgr. Berube.
The holy liturgy of the Mass is celebrated according to the traditional Tridentine Rite. The other Sacraments and Sacramental
services are administered also according to traditional form . The robes and sacerdotal vestments of our clergy all reflect
a style common before the Second Vatican Council, as a matter of choice rather than a dogmatic rule.
As an ecumenical Catholic mission, we embrace, as our brethren, all professing Christians who know our blessed Lord Jesus
Christ as their Lord and personal Saviour and welcome all who know Him through a conversion experience to our altar.
Our mission is, as it should be with any Christian tradition,
(1)to reach out to lost souls with the good news that our blessed Lord Jesus Christ is the Saviour, that He paid the
penalty for our sins on the Cross. That He calls us to repentance. That He invites us to come to Him and that He offers the
truly penitent, salvation, healing and peace.
(2) To provide the sacred liturgy for traditional Catholics and to call lapsed Catholics and backslidden Christians
back to a proper relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ.
(3) To provide an ecumenical meeting place for regenerate Christians of all traditions, in the real sense of the word
In an effort to fulfill our Lord’s High Priestly prayer recorded in the seventeenth chapter of the Gospel according
to St. John, over the past twenty four years we have invited Lutherans, Eastern Orthodox, Anglicans, Baptists, Methodists,
Pentecostals and Latter Day Saints to participate with us at our various ecumenical liturgies and preach from our pulpit.
They all preach the same thing about the Person and Work of our Lord Jesus Christ. One of the very positive results of our
ecumenical endeavors has been to correct erroneous misconceptions we may have had about each other and to become more prayerfully
involved with Christians of other traditions in whom also dwells the Holy Spirit.
While in the final analysis there must be one and only one True Church upon the face of the earth amidst the sad chaotic denominationally
fragmented Christendom of today, and it is the obligation of every true believer in Christ to seek out and belong to that
Church. Many of us firmly believe that we belong to that one and only True Church but there is a problem with that because
we are at variance with our regenerate Christian brethren in other denominations who believe the exact same thing. So the
question remains; “which church is right”?
However there is a far more important question that will effect our daily life here on earth and finally our eternal destiny
and that is: what have we done with the Saviour in our lives? Have we repented of our sins, do we have a personal relationship
with Jesus Christ ? Is He the Lord of our life, are we keeping His commandments as we understand them and are we living a
Christ like life?
On the feast of Pentecost about two thousand years ago, St. Peter preached a Holy Ghost anointed sermon about Jesus Christ
as the Saviour of the world that He suffered and died on the Cross to make an Atonement for sins, that He was raised from
the dead and is exalted to the right hand of God from where He poured out the Holy Ghost on believers in Christ. A large number
of the crowd listening to his message were cut to the heart, believed in Christ and asked the Apostles what they should do.
St. Peter answered: repent! and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. A
little later he said : be saved from this perverse generation. That day about three thousand souls repented and accepted
Christ as their Saviour and lived a Christ like life. A few days later he preached another sermon and under the inspiration
of the Holy Ghost he told the crowd: “repent and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out”
Faith in Christ as the Saviour, repentance, baptism in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and the receiving
of the Holy Ghost was the first message of the True Church, Acts 2:38. It is the same message of the True Church today. At
the Apostolic Old Catholic Mission we continue to proclaim this message as the first prescript of the Gospel, it is the basis
of our ecumenical fellowship.
So where do we go from here?
While at St. Michael’s we pray and wish that all the members and friends and all those people who have used the services
of the Church over the years, would have applied the first prescript of the Gospel to their lives. But that is not the case!
Some have made their peace with the Lord Jesus but sadly, too many by their own admission have not. Their spiritual priorities
before Almighty God reflect that. However this situation is not unique to the congregation at St. Michael’s. It applies
equally to other church traditions everywhere.
Holy Scripture tells us that after death comes the judgment and unless our Blessed Lord Jesus comes back to Earth as He promised,
in the immediate future and translates our human bodies into glorious immortal bodies, the chilly hand of death will overtake
all of us. Either way there will be a judgment where we will have to give an account for every Mortal and actual sin we have
committed, including every insidious sin of omission! We can try to dispel this thought from our minds during life on earth
or our earthly probation but we will never fully escape the thought of a final judgment because the Holy Spirit will constantly
prompt us to ponder our eternal fate, whether we recognize the prompting as coming from Him or not. St. Augustine said: “we
are ever restless, until we find our rest in Thee” Another way for putting that would be, we will never be at peace
with ourselves, until we are at peace with Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour and Lord. Some in our Catholic tradition do
not like the term “personal Saviour” mainly because it sounds so non Catholic, but why should our non Catholic
brethren have all the blessings? We can also be sure that Satan hates the term and all it implies concerning us!
There are two things we have to do in life if we are born into this world. We have to live and when our allotted time is finished,
we have to die, whether we like it or not! Then after the judgment there will only be one of two eternal options available
to us, determined by the decision we made while here in this life. One is, everlasting life and happiness with our Lord as
a free unearned gift provided by the Atonement of Jesus Christ as the Saviour. The other is, separation from God, to be cast
out into eternal darkness where there will be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Our Heavenly Father loves us, we are His children, He wants us to return to Him. He is not willing that any should perish
but He wants all to come to salvation. He gave His Only Begotten Son Jesus Christ to be our Saviour. He gives us the gift
of the Holy Ghost to help us to endure unto the end. He gives us the freedom to decide and choose which road we will take,
either the broad road that leads to eternal damnation or the narrow road that leads to everlasting life.
If our religion has been a superficial experience that leaves us with a spiritual void. Then should we not reevaluate our
relationship with Almighty God? If we desire peace but find no peace with Him, then surely something is wrong with our religious
commitment. If our lives have not been transformed by Christ dwelling in our hearts, then possibly we have not experienced
a genuine conversion.
Our blessed Lord Jesus said, unless you are converted and become as a little child, you cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.
Of course He did not mean that we become childish, but that we be converted to a childlike humility of spirit and that we
have a childlike faith in Him, trusting God as our Heavenly Father. The people on the day of Pentecost two thousand years
ago who asked the Apostles “what should we do” were genuinely converted to Christ. Theirs was not a superficial,
nominal religious experience. They became new creatures in Him and began to live a Christ like life.
If we are concerned about the condition of our immortal soul and concerned about where we are going to spend eternity, then
we can be sure that is the Holy Spirit speaking to our hearts.
To be continued...