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Pastoral Letter from Bishop Scalzi

June 26, 2017

Pastoral Letter to the Good People of the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic

This past week I traveled to the Mount Olivet Retreat and Conference Center outside of Saint Paul, Minnesota to gather with Bishops Robert, Marty and Rosemary for a time of prayer and work (just like the Benedictine motto: “ora et labora”). (Bishop James, who has retired, was not with us.)

I have come back from that experience refreshed and renewed!

The joys we experience in our Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic are alive in other TOCCUSA dioceses across our country; likewise, the challenges and frustrations are very similar as well.

There is much work to be done, and our “people power” is limited.

But we look to the future with hope-filled hearts, for we are a people of prayer and optimism!

Here’s an overview from our discussions:

  • We began with an open and honest look at each of our dioceses, reviewed any changes which have taken place, and examined ways in which we need to continue to reach out to each priest/parish/ministry. While our hope is still to increase the number of faith communities, we have a number of clergy who minister in varied and non-traditional roles.

  • The need for additional laity as members of the Executive Council was discussed and the bishops have agreed to make a concerted effort to see that laity from each of their dioceses are represented. (A concern remains for people who volunteer at National Assembly for various committees and then experience a lack of attendance and follow-through.)

  • We reviewed the Bishops' Relief Fund policy and have added some criteria that will facilitate and expedite our response to local, national, and world crises.

  • The Process for Adopting Social Statements was also revised to make it possible for the bishops to make more timely statements on Church teaching as it relates to the world around us. This new document will be submitted to the Executive Council for approval.

  • Bishop Robert has been meeting by phone on a regular basis with Bishop Frank Krebs, the presiding bishop of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion, discussing the possibility of an ecumenical relationship between our churches. We are at the point of requesting an opportunity for the bishops of both churches to gather to discuss the matter further.

  • All of us continue to reach out to our local Episcopal Church counterparts for support, assistance, and ecumenical relationship. The response from them varies in each diocese.

  • The bishops have also undertaken the task of writing and producing a compilation of the “Fundamentals of the Faith of TOCCUSA.” (This is similar to a type of “catechism” for our Church.) It is our goal that it will be printed in book form and will be ready for distribution at our 2018 National Assembly in California.

Most importantly we shared daily Mass in two beautiful chapels on the property where we prayed for all of the members of our dioceses, parishes, and ministries.

So, a great deal was accomplished in a very short time, and each bishop came home exhausted but exhilarated. We must always remember that The Old Catholic Church is not a church of hierarchy, but a church of, and for, God’s people. The bishops are here to serve, not to be served. But we need your help to continue to build up God’s kingdom. I know that everyone’s busy, but if you could carve out even one hour a week (outside of Mass) to help grow our parish, great things will happen. We are simply looking for extra-ordinary things from ordinary people!

 

Please contact me if you have any questions about the Bishops Meeting/Retreat.

 

Most Rev. Michael J. Scalzi

The Old Catholic Church, Province of the United States (www.TOCCUSA.org)

Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic (www.MidAtlantic.TOCCUSA.org)

Mailing Address: 9 Carousel Circle, Hershey, PA 17033

Phone: 717.439.4769

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