Building Bridges of Faith, Hope and Love
Rev. Michael P. Aparo was installed as a presbyter of the Ecumenical Catholic Diocese of America in Connecticut (ECDA) on February 26, 2014,
The slideshow photos show:
2. Pastor Julie Reuning-Scherer proclaiming the Gospel;
3. Bishop William Manseau, the Ordinary of the Diocese, was joined by Revs. John Wentland, Michael Aparo, Michael Donnelly and Pastor Julie Reunig-Scherer.
4. Rev. Michael Aparo receiving from his wife, Ann, the symbols of Bread and Wine with the words: “Michael, take this bread and wine, and be among us to break the Bread and bless the Cup.”
5. Front left to right: Bishop William Manseau, Revs. Michael Aparo and Pastor Julie Julie Reunig-Scherer. Back left to right; Revs. John Wentland, Henry Smolinski and Michael Donnelly.
Bishop Joseph Catrambone, ordained for Saint Barnabas Mission / Ecumenical Catholic Diocese of America in December 2013 recently returned from a trip to Liberia Africa to extend his ministry for children in need. Here are the first pictures. He visited orphanages and also with the President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. More to come.
eport from the President
Executive Committee Meeting, by e-mail, December 2013
Winds of change?
(We note with sadness the recent death of Clelia Luro, the wife of Bishop Jeronimo Podesta and friend of our current pope.)
When we met in Mahwah NJ at the end of May this year, we were rejoicing in the election of a new Bishop of Rome. There were clear signs that the institution was going to be reformed and seven months later even the sceptical remain hopeful.
In the area of ministry, however, there is little sign of seismic change. Indeed, Bergoglio has said that the question of ordaining women had been ‘resolved’ or ‘closed’ by his predecessors. As to the ordination of married men or the relaxation of mandatory celibacy for the western rite secular clergy, we have no signs of imminent change as yet. Perhaps an effective synod of bishops (replacing the farcical charade of recent decades) may actually lead to bishops’ conferences petitioning Rome to make their own arrangements for the ordination of married men. But that remains to be seen.
In the area of lay ministry, we have at least seen Francis telling women religious that they need not get too upset when a rude letter comes from the Inquisition, but we are still awaiting a resolution of the discussions with the USA’s Leadership Conference of Women Religious. As for the secular laity, we can expect that this will continue to be an area where ecclesiastical ministry quietly expands – chaplaincies, parish administration, baptisms, funerals, Eucharistic ministry etc. Nothing about the new papacy suggests that IFRCM should shut up shop.
Amending the 1983 Code of Canon Law to enable laity to be made cardinals or allowing women to become clerics and thus admitting women to a place in Church governance has been mooted in the press but is surely not a way forward.
On a more personal note, I am gratified by the publication in the US by the St Barnabas Missions with co-sponsorship of FCM-RCFCC of a version of my table liturgies booklet. This emphasises the influence in the great variety of early Christian ritual meals the lay, Jewish, domestic table fellowship of of Jesus and his companions – non-paschal, but celebrating the breaking in of God’s Rule. This is not to deny the rich tradition of the Pauline, Corinthian and Synoptic emphasis on the Passover Seder leading to the clerical sacrifice of the Mass with one alter Christus and the rest of the baptised reduced to passive recipients or even mere spectators. If such table celebrations become more widespread among the Catholic laity, preferably in my view as a prelude to a meal, then we shall have achieved something.
We must hope for a good attendance at our Tri-ennial Conference in London next October where our concerns can be discussed further and proposals made. The membership of our UK member, Catholics for a Changing Church will be encouraged to attend.
 Paul Bradshaw, Eucharistic Origins (London: SPCK Alcuin Club, 2004) and Geza Vermes, The Authentic Gospels of Jesys (NY, London etc: Penguin, 2003) pp 301-307
 Brant Pitre, Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist (NY: Doubleday, 2011)
HUSBAND AND WIFE AMONG NEW CATHOLIC BISHOPS
A husband and wife were among newly ordained Catholic bishops in Ardmore, PA, Saturday December 21, 2013. This is probably the first time in the history of Christianity, that a husband and wife were ordained bishops together and given a common mission. Bishop William Manseau, D.Min., who leads the Ecumenical Catholic Diocese of America (ECDA) was the principal consecrator. He said, “Today, the feast day of St. Thomas the Apostle (Dec. 21), is an appropriate day to initiate the missionary call of these 5 modern day apostles. They are to be spirit filled leaders, building bridges of faith, hope and love in a divided and doubting world. “
Newly ordained Bishop Joseph Catrambone of Gaithersburg, MD leads initiatives to assist children in Central America and soon in Africa. Newly ordained Bishop Bernard Callahan of Lansdowne, PA is on the executive board of the National Council of Churches. Newly Ordained Bishops Virginia and Robert Graf are Southern Regional Vice-Presidents of the 400 member Federation of Christian Ministries. Father Michael Giansiracusa Rector of St Mary’s Episcopal Church in Ardmore where the ordination took place said, “Our community welcomes these fellow Christian Apostles to our worship center. Interfaith hospitality and missionary outreach has been a part of our 125 year history since the beginning.”
Bishop Manseau quoted Roman Catholic canon law that the “salvation of souls” is the highest law (canon1752) as he addressed those to be ordained and their friends and supporters. He said that the Ecumenical Catholic Diocese of America (ECDA)is praying for the Holy Spirit to convince the Roman Catholic Hierarchy to meet the needs of God’s people for Married and Women leaders in the roles of deacons, priests and bishops.”
The ordaining bishops trace their apostolic succession back to the same apostolic roots as Pope Francis, Pope Benedict XVI, Pope John Paul II, Pope Paul VI and so on. Pope Paul VI ordained the bishop who ordained Archbishop Brennan, bishop emeritus of the ECDA. Archbishop Brennan ordained Bishop Manseau in 2011, and is also one of the co-consecrators of today’s service. The other co-consecrator was Bishop Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger of Austria, who was the leader of the first Roman Catholic Women’s ordination in Europe in 2002. She was ordained a bishop by an active Roman Catholic bishop whose identity is being kept secret while he still lives.
Bishop Manseau said “Today we write a new page in the history of Christianity. By ordaining a husband and wife together, we are asking God’s Spirit to bless all married couples with their ministry. The church has not adequately supported marriage and married spirituality. This is a step forward.” Robert and Virginia initiated a peer to peer couples group and house church with a mixture of married and single persons. Bishop Manseau, the founder of Emmaus Institute counselling service in New Hampshire runs a program called “The Power of Two” for couples. He continued saying that we also want to bring healing and spiritual regeneration to people hurting from broken marriages.
Robert and Virginia will share their Episcopal responsibility together for the Southern region of the ECDA. Bishop Manseau said: “Their joint decision-making will model a new approach to Christian Unity. No two people ever fully agree on everything, but when love is primary, differences become secondary. Among Christians with differences, we need to emphasize love for one another, and find ways to let our differences enrich one another instead of dividing one another.”
The ECDA has its roots in the Society of Priests for a Free Ministry which was founded by married Roman Catholic priests in 1968 in St. Louis, Missouri. The ECDA was established as a diocese in 1981 in New York and as a national diocese in 1984. The ECDA is part of St. Barnabas Mission, a 501c3 church organization founded in 1983 by Joseph Alphonsus Fradale and Peter Paul Brennan, (now Archbishop) as an ecumenical family of laity and clergy whose main purpose is “to radiate Christ to the world.” It was intended by its founders to be an “outreach to the needy of the world.” It was meant to be an “umbrella that provides spiritual strength for all concerned and provides a sense of cohesion to the many individual efforts.”
Emmaus Institute, Nashua New Hampshire
Bishop (Dr.) William Manseau’s Emmaus Institute has taken the lead in sponsoring a Vesper Service with the Nashua Area Interfaith Council during the week of Prayer for Christian Unity in Greater Nashua, NH. It will be held at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Nashua New Hampshire.
The Lutheran Church has achieved a number of agreed statements in the recent past, for example, with the Catholic Church, with the United Church of Christ, with the Episcopal Church, and with the Methodist Church. These statements will be highlighted as part of the prayer service. A principal resource for the service will be Cardinal Walter Kasper’s book Harvesting the Fruits: Basic Aspects of Christian Faith in Ecumenical Dialogue.
For over a decade, the Emmaus Institute has been promoting the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in the Greater Nashua area. They have obtained a supply of catalogues from the Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute (http://www.geii.org/) and provided these materials to the members of the Nashua Area Interfaith Council at their annual meeting.
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is celebrated each year from January 18 to January 25.
The St. Barnabas Mission was established on June 8, 1984 by Joseph Alphonsus Fradale and Peter Paul Brennan and other colleagues as an ecumenical family of laity and clergy whose main purpose is “to radiate Christ to the world” (Canonical Establishment Document). It was intended by its founders to be “an outreach to the needy of the world.” It was meant to be “an umbrella, under/within which various services/ministries are coordinated. An umbrella that provides spiritual strength for all concerned and provides a sense of cohesion to the many individual efforts…Whenever prayer or religious rite become part of the Mission’s function they are strictly ecumenical in nature.” (SBM Minutes January 25, 1986).
With this mandate in mind the Leadership Council of the St. Barnabas Mission agreed on September 28, 2013 that the SBM would serve as the hub of a variety of particular ministries responsive to the current needs of the Church and the World engaged in by its members according to their own vocations and charisms with each of these ministries being as spokes of a wheel with SBM at its center. This will be facilitated by discernment as each member determines with the help of others a path of service as they experience unity in diversity.
Currently recognized spokes include the House Churches Initiative, the Ecumenical Catholic Diocese of America; the St. Thomas Fund for Eastern Christians and Palestinians; The Vicariate of the Good Shepherd for Eastern and Western Christians; the International Society of the Apostles Sts. Peter, Thomas and Mary Magdalene; The African Orthodox Church Initiative; and the Emmaus Institute, Inc. Such recognized ministries may be of variable duration depending upon the needs and circumstances of any given time.+William J. Manseau, SBM, D.Min. President
The FCM/RCFCC (Federation of Christian Ministries/Roman Catholic Faith Community Council) award to Peter Paul Brennan reads: Making the Difference Awarded to Peter Paul Brennan In recognition of the outstanding early work and service in the Roman Catholic Renewal Movement and founding leadership of the Ecumenical Catholic Diocese of America and the Saint Barnabas Mission. Given this July 13, 2013, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania The Roman Catholic Faith Community Council of The Federation of Christian Ministries
Saint Barnabas Mission is a community of women and men committed to the gospel of Jesus Christ. It serves as a bridge between catholic tradition and a vision for new interdenominational possibilities.
Saint Barnabas Mission is inclusive, embracing and ecumenical. It strives to :
1, implement the vision and goals of Vatican II;
2. support and encourage the priestly ministries of men and women;
3. re-establish the married priesthood;
4. cultivate peace and justice for all, especially those who are marginalized by society;
5. promote a green earth and to sustain healthy life on our planet.