A Message From Fr. Arturo About the Upcoming Holy Synod

August 15, 2020

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Update – 9/16/20

View the latest Holy Synod Schedule here: Virtual ECC 2020 Synod Schedule (PDF)

A message from Fr. Arturo…

Subject: The role of the Delegates and Observers at our National Convocation of the Ecumenical Catholic Church (ECC). This “coming together” is officially called The Holy Synod. A brief history is described below. View more information about this year’s Holy Synod here.

After several contacts, dialogue and preparations, in the Springtime of 2003, Saint Matthew Church of Orange, CA was the meeting point of the very First Convocation of 13 different Independent Catholic Communities from all over the country who wanted to come together to form a single National Independent Catholic Religious Organization under the leadership of Bishop Peter Hickman. The First Convocation was held at Double Tree Hotel, Santa Ana – Orange County Airport.

In 2003 when I met with the first Delegates, I shared space with leadership representation of each participating church as an “observer” and invited guest of Bishop Peter. I met with parish council members, pastors/representatives and their significant others, and interested individuals with their available family, who were curious to find out more about what this “coming together and all are welcome” was all about.

After the Second “Convocation” in Las Cruces, New Mexico in 2005, I was already a “Delegate” to the House of Clergy, representing the Spanish Community and as an Associate Pastor to Bishop Peter at Saint Matthew Church in Orange, CA. The participants learned the importance of having official Delegates representing the voices of the clergy and the laity to accomplish the following: (1) establish some order for operational efforts, (2) facilitate agreements and (3) finalize decisions during the meetings in the Plenary Sessions. In addition, each session’s time frame was split up, to provide opportunities to address both (1) laity concerns and (2) clergy concerns. Thus, we established “The House of Laity” and “The House of Clergy.”

Fast forward 2020. It has been customary to hold the Synod every two years, except after the third Synod at St. Pete Beach, Florida. Instead, a Pastor’s Retreat took place in St Louis, MO, which made it a challenge to allow for more preparation from leadership, resulting in the skipped Synod. We still have the same variety of participants every time, just as the First Convocation of 2003 presented. Delegates, Observers, and invited guests eagerly attend. And, as it has been, to keep the Synod discussions in order, everybody is given a voice, but only official Delegates can vote when it comes to decisions and agreements in each of the Houses.

There is a process of preparation for the Delegates to study and find out what are they voting on at the Synod, including what is on the table for discussion, what are the proposals and what is expected overall. Delegates from Saint Matthew have separate preparatory meetings before going to and attending each Synod. Our representatives of Saint Matthew engage in these meetings before and during each Synod, which spearheads the preparations for the entire California Group (now diocese), allowing us to have a more cohesive stand in front of the National Organization Representatives, the ECC.

I hope this succinct background narrative inspires interest from our community of Saint Matthew, to take into consideration the National Organization, the ECC, which our beloved Bishop Peter founded. He firmly believes that as a church we exist for something greater than ourselves, and the ECC with its inclusivity message is His greatest gift to the Catholic Church.

Fr. Arturo

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