The New Catholic Community (NCC) is an interjurisdictional organization that aspires to live out a new mode of Catholicism, following Christ in the 21st-century context through an Old Catholic ecclesial model in relationship with communities that enjoy full communion with the Union of Utrecht of Old Catholic Churches. The NCC unites likeminded, inclusive Catholics in national communities comprised of laity, religious and clergy. Centered on the regular, communal celebration of the Eucharist, reading the “signs of the time,” and embodying Old Catholic values within the context of contemporary life, the New Catholic Community esteems the principles of the Declaration of Utrecht, the Bonn Agreement and the Lambeth Quadrilateral, bringing unity and harmony to diverse expressions of inclusive Catholicism.
The National Catholic Community is unique in many ways:
The NCC provides a number of benefits to members, including the following:
The preliminary ideas for the New Catholic Community were formulated on March 1, 2022 during the annual retreat of the Society of Old Catholic Priests at the Roman Catholic Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Lloyd Harbor, Huntington, New York. Retreat coordinator Rev. Mike López, dean of the Missionary Benedictines of the Poor of the House of Initia Nova of the Episcopal Church and senior priest of All Saints Priory in Ridgewood, New York, initiated a late-night conversation on Monday, February 28 on the possibility of forming an interjurisdictional society of inclusive Catholic clergy and laity. Rev. Dr. Jayme Mathias, pastor of Holy Family Catholic Church in Austin, Texas, facilitated the conversation that ensued, which resulted in the “Huntington Agreement,” the initial list of criteria for membership in an interjurisdictional organization that might seek unity with other religious bodies outside of the Inclusive Catholic movement. By 1:00 a.m. on Mardi Gras, Tuesday, March 1, the formation of the St. Cecilia Society was celebrated by the following charter members (listed here in alphabetical order by surname): Rev. Joseph Dang, Rev. Canon MichaelAngelo D’Arrigo, Rev. David Jacobi, Rev. Mike López, Rev. Ángel Lugo, Rev. Dr. Jayme Mathias, Louis Núñez, Rev. Tom Pels and Rev. Annie Watson. Rev. Dr. Marek Bożek, pastor of St. Stanislaus Polish Catholic Church in St. Louis, Missouri, and Rev. Lawman Chibundi, pastor of Rabbouni Catholic Community in Louisville, Kentucky, joined the same day, as did the following clergy who attended the annual retreat of the Society of Old Catholic Priests: Sr. Julianne Yee Loong, Sr. Gillian Navarro, Rev. Marianne Melchiori, Rev. Donna Nachefski, Rev. Kevin Powell and Rev. Kelmy Rodríquez. During subsequent meetings on March 14 & 21, they renamed this effort the New Catholic Community, approved the Huntington Agreement, and discussed bylaws and next steps.
Largely inspired by the new logo of the Dutch Old Catholic Church, the NCC logo is comprised of five boxes in the shape of a cross, with persons gathering around Christ as the center of the NCC. The colors call to mind the principal liturgical colors of the contemporary Western Church: the purple brings to mind the royalty of Christ, the red brings to mind his nail-marked hands during his post-resurrection proclamation of peace (Lk. 24:36, Jn. 20:19, 21 & 26), and the green calls to mind the two fundamental directions of our love for God (Mk. 12:30, Mt. 22:37, Lk. 10:27) and for those whom we serve (Jn. 13:14). The shapes also call to mind a table with four chairs, welcoming all persons from the north, south, east and west (Ps. 107:3, Lk. 13:29). None of the squares is perfect, but they are moving toward unity with one another to form a cross that reflects the unity and diversity of the Body of Christ (Gal. 3:28). The words below the cross are shaped like the ridge of a roof, where many crosses are mounted on churches, thus bringing to mind the NCC’s desire to lift high a model of Christ-centered unity in the inclusive Catholic movement. This new unity within the Catholic tradition exalts the best of the European Old Catholic movement, manifesting a truly new form of Catholicism in the New World (Is. 43:19)!