THE NORTH AMERICAN
OLD ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
- The Primatial See of Nova-Terra -
"A Traditional Church for Today's Catholics."
Founded at Jerusalem in 33 A.D.; Organized at Utrecht in 696 A.D.; Established in Great Britain in 1908 A.D.; Established in America in 1914 A.D.
Not one of our churches
Introibo Ad Altare Dei
Welcome to the Official Web Site of The North American Old Roman Catholic Church. We hope that you will find the information contained on these pages to be informative and inspiring. To read more about a specific topic on our website, you can click on any link at the bottom of the page, or at the bottom of the column, and it will take you to another page with more information and often more links to further information or related topics. We invite you to come back periodically and perhaps even regularly to see our updates and to discover more about the history, mission and ministry of our Church.
We live a full Catholic life in the Sacred Scripture, traditions, practices and sacraments of our Faith. We seek to share these with all who desire to come to a knowledge of Our Lord and His Church.
While living a traditional expression of the Catholic Faith, we are cognizant of the fact that we live in the 21st century and must not allow our faith or ourselves to become antiquated, or relics of a bygone era, or simply museum pieces. Thus we make our appeal to men, women and children of today.
The Old Roman Catholic Church is called by God to proclaim the Gospel and Teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ to all the world.
We are called to live this commitment to the Gospel by professing the full and authentic Catholic Faith in the doctrinal, sacramental and liturgical tradition of the Roman Catholic Church, while possessing an indisputable line of Apostolic Succession of Holy Orders, together with its accompanying canonical authority, via the Archiepiscopal See of Utrecht from whom we are descended.
Please visit our General Synod Page to see a brief synopsis of our 31st General Synod
and photos of the Synod, our micro-pilgrimage to the five historic missions of
San Antonio, Texas,
The Infant of Jesus of Prague
parish, who were our host for General Synod.
Pastoral Letter from
“Hodie Christus Natus Est”
My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus our Lord,
I love watching many of the Christmas movies that are on television during this season, but I especially like many of the older ones. There is one in particular that I enjoy every time I see it. It is called The Bishop’s Wife. I was released in 1946 and star David Niven in the role of Bishop Henry Brougham, an Episcopal Bishop who was intent on building his Cathedral. He got so caught up in his quest for a Cathedral that he lost sight of his primary purpose in being a bishop in the first place. He is visited by an angel named Dudley played by Cary Grant, who in various ways helps the Bishop to regain his focus. The movie ends with the Bishop preaching a sermon that Dudley wrote for him. I am always touched by the story that opens the sermon, particularly because it was written by a layman in Hollywood and not a cleric. It is as poignant today as it was in 1946. And so I want to share that story here with you.
Tonight I want to tell you the story of an empty stocking. Once upon a midnight clear there was a child’s cry. A blazing star hung over a stable and wise men came with birthday gifts.
We haven’t forgotten that night down the centuries. We celebrate it with stars on Christmas trees, with the sound of bells, and with gifts. But especially with gifts.
You give me a book. I give you a tie. Aunt Martha has always wanted an orange-squeezer. And Uncle Henry could do with a new pipe. But we forget nobody, adult or child. All the stockings are filled.
All that is except one. And we have even forgotten to hang it up. A stocking for the child born in a manger. It’s His birthday we are celebrating. Don’t let us ever forget that. Let us ask ourselves what He would wish for most. And then let each one put in his share. Loving kindness … warm hearts … and the stretched out hand of tolerance. All the shining gifts that make peace on earth.
Today we live in a world that has grown cold and in too many cases indifferent to both our fellow men and more so to the message of the God who created us all, and especially has the world grown hostile to the little Child in the manger in Bethlehem 2000 years ago and to the message of Love and Peace which He taught and preached during the short three years of His public ministry. Imagine if you can, a world filled with hatred for a tiny Baby with no place to lay His head but in a manger, a feeding bed for animals, on a cold night, with a town full of people whose hearts were cold and unsympathetic to a young woman in labor, who had traveled hundreds of miles, and now needed shelter to bring her young baby into this world. It seems as if some things have not changed all that much. Many hearts are still cold and uncaring.
I remember as a young boy in school, being taught the real meaning of Christmas and how it should be such a life changing event in my heart. The good Sisters would tell us each year that during the Advent season we were expected to prepare our hearts and souls for the coming of the Baby Jesus. I know it may sound very simple and childish, but we were made to understand that only if we prepared our hearts and souls would the Baby Jesus have a warm and soft place to rest His head when He was to be born on Christmas Eve. However the Sisters did not stop there with just a general instruction or directive. They helped us to see it in a way we could not possible forget or misunderstand.
In our classroom was set up the stable and the manger, without the Christ Child in it, and the animals. On the other side of the classroom were the Three Kings and their camels. The shepherds and their sheep were in a windowsill between the stable and the Three Kings. Sister would leave the manger bare and empty. On her desk she kept a basket filled with straw. She explained that only our prayers and acts of kindness for others and good works would help us to prepare our hearts and souls for the birth of Jesus and to make a place for Him so that He could take up His residence in our hearts. To help us understand this more vividly, we were allowed to take a single piece of straw from her basket and place it into the manger for each good deed we did for someone else and of course for remembering to pray for others when we prayed in class, at home, and when we went to Mass. It would be up to us to make a soft and warm bed for the Baby Jesus in the manger and at the same time to make one for Him in our hearts. Throughout Advent the straw in the manger grew while the basket on Sister’s desk grew more and more empty over the days, the manger (and our hearts) were becoming more inviting and soft for the coming of Jesus in just a matter of days, and the Kings and the camels came closer and closer to the manger. So too did our hearts, for we became more and more aware that we were doing something for Jesus and for ourselves.
I am so thankful for that vivid lesson as a child and for the deep faith the Sisters had and shared with us back then. Obviously it was a very successful lesson that stuck with me all of these past sixty plus years, and it means as much, if not even more, to me now than it did back then.
We also learned a special Christmas Hymn that helped to cement that lesson into our heads and which again means so much to me every time that I hear it, especially the refrain. The hymn is called: Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne. Let me share it with you here.
Thou didst leave Thy throne
And Thy kingly crown,
When Thou camest to earth for me;
But in Bethlehem’s home
Was there found no room
For Thy holy nativity.
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
There is room in my heart for Thee.
Heaven’s arches rang
When the angels sang,
Proclaiming Thy royal degree;
But of lowly birth didst
Thou come to earth,
And in great humility.
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
There is room in my heart for Thee.
The foxes found rest,
And the birds their nest
In the shade of the forest tree;
But Thy couch was the sod,
O Thou Son of God,
In the deserts of Galilee.
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
There is room in my heart for Thee.
Thou camest, O Lord,
With the living Word,
That should set Thy people free;
But with mocking scorn
And with crown of thorn,
They bore Thee to Calvary.
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
There is room in my heart for Thee.
When the heavens shall ring,
And the angels sing,
At Thy coming to victory,
Let Thy voice call me home,
Saying Yet there is room,
There is room at My side for thee.
My heart shall rejoice, Lord Jesus,
When Thou comest
And callest for me.
May the newborn Son of God, our Divine and Holy Savior Jesus Christ, bring Love, Peace, Joy and Spiritual Happiness into your lives and may you also welcome Him into your hearts and souls and feel His Sacred Presence within you all the days of your life, and may you one day meet Him face to face with great joy when He says to you, His beloved Child:
“Come, there is room at My side for thee.”
I send to each and every one of you my prayers, best wishes and blessing and I hope that in sharing my early childhood memories and the lesson from the Sisters that it will bring us closer to each other as brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ.
Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth Peace to Men of Goodwill.
Archbishop Edward J. Ford, T.O.R.
OTHER PASTORAL COMMUNICATIONS
Most parishes of the North American Old Roman Catholic Church are small faith communities of approximately five to fifty parishioners each, who are committed to living and practicing their Catholic Faith according to the traditional forms of worship and devotion common throughout the Catholic world before the early 1960's e.g. the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass celebrated according to the Tridentine Rite; the traditional form of all seven Sacraments; the use of a traditional form of the catechism for religious instruction; the Rosary; Novenas; Stations of the Cross; Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament; the daily praying of the Divine Office (Breviary); fasting and abstinence; a traditional Church Calendar with all of the traditional Holy Days and Feast Days as well as the inclusion of the more recently added Saints and several special Feast Days of our own jurisdiction; the observance of the Religious Life for Priests, Brothers and Sisters.
Each parish or mission is owned locally by the members of the parish, managed by an elected Vestry or Parish Council who maintain and control the financial and temporal fabric of the parish, while the spiritual, liturgical and apostolic work and ministry of the parish is conducted by the pastor and his associates under the spiritual and canonical authority of the Bishop of the Diocese to which the parish belongs.
Elected representatives of the parish also serve as delegates to the Diocesan Synod and serve on various diocesan committees.
Elected clergy and lay members of our varous dioceses and provinces serve as delegates to the General and Provincial Synods of the Church and serve on the different committees of those bodies as well.
We believe that the laity of the church are full collaborators and cooperators with the clergy in the mission and work of the church, and are thus expected to take an active role in their capacity as such. We vehemently reject the idea that the sole role of the laity is to "pay, pray and obey".
The clergy of the Old Roman Catholic Church are validly and canonically ordained Catholic Deacons, Priests and Bishops who stand in a line of unbroken Apostolic Succession stretching from the first Twelve Apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ right down to the present day. This line of Apostolic Succession was obtained via the Archiepiscopal See of Utrecht in the Netherlands, a diocese established in the year 695 by Saint Willibrord, known as the Apostle to the Frisians.
The local parish or mission is usually placed under the spiritual direction and care of a priest or deacon, and he is often assisted by other priests or deacons in the work and ministry of the parish or mission.
Groups of missions and parishes are organized into the various dioceses of the church and are under the canonical authority and supervision of the local bishop who is known as the Ordinary of the Diocese. The Ordinary may be assisted by an Auxiliary Bishop if needed.
Dioceses are then grouped together to form an ecclesiastical Province of the Church which is administered by an Archbishop known also as the Metropolitan. He has a limited canonical oversight and authority over the various bishops and dioceses of his Province, but is prohibited under most circumstances, except for specific situations outlined in the Codex of Canon Law, from interfering in the regular administration of the several dioceses of his Province.
The various Provinces are then organized as the general church and operate together under the canonical authority and supervision of one of the archbishops who has been elected by the College of Bishops and confirmed in office by the clergy and lay members of the General Synod, who is known as the Metropolitan-Primate. The first and thus the Primatial See of the Old Roman Catholic Church in the western hemisphere was originally known as: The Metropolitan See of the United States and Canada. In 2006 the title of this Primatial See was amended to: The Primatial See of Nova Terra, signifying the entire western hemisphere with the Latin title originally designating that area as the "new world". Therefore our Metropolitan-Primate is styled or known as The Metropolitan-Primate of the Primatial See of Nova Terra.
It is with great joy that we announce the reunification of the North American Old Roman Catholic Church-Utrecht Succession, Archdiocese of California with the North American Old Roman Catholic Church-Primatial See of Nova Terra.
For the past 80 years these two ecclesiastical jurisdictions have been separated from each other due to the actions of church leaders back in 1940. For the past year the current church leaders of both jurisdictions, Archbishops Edward J Ford and Joseph A Vellone have prayerfully worked together to return their jurisdictions back to the original union which existed when they were first organized in 1916 and continued to exist until 1940. On 29 September 2020 both Archbishops signed a formal document of unification, uniting the two jurisdictions into a single ecclesiastical jurisdictions and establishing two provinces within that single jurisdiction. The effective date of the union was the First Sunday of Advent, 29 November 2020. This unification includes all of the parishes and clergy of the Archdiocese of California (Abp Vellone and Bp Castaneda), as well as those of the following dioceses and Missionary Societies: The Diocese of the Infant Jesus (Bp Madanguit), The Diocese of San Miguel Arcangel (Bp Rosas-Garcia), The Missionary Congregation of the Infant Jesus (Msgr Maglente). The clergy and parishes of these dioceses and societies are represented in the United States, Canada, Mexico, The Philippines, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Italy and elsewhere.
We also are pleased to announce the unification of the Missionaries of Saint Paul in Colombia and Cameroun under the jurisdiction of Archbishop Torres-Moreno, Bishop Acosta and Bishop Ondigui with the North American Old Roman Catholic Church-Primatial See of Nova Terra. The effective date of this unification was also The First Sunday of Advent 29 November 2020.
With great joy we also announce the unification of the Jurisdiction of the Infant Jesus of Prague (Abp Gabriel and Bp Rindahl) in Texas with the North American Old Roman Catholic Church-Primatial See of Nova Terra. The effective date of this union was also The First Sunday of Advent 22 November 2020.
With such unifications there is always a time of preparation and adjustment needed to work out the various "bumps" that can occur. In anticipation of the time needed to make these unions fruitful, a Year of Transition has been established to allow the various clergy and jurisdictions to adapt and implement the various changes required by these unions, in matters liturgical, canonical and administrative. By the all powerful guidance and working of the Holy Ghost, any "hiccups" along the way will be minimal and the benefits great and fruitful for the Faithful of the North American Old Roman Catholic Church.
Preceding these unifications with the North American Old Roman Catholic Church-Primatial See of Nova Terra, hierarchs of several Old Roman Catholic Churches entered into a formal cooperation (not organic union) with each other on 29 June 2020 the Feast of Sts Peter and Paul, to encourage a growing together and cooperation with each other. The cooperating Hierarchs were: Abp Ford, Abp Lloyd, Abp Vellone, Bp Plant, Bp Kelly, Bp Rabusa, Bp Madanguit, Bp Rosas, Bp Higuera, together with Msgr Maglente and Father Villareal-Falquez).
Further overtures for union with the North American Old Roman Catholic Church are currently underway with clergy and jurisdictions in Peru, Brazil and elsewhere.
PLEASE CONTINUE TO WATCH OUR WEBSITE FOR DEVELOPING NEWS.
Pastoral Letter on the Persecution of Christians and People of Faith.
We as Christians, can no longer turn a blind eye nor a deaf ear to the sufferings of our brothers and sisters throughout the world who suffer persecution for their faith in Christ Jesus, without all of us needing to turn our hearts in prayer to Almighty God, beseeching Him to hear their cries and our prayers, and beseeching Him to send them aid and strength in their trals. As Christians we are united as one, and are inseparably bound to each other through our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ. What happens to one, happens to us all.
Like the Jews in Nazi Germany, who were marked with the Star of David to single them out for persecution and torture, now too our fellow Christians in the lands occupied by the Isalmic State are marked with the Arabic letter Nun to mark them as followers of The Nazarene, our Lord Jesus Christ.
This week our Primate has released a Pastoral Letter to address this issue and has designated certain practices of prayer be used within all churches, parishes, missions, religious houses and other places of worship under the jurisdiction of the North American Old Roman Catholic Church and as a personal obligation incumbent upon all clergy of the jurisdiction.
WARNING - MONITUM
The following website, naorcc.com is a FALSE website misrepresenting itself as Old Roman Catholic, and containing untruthful assertions of association with the North American Old Roman Catholic Church, Archdiocese of California, Utrecht Succession, while unlawfully using the name of our Metropolitan, Most Reverend Joseph A. Vellone as its leader.
This website also contains false claims of holy orders lines of Apostolic Succession, titles, and jurisdiction.
The site also misrepresents the Theology and Canon Law of the North American Old Roman Catholic Church. None of the individuals listed are associated with, or recognized by, this church, and we ask that if you are approached by any of them as representing the NAORCC please contact the Chancery immediately at:
The Most Reverend
Joseph Andrew Vellone
May 31, 1935 - January 5, 2022
To read the Official Notice, please click on the button below.
WARNING - MONITUM
The following men have been Removed from the Sacred Ministry of the North American Old Roman Catholic Church, Utrecht Succession, Archdiocese by formal canonical action of The Most Reverend Joseph A Vellone, D.D., Metropolitan Archbishop of California. These men are not to be considered as, nor accorded the recognition as clerics of any rank or order. They have been reduced to the state of the laity and have lost all faculties to perform any sacramental function of any nature whatsoever. They have been prohibited from using any clerical titles or offices and incur by any and every violation of these sanctions and censures further canonical crimes and censures.
Chris M Hernandez former Archbishop Co-Adjutor 11 February 2021
Michael J Logsdon former Priest 11 February 2021
Romeo R Rabusa former Bishop 9 February 2021
Michael Goddard former Bishop 2 February 2021
Miguel Vasquez former Bishop 28 January 2021
Julio Higuera former Bishop 1 March 2021
HOLY WEEK SCHEDULE
The observance of Holy Week this year is putting a hardship upon devout Christians of all faith traditions, but especially so, for Catholics, inasmuch as we are unable to come together to worship in our customary manner. For the benefit of those Catholics who wish to unite themselves spiritually to the special moments of our Faith by participating to the extent possible, we are providing some YouTube videos of the Sacred Liturgies of Holy Week from the Roman Catholic Church. These videos are of the Latin Tridentine Rites. We hope they will help those who view them and pray with them to enter into a deeper experience of their Faith and will accompany our Blessed Lord and Savior as he enters first into Jerusalem, then into the Upper Room and later the Garden of Gethsemane, endures his trials before Caiphas and Pilate, the scourging at the pillar, the crowning with thorns, the journey to Calvary, his burial culminating in His glorious Resurrection from the dead as Victor over sin and death.
EASTER VIGIL on HOLY SATURDAY
THE STATIONS OF THE CROSS
THE MOST HOLY ROSARY
From the Primate
The Most Reverend
Edward J. Ford, T.O.R., S.T.D.
My Dear Brothers and Sisters,
How often have you asked, or have been asked, the question: Who are you? It is a question so commonly posed, that we almost take it for granted that either we or someone else will ask it and we rarely consider what our answer will be.
For Old Roman Catholics, that question is not only posed to us frequently, and has been since the first Old Roman Catholics appeared in Holland in 1724, but is one which we should carefully answer making certain that it fully answers the question. For far too many years, the Old Roman Catholic response to this question has been inadequate and incomplete. We stressed our retention of a valid line of Apostolic Succession; we defined our identity in terms of comparisons with other church entities, both in similar and contrasting teachings; but rarely on our own terms or with a full appreciation for our own history, theology, and ministry. We too often defined ourselves by how much we resembled another church body and with emphatic statements that we were not yet another church body... by what we resembled, and by what we were not! All too often we allowed others to define us, and to inform people of who we are, most often based on their own biased views, in an attempt to discredit us and our church, according to their own church or religious affiliation and beliefs.
In recent years a bishop of a sister jurisdiction in our Ultrajectine tradition has taken pen to paper and begun to shed light on our history, doctrinal beliefs, liturgical practices, catechetical teachings, ministry and customs in a positive, clear, accurate and readable form. Bishop Andre Queen in the introduction to his book, Old Catholic: History, Ministry, Faith & Mission, addresses this vital question in the following words:
Who Do You Say That I Am?
Ten people will probably give you fifteen answers to this question if asked in regards to Old [Roman] Catholics. Particularly in the Americas, where, as a denomination, it is not as well known as its European cousins in the Utrecht Union. But the theology of the American Old [Roman] Catholic Churches is markedly different than that of the Utrecht Union Churches.
Throughout the decades, historians, theologians, and the curious all have written their own observations and opinions about what they felt Old [Roman] Catholics were all about. Many of these literary works had a particular discriminatory flavor in favor of the writer's own religious affiliation, to the detriment of the Old [Roman] Catholics written about. Some of the books written were tools used to further discredit individuals within the Old [Roman] Catholic movement, or to highlight their foibles in living color.
To be sure, the founders [i.e. organizers] of Old [Roman] Catholicism here were not perfect people; they made mistakes and at times suffered lapses in judgment. However, they strove to establish autocephalous [i.e. independent] Catholic parishes in the Americas against overwhelming odds, verbal and sometimes physical attack, and the monolithic wealth, influence and power of officials in the Roman Catholic Church, the Protestant Episcopal Church of the US, and the Old Catholic Churches of the Utrecht Union, which eventually turned on their own.
Old [Roman] Catholics in America today exist due to the efforts of these men, and those in the generations immediately afterwards, who continued the struggle. Splintered, and oftentimes isolated, Old [Roman] Catholic parishes exist as an oasis to those who have been hurt and seek healing. Whereas it had been said that no one is born an Old [Roman] Catholic, that is no longer true, and as the movement solidifies and parishes find one another, the Old [Roman] Catholic movement in the Americas moves closer to realizing its full potential.
To understand what Old [Roman] Catholics in the Americas are, it is important to understand what they are not. Old [Roman] Catholics are not “sedevacantists”; they do not claim that the See of Peter is vacant. Old [Roman] Catholics are not the product of rejection of Vatican II, nor are they part of the “liberal reform” movement within the Roman Catholic Church. Likewise, Old [Roman] Catholics are not gnostocs or theosophists. Inversely, that means that individuals who are part of any of these groups are not Old [Roman] Catholics, regardless of superfluous claims. Old [Roman] Catholics have a Faith and identity all their own, that is based on Catholic theology, sans innovation, exclusion or outside influence.
In these words Bishop Queen dismisses the ofttimes critical analysis of others about the Old Roman Catholic Church based upon the mistakes, foibles and lapses of judgment of our early organizers, while attempting to impute grave concerns for the legitimacy of Old Roman Catholicism due to these genuinely human characteristics of our predecessors, as if the faults of one man are the faults of an entire jurisdiction. All the while they fail of course to acknowledge that the same failings can be found throughout history, even in their own jurisdictions and denominations, and that such failings do not impute heresy, schism, apostacy or any of the other charges which they customarily level against Old Roman Catholicism, any more than those same failings level those same charges against their own jurisdictions.
Bishop Queen then goes on to present a positive and convincing picture of the Old Roman Catholic movement with pride and truth. While not all of his book applies entirely to the North American Old Roman Catholic Church, it is a worthy endeavor to offer a proper apologetic to the world for the Old Roman Catholic Church, and we are much indebted to Bishop Queen for his labor of love.
It is my sincere hope that you will find a similar presentation on the pages of our website, and that you will also find a vast array of information on the history, doctrine, discipline, worship, polity, ministry and mission of The North American Old Roman Catholic Church herein, as well as many additional informative pages of Catholic resources, material, Christian music, videos, documents and devotional practices.
Please bear with us as our various web pages are being updated since the recent change in our web-hosting provider. We will re-construct and update our site as quickly as possible so as to provide you with the quality information and resources you have been accustomed to finding on our previous site. Thank you for your interest and we ask that you keep us in your prayers, as we assure you of ours.
In the Name of our Risen Savior,
Archbishop Edward J. Ford, T.O.R.