Another spiritual treasure from Deacon’s Blog. This is from Bishop Thaddeus Peplowski of the Buffalo-Pittsburgh Diocese in Acts: New Hope – New Vision – New Growth. This is from an old article, 18th February 2011, but who could not be profoundly moved? If our faith is flagging, read these Apostolic words!
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This second decade of the Twenty First Century promises a sturdy and sure foundation for the Polish National Catholic Church. We enter in the 114 Anniversary of the organization of the Church and the 104 Anniversary of the Consecration of the First Bishop, Francis Hodur in valid and licit Apostolic Succession. The fact that we have preserved our Holy Orders in an unbroken line with the first Holy Apostles, has ignited the flame of a New Hope and an enlightened vision for the future growth and expansion of the Polish National Catholic Church. Our battle cry for success continues to inspire people in other nations to follow our lead in preserving the concept of National Catholic Churches in which: “By Truth, Work and Struggle, We Shall Succeed!”
I have just returned from a successful missionary visit to both Germany and Italy where there are both former Anglican and Old Catholic Parishes and Communities that are disillusioned over the questionable validity of some doctrines and sacraments that are being practised in those Churches. They respect the decision that our bishops took in 2003 at the Bishop’s Conference in Prague in breaking official ties with European Old Catholic Churches. There are many clergy and lay members who feel the same way and want to be in union with our church. They are asking that we listen to their pleas and offer some type of accommodations that will allow them to be in Communion with the Polish National Catholic Church. The purpose of the “Union of Scranton” was proposed so that they might find a haven that will continue to maintain the traditional Old Catholic teachings and practices.
In Germany, I was invited to visit a former Old Catholic Monastic Abbey that follows the Cistercian Rule and they are looking for union with an on-going traditional Old Catholic Church. The Polish National Catholic Church is the only Old Catholic Body that fits that criteria, so through the influence of Father Roald Flemested of the Nordic Catholic Church, they were directed to contact me. We met with Abbot Klaus Schlapps at St. Severn’s Abbey in Kaufberuren, Bavaria. This Abbey also serves about 100 members of a Parish Church St. Lucas in the town of Kaufberuren. There are priests, brothers and nuns who make up this Order and serve five other Old Catholic Congregations in Germany. There are also possibilities of accepting other groups in France, Switzerland and five Parishes in Cameroon, Africa. The talks appear to be very positive for establishing relations that could include them in the Union of Scranton.
We traveled nine hours by train from Bavaria through Austria and the Swiss Alps to the famous city of Turin, the permanent home of the Shroud of Turin. Our missionary endeavor was successful there for now have three Parishes in Italy: St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish in Luca with Fr. Claudio Boca as Pastor; Merciful Jesus Parish in Turin with Fr. Giuseppe Biancotti as its Pastor, and Holy Spirit Parish in Sabaudia with Fr. Luciano Bruno as its Pastor. Another Parish is in the process of being organized near Pizza by Father Gastone Bernacchi, whom I ordained on Saturday, January 15th. Two of these Parishes were formerly Old Catholic Congregations under the Bishop of Switzerland. Inquiries are also coming from other former Anglican and Old Catholic Communities who see in the PNCC the traditional catholic teachings and Apostolic Orders that are vital signs of being a part of the true Church of Jesus Christ.
Too often we America National Catholics take our Church for granted and feel that we belong to a small, little known denomination that no one knows or cares about. The Polish National Catholic Church however, is greatly admired by people throughout the world as being a Church of great faith and conviction, and they seek to be one with us because we maintain the traditional signs of a true Church, for we are: One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic in preserving a very orthodox and traditional faith. For these very reasons, we should continue to have Hope and New Vision for the future growth and expansion of the National Catholic Church’s expression of the true faith.
In 2011, let us take the example of our newest mission fields where people are very open and positive about expressing their joy of being a part of the PNCC and because of their new or refound faith, they are not afraid to talk to others about what the Church means in their lives. We need to stop standing along the side lines and criticizing what is happening and get out into the mainstream of life and tell others about the Church. Our words and actions are positive seeds that will cause the PNCC to grow not only in new mission fields, but also blossom and bear fruit right in our own hometown congregations. All it takes is faith, and God will do the rest.