St Fiacre's is pastored by Father Thomas Marble who was ordained to priesthood by Bishop Joseph Grenier, on Saturday, November 13, 2010 during our Church's synod held at St. Francis Retreat Center in Ringwood, NJ.
You can reach him at: 253-678-1286 or by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
What do we mean by an on-line church? We are used to thinking of a church as a “brick-and-mortar” building that usually includes a large space that has been designed to facilitate worship. Most of us know that the word “church” really means the people who come together to hear the Gospel and worship as a community. The digital age has made it necessary for us to reconsider what a “space” is. A space that is dedicated to preaching, teaching, giving glory and praise to our Creator, and giving help and encouragement to the community can certainly exist in “digital space.” This is certainly not a substitute for an actual, physical gathering! There need to be many generations of cyber-evolution before one could receive Baptism or the Eucharist via the Internet! Short of communal worship services and the sacraments, a virtual space does give us a way to reach out and share God’s love in a way that transcends the limits of time and space.
Where do you get together for worship then? Since the Celtic Christian Church owns no real estate and has no desire to establish large parishes, we most often begin by meeting in members’ homes. The “house church” is the most ancient form of gathering that was practiced by the first Christians and was not at all uncommon among the first converts in Celtic Lands. Someone who has a Gift of Hospitality volunteers to host a small gathering. (Many times it is simply one family and perhaps a friend or two.) In some of our communities we have been invited to use space in other local churches. (This is often discovered by a member with a Gift of Networking!) At this time members of Saint Fiacre’s are coming together at the “house church” level.
What IS the Celtic Christian Church? We hear this question more often than you can imagine! Perhaps the best way to answer is to share a statement by the Most Reverend Joseph A. Grenier, PhD, Presiding Bishop of the Celtic Christian Church:
“We are an independent catholic and orthodox Church, living our faith in the spirit of the ancient Celtic Church. Our faith is that of the first seven ecumenical councils of the undivided Christian Church--that Church which the Nicene Creed, our confession of faith, calls one, holy, catholic and apostolic. We celebrate the seven sacraments (also called Mysteries) of this Church, and we believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
Christians from every denomination are welcome to worship with us. For some the attraction is the sacramental life. For most it is the unity which is found in and through the one faith, as opposed to the unity of structure. Some of those who show interest in the Celtic Church have been alienated from one or another of the Christian Churches. We hope to help such persons renew and deepen their faith in Christ. Some persons have joined us as members, others have not. It is not necessary to give up one's denominational affiliation to participate in our services. However, priests and deacons are expected to be committed to this Church and its bishop.
The ancient and beautiful Celtic Christian spirituality embodied in the life of the Celtic Christian Church is drawing people to us from around the country. It can be particularly attractive to people of Celtic heritage. However, we do not set any kind of ethnic limitation, and all who are attracted to the Christian life it offers are welcomed and embraced warmly in the Celtic spirit.
The Celtic Christian Church is composed of local small faith communities or parishes, frequently meeting as "house churches" or "cell communities," or in small chapels. Priesthood is open to both men and women, married or celibate. Apostolic orders are through the Old Catholic Church of Utrecht and the Catholic Apostolic Church in North America (both of which trace their Apostolic lineage to Rome).
Rather than large communities where people may not even know one another, we stress small communities based on family, friends and kin, not in any exclusive way but practicing hospitality.
In the ancient Celtic Church episcopal jurisdictions were based, not on geography, as in western dioceses today, but on spiritual "spheres of influence." Following in that tradition our bishops have been elected by those they serve spiritually, regardless of their location. In the Celtic spirit, their relationships to them are that of ANAMCHARA, or Soul Friend, a beautiful and highly regarded spiritual relationship.
The Celtic Christian Church is a new Church and does not yet include any monastic or religious order. However, members are free to be in ecumenical religious orders which do not conflict with the Christian Faith. We encourage married or single people to follow the spiritual path that best enhances their life of Faith. And we strongly encourage everyone to engage regularly in personal prayer.
Celtic Christian communities are found in many areas of the country. Some are part of the Celtic Christian Church and others are either independent Celtic Churches or part of one. Communities may meet weekly to celebrate the Eucharist and share fellowship, or more or less often as desired. Each community decides its own needs and schedule for worship and fellowship, and the ministries it may develop. We welcome any baptized Christians to join us at Christ's table.
We strongly encourage those who wish to found local Celtic Christian communities, and we welcome them to be a part of our Church. We also welcome all inquiries from non-Christians who may wish to know more about the faith we profess.
Since we are a sacramental Church we strongly encourage each community to call forth a priest, and we encourage individuals who feel called by God to be priests to seriously consider such a vocation. Our priestly formation program consists of a strong foundation in Christian theology and spirituality as found in a sacramental Church, pursued under the guidance of a mentor.
A distinctive characteristic of Celtic Christian spirituality is a keen awareness of the fact that we do not just "fit" the spiritual into our lives somewhere or sometime when it's convenient, but instead we know that we are part of the spiritual life, immersed in it while living in the material world. Thus we see, through spiritual eyes, the holiness of all creation around us and take seriously our role as stewards. This is certainly a necessary attitude in our world today.
Apostolic faith and charity, simplicity, hospitality, honor given to family kinship and spiritual friendships, sacramental life, prayer, and a profound respect for all of God's creation--all these mark the Celtic Christian and form the spirit in which we live our Christian life.”
Our Statement of Belief