History of the Catholic Christian Church
Note that we do not have full communion with the churches above although our communities share a bond as sister Catholic churches and the common history as non-Roman Churches.
Independent Catholics in Rhode Island
In 1917, the first Old Catholic parish was built by Bishop Franciszek Hodur of the Polish National Catholic Church which was a member of the Union of Utrecht until 2003. Parishes were also constructed in Woonsocket and in the neighboring, Fall River, Massachusetts. Bishop Vilatte of the American Catholic Church was a colleague of his Polish counterparts and visited the communities in Rhode Island and Fall River. Many of these churches are still active today.
In the April 1928 issue of the American Catholic Church newsletter, The Antiochean, Dr. Casmir Durand, is consecrated Bishop of the French-speaking churches and successor of Joseph Rene Vilatte. In May, Henri Perdriau of Rhode Island gave him his support and invited the Franco-Americans to join the church. He published under Bishop Durand's Imprimatur, and with his collaboration, the brochure called Fiat Lux- Le bon sens et la logique (common sense and logic). It was written after Rome had excommunicated the 56 leaders of a movement that was opposing the Roman Catholic Bishop W. Hickey of Providence, under the auspices of the newspaper La Sentinelle of Woonsocket, where Perdriau was a journalist. Bishop Hickey was forcing the French-speaking parishes of his diocese to fund English schools only, through compulsory taxes. Perdriau was also the master of Guido Nincheri who produced the famous stained glass and frescos found in St. Ann's Church in Woonsocket. Members of this new parish came from St. Ann's Church and Precious Blood Church.
Bishop Durand wrote his essay, The Old Catholic Church while he was in Woonsocket, to establish a Franco-American parish. He celebrated the inaugural Mass in the Polish National Catholic Church on Sunday, August 26, 1928 with 65 people in attendance.
The Woonsocket parish was short lived. Eventually in 1929, the excommunicated protesters were readmitted to communion to the Roman Catholic Church and the Franco- American parish faded away.
- First Polish Church of the Blessed Virgin Founded in 1898 in Fall River, Massachusetts. Earliest pastor on record was Fr. Marijan Guzek. Part of the Polish National Catholic Church. Church no longer exists.
- Holy Cross Catholic Church Founded in 1917 in Central Falls, Rhode Island for the Polish Speaking immigrants. Still a member of the Polish National Catholic Church.
- The Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church Founded in 1919 in Fall River, Massachusetts by Pastor René Louis Zawistowski for the Polish Speaking immigrants. No longer in existence.
- Blessed Trinity Polish National Catholic Church Founded in 1919 in Fall River, Rhode Island by Pastor René Louis Zawistowski for the Polish Speaking immigrants. The location has moved but the parish remains and is part of the Polish National Catholic Church.
- Our Savior Polish National Catholic Church The new building was dedicated in 1965 but the origin of the community is not known. Located in North Smithfield, Rhode Island it is part of the Polish National Catholic Church.
- Holy Cross Catholic Church Founded in 1981 by Bishop Ray Laliberte in Central Falls, Rhode Island, in 2001, relocated to Rehoboth, Massachusetts.
- St. Jude the Apostle National Catholic Church Founded in 1999 by Bishop Robert Gubala. Part of the Catholic Apostolic National Church which perhaps has union with the Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church. Parish appears to be inactive.
- St. Patrick Catholic Church Founded in 2000 by Fr. Roger Durand in Cranston, Rhode Island.
- Chapel of the Holy Spirit Founded in 2009 by the Little Brothers of Jesus Caritas in Providence, Rhode Island as part of the Old Catholic tradition. The pastor is Fr. Jakob Lazarus, LBJC. The parish is a member of the Rhode Island State Council of Churches but no other affiliations.
- St. Joseph Cupertino Parish Founded in 2009 by Fr. Scott Kershaw in Fall River, MA.
- St. Therese Old Catholic Church Founded in 2010 by Fr. David Martin at the Mathewson Street United Methodist Church in Providence, Rhode Island. In 2014, the community purchased a beautiful historic church in West Warwick, RI.
- St. Anthony Mission Founded in 2014 by Fr. Louis Serra. The parish currently meets Saturday evenings at Chapel of the Holy Spirit.
The Chapel of the Holy Spirit was founded in 2009 by the Little Brothers of Jesus Caritas, an ecumenical community following the inspiration of Blessed Charles de Foucauld. The parish community began at the locally famous Brooklyn Coffee and Tea House and after two years, purchased the Carcieri property at 155 Douglas Avenue in Providence, Rhode Island. While our community is not in union with the Episcopal Church, the See of Utrecht, or any of the so called Episcopi Vagantes, we strive for union with all Christian communities, particularly with the Union of Utrecht.
Our community is composed of parishioners from six years old to people in their nineties. We welcome all people to the sacraments regardless of age, gender, orientation, sex, resident status, or marital status. We are a church which both comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable. Today is the beginning of a new chapter in your life... but don't just take our word for it, please visit us on Sunday at 9am and 6pm.
American Christian Catholic Church
In the area of Green Bay, Wisconsin, Joseph René Vilatte began working with Catholics of Belgian ancestry and with the knowledge and blessing of the Union of Utrecht and under the full jurisdiction of the local Episcopal Bishop of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, Bishop John Henry Hobart Brown. Vilatte was ordained a deacon on 6 June 1885 and priest on 7 June 1885 by the Most Rev. Eduard Herzog, bishop of the Christian Catholic Church of Switzerland. Vilatte's work provided the only sacramental presence in that particular part of rural Wisconsin (under the jurisdiction of the Episcopal Bishop of Fond du Lac). Vilatte received a stipend from the Episcopal Church aas well as aid to help build the Old Catholic Church in America under Bishop Brown.
In time, Vilatte asked the Old Catholic Archbishop of Utrecht to be ordained a bishop so that he might confirm, but his petition was not granted because of Utrecht's desire for unity with the Episcopal Church and the political turmoil with the new bishop, Charles Chapman Grafton. Vilatte sought opportunities for consecration in the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches. He was made a bishop in Ceylon, India on 28 May 1892 under the jurisdiction of the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch. Vilatte's consecration was in the line of St. Peter, the founder of the Church of Antioch.
In 1908 the Archbishop of Utrecht, Gerardus Gul, consecrated Father Arnold Harris Mathew, a former Roman Catholic priest, as Regional Bishop for England. His mission was to establish a community for Anglicans and Roman Catholics. In 1913, Bishop Mathew claimed to have secured permission from the continental Old Catholic bishops for his consecration of Rudolph Edward de Landen Berghes as a bishop to work among the Scots.
Bishop de Berghes was frequently called "the Prince". He was of noble birth but had never claimed the title for himself. The title of "Prince" was rightfully that of his older brother who had died. When Bishop de Berghes became eligible to inherit he was in a religious community and could not accept the title. At the beginning of World War I, Bishop de Berghes went to the United States at the suggestion of the Anglican Primate, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Bishop Mathew later declared his autonomy from the Union of Utrecht, finding it too "protestant oriented".
Mathew sent missionaries to the United States, including the theosophist Bishop J. I. Wedgwood (1892–1950) and Bishop Rudolph de Landas Berghes et de Rache(1873–1920). De Berghes arrived in the United States on 7 November 1914, hoping to unite the various independent Old Catholic jurisdictions under Archbishop Mathew.Bishop de Berghes, in spite of his isolation, was able to plant the seed of Old Catholicism in the Americas. He consecrated a former Capuchin Franciscan priest as bishop: Carmel Henry Carfora. From this the Old Catholic Church in the United States evolved into local and regional self-governing dioceses and provinces along the design of St. Ignatius of Antioch - a network of communities.