Frequently Asked Questions

[expand title=”What is the Old Catholic Church? Is it Independent Catholicism? Is there more than one Catholic Church?” tag=”h2″]

Our parish of Saint Miriam and our worldwide Church is a part of the greater Old Catholic Church that split from the control Rome at the declaration of the pope being made infallible in the 1870’s after Vatican I. Additional information can be found by clicking here.

There is only one “Roman” Catholic Church. However there are a fair number of Catholic “denominations,” of which the Roman Catholic Church is only one and is the world’s largest. Actually there is really no such thing as “Roman” Catholic, but rather they are Latin Rite Catholic Churches who are fully in communion with the Bishop of Rome (The Holy Father, The Pope).

Our greater Church is often considered an ‘independent’ Catholic denomination of its own only because it is not controlled by the Bishop of Rome. That is, we are independent of the jurisdiction of Rome. We are NOT under either the control or the government of the Church of Rome commonly called the “Roman Catholic Church.” We are a worldwide church offering an alternative Catholic worship experience to all humanity.

Come and experience us first hand to gain a full appreciation of our church and history.

[expand title=”Is Saint Miriam Accessible to those persons with disabilities and/or physical limitations?” tag=”h2″]

In Our Friary and PreSchool Building: Our Sanctuary, Betsy and Walter Diener Room, First Floor Classrooms, Foust Room, Leight Room, Silvers Room, Restroom Facilities, and all other public and garden spaces on the parish grounds are ADA Accessible to all those with physical limitations and wheelchairs. There are no steps or stairs to limit movement on the primary levels. We will be happy to assist you with special requests, or to greet you upon arrival to make your stay with us more enjoyable and stress free.

In Our New Pro Cathedral: Our Sanctuary, Saint Miriam Café, Spiritual Lending Library, Restroom Facilities, FFF (Family Faith Formation) Classrooms, and all other public and garden spaces within the parish grounds are ADA Accessible to all those with physical limitations and wheelchairs. The only inaccessible area is the Mezzanine Level for our Music Team. Otherwise, there are no steps or stairs to limit movement. We will be happy to assist you with special requests, or to greet you upon arrival to make your stay with us more enjoyable and stress free.

If you have any concerns, please contact us here.

Easy-Use Transport Chair Available.

An easy-to-use transport wheelchair is located in the closet directly inside the handicap entrance. The storage is clearly marked and a Greeter is available to assist, as needed. This chair is designed to help those who need transportation or are encumbered with walking issues to enjoy our parish. It is easy to use and has a 300 lb. capacity. Saint Miriam cares!

[expand title=”The Pope is the head of the Roman Catholic Church. Who runs these independent denominations?” tag=”h2″]

A Bishop runs each denomination. The Pope is a Bishop. The word “bishop” comes from the Greek word meaning “Overseer.” The Pope has been elected by his fellow bishops to head the Roman Catholic Church.

Generally, the bishop of an Independent Catholic Church is elected by a synod, or governing council of bishops, to be the Patriarch, or Presiding Bishop. Sometimes we call this bishop, The Archbishop, the Prime Bishop, or leader of the denomination with a variety of titles.

[expand title=”Do the Priests and Bishops associated with Saint Miriam have valid Apostolic Succession?” tag=”h2″]

Yes, our lines of Apostolic Succession are valid. In fact, even the Roman Church says they are valid and sufficient. In fact, we share many of these lines.

[expand title=”I Notice that the Bishop of the Diocese also Serves as Pastor at Saint Miriam?” tag=”h2″]

Actually, the Bishop is always the official ‘pastor’ of any Cathedral, but in our modern age, the Bishop normally appoints a ‘Rector’ who is the overseer of the daily operations of the Cathedral Parish. However, when Monsignor, who was then serving the Diocese as Vicar General, was asked by the Conclave of Bishops to become the Bishop Ordinary of the Diocese, he said that he would only accept if he could remain a ‘working pastor’. It was his estimation that most bishops focus on the vast administrative duties of the diocese, which are all very important, but over the years they often lose sight of pastoral ministry and become more like ‘chief administrator bishops’. He did not want that to happen to him, and so he requested to remain a Franciscan and an active pastor at Saint Miriam. In response, the Conclave agreed and designated the parish as a Pro Cathedral and Monsignor remained as our pastor.

[expand title=”How does the Bishop function as both Bishop and Pastor?” tag=”h2″]

Actually, quite well! The duties and insignia of the Office of Bishop are apparent really only when he needs to ‘perform’ his official duties as Bishop. These such events include ordinations of priest and deacons, receiving of the Archbishop or his brother bishops, or at the annual Chrism Mass that takes place in the morning of Holy Thursday, before The Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, when all priests and deacons gather with the Bishop as he consecrates the holy oils for the coming year. This Mass manifests the unity of the priests with their bishop.

Here the bishop blesses three oils — the oil of catechumens (oleum catechumenorum or oleum sanctorum), the oil of the infirm (oleum infirmorum) and holy chrism (sacrum chrisma) — which will be used in the administration of the sacraments throughout the diocese for the year. This tradition is rooted in the early Church as noted in the Gelasian Sacramentary (named after Pope Gelasius I, d. 496), but was later absorbed into the Holy Thursday evening Mass; Pope Pius XII issued a new Ordinal for Holy Week, which reinstituted a special Mass of the Chrism distinct from the evening Mass.

At these official Diocesan events, the Bishop’s Cathedra (his official chair) gains his beautiful Crest and Insignia, the Crozier, Mitre, his formal Bishop’s Ring, and all related bishop’s dress are used and the parish takes on a more ‘official and formal air’. However, once completed, we revert back to the Pro Cathedral Parish which allows us to remain humble and of service to all who enter. It is quite unique and quite wonderful. We are very proud of our bishop and pastor. We are very proud of our parish, too!

[expand title=”What do we Call a Pastor who is also a Bishop?” tag=”h2″]

He actually prefers and often uses simply, “Father”. He does use his formal title and address for official diocese functions, which is “Your Grace”, but retains his honorific title of Monsignor, too. So, just use what is natural to you and you will find him to be very receptive of almost any title as long as it’s respectful!

[expand title=”May I Receive Holy Communion?” tag=”h2″]

As we state at Catholic Mass:

“You are welcome in God’s house . . . you are welcome to share the feast. The most blessed Body and Blood of Christ is not a reward for being good. It is a source of strength, comfort, and food for the journey. No one on this earth has the right to refuse it to anyone.”

Our Church practices what we call Open Communion whereby we hold that a chief purpose of our community is to perpetuate the historical sacramental tradition as instituted by Jesus Christ and as preserved through apostolic succession. We maintain that the sacraments are channels of divine grace, and therefore; we make the sacraments easily available so all can experience spiritual healing.

Since the Eucharist puts us in communion with the Christ, it is a channel of Grace without parallel. Therefore, at our altars, all persons are welcome to receive communion, whether members of our community or not. What about moral issues? What about women as priests, married priests, gay and lesbians, celibacy, birth control, abortion, and divorce?

[expand title=”What should I expect when I visit? What should I wear?” tag=”h2″]

At Saint Miriam, we feel that it’s our responsibility to make everyone feel comfortable enough to attend church. We want you to be able to experience the great music, encouraging messages, friendly people, and an enjoyable atmosphere.

Dress Code:
We’re more concerned with meeting your real life needs than with what you wear. So, dress casually, wear a suit and tie, or simply throw on some shorts. Whatever you wear is fine, and you’ll fit right in.

At our Worship, you’ll enjoy upbeat music and practical messages that help you deal with real life issues. We’ll even give you a helpful outline with the Bible passages. What you learn on Sunday at Saint Miriam, you’ll be able to use during the week. We want to help you connect with the personal hope and practical help that God can give us. Our worship experience combines a variety of sights, sounds, and smells to help enrich your worship and enliven your spiritual life. We combine the old world sacramental worship experience with a new vibrant, modern edge.

[expand title=”Why don’t you take a collection? What about money?” tag=”h2″]

We want you to feel welcome as our guest with no pressure to give. That is why we don’t pass an offering basket. Our regular members place their contributions in offering boxes near the entrance and exit to the worship space or mail their tax deductible contributions directly to our parish offices.

[expand title=”What about moral issues? What about women as priests, married priests, gay and lesbians, celibacy, birth control, abortion, and divorce?” tag=”h2″]

Each Catholic denomination establishes a Code of Canon Law, and their theological stand on the aforementioned issues. As previously stated, the various denominations move from very conservative to very liberal. At Saint Miriam, we feel that each individual is loved and created by God. Therefore, we welcome all to our community.

Our church also ordains women to its priesthood and as bishops. Our priests can be married, gay, or lesbian, and celibacy is optional. We encourage people to make their own informed decisions about birth control, abortion, and other moral issues. We maintain that all life is sacred. And, we have positions on all issues, but we walk with each individual where they are and support them in life. Please see a priest for greater detail and instruction.

We do maintain a strict adherence of protection against sexual abuse or harassment in any form. Our clergy are to be respected and enjoyed as a valued member of their respective communities, but they also must respect the inherent dignity of each person by acknowledging their power as such. Therefore, sexual misconduct is taken very seriously. We are here to assist but will never condemn or exclude no matter what station in life you are or what dilemma you face.

[expand title=”What is your Liturgy like to experience?” tag=”h2″]

The best way to understand Catholic liturgy is not through the abstract discussion, but rather through concrete contact with actual ritual, that is what our church tradition does best: putting people in touch with the Mystery of God through sacramental celebration of life and hope!

Our Catholic liturgy will seem very familiar with an added element or two of surprise and meditation! And, the ideal for our liturgy is also very simple: the focus should be on the Eucharist, but be INCLUSIVE and INVITING for all who attend. Also, the elements of Bread and Wine should be pure, simple, and inviting to all of our senses.

The simple nature of our worship space is to allow for our focus to be on the center of our worship and to not detract. And, the warmth of our space comes from one place: YOU! Therefore, when our community gathers, the space becomes alive and we focus on our corporate worship and community – together.

Our Altar Table and Processional Cross are designed in the very-recognized style of renowned artist Alberto Giacometti (click here to visit) by artist and blacksmith, Edward Worthington (click here to visit). The hammered iron rods and scarred table allows us to visualize how, despite our wounds and imperfections, we are still beautiful and serve God’s good use! Our gospel procession allows all to participate and to realize that we are all part of the plan and made and created to honor God and serve to make our world a better place!

So, come, taste, smell, and see how God is at work in our daily life, work, death, and community – see the Risen Lord every time you meet someone at Saint Miriam!

[expand title=”Are the Sacraments the same as in other Catholic Church traditions?” tag=”h2″]

Simply put: Exactly the same! We continue to honor the historic and traditional 7 Sacraments as a vital means of experiencing the Presence of God:

  • Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism and Confirmation, Eucharist
  • Sacraments of Reconciliation and Healing: Penance, Anointing of the Sick
  • Sacraments of Adult Vocation: Marriage and Holy Orders (Deacon, Priest, Bishop)
[expand title=”So, if I attend and I am used to the Roman Catholic Mass…what differences will I notice?” tag=”h2″]

Well, very few to be honest! The main differences are three:

  1. We moved the Welcome and Sign of Peace back to the beginning of the Mass at the Introductory Rites where it belongs.
  2. We do NOT take a money collection during the liturgy; we believe this is a time for worship and prayer.
  3. The Holy Communion – which we believe is the Real Presence through Transubstantiation – is open to everyone. We believe that Jesus did not reject anyone, so we follow the same rubric.

Other than that, you should feel right at home at Saint Miriam!

[expand title=”Is Saint Miriam Right For ME?” tag=”h2″]

So, how do you know if we are even the right fit for you before stopping by for a visit? Well, take a look at the Saint Miriam Covenant. You can download a copy here or by clicking in the box above, left side of your screen. You see, we take seriously the foundation of our life together as parish community, and that foundation is found in this covenant.

A covenant is simply a promise to live in a certain way. At Saint Miriam there are twelve promises, just like the number of apostles (well, if you don’t count Judas!). But, just like Jesus summed up the Ten Commandments with these two, (1) love God with all your heart and, (2) love your neighbor as yourself. We, too, can summarize these twelve into just two (1) welcome everyone; no matter what they have ever done, or who they are, or what denomination they came from, or how they act, or anything in their past or present, and (2) love those you worship with; care for each other and the world, and care for your parish. In essence just be yourself, show up to services each week, give what you can financially to help us stay around, hate no one, speak no gossip or rumors, and live a life congruent with being a true Christian.

We believe that we are all stewards. That is, we are given certain things in this life by God – our lives, our families, our jobs, our friends, and our church – and we must care for them and ensure that they are there for others when we are gone. So, we are not owners, just stewards, charged with the job to care for them and one another. So, after all of that, if you are tired of hatred and don’t care about the denominational boundaries of human invention. If you want to worship God and not have your sins pointed out to you every week without compassion. If you want to be challenged to help you grow. If you want to enjoy a place that cares for you, your family, and your life. If you simply want to find a church that you can call and feel like it is home. Then, come. You’ll love what we feel like and you’ll love the people that feel just like you!