The Old Catholic Diocese of Washington, DC is a religious organization that provides spiritual guidance, direction, and counseling, in addition to Mass and the Sacraments, to people and families who are seeking affirmation, validation, or are just “questioning”.
The Diocese serves the people of Washington, DC; Maryland; and northern Virginia and is a Diocese of The Old Catholic Church, Province of the United States (TOCCUSA). Currently there is one active parish, Emmaus Faith Community, located in Germantown, MD. We also have a mission parish under formation in Laurel, MD, which you can find on Facebook.
The Old Catholic Church, Province of the United States, is a nascent American denomination with deep historical roots. Several independent Catholic jurisdictions across the United States, yearning for greater community and to model a different way of being Catholic, came together in a series of discussion. In September 2010, these jurisdictions formally became The Old Catholic Church, Province of the United States (TOCCUSA).
Our historical roots are not only embedded in the teachings of Jesus the Christ and the ancient church, but also in the Old Catholic Churches in Europe, which began as a reform movement after the First Vatican Council in 1870. In 1889 the break from Rome was formalized with the formation of the Utrecht Union of Old Catholic Churches. Claiming the name “Old Catholic”, the Utrecht Union reclaimed the ancient, undivided, and apostolic church before rancorous divisions and legalistic dogma severed the continuity of the Christian tradition and inhibited the movement and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
The ecclesiology of TOCCUSA is modeled after the Utrecht Union of Old Catholic Churches. That means we are episcopal and synodal in structure. The local church gathers around its bishop whose authority flows from election by the diocesan synod, which is composed of clergy and laity. Clergy and laity have equal voice and vote on all matters of local and national church life.
As Catholics, we celebrate the seven sacraments. Recognizing that the sacraments are a means to God’s mysterious, inclusive, and abundant grace and that God withholds that grace from no one, so we bar no one from any sacrament: all baptized Christians are welcome at Eucharist, same-gender couples are welcome to celebrate the sacrament of matrimony, LGBT persons and women are welcome and encouraged to the holy orders of deacon, priest, and bishop.
Fully embracing Jesus’ declaration in John 10.10, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly”, the Old Catholic Church takes seriously its task to proclaim the gospel of freedom and life. These are indeed the cornerstones of Old Catholic identity and mission. In serving the world in the 21st Century, we ask ourselves, how do we teach and proclaim life and freedom in a world that equates a free life with hedonism. As we struggle to live into this question through mission and ministry, we do so committed to celebrating diversity: the diversity found among humanity and the diversity of gifts bestowed by the Holy Spirit. The movement called the Old Catholic Church in general, and The Old Catholic Church, Province of the United States, in particular, remains steadfast in building unity in diversity within our own church and in the world through a commitment to ecumenism. It is in embracing our diversity that we find our strength and heal our world.
We are The Old Catholic Church, Province of the United States:
~Welcoming & Inclusive Church~
~Serving the Modern World~