Ministry of Bishop Avio Ongang Cyprien, Dip.Th., in the Diocese of Saint Athanasius of the Anglocatholic Church in Democratic Republic of Congo, West Africa.
His Eminence, The Most Reverend Dr. James Christian Macaire Miafouanandi, D.D., Primate of All Africa of the Anglocatholic Church and Metropolitan Archbishop of The Archdiocese of Saint Sagasse Divine of The Anglocatholic Church with the serving clergy and acolytes after the Holy First Advent Mass in the Republic of Congo, Africa.
Christ the King Sunday Mass at Saint Christopher parish in Nsele Village. Father Victor Matomina serves in this parish in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Advent Message to the Clergy of The Anglocatholic Church from His Eminence Patriarch Coadjutor Dr. Raphael Marie Villiere
Dear Members of the Clergy of the Anglocatholic Church,
On Sunday, November 26, 2023, we reach the conclusion of the liturgical year with the feast of Christ the King. On December 3, we officially enter the season of Advent, a period of penance, waiting, and hope. It is also a time when we see the streets of cities illuminated, symbolizing the hope of the approaching Nativity—the announcement of the Messiah’s coming to save us.
As we reflect on the past year, we sadly observe that year after year, the people of God are increasingly moving away from their Creator who loves them so much. “For God so loved the world that he sent his Son to save us from our sins and give us eternal life through faith in him” (John 3:16).
We also recall the parable of Jesus, Matthew 13:24-30, about the good seed and the weeds. God, always allowing humanity the freedom to make its own choices, has allowed the enemy to spread weeds among the good seed. What is this weed that chokes the good seed today? It can easily be found in human indifference, selfishness, lack of charity, fear of others, hatred, terrorist acts, and more. Furthermore, the ease and personal interest without wanting to make an effort have become fashionable. This destructive weed even leads to the desertion of the duties of a Christian to worship God.
Last October, when I took a few days off, providence led me to Saint Laurent sur Sèvres, in France, where the basilica of Saint Louis Mary Grignon of Monfort is located. He wrote the treatise on true devotion to the Most Blessed Virgin Mary. After talking to someone from the presbytery, I learned that currently, only a third of the people attend Mass on Sundays, whereas a few years ago, this edifice was filled… And the same observation is made everywhere… The weed also affects the institutional Church. Indeed, the lack of vocations is increasingly felt. This is the consequence of this de-Christianization where baptism is almost no longer performed, leading to ignorance of God’s existence and salvation for humanity. The good seed, meaning the word of truth, the divine law, nowadays struggles to take root in hearts.
However, even though these current times may seem so dark, we, the true servants, must not be discouraged or dismayed. We have chosen and must assume the mission we have accepted. Like the tireless evangelizers, the apostles, we must maintain this total trust in God who knows and controls everything, even if it doesn’t seem that way; He will always have the final say.
Therefore, during this upcoming Advent season where we will hear again the texts of Isaiah about the coming of the Messiah, we must pray a lot for ourselves, for our respective functions, at our different levels, to remain at peace in our hearts by accepting these events, staying in full communion with each other, and remaining steadfast in the faith of our Fathers while advancing according to the rhythm and will of God. Let us not forget Jesus’ words: “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:38). For us, it must be the same: to live in this world but not as from this world.
May the thrice-holy God bless you all.
THIS WALL CALENDAR HAS BEEN SENT OUT TO ALL MEMBERS OF THE COLLEGE OF BISHOPS OF THE ANGLOCATHOLIC CHURCH
The Wall Calendar of The Anglocatholic Church of 2024 is in preparation. When we have it – every month has its own photo, then we will send it free of charge to all Members of The College of Bishops of The Anglocatholic Church. The Membership of the College of Bishops is counted as the end of each third month of the year, so next time December 31, 2023. And it is connected with the donation to the Patriarch Fund.
VATICAN DECLARATION ON THE UNICITY AND SALVIFIC UNIVERSALITY OF JESUS CHRIST AND THE CHURCH DECLARATION OF THE CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH Rome, August 6, 2000
IV UNICITY AND UNITY OF THE CHURCH
- The Lord Jesus, the only Saviour, did not only establish a simple community of disciples, but constituted the Church as a salvific mystery: he himself is in the Church and the Church is in him (cf. Jn 15:1ff.; Gal 3:28; Eph 4:15-16; Acts 9:5). Therefore, the fullness of Christ’s salvific mystery belongs also to the Church, inseparably united to her Lord. Indeed, Jesus Christ continues his presence and his work of salvation in the Church and by means of the Church (cf.Col 1:24-27), which is his body (cf. 1 Cor 12:12-13, 27; Col 1:18). And thus, just as the head and members of a living body, though not identical, are inseparable, so too Christ and the Church can neither be confused nor separated, and constitute a single “whole Christ”.
This same inseparability is also expressed in the New Testament by the analogy of the Church as the Bride of Christ (cf. 2 Cor 11:2; Eph 5:25-29; Rev 21:2,9). The Catholic faithful are required to profess that there is an historical continuity — rooted in the apostolic succession — between the Church founded by Christ and the Catholic Church: “This is the single Church of Christ… which our Saviour, after his resurrection, entrusted to Peter’s pastoral care (cf. Jn 21:17), commissioning him and the other Apostles to extend and rule her (cf. Mt 28:18ff.), erected for all ages as ‘the pillar and mainstay of the truth’ (1 Tim3:15). This Church, constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in [subsistit in] the Catholic Church, governed by the Successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him”. With the expression subsistit in, the Second Vatican Council sought to harmonize two doctrinal statements: on the one hand, that the Church of Christ, despite the divisions which exist among Christians, continues to exist fully only in the Catholic Church, and on the other hand, that “outside of her structure, many elements can be found of sanctification and truth”, that is, in those Churches and ecclesial communities which are not yet in full communion with the Catholic Church. But with respect to these, it needs to be stated that “they derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Catholic Church”.
- Therefore, there exists a single Church of Christ, which subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the Successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him.
The Churches which, while not existing in perfect communion with the Catholic Church, remain united to her by means of the closest bonds, that is, by apostolic succession and a valid Eucharist, are true particular Churches. Therefore, the Church of Christ is present and operative also in these Churches, even though they lack full communion with the Catholic Church, since they do not accept the Catholic doctrine of the Primacy, which, according to the will of God, the Bishop of Rome objectively has and exercises over the entire Church.
On the other hand, the ecclesial communities which have not preserved the valid Episcopate and the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic mystery, are not Churches in the proper sense; however, those who are baptized in these communities are, by Baptism, incorporated in Christ and thus are in a certain communion, albeit imperfect, with the Church. Baptism in fact tends per se toward the full development of life in Christ, through the integral profession of faith, the Eucharist, and full communion in the Church. “The Christian faithful are therefore not permitted to imagine that the Church of Christ is nothing more than a collection — divided, yet in some way one — of Churches and ecclesial communities; nor are they free to hold that today the Church of Christ nowhere really exists, and must be considered only as a goal which all Churches and ecclesial communities must strive to reach”. In fact, “the elements of this already-given Church exist, joined together in their fullness in the Catholic Church and, without this fullness, in the other communities”. “Therefore, these separated Churches and communities as such, though we believe they suffer from defects, have by no means been deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Catholic Church”.
The lack of unity among Christians is certainly a wound for the Church; not in the sense that she is deprived of her unity, but “in that it hinders the complete fulfilment of her universality in history”.
The Sovereign Pontiff John Paul II, at the Audience of June 16, 2000, granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, with sure knowledge and by his apostolic authority, ratified and confirmed this Declaration, adopted in Plenary Session and ordered its publication.
Rome, from the Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, August 6, 2000, the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord.
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect
Important parts of the document for our, The Anglocatholic Church, from this document are made bold by us, His Beatitude Patriarch Lord Dr. Heigo Ritsbek, The Anglocatholic Church
On Sunday, November 5th, 2023, His Beatitude, The Most Reverend Lord Dr. Heigo Ritsbek, MA, MDiv, DMin, LittD, DD, Patriarch of The Anglocatholic Church, confirmed a lady at the chapel of the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity of the Diocese of Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of God of The Anglocatholic Church in Tallinn, Estonia. He was assisted by His Excellency, The Most Reverend Dr. Raivo Kodanik, D.D., Bishop of the Anglocatholic Church in Estonia.
On November 2, 2023, The Most Reverend Dr. Raivo Kodanik, DD, Ordinary of The Diocese of Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of God of The Anglocatholic Church, celebrated The Vigil Mass at our Chapel of The Cathedral of The Holy Trinity in Tallinn, Estonia.