Archbishop Michael Hillis, the presiding metropolitan archbishop for Reconciliation Catholic Church, will host bishops, clergy and laity for the annual Chrism Mass at 7:30 p.m. April 2 at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 2310 N. 56th St., Phoenix.
At least 10 dioceses of the Independent Catholic Church will have representatives on hand, including Rocky Hill, Conn., Columbus, Ohio and Los Angeles. Hillis said he is encouraging bishops to hold similar gatherings in their cities. “We are trying to show our unity with our brothers and sisters around the United States by this invitation,” he said.
The Chrism Mass is the celebration of the bishop blessing new holy oils distributed to all parishes.
Anyone who would like to be anointed may be offered an anointing and healing after the Mass. A social hour will follow.
The Independent Catholic Church began after Vatican Council I (1869-1870), when several bishops were unhappy with decisions made about Catholic doctrine and other issues. Members say the church has gained strength in recent years. It is showing growth “at a slow, but steady pace,” Hillis said.
“There is not a shortage of priests in the Independent Catholic Church because our clergy may marry,” he said. “We also have women clergy. Divorced persons are encouraged to attend this gathering as well as gays and lesbians.”
“We are not a church of judgment. We are here to bring the kingdom of God to all we meet,” Hillis said.
For more information, call (480) 649-0901 or visit www.reconciliationcatholicchurch.org.