As you enter, you will notice an atmosphere of peace and reverence. The altar and the cross take our thoughts to Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. It is at the altar that we consecrate bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ (Holy Communion) following His commandment to do this in remembrance of Him (Luke 22:19-20).
On the sidewalls, you will see the Stations of the Cross, which remind us of Christ’s passion, death and resurrection, through which He brought salvation to the world (John 19). Near the altar there are candles to remind us that Christ is the “light of the world”(John 8:12) and that we are to reflect His light through the way we lives our lives (Matthew 5:14-16).
The bells you may hear are used to make a “joyful noise unto the Lord”(Psalm 100). You may smell incense which reminds us of our prayers rising to God (Psalm 141:2) and the worship that occurs in Heaven (Revelation 5:8). You will notice several icons of Michael the Archangel in honor of our patron saint.
Surrounding the Sanctuary you will notice a rail. It is here that we come to receive Holy Communion. At St. Michael’s, all baptized Christians are invited to the Lord's Table. Those not baptized are invited to come to the rail to receive a blessing by simply crossing the arms as the priest approaches you.
HOW WE WORSHIP
Our main act of worship, the Holy Eucharist or Mass, is liturgical (which means there is an established order of prayer, praise and worship that involves everyone attending) and Bible-centered. Our weekly bulletin has everything you need to follow along - you will not feel lost. You may wonder when to stand or kneel. We usually stand when we sing, when we say the Nicene Creed and for the reading of the Gospel. We sit during other readings from the Old and New Testaments and the sermon/homily. We usually kneel when we pray. Do what feels comfortable to you.
VESTMENTS AND COLORS
To add to the beauty and festivity of our worship, the clergy and other ministers customarily wear vestments. The bishop, priest, deacon, and Eucharistic Ministers wear a white alb symbolizing our striving for purity and holiness (1 Peter 1:15-16) and it reminds us of our baptismal gown. The stole symbolizes the taking on the yoke of Christ (Matthew 11:29) to serve others as Christ served. The chasuble (the garment that envelopes the priest) represents the seamless garment Christ wore on his way to the cross (John 19:23) and serves as a reminder to love all people as Christ did.
The colors of the vestments change with the seasons and holy days of the church year: Royal Blue (Advent), White (feast days of the Lord), Red (feast days of the Holy Spirit), Purple (Lent) and Green (Ordinary Time).
WHAT SHOULD I WEAR?
We have those who attend in shorts, sneakers or flip flops while others wear their Sunday's best. We welcome you as your are. We gather to worship and praise God, not to impress or judge each other.
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The sacraments are outward visible signs of God’s grace. However, they do not replace OUR FAITH in Jesus Christ as essential to our salvation.
BAPTISM is the first sacrament which starts our spiritual life in Jesus Christ through membership in His Church. (Matthew 28:19-20, Mark 16:15-16)
THE EUCHARIST (HOLY COMMUNION) is the remembrance of Jesus’ Last Supper. We believe through faith that after the consecration prayers, the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of our Savior. (Matthew 26:26-28, Mark 14:22-25, Luke 22:19-20, 1 Corinthians 10:16)
RECONCILIATION (CONFESSION) is a continuous event in the life of the Christian where one admits our sins and hears God’s forgiveness and biblical counsel for improvement. General reconciliation is part of the Mass, however special counseling/private confession is available from the pastor upon request. (2 Corinthians 5:17-20, James 5:16, 1 John 1:9)
CONFIRMATION is the sacrament through which a person confirms the affirmations made by parents and sponsors during baptism. Through the Holy Spirit, we learn how to enter into an intimate relationship with Jesus by the use of the gifts and fruits of the Spirit. (John 14:25-26)
HOLY MATRIMONY is the celebration through which a couple are united as one flesh and blessed as husband and wife in the same intimacy and union as Christ and the Church. (Genesis 2:24-25, Matthew 19:5-6, Ephesians 5:22-33)
HOLY UNCTION (ANOINTING OF THE SICK). It is through this sacrament that one can be healed physically, but most certainly spiritually by faith through a deeper focus on the love of our Lord. It brings comfort, solace and peace in times of extreme duress, sorrow, illness or when a person is close to death (James 5:14-15)
HOLY ORDERS (ORDINATION) is the sacrament through which a person is consecrated for the service of the faithful. Apostolic succession, which traces the lines of consecration of a bishop back to the Apostles, is maintained in this church. (1 Timothy 3:1-13, Titus 1:6-9, Acts 6:6, Ephesians 4:11-13)
OTHER ITEMS OF OUR FAITH
THE BIBLE is the inspired and inerrant word of God. (2 Tim 3:16-17)
FAITH is the only way to understand and receive our salvation. (Eph 2:8-9)
THE TRINITY is the description of ONE God in THREE Persons, God the Father who is attributed with creation, God the Son who is our redeemer, and God the Holy Spirit who is the life of the Church. (Mt 28:19)
THE CREEDS are statements of fundamental Christian beliefs known as the Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds. These explain our faith in plain, simple, and uncomplicated manners. We recite the Nicene Creed at our Eucharistic celebrations (the Mass).
THE 10 COMMANDMENTS are basic guides for living sound moral lives in our relationships with God and our neighbors. These are fulfilled by Jesus’ commandment to love one another as He loved us. (Mt 22:37-40)
THE CHURCH is the body of believers in Jesus Christ, Christ being the head of the Church. The Independent Old Catholic Church is a branch of the one, holy, catholic (universal), and apostolic Church of Jesus Christ. (Eph 2:19-22; 5:23-24)
SIN is any unloving act against God’s creation that separates us from God. Confessing our sin brings God’s forgiveness by our faith in Christ’s death on the cross accomplished 2,000 years ago. (1 Jn 1:9)
SATAN is the accuser of mankind who lies, cheats, kills, steals, and destroys through confusion of the truth. He is a defeated being who has as much power over our will as we allow him to have. God’s infinite love for us allows us free will choice between His love and Satan's lies. (Jn 8:32)
SALVATION is the redemption from eternal punishment, to an eternal life of glory with God, not by our works, but by our faith in the grace of God through the atoning death of Jesus Christ. (Eph 2:8-9)
Msgr. JJ Lojo Jr
Fr. Charles Gaudreau
Director of Adult Education
Fr. Pete Milner
The Rev. Nancy DiNicola
Director of Healing Ministries
The Most Rev. Steven M. Harris
The Most Rev. Richard White
WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO
We gather for worship, prayers, the breaking of bread and fellowship following the practice of the Apostles as chronicled in the New Testament in the
Book of Acts 2:41-47.
THE PROMISE OF GOD
Revelation 21:3-7 (CSB)
Then I heard a loud voice from the throne: Look, God’s dwelling is with humanity, and he will live with them. They will be his peoples and God himself will be with them and will be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; grief, crying, and pain will be no more, because the previous things have passed away. Then the one seated on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new.” He also said, “Write, because these words are faithful and true.” Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will freely give to the thirsty from the spring of the water of life. The one who conquers will inherit these things, and I will be his God, and he will be my son.
IF YOU ARE STRUGGLING WITH YOUR FAITH OR YOU ARE SEEKING...
Take some time to breathe quietly then slowly pray the following prayer, which is modeled after Paul's prayer for the Ephesians (Ephesians 3:7-14):
Lord Jesus Christ, I am on my knees and praying to the Father,
the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.
I humbly ask that in your boundless love you empower me
with inner strength through your Holy Spirit.
Make your home in my heart and teach me to trust you.
Help my roots grow deep in God’s love and keep me strong.
May I have the power to understand, as all of God’s people should,
how wide, how long, how high, and how deep your love is for me.
May I experience your love, Christ, though it is too great to understand fully.
Complete my life with the abundance and power that comes from you alone.
All glory belongs to you, God, who is able, through your mighty power
at work within me, to accomplish infinitely more than I might ask or think.
Glory to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, one God,
through all generations forever and ever!