Welcome to the website of the Independent Catholic Church of North America (ICCONA). We are truly Catholic because we follow Sacred Scriptures and Sacred Tradition as our “one deposit of Faith.” Most people refer to the word “Catholic,” and immediately infer that we are Roman Catholics.
Although we share the “One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic” Faith, which makes us “Catholic,” we are not in communion with the Roman Catholic Church. However, we do share the same core beliefs with the Roman Catholic Church, the conservative Old Catholic Rites, conservative Episcopal Rites, the Rites of the Orthodox community, the Anglo-Catholic churches, and others who adhere to the principles of the Faith as handed down to us from the Holy Apostles and the Early Church Fathers. We boldly proclaim these principles of faith and morals believed “everywhere, always, and by all.”
But, there are many other types of Catholics. Some are associated with cultural groups like the Philippine National Catholic Church, the Polish National Catholic Church while others such as Old Catholics span all cultures. While some groups are in union with Rome, others have their own bishops as in the various traditions of Orthodox Churches. The independently governed Catholic Churches have a history of separate identities dating back for well over 200 years.
ICCONA strongly asserts that division in the Body of Christ causes our Lord to grieve; He prayed that we might all be one; further, there is no disputed issue among these various expressions of the faith that is important enough to justify separation. The Independent Catholic Church of North America (ICCONA) hold valid lines of apostolic succession, have revered the Sacred Scriptures as the Word of God, celebrate the real presence of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist, and uphold historic standards of faith and morals. It is our hope and our prayer that, one day, in God's time, we may once again be re-united into one church as it was during the first thousand years of Christianity.
ICCONA is an Independent Catholic community outside the institutional Roman church, dedicated to making the world a more compassionate place. Guided by the Holy Spirit, with its own Archbishop and the Conference of Bishops, we celebrate the same Seven Sacraments and follow the spirit of reform initiated in the Second Vatican Council. During much of the first eleven hundred years after Jesus, there was only one church that developed different traditions. During its first millennium, the Early Church addressed the way the Mass and Sacraments were celebrated, the setting of the moveable annual date of Easter in the liturgical cycle, and the differing interpretations of priestly celibacy in the Western Church.
We embrace both, the Novus Ordo liturgy, as well as the New Mass, which are both revered by so many Catholics in the Americas. The celebration of the Mass is central to our Catholicity, and the Eucharist is at the very heart of this daily celebration.
ICCONA believes that The Most Holy Eucharist is the “Sacrament of Sacraments” in which Christ Jesus the Lord himself is contained, offered, and received. Through this solemn celebration, the Church continually lives, grows, and is nourished. The Eucharistic Sacrifice is the memorial of the death, life, and Resurrection of the Lord, in which the sacrifice of the cross is perpetuated through the ages. The Second Vatican Council has stated that the Holy Eucharist is the “source and summit” of all worship within the Christian life. Thus, the celebration of the Holy Eucharist is the action of Christ himself and the Church. In a very special way, the Church on earth is joined to the Church Triumphant in Heaven. Jesus Christ Our Lord, through the ministry of the priest, offers himself, substantially present under the presence of bread and wine, to God the Father and gives himself as spiritual food to all the faithful united with his offering. As we participate in the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ on earth, it is a true participation in the New and Eternal Banquet being celebrated forever in the Kingdom of Heaven.
The Eucharistic Celebration is Jesus’ Gift to the Church. Again, the Second Vatican Council affirmed and the Church teaches that Christ is present to us in other ways at the Holy Eucharist besides in the Most Blessed Sacrament. Jesus is always present in His Church, especially in her liturgical celebrations. He is present in the sacrifice of the Mass, not only in the person of His minister, “the same now offering, through the ministry of priests, who formerly offered himself on the cross,” but especially under the Eucharistic species. Jesus, by His power, He is present in the Sacraments, so that when a man baptizes it is really Christ Himself who baptizes. Jesus Christ is present in His Word, since it is He Himself who speaks when the Holy Scriptures are read in the Church. Lastly, Jesus Christ is present when the Church prays and sings, for He promised: “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matt. 18:20)
The Liturgy of the Hours is our union with the prayer life of the Church on a daily basis which sanctifies each day. The Second Vatican Council’s English translation of the Mass and Sacraments, as incorporated, remains unchanged within our ICCONA Community. We understand the importance of embracing and supporting one another, while continually challenging ourselves to embrace the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
We honor the education and dedication of men serving the Methodist, Presbyterian, and Lutheran churches, perhaps others who have avoided “tickling ears” doctrine and other major departures from Holy Tradition. There are some conservative ministers in these denominations who lack only the apostolic succession to become one with us. A few already have, and we pray that many more will “follow their heart” and come “home.”
Another reason for our existence is that many of the “Independent Catholic" and “Old Catholic” churches have seriously departed from the Holy Traditions, not to mention doctrine. ICCONA hopes to be a stabilizing force in this very large arena.
We are inviting Independent Catholic priests whose churches have departed from the unchanging doctrines which have been historically believed "always, everywhere, by everyone", to contact us.
We hope to be a doorway through which detached Roman Catholic priests can return to the altar and through which former Roman Catholic people can reclaim their faith.
We love our Blessed Mother deeply, along with all the saints, on whose intercession we rely for help.
We hold to the Apostle’s Creed and the Nicene Creed. We honor the Early Church Fathers and the Doctors of the Church.
We believe that there is only one church; even though it has many parts, it is not divided regarding the divinity of Jesus Christ, the savior of all humanity.
In conclusion, the last quotation from Sacred Scriptures in the Vatican II document, Gaudium et Spes, Pastoral Constitution of the Church in the Modern World is as follows: “Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, to him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen." (Eph. 3:20-21)
Our beloved, Saint John Paul II, in fact, proclaimed that all churches possessing the Apostolic Succession and having a valid Eucharist are "true particular churches". This statement has been endorsed as well by Pope Benedict XVI. [Dominus Iesus]
Our denomination maintains valid lines of Apostolic Succession, which can be traced to the ancient and undivided church. All clergy in ICCONA are ordained by the “laying on of hands”.