Holy Spirit Catholic Community – A Journey through Time
By: Tim Ronan
We started our journey in January 2006 in a current member’s living room. At that time the group that met had been through tremendous turmoil that resulted in the removal of their pastor. Additionally a sexual abuse cover up and the closing of over 60 vibrant parishes had already plagued the Archdiocese of Boston. We weren’t sure where we were going or exactly what we wanted to be, but we knew it was something different, something that was faith-based and free of the limiting beliefs and deceit of the institutional Roman Catholic Church.
Through many weekly meetings and prayerful reflection we discerned that we wanted to form a faith community. What a tall order for such a fledgling group. We asked ourselves how we go about doing this? The answer was ‘we need to do research on the net’. Little did we know at the time that there was an independent movement of Catholics gathering who thought the same way and were doing the same thing – forming home-based and other communities celebrating Eucharist together. We found local groups such as Evensong, the American Catholic Church, Saint Paul’s Catholic Community, as well others across the country. We heard of Spiritus Christi, CORPUS and CITI, Future Church, Ecumenical Catholic Communion, and Women Priest’s. After all of our research and some visits to the various local groups we had a plan in place that we were indeed going to form a faith community.
The next step was to figure out our name. Well, that seemed to be an easy task since we were indeed a group in formation and often referred to each other as ‘pilgrims’- so we decided that our name would be A Pilgrim People. Just like Jesus in his early days, we were indeed wandering to find a home and our identity. Known as A Pilgrim People we had our first Eucharistic Liturgy on Pentecost Sunday June 2006 at Grace Episcopal Church in Newton MA and continued with summer monthly services.
Soon after we had a visit from Bishop Peter Hickman, and learned that Spiritus Christi was hosting the ECC retreat in October. Five members of our community made the journey to Rochester and attended the retreat. The Pilgrim members attending felt in communion with the people they met and the message of the ECC.
So back to Boston they went with this feeling of hope that they had found a place to belong among kindred spirits. Inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit, the group discerned that we indeed wanted to join the ECC.
In April 2007 we formally joined the ECC. And at our one-year anniversary on Pentecost in June of 2007 Bishop Peter Hickman joined us as we announced our new name Holy Spirit Catholic Community and our official membership with the ECC.
As the word has spread about the original Pilgrims, Holy Spirit Catholic Community has become a home to many and today our community is the joining of many groups, which includes people from the churches in vigil protesting their closing.
Out of pain and struggle we are striving to create anew the church of God’s promise – the kingdom of God here on Earth. We still see ourselves as pilgrims on a journey through time in solidarity with all pilgrims across the world celebrating and living the Jesus’ gospel of love, justice and peace.