Ecumenical Catholic Church
The Ecumenical Catholic Church (ECC) is a separate denomination within the universal Christian Church. It teaches the faith of the Nicene Creed, that One God exists in three coequal and coeternal Persons—the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—and that Jesus is the Son of God and Redeemer of humanity, uniting Christians through the rebirth of Baptism and the fellowship of the Eucharist. The liturgy of the ECC is similar to that of the Roman Catholic Church, but it is politically independent and not under the jurisdiction of the Vatican or the Roman hierarchy and thus is one of the "Independent Catholic Churches." While the ECC shares the core Christian beliefs with the Roman Church and most Protestant and Orthodox denominations, it is more liberal on many social issues.
The Ecumenical Catholic Church began in Santa Ana, California, in 1987. The first edition of the ECC canon law was completed and ratified on the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord, January 11, 1987(p. 27). The church organization was incorporated in California on March 10, 1987. The first publicly announced service of St. John Ecumenical Catholic Church was held at 10:30 a.m. on the 15th Sunday after Pentecost, September 4, 1988, at the home chapel of Fr. Mark Shirilau and Deacon Jeffery Shirilau in Santa Ana, California. Nine persons attended(p. 30)
Robert Oscar Simpson became the first person baptized in the Ecumenical Catholic Church on July 10, 1989, in his house in Los Angeles. Robert died of AIDS a few days later(p. 30)
On the Feast of Pentecost, May 19, 1991, Father Mark Steven Shirilau was consecrated bishop by Bishop Donald Lawrence Jolly at Bishop Donald's home chapel in San Bernardino, California. At the same service, Deacon Jeffery Shirilau, a non-ordained deacon of the Metropolitan Community Church, was ordained to the diaconate by Bishop Donald.
Bruce David LeBlanc, a community college professor, became the first priest ordained by Bishop Mark. He was ordained on July 27, 1991, in Pocatello, Idaho(p. 35). Fr. Bruce was later consecrated bishop and now serves Holy Spirit Ecumenical Catholic Church in Moline, Illinois.
The church grew rapidly across the United States in the early 1990s. In 1994 regional deans were appointed, and on July 8, 1995, the four deans were consecrated as bishops by Bishop Mark Shirilau at an ordination liturgy held at the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Santa Rosa, California. The four new bishops were Robert Wayne Martin of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Michael Robert Frost of Plattsburgh, New York, Denis Armand Martel of New Orleans, Louisiana, and Richard John Cardarelli of Hartford, Connecticut. At the same liturgy the new bishops presented and vested Bishop Mark with a pallium and proclaimed him archbishop; the pallium was a personal gift to Archbishop Mark from Bishop Daniel James Dahl of the Inclusive Orthodox Church in Honolulu, Hawaii.
- , www.ecchurch.org/aboutus.htm
- Shirilau, Mark, History and Overview of the Ecumenical Catholic Church: The First Ten Years, (1995. Riverside, CA: Healing Spirit Press, ISBN 1-881568-07-5)
- , California Secretary of State Website, Corporation number C1581615.
- , www.tboyle.net, an online directory of independent Catholic bishops.