What we're about
St. Raphael's has been serving the Bay Area since 1925. At our newly opened Chapel (October 2015) in Richmond we offer Sunday services beginning with a homage to Our Lady at 9:45 a.m. and culminating with the Holy Eucharist. We open our gift shop and book nook upon appointment, providing rosaries, prayer cards, and books encompassing spiritual paths and wisdom traditions in partnership with a well known book seller that has had to recently close their doors. Our clergy also continue to serve the greater Bay Area, giving Communion and solace to those in need.
"We hope you will take some time to discover what the church stands for and teaches. Further, I hope that if you live near you will consider visiting and worshiping with us. Please be assured that you are welcome to our fellowship and to join us in celebration and participation.
It is hoped that as the result of your visit you will discover some Light on your Path. To that end, I pray in the words of St Paul, from his Epistle to the Ephesians “that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”"
~ The Rt. Rev. William Downey, Regionary Bishop of The Liberal Catholic Church, Province of the United States
The Liberal Catholic Church is an independent and self-governing body; neither Roman Catholic nor Protestant — but Catholic… It aims at combining the traditional sacramental form of worship — with its stately ritual, its deep mysticism and its abiding witness to the reality of sacramental grace — with the widest measure of intellectual liberty and respect for the individual conscience. It therefore permits to its members freedom in interpretation of the scriptures, the creeds and the liturgy. Regarding the mind as one of the great avenues to spiritual apprehension, it encourages among its adherents the freest play of scientific and philosophic thought.
The Liberal Catholic Church is a living Christian church which maintains that the form of religion should keep pace with human spiritual growth and enlightenment; but it also holds that the church has handed down a very precious heritage from Christ himself.
In short we are a progressive, non-dogmatic, mystically-oriented Christian Church that offers the Holy Eucharist to people of ALL faiths. The orders of the clergy of The Liberal Catholic Church were derived through the Old Catholic Church of Holland which became independent from Rome over two centuries ago. Through this Apostolic Succession, unbroken since the time of Christ, The Liberal Catholic Church aligns itself with the historic church in past centuries. The clergy are neither forbidden nor enjoined to marry. They serve without personal remuneration. The clergy claim no authority over the individual conscience; rather, stress is laid on their function as ministers of the Divine Sacraments, ready to serve those who may ask or need their help.
A CEREMONIAL CHURCH: It teaches the Christianity of the Christ and administers the seven Sacraments which are regarded as channels of His blessing. It is a church wherein there is intellectual and religious freedom and a natural balance between ceremonial worship, devotional aspiration, scientific and mystic thought. It uses a revised Liturgy, a Liturgy devised to sound a note of joyous and uplifting aspiration. The Liberal Catholic Church welcomes all and everyone to its services, those who have faith and those who have lost faith; those who believe in the literal exposition of the scriptures and those who accept the allegorical spiritual interpretation. Above all, it wishes to serve those who are earnestly seeking spiritual enlightenment.
FREEDOM OF BELIEF: The Liberal Catholic Church erects no barriers around its altars. All who come in a spirit of reverence are welcome to Holy Communion and to all other services of the Church. What opinions or beliefs an individual holds is considered to be his/her own affair. The mind that is free is in the best condition to grow. Growth into spirituality enhances the perception of truth which each one must discover for himself/herself and in his/her own way. Anything less than full mental freedom is thought to retard progress. Thus, our difference lies in the fact that with the ancient sacramental worship have been associated the widest measure of intellectual freedom and respect for the individual conscience.