Old Catholic Diocese of the Southeast
The communities of Florida met throughout the summer months of 2009, to explore and discern their future together and enthusiastically agreed to move forward to establish a diocese as the best expression of Local Church. The rationale for such was the recognition of our deep relationship with one another, the ability to give greater witness together as a collective body of communities, and the need for a more visible and available ministry of a bishop to the communities and ministries.
The process began with the discernment of eligible members to the office and ministry of diocesan bishop and the formation of a committee to write a diocesan constitution. There was an initial call for election by popular acclaim, however, the wisdom of the delegates sought to rather follow a process of discernment, nomination, visitation and election as suggested by our ancient Catholic tradition. It was also discerned that the delegates of the House of Laity would undertake oversight for the process of discernment and actual election of a bishop among the local communities.
The period of discernment was publicly announced to the communities and their members in September 2009. All were asked to pray, discern and surface individuals willing to be candidates for the ministry of bishop to the communities of faith of Florida. Fr. Steven discerned he would be willing to serve the affected communities as a bishop. He was then asked to visit the communities, to be available to them, to answer any questions or concerns of the leaders and members of the Florida communities.
With the completion of the pastoral visits for inquiry and scrutiny, the members of the communities of Florida unanimously elected Rev. Steven M. Rosczewski as their “bishop-elect” on the weekend of November 21-22, 2009 and confirmation of the election was undertaken in Holy Synod, October 2010. The Diocese was established as a canonical Diocese at the same Synod.
In the presence of the diocesan church, friends, supporters and his family, Bishop Steven was ordained to the Order of Bishop and installed as the first bishop of the then Diocese of Florida, known later as the Synodal Catholic Diocese of the Southeast on Saturday, February 26, 2011. The Diocese has continued to grow with communities and ministry in Texas, Indiana and the upper peninsula of Michigan.
Parallel to the tender rooting of the Diocese was the faithful journey of two communities, St. Paul the Apostle (Spring Hill, FL) and St. Francis of Assisi (Dunedin, FL) seeking life together as a future Local Church of The Old Catholic Church, Province of the United States (TOCCUSA). Through their patient and hard work together and mutual discernment, our communities discovered one another and sought to formalize a new ecclesial relationship as the Old Catholic Diocese of the Southeast. Together, we were welcomed as merged member Diocese by the Extraordinary General Assembly of TOCCUSA on Saturday, January 16, 2021. The Diocese assembled for its first formal Synod (via ZOOM) on the following Saturday, January 23, 2021 to elect and bless its House leadership and install Bishop Steven as its bishop.
Please, pray with us as we continue this journey together as Local Church in communion with our sisters and brothers of The Old Catholic Church, Province of the United States and the Church universal. May it be fruitful, for one and for all!