Diocese says parish must hold separate Communion services

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Richmond has told the nation’s only blended Catholic and Episcopal parish it must change its worship services so Catholics and non-Catholics meet in separate rooms for Holy Communion.

The parish, Church of the Holy Apostles, is led by Catholic and Episcopal co-pastors and has worshipped together for more than 30 years.

It’s an arrangement, parishioners say, that over the years has allowed families in mixed marriages to worship side by side and has helped build bonds that transcend denominational boundaries.

In an emotionally charged meeting Monday with parish leaders, representatives of the Catholic diocese voiced support for the ecumenical congregation, said the Rev. Michael Ferguson, the parish’s Episcopal pastor.

But the officials made it clear the current worship practice – using a combined liturgy in which the priests move to separate altars in the same room to say the Eucharistic prayers – was unacceptable, Ferguson said.

Continued on The Viriginian-Pilot.

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