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             His Eminence Archbishop-Primate +John Paul Hozvicka SCJ, D.D.

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God’s House Church

 

     After Jesus ascended to heaven (Acts 1:11) and the Apostles gather together in the upper room to hide and to pray the window open, there was a rush of air and each there was filed with the Holy Spirit and tongues of flame rested upon the head of each of them (Acts 2:1-4). They started preaching the gospel according to what the Holy Spirit gave them to remember (John14:26) and talked to the people in the city of Jerusalem. As they converted many and start to form a group of followers, they had no Church building as we know it today. The Apostles preached and worship God in the outdoors under God blue sky, and in the homes of people who had large enough space.

 

     In Rome under the persecution of Decius, the early Christians gather together in the Catacombs, a burial site under the streets of Rome to worship God, in a cemetery; in light of this fact, we today should never be ashamed of operating a “House Church”.  All over the known world Church houses was established to learn about Jesus and salvation, to be preached to and to worship God. Not until the time when Constantine made Christianity the State legal religion did Christian Churches as we know it today started to be built. But the very foundation of early Christianity was the “House Church” where the faithful gather together to worship God. Without this type of Church, Christianity may not have survived, but by the grace of God working through His priesthood, our Church did survived.

 

Today in Modern Times:

 

     Today, we have thousands of Christian Churches all over the world. However, we must realize that not all Churches act according to the way Christ intended them to Shepard his faithful. There are some priest who have no compassion and should not have been ordained, but are influence and govern by the power of money, and as such turn the faithful away from the Holy Sacraments and the Church, because lack of money or Church attendance. In my short ministry I have meet many of these people and the Church of “The Servants of Christ Jesus of the Catholic Faith” have taken up the ministry to minister to these faithful people of God.

 

     I believe that the House Church services this type of ministry best. If God wills that this priest shall have a traditional Church building with a congregation, so be it its Gods will. Until then a House Church run by a priest can bring many blessing upon God faithful as I have done for people who do not like the Churches in their community, or are just not Church going people. In this case it is the priest duty to talk to them into coming to Mass on special holy feast days. To send out letters to them to remind them of the up coming holy feast days and asked them to come to Mass. Don’t aspect them to come on their own; they are weak in their motivation and must be asked. Never tell or order them, but always ask. 

 

     There is a movement in America of the increase of a House Church by both the Catholics and Protestant Churches. You can read many article on House Churches and watch video’s on you-tube on this subject. More and more people are becoming more comfortable in this type of worship setting. Yet these House Churches when in communion with their bishops than have full authority of the Church and their Sacrament are valid.

 

Benefits of a House Church:

 

 1. The priest has full control of the House Church.

 

2. It is easier for the priest to counsel 30 people then spreading himself thin trying to counsel 600 or 800 members.

 

3. We are fulfilling a need in our communities; let the big Church watch over the large congregation and our priest watch over the few faithful that God pleases to send us that need special attention and our unique ministry.

 

4. In time the few people will grow into a congregation in which then, God will open the pathway for you and the doors of divine intervention and give you a regular Church.

 

5. In the House Church a strong prayer group can be formed, for the world needs many prayers to God to the peace on earth we all seek. For the protection of our soldiers and our children.

 

6. Small Churches become a well known small family and ministering to them is much easier.

 

7. A House Church creates a closeness you can not obtain in a large Church a unity of more than friends but consider themselves as family. Here God’s love truly lives.

 

8. A house Church has a great influence upon the faithful and brings the faithful closer to God.

 

9. During hard times, a House Church can financially survive better than a traditional large Church.

 

10. If anyone becomes sick, the support from the other members is greater and more effective, physically and spiritually bring the family closer together.

 

11. The Church can be cultural meaning an all Polish House Church, or Hungry or Irish, talking its own language brining closeness among the members.

 

12. If the Lord blesses the ministry of the pastor and the congregation grows then a traditional church is in order.

 

     Over the years, for lack of money or availability of space or yet other reason, I have visited House Churches of the Christian Orthodox and Jewish Orthodox worshiping God in their House Church. I have visited a place where they feed 200 homeless people every meal, and worship God on the first floor in the living room (living room and dining room combined together for worship space), the monks live and sleep on the second floor and they had rooms built on the back of the house and are able to give 22 homeless men a place to sleep. This House Church was run by the Greek Orthodox Church.

 

      I believe it does not matter to God where we worship him as long as we worship him. His Spirit is present in the tabernacle of a House Church as it does in a traditional Church. There are priests that believe that only a traditional Church is the proper place to worship, but in reality in their subconscious mind they can’t feel like a real priest in a House Church. It is only a matter of perspective in the human mind that can change and see the benefit of a House Church and feel pride that we are worshipping God like the early Apostles in the time of Christ.

 

      I know a priest who does the Lord ministry by traveling from city to city, from small town to small town, preaching the gospel, baptizing people and marry couples who need him. He lives on $500 a month and the Lord provides for him all he needs. However, what is unique about his ministry, he is not hung up about doing the ministry in a Church, whiter it’s in a traditional church or a house church, he focuses on the ministry, and nothing else is in important.  He was following the Apostle Paul example as he travels from city to city doing the Lord ministry.

 

     I agree I focus on the ministry for the Lord and not the place I practice the ministry. For now I am happy and feel that I am blessed in having a small chapel in my home and there I baptize and marry people; at the funeral home I provide funeral services for the faithful. Those who want to attend Mass at my home on Sunday, they are welcome. In our work for the Lord, we must set priority, the Lords work comes first.

 

Servant of Christ Jesus

 

Dr. +John Paul Hozvicka SCJ, DD

Archbishop-Primate