1. Notable growth in the number of communities.
2. Growth in the number of priests.
3. Formation of the Council of Priests.
4. The Seminary of St. Mary of the New Exodus in San Lucas.
5. The School of Ministerial Education for the People of God.
6. New Missions of ICERGUA.
7. The Declaration of the Blessed Martyrs of Chajul.
8. The Worldwide Council of Catholic Apostolic Churches and the Birth of CICAM.
9. The publication of our liturgical and educational books.
10. The Ministry of Juridical-Pastoral Discernment.
11. Our Internet situation.
1. Education.
2. Organization.
3. Infrastructure.
4. Projection of mission.

1. How we live the basic elements that characterize Apostolicity.
2. How we fulfill the criteria of apostolicity underlined by each of the main Christian traditions..

First Conversation






The special events and achievements that our Church had during the past twelve months were numerous.
Last year at this time we were just beginning to put our ecclesiastical organization into place, following the gift of Apostolic Succession.
There have been abundant fruits on all levels.


1.  Notable growth in the number of communities, of members, and of organizations.Arriba

(1)  The number of communities has increased notably. We estimate that there is about a 30% percent growth in the number of communities, and a growth of between 20 and 25% in the number of members, compared to the previous year.
(2)  In addition 7 parishes or quasi-parishes have come into being:  La Anunciación in the Department of Guatemala; San Miguel in Tzanixnam, Totonicapán; Espíritu Santo in Sololá; Santiago Apóstol in Mataquescuintla, Jalapa; La Fe de los Mártires de Chajul en Chel-Ilom de Chajul; Santa Eulalia in Santa Eulalia, Huehuetenango, and San José Quixabaj in Santa Eulalia, Huehuetenango. At present, the process of organizing and creating many more is taking place in various parts of the country.
(3)  The Mission Center of the North, with its seat in Cobán, Alta Verapaz, was consolidated. As result, the Deanery of the North was constituted, which is being ministered by three priests. It is formed of several zones that are experiencing accelerated growth. For example, Region 14 is in the process of giving birth to a parish and two quasi-parishes. In new areas of the center of Cobán and San Juan Chamelco, the creation of a parish and a quasi-parish is in process. Region 15 is bringing two quasi-parishes into being. Region 22 is preparing the creation of two quasi-quasi parishes.

2. Growth in the number of priests. Arriba

(1)  During this year we have had the joy of celebrating the priestly ordination of four seminarians who are members of the Nazareth Community. They are P. Luís Germán Guanopatín, Fredy González, Fredi Mux and Hugo Patzán.
(2)  Santos Acosta, a priest, joined the Nazareth Community, and Silas David Ferreira, also a priest, is in process of joining. Adding that to the six members of the Nazareth Community we had before (5 in Guatemala, 1 in the United States) brings the number of priests who are members of the Nazareth Community to 12.
-The Rev. Herbert Urrutia joined as a secular priest, who exercises his ministry in the area of the capital of Guatemala. He works there with another secular priest, who joined the year before.
-Five brothers were incardinated as secular priests in ICERGUA’ foreign missions, three in Peru and two in Germany.
-Two other priests, one secular and the other of the communal life, are in process of being incardinated in Cuba and, in fact, are already caring for some communities that are connected with ICERGUA on that island.
-Accordingly, the priests associated with the ministry of ICERGUA whom we have incardinated and those in process of being icardinated currently total 24:  16 in the common life (Nazareth and Franciscans) and 8 secular priests.

3.  Formation of the Council of Priests.Arriba

(1)  Over the course of the year, in accord with what is laid down in our constitution, the Council of Priests has been consolidated.
(2)  In the September meeting Father Rigoberto Upún Tum was elected Dean and Vicar General of ICERGUA. Father Francisco Simón was elected Vice-Dean and Pro-Vicar, and P. Santos Acosta Sol to be Secretary.
(3)  The Council of Priests met every two months.
(4)  From January 5 to 8, 2009, the annual priests retreat will be held.

4.  The Seminary of St. Mary of the New Exodus in San Lucas.Arriba

(1)  This year 4 seminarians completed their education and went on their supervised field ministry. God willing, they will be ordained deacons in the middle of next year and priests at the end of the year.
(2)  A notable fact is that callings to the priesthood in the communities of ICERGUA is beginning to rise. It is very important to work intensely in encouraging this calling.

5.  The School of Ministerial Education for the People of God. Arriba

(1)  The School finished its second year.
(2) 30 brothers completed four semester of education, and obtained the diploma for the career that were following.
(3) Another 35 are continuing their education and we hope that a large number may begin their education next year.
(4)  We believe that abundant fruits are being harvested through this School. In other places, such as Quiché and the North, it is hoped that a similar educational program can be established soon.

6.  New Missions of ICERGUA.Arriba

(1) We were blessed during the year with the creation of ICERGUA missions in other countries.
i.  The mission in Peru (the Peru Catholic Apostolic church—ICARPE, according to its initials in Spanish) was created. It is tended by three secular priests who are incorporated into ICERGUA and has about 25 communities, which, though small, are growing.
ii.  In Germany the Ecumenical Catholic Mission of St. Mary was created. It is tended by two secular priests and has two small communities (one in Germany, one in Croatia) and a Spirituality Center in northern Germany.
iii. The mission in Cuba is in process of being created. In fact it is already being tended by two priests, both in the process of being incorporated into ICERGUA; it has six small communities.
iv.  We are in dialogue with various Catholic Communities in California, although a permanent link has not yet been established.
v.  In Mexico ICREM (The Renewed Ecumenical Catholic Church of Mexico) is also in a special apostolic relation with us and is considered to be a part of the greater family of ICERES (Renewed Ecumenical Catholic Churches).

7.  The Declaration of the Blessed Martyrs of Chajul. Arriba

(1) Acceding to the petition made by the Renewed Catholic communities in the area of Chajul, specifically of Chel, a careful investigation was carried out concerning the martyrdom of some brothers and sisters during the period of the armed conflict.
(2) As result, on August 17, it was publicly announced that many of these brothers and sisters died as martyrs, and they were declared Blessed Ones.

8. The Worldwide Council of Catholic Apostolic Churches and the Birth of CICAM.Arriba

(1) Guatemala was the seat and ICERGUA the host of the Sixth Worldwide Council of Catholic Apostolic Churches.
(2) 27 bishops, representing 14 churches of various countries were present.
(3) As result, the Worldwide Communion of Catholic Apostolic church (CICAM) was born.
(4) Our Bishop Primate was elected President of the Board of Directors of CICAM.

9.  The publication of our liturgical and educational books. Arriba

(1)  One of the characteristics of the maturity, solidity and authenticity of a church is for it to have its own liturgy, in which it expresses its identity and catholic and apostolic faith.
(2)  Therefore, one of the great achievements this year was the publication of the “Ritual for the Celebration of the Sacraments” of the Renewed Catholic Rites.
(3)  In addition to the sacraments, the Ritual contains the formularies that ministers of the communion can use for celebrations when no priests are available, such as funerals and various kinds of blessings.
(4)  With this publication, which joins the publication of the Complete Missal, published last year, and with the edition of ceremonies that are authorized specifically for the bishop in the future Renewed Catholic Pontificate, we are completing the edition and publication of our church’s liturgical texts.
(5)  We are continuing to publish the guides with daily biblical readings in “The Church on the Move,” which since May of this year contain the text of the readings for every day.
i.  The “Liturgical Calendar” for 2009 has also been published.
ii. Likewise the catechetical guides for preparing to receive the sacraments are available.

10.  The Ministry of Juridical-Pastoral Discernment.Arriba

(1)  This year we put into the place the Ministry of juridical-pastoral discernment.
(2)  The goal of this ministry is to make a discernment upon studying whether spiritual signs and juridical elements exist for declaring canonical marriages that have broken down to be sacramentally invalid.  If at the end of the study an affirmative declaration is given, that is, that it is proved that although there may have been a canonical marriage there never was a sacramental marriage, then it is recognized that the parties are free to contract a sacramental marriage.
(3)  This year we favorably resolved five cases. Another eight are under study.
(4) We hope that with this ministry all those who have difficulties of this type can regularize their situation.

11. Our Internet situation.Arriba

(1)  For several years ICERGUA has had an Internet site.
(2)  This year it has been improved and  contains much more information of interest, such as news and notices of educational opportunities.
(3)  Given that until recently there were few who had access to the Internet, we did not report the site’s URL.
(4)  We believe that now almost everywhere there is some form of access to this means of communication.
(5)  Therefore we believe it is important that everyone have the address of the site as well as the email address of ICERGUA. It can be especially useful for the members who are distant and who can by this means stay in communication with our church.
(6)  The address of the site is:  www.icergua.org
(7)  The email address is:  icergua@gmail.com


As of today, November 4, 2008, the statistics of ICERGUA are the following:
1.  Number of Communities: 750
2.  Number of members: 350,000
3.  Priests: 24 (including both those incardinated and those in process of being incardinated), of which 16 are members of communitarian communities and 8 are secular priests.
4.  Seminarians: 35, of which 4 are beginning their Supervised Field Ministry in January 2009.
5.  Regions, Parishes and Quasi-Parishes: 31. In addition there are 8 in process of being formed.
6.  Ministers of the Communion: 950.
7.  Foreign missions: 2—Peru and Germany/Croatia.
8.  Missions in process of formation:  1—Cuba.
9.  Communities in dialogue concerning mission:  1—California.
10.  Associated Church: 1—Mexico.


Along with the great successes and blessings that we have received, we are also aware that we have to face some stiff challenges.

1. Education.Arriba

(1) Perhaps the first on which emphasis must be placed is the question of basic education: it is urgent that we continue to deepen the specific and original characteristics of the mission that the Lord has entrusted to us as Renewed Catholics, members of the Renewed Ecumenical Catholic Churches. In this way, facing the criticisms and lies that are often propagated, solid bases for persevering and answering for the faith will be at hand as well as the ability to fulfill completely the mission that we have received.
(2) On the level of the People of God, this implies that they be aware that the road we have taken did not result from erroneous actions done by others regarding us, but is our response to a clear direct and charismatic call from the Lord.  Likewise it is necessary to continue to deepen the relationship among Word, Sacrament and Life in the Spirit in order to give greater profundity and solidity to our life.
(3) On the level of the priesthood, it is necessary to deepen more and more the awareness of how novel is the form our ministerial practice. It is novel (1)  that our leadership in the community is performed as service, recognizing the fundamental equality of all the members of the people of God; (2) that we celebrate the sacraments in a participatory way, in which all the people of God are involved and an authentic experience of the presence of Spirit is lived; and (3) that we irradiate clearly the presence of God through our life and ministry.
(4)  It is necessary that we focus more seriously on developing a Renewed Catholic theology, in which are developed and systematized all the elements that already pervade our liturgy, our doctrinal documents and our rules and constitution.
(5)  It is necessary to give consistency to the education program for the permanent deaconate.
(6)  It is necessary to deepen awareness of the necessity for enduring education for the leaders of the communities and the necessity that they pass what they learn along to all members. 

2.  Organization.Arriba

(1) On the level of the communities, regions, parishes and quasi-parishes: it is necessary to quicken the implementation of the structure spelled out in the Constitution. This implies quickening the process by which the “regions” are changed progressively in “parishes” and “quasi-parishes.” For that it is necessary that the respective councils be organized and the pastoral services that are prescribed be funded. It is further important that the “deaneries” be organized so that the schedules and formative processes can be developed.
(2) On a broader level, it is important that progressively those groupings be organized that will constitute the basis for the church’s Synods and other participatory organizations. Up to now, the Assembly of Delegates has been the means of bringing delegates from the whole church together. As soon as the process of “zonification” (through the development of the various “deaneries”) moves forward, it will be necessary to organize ways by which the representatives of the deaneries can meet at certain intervals.

3.  Infrastructure. Arriba

(1) The development of Mission Centers is urgent.
(2) In the projected plan for development, priests of the Nazareth Community will reside in the Mission Centers located in the zone that a deanery covers. From there they will move outward for the care of the parishes, quasi-parishes and various communities in the zone.
(3) We have the necessary land to construct said centers in Cobán , Santa Eulalia and Cunén.
(4) We hope with the help of God to have the resources necessary to be able to carry out these projects in the near future. At the moment, because of the shortage of resources, tentative dates for doing so cannot be set.

4.  Projection of mission.Arriba

(1)  We believe that for the next year our goal ought to be to heighten awareness and implementation of our mission work.
(2) If in the year that is ending focus was on the “evangelization” of already existing communities, in the coming year it ought to center on the commitment of each member, community and communion to encourage and promote the emergence of new communities in various areas though a systematic project of “missionary action.”




A few days ago the first year of the gift of apostolic succession came to an end. During the course of this year, however, there has been no lack of criticisms, questionings and negative commentaries about this fact, which for us is so essential.
It is for this reason that it is fundamental that we understand thoroughly and in detail the facts that the Church, besides being one, holy and catholic, is also apostolic and that we live fully and wholly the apostolicity of the Church.


  1. First it is important that we identify some mistakes about what apostolicity means.
  1. Some mistakenly think that apostolicity is something exclusive to the Bishop of Rome or Pope and that therefore apart from him apostolicity does not exist.
  1. Others think that “apostolic” is something that comes automatically along with having the historical apostolic succession, supposedly through some of the ancient seats of Christianity.
  1. In reality the concept of “apostolicity” is broader and more complicated.


  1. The first point is that this concept ought to be applied first of all to the church.  Apostolicity is an attribute or quality of the whole church.
  1. The concept refers to that which is continuous with Christ and the apostles to whom he entrusted the mission of proclaiming the Gospel.
  1. Various Christian traditions emphasize different aspects of the concept of apostolicity.
    1. For Orthodox Catholics, who have conserved the oldest and fullest apostolic tradition, “apostolic” signifies above all maintaining the life of the church as it existed from the earliest days, especially in reference to the liturgical life (celebration of the sacraments), doctrine (the creeds) and the organization of the church (recognizing the diversity of local churches, each with its own autonomy).
    2. For Roman Catholics, “apostolic” signifies especially the legitimate ministerial succession of ecclesiastical authority. They underline especially the possession of the Roman line of apostolic succession.
    3. For the heirs of the Reformation, “apostolic” signifies especially that the church today is to be fully obedient to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
  1. Later we shall see how ICERGUA is a fully apostolic church from each of the three perspectives of the three main and largest Christian traditions.


  1. What essentially makes a church apostolic is that through the action of the Holy Spirit it is totally faithful to Christ and the mission of Christ, which he entrusted to the apostles and they to their successors (John 16:4-16; John 20:20-23; Matthew 28:16-20). This, however, implies also faithfulness to doctrine (1 Timothy 1:15) and the life of the Church (1 Corinthians 11:23).
  1. From this is born the necessity of continuity in the ministry that is at the service of that fidelity to the person of Christ, his mission, his doctrine and the life of the church (Acts 20:28; Philippians 1:1).
  1. However, the most important thing about whoever exercises this apostolic ministry is the divine choice as indicated by a specific charismatic gift that is recognized as such by the Christian community (Romans 1:5; Galatians 1:1).
  1. Putting in order what “apostolicity” signifies, we note that the spiritual element (the presence of the Spirit and continuity with the mission of Christ) is the most important point; the ecclesiastical aspect is the second (continuity in the ecclesial life, organization and doctrine) and the third element is the historical continuity (which seen critically cannot be totally proved and which over the course of history has had many variations; for example, in the Middle Ages, various popes recognized that some priests—especially the Abbots—had the capacity to ordain priests because they believed that priests had the sacramental plenitude of the ordained ministry, although they did not have juridical power to exercise it).


In answering this question we follow a twofold path:
1. First, we see how the basic elements that characterize the apostolicity of the Church are to be lived.
2. Second, we see how we live fully the apostolicity from the perspective and criteria of each of the three main Christian traditions.


  1. The first characteristic of apostolicity is the experience of the presence of the Spirit, which both establishes its continuity with the mission of Christ and also endows a capacity to understand, live and give witness to the Gospel.
    1. This has been one of the elements that we have lived with greater intensity in all our communities.
    2. Our standard procedure is for all decisions, processes and actions to be the fruit of a process of discernment of the presence of the Spirit and the will of God for us.
    3. The power that has preserved our communities and all of our church in the midst of difficulties and tribulations is the certainty, shared by everyone, that the Lord is really acting in our midst, that he is alive and present and completely fulfilling his word.
    4. With respect to this first element we are undisputedly rooted in apostolicity, understood in the deepest sense.
  1. With respect to doctrine: Not only have we remained wholly and fully faithful, but we have implemented with greater radicality that which constitutes the essence of catholic and apostolic faith.
    1. It is certain that there are some elements distinctive to Roman Catholic doctrine with which we are not in agreement, such as the universal jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome. Nevertheless, the disagreement on that point not only does not separate us from the original doctrine but in fact pulls us closer to it. We recognize the Bishop of Rome as Primate, as first among equals and a sign and bond of unity among all Christians and we constantly pray that his mission may be rediscovered. In this respect we are in full fidelity to the faith and the oldest doctrine of the Church.
    2. Our faith is fully and integrally in consonance with the witness of Holy Scripture and with the faith lived and professed by the early church and by the indivisible church.
  1. With respect to the life of the church: We make an effort to rediscover and implement the organization of the church as it was lived in the early years of Christianity.  That means:
    1. believing that the church is fundamentally charismatic and ministerial;
    2. knowing the basic equality of all those who are baptized without ignoring the existence of different gifts and ministries to order and organize the ecclesiastical life;
    3. knowing that the ordained ministry is indispensable within the church, but that it is not above but in the service of the people of God. All this that we rediscover and implement corresponds to a considerable extent with what Roman Catholic theology teaches. Nevertheless, in the Roman Catholic Church this theology does not always inform practice is not carried out: in actual practice juridical principles play a more important role than theological principles, and the organizational and power structures, developed over the centuries, plan a determinant role in interpreting what the Sacred Scripture and apostolic tradition say on this topic.
    4. In our liturgy we have rediscovered a number of essential elements of the apostolic tradition that were neglected in the Roman practice from which we came, such as: the fundamental and indispensable role of the Holy Spirit and the necessity that the People of God be involved and actively participate in every sacramental celebration.
  1. With respect to the ordained ministry:
    1. In keeping with Sacred Scripture and the practice of the early church we insist that the ordained ministry is not above but in service to the People of God.
    2. The election of a bishop takes place with the participation of the People of God, who make a discernment of gifts, as was the practice in the universal church during the first millennium of Christianity.
    3. Through the Episcopal ordination, received by means of the Catholic Apostolic Church of Brazil, we are tied to the historic Roman Catholic tradition of receiving apostolic succession.
  1. Thus our belief and our practice corresponds completely with what the Apostolicity of the Church in its full theological, historical, ecclesiastical and spiritual sense means, and so we are led to the conclusion we have completely fulfilled all the criteria of apostolicity.


  1. In agreement with the Orthodox Catholic tradition:
    1. Our liturgical and sacramental life has rediscovered very many of the elements distinctive to the Apostolic Tradition and oldest liturgy; for example:
      1. The emphasis on the laying on of hands to pray for the effusion of the Holy Spirit.
      2. The active participation of all the People of God in sacramental celebration.
    1. The synodical organization of our church and our awareness of the importance of the local church and of the necessary communion with other local churches clearly conform to the ancient concept of church organization.
    2. In our professions of faith we have exerted ourselves to preserve as essential that which is expressed in the faith of the indivisible one, holy, catholic and apostolic, leaving other elements that were added later as non-binding devotional items.
  1. In agreement with Roman Catholic tradition:
    1. We have received the historical apostolic succession through the Roman Catholic line.
    2. Acting on bad faith or ignorance or for the sake of convenience, some members of the Roman Catholic Church claim that that transmission is not valid. Nevertheless, there are proofs of its validity, which it is very important for us to recognize.
    3. Dom Carlos Duarte Costa (San Carlos of Brazil) was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church on July 5, 1945, by a decree issued by the Cardinal of Río de Janeiro, similar to the one that the Cardinal of Guatemala issued against us.
    4. On August 15, 1945, Dom Carlos Duarte consecrated Dom Salomón Barbosa Ferraz as bishop.
    5. At the end of 1959, Dom Salomón was reconciled with the Roman Catholic Church. On May 10, 1963, his Episcopal ordination under the hands of Dom Carlos Duarte being fully recognized and with the repetition of no part of the consecration ritual, he was appointed auxiliary bishop of Sao Paulo in Brazil. He participated in all the sessions of the Second Vatican Council.
    6. The pope at that time was the Blessed John XXIII. The Prefect of the Congregation for Faith was Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani and the Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops was Cardinal Carlos Confalonieri. All three of them had to give an affirmative opinion on the validity of the apostolic succession conveyed through Carlos Duarte Costa before Dom Salomón Barosa Ferraz could be appointed auxiliary bishop.
    7. If this was recognized once and its recognition is maintained without alteration, we have to affirm as a certain and indisputable consequence that without any doubt the transmission of the historical apostolic succession through Dom Carlos Duarte Costa and his successors is valid.
    8. Two issues could still be raised:
      1. That the Catholic Apostolic Church of Brazil had not maintained its apostolic continuity. To such a proposition it can be documented with absolute certainty that it did preserve its continuity without alteration. Furthermore, the transmission of apostolic succession to us was not done on the initiative of a single bishop of ICAB, but was approved by its bishops meeting in plenary session in its nineteenth General Council in Brazil in July 2007.
      2. That because a decree declared us to be schismatic with the automatic sanction of excommunication, we do not enjoy the capacity of validly receiving Episcopal ordination. To this question it can be responded clearly: first of all, excommunication is an exclusively canonical or juridical matter, and not a sacramental one, for having been baptized and having validly received ordination as priest, we enjoy the full sacramental capacity to receive Episcopal ordination validly. Further it can be argued that if Rome recognized that in fact and by right Dom Carlos Duarte Costa, though excommunicated, had the capacity to convey apostolic succession validly, another ordained minister, being in the same canonical situation as he, undoubtedly had the capacity to receive Episcopal ordination equally validly.
  1. In agreement with the Reformed Tradition, we can also see that all the elements of our Church and of its mission are fully and totally identified with the Gospel of Jesus and the mission that he entrusted to the apostles.


In view of what we have presented above, we can conclude with absolute certainty:

  1. That ICERGUA is a Church in which apostolicity in its most authentic and profound sense is fully and perfectly present and active.
  1. That we have all of the spiritual, theological, historical, liturgical and pastoral elements that guarantee us fully and undisputedly that validity of our apostolicity, including apostolic succession in its historic dimension.
  1. That to the attitudes of criticism and deceit that are often characterize those who question the legitimacy of our church, we must understand that these attitudes sometimes come from bad faith, sometimes from erroneous or partial information that is passed along to the People of God in order to keep them in fear and submission, and sometimes simply from ignorance.
  1. Therefore, when we are criticized, far from doubting or vacillating, we ought to feel compassion towards those who not fully know the historical facts and perspectives rooted in the Sacred Scriptures, in the Apostolic Tradition and in the history of the church during the first millennium.
  1. We must exert ourselves to report in detail to all the members of our communities concerning apostolicity so that they may be deepened in faith and also know how to say what is right and true to others.
  1. We must also know how to present the necessary explications to people from outside the church; without trying to convince them, we must make our position clear and present the solid and unassailable arguments on which it is based.

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