Q – Do you have to be Polish to join the Polish National Catholic Church (PNCC)?
A –
Do you have to be Roman to join the Roman Catholic Church (RCC)? Of course not. The PNCC was organized by Polish immigrants in 1897, but has diversified in the same manner as the rest of America and Canada.
Q – What is the difference between the Polish National Catholic Church and the Roman Catholic Church?
A –
The answer is manifold. The main differences are the fact that the PNCC is no papal, meaning that the Church is not under the Pope. Another is that the Constitution of the Church is set up democratically, meaning that the laypeople/parishioners have the power in the Church.
Q – How old is the PNCC?
A –
The PNCC was organized in March of 1897, making it today 117 years old.
Q – What kind of religious services does the PNCC have?
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The focal point of the PNCC’s religious worship is the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass. Contained in the PNCC Pew book are three (3) different Rites of the Holy Mass. These are Traditional, Contemporary, and Traditional Mass compiled by Prime Bishop Francis Hodur. Also, various prayer services, litanies, Penance services, and other paraliturgical services are celebrated throughout the year.
Q – And what language are they celebrated in?
A –
The language of the people, which in the case of St. Mary’s is English. The PNCC was a pioneer in this regard, celebrating Holy Mass in the vernacular over 100 years ago.  The language of the people may be English, Polish, Spanish, Lithuanian, Slovak, or whatever; the point is that the needs are met.
Q – What is the significance of being the first parish of the PNCC in Canada, as the website advertises?
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It is something for the Parish to be proud of. When a group of poor, mostly hard working immigrants were fed up with the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church, they broke away and started their own parish.
Q – Where can I find more information about the PNCC?
A –
By contacting us, by visiting www.pncc.org , by reading the information located on this website, or by speaking to a local Polish National Catholic priest or member.
Q – Why should I become a member of St. Mary’s Parish? Can’t I just show up every week?
A – You could simply show up every week and not be a member, but membership is what makes our Church strong. As a non-member you wouldn’t have the opportunity to vote at the annual parish meetings unless you were a paid member, nor would you be allowed to be in any parish organizations, such as the Parish Committee.  Member participation is what makes a church a Church, and your vote is what makes the church your Church.
Q – What are my duties as a member of the Church?
Loving God
– Members should accept and obey Christ’s teaching, maintain a personal relationship with God, pray often and give Him glory by living a good life.
Sharing Faith – Members should actively take part in Church worship and listen sincerely to God’s Word. They should share the faith with others.
Obeying the Ten Commandments – They are God’s laws and show how to live a Christians life. By obeying them, Church members help strengthen the Kingdom of God on earth.
Partaking of the sacraments – The sacraments were instituted by Jesus Christ for peoples sanctification and salvation. Active participation in them will help members to live a Christian life.
To the Church
– Members should follow the principles of the Polish National Catholic Church give their time and talents to further Church and parish goals. Members need to contribute financially to the support of the Church. They should actively participate in Church affairs, vote on parish matters, and serve on committee.
To Society – Members should practice Christ’s ideas in their everyday lives; Be tolerant of others faith; Recognize everyone’s right to equality and opportunity; Be loyal to their country; Work for the good of all human beings; Rear children in the name of God and set Christian example for them.
Q – How do I receive the Sacrament of Penance?
A –
The Church administers two forms of penance. Corporate or general confession is given at the opening of every Holy Mass. You are expected to have made an examination of conscience prior to Holy Mass. At the appropriate time, you confess your sins to God privately within yourself and the priest will administer absolution, assigning a general penance. You are able to receive Holy Communion at that Holy Mass.
Private confession is given to anyone requesting it to young people from the time of their first penance until they are 16 years of age. Any adult may utilize this form of Penance if so desired.
Q – How is Holy Communion administered?
A –
Holy Communion is given under two forms: Bread and Wine, which is the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. The Eucharist is given by intinction, which means the Host is dipped in consecrated Wine and administered to the faithful at the Communion rail. Holy Communion is administered on the tongue of the recipient, never in the hands.
Q – What if I am divorced?
A –
You will find no discriminatory action against those who have already been adversely affected by a divorce. The Church stands ready to help those who marital unions have suffered separation. Of course, the Church would like to have everyone live in ideal marriages, but we know this is not the reality of the situation. Therefore, the Church lends its support and ministry to those divorced, as it would to any other social ill.
Q – Can a divorced person receive Holy Communion?
A –
In most cases yes. However, it is recommended that you check with your pastor, whose counsel and ministry will be helpful.
Q – Can a divorced person remarry in the PNCC?
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Each Diocese has a commission, which studies each request for re-marriage by persons who have been divorced. Under certain conditions Sacramental marriages may be annulled and permission granted for marriage. Each case is individual and is treated so. Generally, the Church tries to be as understanding and helpful as possible.
Q – How can I participate in Sunday worship?
A –
All are asked to participate by receiving our Lord’s Sacred Body and Precious Blood in the form of Holy Communion.  Also, the Lector Ministry, Altar Servers, Usher or Greeter may be options for those interested in expanding their participation.
Q – How do I go about getting my child Baptized/1st Holy Communion/Confirmed?
A –
This is done by contacting the Rectory at 204-586-3825 or emailing at rev.czelen@stmarypncc.ca. Generally, Baptisms are done by appointment, 1st Holy Communion classes begin every September, and Confirmation Classes, a 2 year study, begin every other September.
Q – I have been hearing quite a bit lately about closing churches and schools.  Does this happen in the PNCC?
A – Yes, this does happen, but only if the individual parish wants it to happen.  Although the Diocesan Bishop has the power to close a parish, it must be done with the approval of the parish body.  Again, democracy at work.
Q – Who is in charge of the religious aspect of St. Mary’s Parish?
A –
The Pastor is in charge.  Our pastor is Rev. Tadeusz Czelen. He has final say on all religious aspects and worship at St. Mary’s Parish.
Q – If you are a priest in the PNCC, how can you have a wife?
A –
The PNCC passed a resolution in its General Synod that made Celibacy optional in the priesthood, meaning that bishops and priests can be married and potentially better equipped to handle issues involving family life.
Q – What do you offer in terms of lay participation at St. Mary’s?
A – There are numerous committees and organizations to join, as highlighted by our “Groups” section.
Q – What about participation in Mass?
A There are a few options.  Children can become an altar server.  Adults and teenagers can become lectors, proclaiming the Word of God to the people.  Also, if you are a male and feel the call to vocations, you can apply to study to become a permanent deacon or you can apply to Savonarola Theological Seminary in Scranton PA, to become a priest.