We are a Christ-centered Catholic community reaching beyond the institutional church to be inclusive of all. Jesus Christ is our Pastor; therefore we open our church as a spiritual refuge. We hold the Eucharist as the center of our sacramental life. We embrace the challenge of the scriptures. We are ordinary people joyously celebrating the opportunity to follow Jesus’ radical message of unconditional love.
"You can't hold back the Spring"
Spiritus Christi is an inclusive, mission-driven Catholic Church in Rochester, New York.
The community officially began on Valentine's Day, 1999.
1100 people attended the Masses that first weekend. Most of them had previously belonged to Corpus Christi Roman Catholic Church in Rochester, but they had found themselves unwelcome there following a Vatican crack-down on the parish the previous year. The Vatican found fault with 3 important practices at Corpus Christi:
The prominent role of women on the alter during liturgies
The celebration of gay and lesbian weddings
The invitation to all to participate in Communion
The Diocese of Rochester, under pressure from Rome, fired the leaders and ended these inclusive practices.
1100 members decided not to abide by these new restrictions, which they considered damaging to women, gay people, and non-Catholics. Instead they formed Spiritus Christi, "Spirit of Christ" as the resurrected Corpus Christi, "Body of Christ". It became an independent Catholic Church.
The fired leaders and other former staff members became the staff of the new church with Mary Ramerman as its pastor. Two years later, she became a Catholic priest in a historic ordination at the Eastman Theatre attended by 3,000 people from all around the world.
Since its inception, Spiritus Christi has continued its commitment and outreach to the poor. New outreaches have blossomed such as Grace of God Recovery House in 1999, Jennifer House in 2004, and Nielsen House in 2008. Our relationships with the folks in Chiapas and Haiti have also grown and developed into strong partnerships. We lead an annual pilgrimage to Chiapas, Mexico, and we work closely with HOPE to provide support and assistance to the people of Haiti.
Spiritus Christi continues to thrive as a vibrant community responsive to the needs in our City. Many of our in-reach ministries have sprouted from community needs we have identified. Some of these include SPARC, our anti-racism movement, Buddy Readers, our tutoring program, and Speaking from the Heart, a coffee hour event where refugees are invited to converse with Americans who are supportive of their efforts to express themselves in English.
Spiritus Christi rests on the pillars of inclusivity and mission to the poor. All are welcome.
The first pillar, inclusivity, is based on Jesus' promise, "No one who comes to me will I ever reject."
The second pillar, mission to the poor, is a continuation of Jesus' work, "I have come to bring good news to the poor, free the prisoners, and liberate the oppressed."