The Catholic Fraternity was born out of a desire by a number of Catholic Charismatic Communities throughout the world who wanted to strengthen their ties with the Holy Father.
The International Catholic Fraternity provides us with a framework on which we build relationships with other communities, both on a national and international level and engage in common mission.
“The recognition of your Fraternity as a private association of the faithful of pontifical right was a sign that charismatic covenant communities have
acted as a force for the renewal of the Church in fidelity to the word of God, in holiness of life and commitment to the task of evangelisation...
As cenacles of prayer, evangelical witness and sensitivity to the action of the Holy Spirit, your communities have a specific role to play in the renewal of God’s people in holiness in the face of an increased lack of a sense of God’s presence and consequent religious indifference. Your efforts to make known to others the joy of your faith in Christ will not only contribute to strengthening the life of the local churches to which you belong, but will also inspire a deeper and more mature faith among your own members.”
When was the Fraternity founded?
The Catholic Fraternity of Charismatic Covenant Communities and Fellowships was inaugurated on November 30th, 1990.
Two significant events marked this inauguration. The first was a morning Mass in the Holy father’s private chapel followed by an audience with the 38 men, women and children from charismatic covenant communities in Australia, Canada, France, Malaysia, New Zealand and the United States. The second event to mark this inauguration was a meeting with the President of the Council for the Laity and the Executive of the Fraternity where Cardinal Pironio presented the decree recognizing the Catholic Fraternity as a private association of the Christian faithful, of pontifical right and endowed with juridic personality, in accordance with the norms of canons 298-300, 304-329. It would be important to note that the inauguration of the Fraternity came after many years of informal dialogue with the Council for the Laity.
By whom was it founded?
The Fraternity was brought into being by an association of communities called the International Brotherhood of Communities (IBOC). The IBOC, an
ecumenical grouping of communities with a largely Catholic membership, sought to establish an organization which might support Catholic identity
and give a formal link to the Catholic Church.
The original communities who took part in the inauguration are:
• The Christian Community of God’s Delight, Dallas, U.S.A.
• Bread of Life Covenant Community, Saskatoon, Canada
• Bread of Life Fellowship, Sydney, Australia
• City of the Lord Covenant Community, Arizona & California, U.S.A.
• Emmanuel Covenant Community, Brisbane, Australia
• Emmanuel Community, Paris, France
• Glory to God Covenant community, Topeka, U.S.A.
• Hephzibah Covenant Community, Canberra, Melbourne, Australia
• Light of Jesus Christ Covenant Community, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
• Servants of Jesus Fellowship, Christchurch, New Zealand
• Servants of Yahweh Covenant Community, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
What it its relationship to Rome?
The Catholic Fraternity is a private association of Christian faithful of pontifical right. It is formally recognized by the Holy Father and has ongoing relationship with Rome through the Pontifical Council for the Laity. While it has this link to Rome, it has its own integrity as an international body and exists with its own President a Council and Executive. It also has its own Spiritual Adviser.
How does one become a member?
One becomes a member of the Fraternity according to articles 1.4 and 3 of the Statutes through:
Being acknowledged by the local Ordinary as a community in good standing in the diocese;
Living a committed Christian lifestyle;
Having explicitly manifested the wish to belong to the Fraternity through a full acceptance of these Statutes and are accepted by the Executive of the Fraternity’s Council with a two thirds majority vote.
The process of discernment involved in becoming a member also includes visitation by members of the Executive and a reflection on the way of life of the Community in relationship to the identity of the Fraternity — Catholic, Charismatic, Covenant Community.