This mission began life as Rainier Old Catholics
Rainier for the Rainer Valley, with the school Mir teaches at and Rainier Avenue continuing Highway 167 into Seattle through blue collar and greensward communities where Mir was sure he’d anchor a ministry.
Old Catholicsism, the Old Catholics of the Netherlands, Germany, Austria and Switzerland, are the background of Mir’s original training. Old Catholics believe in local regions discerning and serving local needs in the way they understand without international powers telling them to do something counter to their calling and charism. We moved off the “Old” part of the name when Mir joined the Ecumenical Catholic Communion, which has agreed to the request of the Old Catholic Church to stop using their name. We picked “open” as an excellent communication replacement.
Open modified the word Catholics. Open doors, open hearts, open sacraments, let alone open table. Open to questions, to asking them, to the awkward raw space of searching, yearning for MORE.
Catholics – well, if Catholics means “ALL y’all come in” then that’s what we’d try to be. Anchored in the history and sacraments of the Church, looking mindfully back to the early days for what might’ve been too hastily discarded in the rush to Empire, but yes. Catholics.
In October of 2022 we began talking about patron saints and congregation names. We found ourselves drawn as individuals to St Dymphna, and to the town of Ghent that has worked so hard for centuries to heal those with mental illness. We admire Ghent but couldn’t live up to that and we do talk to Dypmhna and ask her aid and counsel but it’s more as individuals not as a group identity, and we aren’t really equipped or called to live the vocation of the town of Ghent. We then looked at other holy rebels against status quo, especially Mary of the Cross who called out the local bishop and was proved right – but she’s Australia’s patron and we didn’t want to look like we thought we were an Australian congregation. We didn’t have a clear sense that we were all ready to move to a patron saint and name, so we let it sit for a while. Community consensus is important to us – the (con)sensus fideii is the voice of the Holy Spirit.
Fast forward to Easter Season, 2023 and various of us posting and thinking things about St Thomas as we approached the fourth Sunday of Easter when we have the story of Jesus welcoming Thomas’ doubts and inviting him to first touch, then believe. …wait, that’s not how you remember the story? That’s what it says. Go reread it. Suddenly we were all talking about holy questions, viewing sacred the questions about the sacred. Suddenly we knew we were right there with Thomas! …then it was discussing this, confident of this – but if we became St Thomas we’d spend our time saying, no the one who asked holy questions. So we dialed in on what we actually felt called to – centering Holy Questions!
So here we are.