An independent Catholic church is forming in Wesley Chapel.
Services at Spirit of Light Synodal Catholic Church will begin Oct. 23.
A Mass will be celebrated every Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m., inside the meeting room at the Rodeway Inn, 5642 Oakley Blvd., in Wesley Chapel.
A typical communion Mass is expected to last about an hour.
According to the church’s website, synodal Catholicism strives to express the Catholic faith in a more accepting manner.
Lionel Repasky, the pastor at Spirit of Light, said the church is “all-embracing” and “inclusive to all.”
“The easiest thing to say is that we’re a Catholic church that’s not Roman,” said Repasky, who was ordained last November. “We have both male and female priests — married and single.”
The Mass, the pastor said, will be quite similar to that of other Catholic churches.
“We have the same seven sacraments, the same saints, essentially the same history,” he said, “it’s just we’re approaching it with a more modern interpretation of welcoming all.”
The synodal church believes the sacraments “are outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace, given by Christ to the Church.”
It recognizes the following sacraments: baptism, confirmation, Eucharist, marriage, holy orders, reconciliation and anointing of the sick.
According to the church’s doctrine, “sacraments are not restricted to any individual or group, by gender, sexual orientation, marital state or other conditions.”
Repasky serves at the discretion of the church’s community. “If they don’t like me, they can fire me,” he said.
He said the traditional Catholic church has become “bound up in their own rules and regulations” over the past 2,000-plus years.
“We’ve gone back and looked at how the ancient church was much more community oriented…as opposed to simply following and doing whatever the clergy members said,” Repasky explained.
The Communion of Synodal Catholic Churches operates in Florida, California, Pennsylvania and Washington.
The Diocese of Florida is headed by Bishop Steven Rosczewski.
Including Spirit of Light, there are three other synodal Catholic churches in the Tampa Bay area: Christ the Servant Catholic Church, 12703 N. Florida Ave., in Tampa; Community of Divine Mercy in Riverview; and Holy Spirit Synodal Catholic Church in Safety Harbor.
The church welcomes former Catholics or those who have been hurt by the church.
Repasky expects the church will have a core group of “six to eight” members to start.
“We would hope that you would give us a chance,” Repasky said. “We want to be a trusting, open community, and we want to feel mercy to all…”
Additional Masses may be scheduled, as Spirit of Light’s congregation grows, Repasky said.
“As we expand out and get into the Christmas season, we’ll have other Masses,” he said.
By next year, the pastor hopes to at least include a schedule of holy day Masses.
Published October 12, 2016