In 1977, Archbishop Robert Clement received Fr. H. L. Quessy of Montreal and several other clerics, all ordained in Old Catholic orders, into the Eucharistic Catholic Church. Two mission parishes were established–one in Montreal, the other in Quebec City. Fr. Quessy was appointed Vicar General for the Canadian Church.
ON November 2, 1977, L’Eglise Catholique Eucharistique – The Eucharistic Catholic Church (ECE-ECC) was incorporated by Canadian Royal Letters Patent. However, by April of 1981, all the members of the ECE-ECC had left and joined the North American Old Roman Catholic Church (Archdiocese of New York). Fr. Quessy himself became the bishop for Montreal and French Canada and eventually the Primate of this jurisdiction of the Old Roman Catholic Church. Archbishop Quessy died in February of 2008.
On March 28, 2004, Archbishop Clement gave permission to Bishop Darrel D. Hockley of Regina, Canada, to restart the work of the ECE-ECC. Bishop Hockley was originally a member of various Old Catholic and Independent Anglican groups. He had been ordained by Bishop Ian H. Phillips as deacon, presbyter, and bishop on August 8, 1998, as an economia due to his being so physically isolated from other independent bishops in Apostolic Succession. Bishop Hockley moved to Vancouver in July of 2004 as a better location to restart the work of the church.
Wishing to retire from his responsibilities for the ECC-ECE, Bishop Hockley called on Father Roger LaRade to accept the leadership of the ECE-ECC in order that the mission and work of the Church might continue. Fr. LaRade had been ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1986. Committed to witnessing the inclusive love of God and having an active gay-friendly ministry in Toronto, Fr. LaRade accepted to assume the leadership of the ECE-ECC. Bishop Hockley resigned his office of Presiding Bishop effected June 1, 2005, and turned over the legal charter of the ECE-ECC to Fr. LarRade as Bishop-elect.
Fr. LaRade was consecrated a bishop for L’Eglise Catholique Eucharistique – The Eucharistic Catholic Church on December 10, 2005, in Washington D.C at the hands of Bishop Francis-Maria Salvato, SFI, his Ordinary at the time, Bishop Steven Delany, CTMOSB, and Bishop Charles Braun. In the following year, for reasons of doctrinal orthodoxy, Bp. LaRade petitioned with regret and was granted release from Bp. Salvato’s jurisdiction. This did not affect Bp LaRade’s jurisdiction over the ECE-ECC.
Currently the ECE-ECC is organized into the Archdiocese of the Americas, the diocese of Cameroon, and the diocese of Cuba. Church ministries include parishes, spiritual direction, community relief, ecumenical collaboration, and consultation to other independent jurisdictions.
At the time Bp. Hockley contacted then Fr. LaRade, Hockley informed him that the relationship between the Eucharistic Catholic Church (under Archbishop Robert Clement) and L’Eglise Catholique Eucharistique – The Eucharistic Catholic Church was for all practical purposes non-existent. Further conversations with Abp. Clement confirmed this. Upon learning in conversation with Clement that the Eucharistic Catholic Church in the U.S.A. operated as an LGBT outreach of the American Catholic Church, of which Clement was the Primatial Archbishop, rather than as a separate jurisdiction. Bishop LaRade discerned the the ECE-ECC was truly an independent jurisdiction with a distinct leadership and ministry.
While valuing and celebrating its foundation from the Eucharistic Catholic Church in the U.S.A., the ECE-ECC had developed quite independently in Canada without spiritual and jurisdictional guidance from the Eucharistic Catholic Church,
The ECE-ECC functions primarily according to Latin (Roman) Tradition. The ECE-ECC, as an independent Catholic jurisdiction, adopted and adapted for its model of leadership that of autonomous Eastern jurisdictions. The head hierarch is termed ‘major Archbishop’, simplified in address to ‘Archbishop’. Ranking above metropolitan archbishops and just below patriarchs in the order of ecclesiastical precedence, major archbishops are heads of certain autonomous Eastern churches in communion with the Holy See who enjoy in practice the rights and dignity granted to patriarchs, but without the formal concession of the title by the Vatican. The major archbishop fulfills essentially the same role as a patriarch, as the head of a self-governing Eastern Church. The dignity was initially devised as a compromise to recognize the head of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church as that community endured persecution at home and many of its leaders were scattered in exile abroad. The major archbishop of the ECE-ECC is properly the Primate Archbishop.
Most Reverend Roger LaRade, OFA, Primate Archbishop of L’Eglise Catholique Eucharistique – The Eucharistic Catholic Church, is founding pastor of Beloved Disciple Eucharistic Catholic Church in Toronto, Canada, and Founding Father of the Order of Franciscans of the Annunciation of the Infinite Love of God (Franciscans of the Annunciation). He holds degrees in philosophy, educations, theatre, and theology.
He entered the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) in 1977 and was ordained a Roman Catholic (Jesuit) priest in 1986. He left the Jesuits in 1990. His decision to leave was based on two factors: taking a public position against the Church’s teaching on gay and lesbian lives, and a desire to be in a committed relationship. He and his husband, Mark, met in 1991. After 12 years as a couple, they were married in the summer of 2003 following the Province of Ontario’s recognition in law of same-sex marriages.
Archbishop LaRade was called back to ministry by the gay and lesbian couples who asked him to officiate at their commitment ceremonies and Holy Unions.
Abp. LaRade and his inclusive Catholic ministry have been featured on CITY-TV and VISION TV. His views on gays and the priesthood have been carried in the Toronto Star, and the Glove and Mail – Canada’s national newspaper – have published his comments on Catholicism and the 2SLGBTQ+ issues.
He has participated in Toronto Pride as a member of Interfaith Pride, an ecumenical/interfaith group of 2SLGBTQ+ welcoming denominations. On the occasion of World Pride 2014 held in Toronto, Apb. Roger was the only Catholic cleric invited to be one of 12 religious officiants at a mass same-sex wedding at the historic Cass Loma. In 2015, at the invitation of Mariela Castro Espin, Director of Cuba’s National Sexual Education Centre, leader in sexual orientation rights, and daughter to President Raul Castro, he participated in Cuba’s Jornada Contra La Homojobia y Transfobia, walking prominently at the head of the parade, and blessing over one hundred same-sex couples. This was the first Catholic presence in the history of Cuba’s Jornada celebrations
Reflecting on his ministry, LaRade says: “My life as a Jesuit for thirteen years, and my priestly ministry since then, has given me experience and training which is helpful to others as they search to make sense of faith and spirituality. This search can be difficult because it is often based in the context of a negative experience within the church of their youth. My ministry is open to all. As an openly gay man prohibited as such from ministry within the Roman Catholic Church, I feel a special calling to assist others excluded by their church of origin who are searching for spiritual meaning. We desire to claim our rightful place in Christian life. Our Church, given its origins in seeking justice and inclusive Catholic practice for lesbians and gays, and its affirming and respectful inclusion of all believers, provides a Catholic community which can nurture our spiritual yearing.”