Santuário San Rafael Ascension Catholic church

An independent ministry in the Catholic Tradition

About Us


What is the Ascension Alliance

for Spiritual Renewal?


           ASCENSION is both a Church and mystical movement – without ceiling, walls, or affiliation with any other established ecclesiastical body.

           Born of a “Free Catholic” vision, in the tradition of a fledgling “Independent Catholic” movement, inspired by the intuitions of the “Emerging Church,” and following in the example of the “Jewish Renewal” movement.

           It is really part of a much larger stirring of Spirit that beckons us to transcend old ways that no longer work and ascend to higher levels of consciousness and spiritual living. To use a metaphor from New Testament scripture: Don’t put new wine into old wineskins.

           Though we are not affiliated with either the Roman Communion or the Orthodox Communion, we have great love and respect for the traditional expressions of Catholic Christianity, and honor the great gift of apostolic succession which comes to us through both of the traditional communions.  Called to a ministry of love and reconciliation for all, we make the seven sacraments freely available to all who approach our altars sincerely seeking communion with the Living Christ, without regard for such juridical matters as denominational affiliation, marital status, sexual orientation, or any other human obstacle to the all-encompassing love which is our heritage and destiny in God. 

           ORDINARIATE OF THE ANGELS.  In lieu of a traditional diocesan structure, the Ascension Alliance groups priests and bishops together in non-geographical clusters called ordinariates.  Priests affiliate with a bishop and an ordinariate based on affinity and charism.  In keeping with an understanding of spirituality not limited by the boundaries and geography of this world, the Ordinariate of the Angels, while physically located in Los Angeles, California, seeks to bring the light and grace of the sacraments to wherever they are needed, as well as cooperate with the angelic realms in their ministry.

           Santuário San Rafael Ascension Catholic Church is a Los Angeles based parish ministry of the Ascension Alliance, within the Ordinariate of the Angels, which offers sacramental ministry, spiritual direction, and study opportunities in Christian mysticism to sincere seekers, pastured by the Most Rev. Roberto J. Foss, Bishop ad gentes

     HISTORY.   Patriarch Herman Spruit was the leader of the Catholic Apostolic Church of Antioch-Malabar Rite. an independent Catholic jurisdiction,  from 1959 until his death in 1992.  

           Patriarch Spruit was generous with ordination and passing along apostolic succession, his principal criteria was the identification of people who were already living a priestly life.  Through ordinations, Spruit sought to incorporated the ministry already being done into the grace and energy of apostolic succession.  From the very beginning, Spruit understood the importance of bringing all people, male and female, into ministry and apostolic succession. 

           The church he founded formed part of the independent Catholic movement for over fifty years, incorporating a distinctive emphasis on sacramentalism, freedom, non-creedalism, esoteric Christianity, and a vision which both honored tradition, while embracing the very best of new spiritual and theological insight.

           Like his predecessor Mar Yacob Baradaeus, of the Antiochene lineage, Spruit is honored by his spiritual daughters and sons for his generosity of vision.  Churches which derive their apostolic succession from the former Patriarch, Herman Spruit, share not only the sacramental tradition and its esoteric energies, but also Spruit’s commitment to non-dogmatism, and LOVE as the final rule. 

           Like every human community, disagreements about structure and form have resulted in a number of splits and schisms.  The church that Herman founded went through a major split in 2009.  The majority of the members re-grouped as the Ascension Alliance for Spiritual Renewal, embracing not only free Catholicism and the charism of Spruit, but also the insights of the Jewish Renewal movement.  What remained of  the former Church of Antioch turned from the non-creedalism of Spruit, toward a more creedal structure and a more traditional view of authority. 




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