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Generally known as the Polish National Catholic Church (PNCC), the Polish National Catholic Church of America is headquartered in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

The Church Constitution enacted in 1897 provides for the legal ownership of church property by local parishes, parish governance by parish committees elected by parishioners, the appointment of pastorates of priests approved by parishioners, and for candidates for bishop elected by priests and parishioners at the General Synod.

Each year, parish meetings are held to elect committee members, to deal with any actions necessary for the parish welfare, and to review reports. Special meetings may be called when necessary. Elected by parishioners, parish committees are made up of at least nine members who assist the pastor in fulfilling parish and synodal resolutions, keep records, and so on. Pastors are appointed by the bishop to guide the membership in matters of the faith, to organize the church school, administer parish business, and to conducts religious services, and celebrate Holy Mass.

The diocese is a geographic location made up of parishes. There are four dioceses in the United States: the Buffalo-Pittsburgh Diocese, Central Diocese, Eastern Diocese, and Western Diocese, and there is also a Canadian Diocese. Within two years of the General Synod, the diocesan synod meets to enact laws pertaining to the diocese. The diocesan council administers the business of the diocese, and bishops appoint priests, preside at diocesan councils, visit parishes, confer sacraments, and administer dioceses, while seniors appointed by the bishop oversee the business of the parish as instructed by the bishop.

The PNCC, as a whole, is made up of dioceses containing parishes and is led by an elected Prime Bishop and Supreme Council, which is comprised of clergy and parishioners. The general synod is convened every four years to discuss matters of the Church, ratify religious teachings, select candidates for bishop, establish Church policy, law, and discipline, and ratify religious teachings. Special synods are called when needed. The Supreme Council meets each year to review the work of the Church and to administer any business that concerns the PNCC. The chief executive of the PNCC is the prime bishop, who consecrates bishops, convenes synods, presides at Supreme Council, and controls Church publications and matters of discipline in dioceses.

The PNCC holds that there is one God, who includes three divine persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ, the second person in the Trinity, is of the same divine substance as the Father and is responsible for the spiritual regeneration of the world. The third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, is the ruler of the world and the source of grace.

The PNCC does not believe in original sin but does believe that individuals do sin and are in need of redemption. Jesus Christ died on the cross for the salvation of mankind.

In the PNCC, there are seven sacraments: baptism, penance, the Eucharist, confirmation, matrimony, holy orders, and the anointing of the sick, each of which conveys grace to the recipient. The Eucharist (Mass) is the central act of worship, and celebrated by intinction, which involves the bread being dipped into the wine, and administered to members at the altar. Mass is celebrated in the common language of the parishioners.

The PNCC believes in future judgment and immortality. There is life after death, and the quality of this life is contingent upon one's present life, in particular, the condition of the soul in the final hour before death.

The origins of the Polish National Church of America were in Scranton, although it involved other congregations throughout the United States.

Many Polish immigrants to the United States were dissatisfied with the Roman Catholic Church. Sources of discontent included the lack of a bishop of Polish descent, as well as an 1884 ruling of the Roman Catholic Church that gave the title to all diocesan properties to Roman Catholic bishops.

The Polish congregation of Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish in Scranton believed that the parish should retain ownership of its new church building. Instructed to sign the deed over to the diocese, they began construction of a new independent church in 1897, which became Saint Stanislaus, calling Francis Hodur, a native Pole, to serve as priest.

When the Roman Catholic Church excommunicated Hodur and his parish, St. Stanislaus became the nucleus a movement that became a synod in 1904, when delegates from a couple of dozen parishes in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey adopted a constitution and elected Hodur as bishop of the Polish National Catholic Church of America.

In 1922, the PNCC abolished the requirement for celibacy among the clergy, as well as the requirement of private confession for adults.



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