Thursday, September 30, 2010

Don't build a Byzantine Catholic mission from people named...

O'Shea and McNulty (actual Irish American names changed to protect the innocent).

What I have learned over the last year- some people have the Western rite 'burnt' into their hearts as deeply as I have the Byzantine rite in mine. This is totally fine and their choice. Personally, I would love a strong group of visitors who come to the mission every so often; at least they are acknowledging that we are Catholic, too.

My irritation is this- those Western-rite Catholics who become very involved in our mission, changing the group dynamic and then dropping us like hot potatoes. These people also come by to invite the remaining 'remnant' (hence my log-in name) to home rosaries and relic showings at the nearest mega Western church. Well then- our mission members will be exposed to what a 'real' church is like- lots of people, activities, committees- never mind if the priest doesn't know your name or answer your calls- it's a real church! And yes, these former mission members love our traditional tradition, but they really only have an hour for forget those Byzantines! Or it goes the other way...a real Mass has to be in Latin and with a perfect choir and women all in long skirts and veils. Sorry, we don't really offer that. Come as you are with respect and an attitude of striving for holiness. Nobody is perfect here. In fact the cantor has only one working vocal chord (that would be me- that's another story).

So goodbye- former parishioners of Irish extraction. I really do pray you will find what you are looking for. We will miss you.


  1. That's a pretty grim post. But it goes well with some lessons I learned.

  2. yah- it has been very grim around here since June. I am trying to be charitable- but this is the reality around here. And why would people 'settle' for us when they can be at the beautiful church at the college? Pray for us!

  3. I wish that there was something I could do to help... sometimes the Church feels so hopeless... but then I remember why I am here and why I swallow my pride to be in the terrible OCP choir. Sigh...

  4. I'm sure you are correct that most Roman Rite Catholics misunderstand the Byzantine Catholics (if they even think about it). But I'll bet there are some (a few ?) Roman Catholics who totally respect and love the Byzantine Catholcs as brothers in The Faith. I hope I would, even if I hadn't been exposed to it because of Fr. I realize the reasoning behind the married priesthood is more complicated than this, but I like to keep it simple. The Holy Father says it's ok, he's way smarter than me and has a good connection to the Holy Spirit. I'm sure there are many holy reasons, historical precedents, theological justifications, etc. etc. For me, the Holy Father gives it his "impramater" and that's it. Thank you for being Fr's wife and thanks to Fr. for being your husband. Without being in your shoes, I think I can sense a bit of the frustration you must have with folks who are ignorant about it.

  5. :( That is so sad. I'm converting to Catholicism right now, and am heavily torn between the Eastern and Western Rites. I love and admire them both (particularly the Maronite rite). Prayers for you, your husband, and the mission God has entrusted y'all with.

  6. It is easier to reap a great harvest than have the hard work of sowing. The reality is that most of us "faithful Catholics" are exhausted and the prospect of beginning a parish or starting a ministry is incredibly daunting. God bless you, and your work!

  7. Secretvaticanspy- like lots of converts- you understand the Church better than most! Since you can choose your rite- you might consider NOT becoming Eastern if you don't live in a place where you can get to Liturgy easily- but whatever you decide- remember we LOVE visitors

  8. faithemmanuel- just pray for us- so that we will be confident that we have done all we could- and also so that we can be like St Theresa of Calcutta- FAITHFULNESS NOT SUCCESS

  9. I'm really confused. There are different rites among Catholics? Like, Catholic Catholics? Like, the Pope is our authority Catholics? I'm sorry to be so naive(I'm 33!)... I know all about Greek Orthodox, and that we're not in full communion with them (my cousin is married to one- I LOVE the Greeks- they're so much FUN!)... but when I think 'Byzantine,' I think 'Greek.'

    So, since I'm Roman Catholic, which I've gathered means Western... I could also choose to be Eastern/Byzantine/whatever you're talking about, and it would be the same religion? Like I don't have to convert?

    How are these rites different- you're making a point that the Westerners have problems aligning with Easterners... why is that? Don't you have the rosary (just wondering by a comment you made)?

    I'm so sorry to be so windy, but I'm just a little floored. I live in a tiny town in MN, and have all my life- so in my world it's either Lutheran or Catholic. The end!

  10. Martha- Thanks so much for the questions!!! By the way- 2 of my sisters were on NET, so I know a little about MN :) Here are some answers...

    1.yes! There are many different rites in the Catholic (The Pope is our boss!) Church. Read this page from EWTN-

    2. The term for your rite (usually called Roman rite) is starting to be called Western rite because all Catholics in union with Rome are Roman Catholics- just either Western or Eastern with different rites from there.

    3. You are very invited to visit any Eastern rite Catholic church- and it fulfills your Sunday obligation. Of course, jurisdiction comes into play- let's say that there is an Eastern Catholic church close to you and you start getting involved. You might even want a baby baptized there. The priest can do this, but he would need to contact your local Western-rite church to register the baby there. Not until you formally ask to change rites does the priest have jurisdiction.

    About the rosary- yes, we pray it, but we have other devotions to Mary that are semi-liturgical (in a church, led by the priest, a lot like vespers)

    Thanks so much for your questions- I will be writing a post on differences between East and West- I hope that will answer more of your questions.

    1. Um... no.

      I belong to the Ukrainian Greco-Catholic Church, which is a "sui iuris" (self-governing) Church of the Byzantine Rite, which is in communion with - not "under" - the Pope of Rome. I am not a "Roman" Catholic, which term describes a member of the Church of Rome, which is the particular Catholic Church of which the Pope serves as Patriarch; we have our own Patriarch, thanks very much.

      A "rite" and a "Church" are not the same; "rites" are how you put your theology and spirituality into practice, and "Churches" are those sacred organizations in which, through Apostolic Succession, the True, Holy, Orthodox, Catholic and Apostolic Church subsists, and which practice a rite.

      The Rosary is much more a Roman devotion than an Eastern devotion; we have the Akathist ("standing prayer") prayers. The most preeminent one (simply called "the Akathist") is the Akathist to the Blessed Virgin and Theotokos Mary; Rome recognizes it as equal in dignity and spiritual benefit to the Marian Rosary.

  11. ".a real Mass has to be in Latin and with a perfect choir and women all in long skirts and veils."

    What? where? When? This is nothing I've ever seen in a Catholic church

  12. I guess you haven't been to a traditionalist Mass- or just a really nicely done Vatican II Mass in Latin close to certain Catholic colleges :)

  13. Matushka! I am sorry that I missed this when you posted and for your travails.

    In defence of the Irish and the faithful of Irish heritage, our local Byzantine Churches were established by an Irish (as in actually himself from √Čire) Archbishop. And the local Latin Catholics are very supportive of the Byzantine liturgy. One of the Byzantine choirs is made of singers of Irish extraction (and some are even Irish speakers).

    I think what has helped is that the Latin clergy supporting the Byzantine congregations have had great respect for the tradition and have been very careful not to Latinise the liturgy or impose other traditions upon the lay faithful.

    Our priest from the Mother Country was initially surprised about the involvement of the locals of Irish extraction, but is very pleased with the support. In line with what is happening with the Orthodox in the Mother Country, he is introducing a St Patrick's day liturgy (see the troparion and kontakion here:

    The Latins in the USA seem to have a bit of history of persecuting the Byzantine Catholics. The American bishops mistreated a group of Byzantine Catholics, who left to form the Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Church in the USA. The issues included the papal decree that Byzantine clergy in the US were to celibate, and certain Latinisations of the liturgy by the American bishops.

    I think it is not malice but ignorance which causes many of these problems - and a lack of appreciation of other traditions.

  14. Bear- YES! Ignorance and lack of appreciation was the source of the problems in the past. I am sympathetic to these priests and to the decree. The U.S. is not a Catholic country to begin with- to put different laws about priestly celibacy with regards to different rites would have been confusing.

    And I have nothing against the Irish :) In fact, we are mourning the loss of these parishioners. Reason 321 why it is difficult to have a small parish- you really do know everyone and when a family moves away or leaves for a different church- it is like a death.

    Bear- thanks for reading, and thanks for posting

  15. Even worse is when many in the founding Mission group are folks who are working towards a Traditional Latin Mass community; and are mostly at the Byzantine Mission to avoid all the problems in the Novus Ordo within the latin Rite.

  16. My wife is a Irish-French background convert, who was first a Protestant, then a pro-choice atheist, then Episcopal, then Roman. A bit over 20 years ago, she discovered that the Eastern Catholic Churches existed, and fell in love with them. For quite a while, I (as a cradle RC of Italian-German descent) asserted that I was "too Roman to change."

    We are now jointly in charge of the education program at our UGCC parish, having formally changed jurisdictions a few years back, and I am studying for the diaconate.

    If you have Romans who are coming in because they are fleeing the Mass of Paul VI, you have a point - get their local RC diocese to set up a Tridentine-use parish and wave goodbye as they evaporate. But those who are there because they love the beauty of the Liturgy, and the mysticism and spirituality of the East, as my wife and I do - keep them, and don't ever let them go.

  17. I was traditional Old Latin Rite, now I am maronite. I am all Syriac now lol. Some of us who Irish can be good Easterners. Alas they are few and far between


thanks for commenting! (comments on old posts are moderated)