"Fear Not Little Flock" was taken when I decided to start writing this blog- so I decided to use "remnant of remnant" as my web address. Why? I was feeling really small and unimportant at the time- like our little Byzantine church was a minuscule part of the Catholic Church which is a part of Christianity which is a part of the world as a whole. I didn't realize that some people use the word 'remnant' as a way to express superiority and exclusivity and the only way to get to heaven, but it doesn't change what we are- a tiny little remnant of Christianity.
In any case, I am still feeling very small. Every weekend- after the Saturday vigil at the super-small mission and Sunday's Divine Liturgy at the small mission, I go through the stages of grief and then pull it together and thank God for getting me through.
Denial- So, only 20 people are here for Mass and the icon blessing and dinner. More people have got to come. Everyone loves Father and appreciates his homilies and pastoral nature. So many people have said that they are interested in learning a bit of the Eastern rites. So many Byzantine Catholics live within thirty minutes. More people have got to come.
Anger- How can so many people be rejecting the church of their fathers? Aren't these the same people who prayed for an end to communism and for the Greek Catholic Church to be legal? Didn't they first go to Liturgy secretly, in an underground priest's apartment, whispering the responses so that they wouldn't be informed on? Then they prayed with fellow Byzantine Catholics in the park because our churches had been confiscated and not returned even after communism fell. And now that they are in the US in freedom with a Divine Liturgy ten minutes away, they can't be bothered.
I am tired of my husband being the go-to supply priest for confessions and Masses when he is treated like a second-class citizen. I am tired of him needing to become a volunteer police chaplain on top of all his other responsibilities so that he can be fulfilled in his ministry. I am tired of all the extras he does (home anniversary Masses, house blessings, counseling phone calls) because if a Roman-rite priest appears, my husband is dismissed with a 'thank-you-very-much.'
Bargaining- Maybe if the music were better, more people would come. Maybe if we were holier, more people would come. Maybe if I smiled wider, more people would come.
Depression- All our work is for nothing. Why did my husband give up his country and his family for a church of twenty people? My friends cannot be my friends if they don't know this part of my life and can't be bothered to visit once in seven years. Where is the future of the Byzantine rite when Catholic school principals will travel far to have their children learn about Orthodoxy, passing by a few Byzantine Catholic churches on the way. Where is the future of the Byzantine rite when the Italian bishops seek to disallow Byzantine Catholic priests who are married to practice their priesthood in Italy; the same occurring in the USA 100 years ago and leading to the Orthodox Church in America.
Acceptance- We will always be small. I love the people who are part of our ministry. My husband has many small successes every day. My children are good. God has the victory. Life goes on.