Friday, August 30, 2013

Vladimir Ghika, martyr for the Catholic faith

This weekend Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, will beatify a Romanian priest who died in a Communist prison camp in 1954. Msgr. Vladimir Ghika, who was tortured and left to die of hunger and cold in Jilava prison, will be beatified during a Mass in Bucharest on Saturday, and will be considered a martyr.

“Martyrdom isn’t just a phenomenon of Christianity’s first centuries,” said Archbishop Ioan Robu of Bucharest. “People gave their lives for the faith in recent memory and are still doing so in large numbers now.” continue at Catholic News Service

The Devout Life: We have a married priest now (guest post)

I have always been appreciative of the celibate Roman Catholic clergy. There is clear Scriptural support for the way that this vocation stands in between this world and the next as a sign of the world to come, in which we shall not be marrying but shall be “like the angels.” It is not my opinion that it should be changed in the west, or that changing it would somehow fix all our problems.
Furthermore, I have been blessed with so many excellent priests, all of whom seem to “do celibacy well.” As a woman, I feel I can speak for most when I say that certain people exude more of a sexual energy than others. It is a blessing to have the spiritual fatherhood of a man who does not emanate that. I am sure it is not automatic but stems from discipline and the grace given to them by God to fulfill their chosen vocation. As I write this, I realize this is important for all priests, married or not; but, like most, I am conditioned to think that this must be harder for a man who is committed to a life without marriage and sexual intimacy. Do we not all have to wage this battle, married or not? Chastity is for all. 

Since our former priest left, we have the still somewhat unique situation here in America of a married Byzantine Catholic priest, with a wife and two daughters. He is not the first married Catholic priest in our area. There is a former Methodist pastor who was ordained a Roman Catholic priest and received the permission of Bl. John Paul II to be ordained. As an Eastern Catholic, having a married priest shouldn’t be a novelty, so to speak, since it is a long-standing reality that married men get ordained in the East, but for a long time, the presence of married Eastern Catholic priests in America has been suppressed by Roman Catholic Bishops. The ones who were here were brought in from other countries, rather than ordained in America. 

Our new priest is from Ukraine. The courage of him and his family to be here without knowing a lot of English and to live in Alaska of all places moves me to the core. Before I knew we were getting a new priest, I had the blessing to meet his wife down at a women’s retreat in Arizona a few months ago, so it was wonderful to learn that she and the rest of the family would be joining our community. I also had the chance to get to know their two lovely daughters, who are incredibly sweet and, of course, the best of friends with every other young girl in the parish by now.  wriiten by MindyG oorchenko of The Devout Life

To see the two daughters bounce into Liturgy during the week and take their spots in the front row, knowing that their dad is the priest and is celebrating the Liturgy and will soon feed them Holy Communion, really touches my soul. I am not finding it weird at all that he has a family that God has created through their union. It makes me sad that some people in the Roman Church think that a married priest somehow brings less grace than a celibate one. I remember having a certain attitude, as in, “A married priest can’t give his ALL to a parish.” Well, cope with it. He is a human being. And if he has a family, why on earth shouldn’t we appreciate the beauty of that and give him the space and time that he needs to do it well? 

I probably manage to turn everything into some sort of issue with cosmic significance, but to witness the power and beauty of both mysteries of holy matrimony and holy orders in one human being is very profound. 

As usual, I do not think this needs to be an "either/or" thing; to have both traditions alive and well is not only possible, but a reality.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Fear Not REALLY Little Flock: How can Eastern Catholic parishes survive and thrive?

Some of my readers already know that my Byzantine-rite priest husband is permitted to celebrate in the Roman-rite in our local Roman-rite archdiocese. The last daily Mass that he celebrated in the Roman rite that I attended was on Monday. There were more lay people there on Monday than at our Sunday Divine Liturgy. 
The Eastern Catholic Churches in the United States will always be minuscule compared the Roman-rite, but I would love to get to the point where our church was full enough that I wasn't always worried that no one would show up. It is the same way I feel when teaching a free class for immigrants. Would they come or would life get in the way? 
I would love your feedback on how to build a church community. What has your church done that have worked? What do you wish your parish would do? What have you personally done to build church community? What is the most important thing that can be done to build up a mission? What is the one thing that you believe destroys church mission? Have you experienced a small church/mission (in any rite)- what is good about it? What is difficult about small church life?

Please leave your ideas in the com box or email me at I'm working on a post about this subject...

Eastern Catholics: Are They Orthodox?

dipping my toes back into the blogging waters by re-posting some interesting material around the internet...
There are over 20 ancient Eastern Christian churches in communion with the Pope of Rome whose liturgies and "ethos" are more "Orthodox" than their Latin-Rite brothers. Some of them claim to be "Orthodox in communion with Rome". Some Orthodox disagree, calling them (pejoratively) "Uniates" or Eastern Rite Catholics, who have made significant compromises to come into such communion. In this episode host Kevin Allen speaks with Melkite (Eastern Catholic) priest Father James Babcock about the similarities and differences between Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Catholics and the Roman Catholic Church. click here to listen to the podcast on Ancient Faith Radio