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The Rite Switch: why Roman rite Catholics become Eastern rite
National Catholic Register ^ | 1999

Posted on 06/03/2004 6:39:11 AM PDT by NYer

The words "Byzantine" and "Greek" in the past have been used to describe the Eastern Catholic Churches, which consist of seventeen churches with roots in particular countries, all in full communion with the Pope. The largest ones found in America are the Ruthenian (Eastern European), Melkite (many countries of the Middle East), Maronite (Lebannon), Ukrainian (Russia), and Coptic (Egyptian) churches. Eastern rite liturgies are characterized by sung liturgies, elaborate vestments, small congregations, and varied ethnic customs, reflecting the traditions of the different countries of the rite.

The Eastern churches draw their membership mainly from their home countries, with a small representation in America. In the "melting pot" of America, a slowly growing trickle of Roman Catholics, when exposed to the Eastern churches, find something they'd like to make their own.

Changing rites (as the process is sometimes called) from Roman to Eastern used to be near-impossible. Under the new code of Canon Law it is somewhat easier, but still an involved process. Most Roman Catholics who switch rites attend an Eastern church for years before considering making the change, and many never switch.

This process can't be called "conversion" because each Catholic church - whether Eastern or Western - contains the fullness of the truth as revealed by Christ. Catholics who switch rites are merely embracing a different expression of that fullness.

Author Connie Marshner had grown up in a nominal Catholic home. When she returned to the practice of her faith as an adult, a friend brought her to a Byzantine parish, and she was immediately hooked. "It's so mystical and yet so accessible. The language so beautifully captured me." The liturgical environment also drew her in. "The fact the whole congregation sang was just so dynamic. Everyone there was 100% there. Automatically, you knew you were part of a community."

Marshner and her husband are long-time members of Holy Redeemer Melkite Church in McClean, Virginia, a new congregation with many former Westerners mixed in with its Arabic population. The exterior of the church is unassuming, but the interior is rich with wood trim and original icons, including a huge painting of Christ the Pantocrator (Supreme Ruler) set into a recess in the drop ceiling.

Divine Liturgy on Sundays is crowded with people of all ages and races. Two choirs, one for adults, one for children stand on either side of the front altar, in front of the iconostasis (a wooden screen separating the congregation from the sanctuary). A crowd of priests, deacons, and acolytes resplendent in embroidered robes stand before the gates of the iconostasis, chanting. The servers - mostly young fathers - carry incense and golden ceremonial fans - ripidia -- representing the wings of cherubim. Everyone sings vigorously, though few songbooks are in evidence. Babies cry, children run up and join the children's choir and then slide back to their parents at whim, but no one seems distracted.

Marshner loves the way children are incorporated in the liturgy. "It's very easy for children to take to the Byzantine liturgy because it involves all the senses - the incense, the vestments, the singing, the processions. A mother with lots of small fussy children has a much easier time." "There are no cry rooms," she notes. "If you have a crying baby, you just walk up and down the aisles and let them stare at the icons and the candles and they quiet down. Besides, no one really hears them because of all the singing. The only long quiet time is during the homily."

Consideration for his children also impelled her husband, William Marshner, a Lutheran convert, to switch rites. Marshner, a theology professor at Christendom College, explains, "I'm a theologian. I get my satisfaction out of dogma. But I couldn't expect my children to do so. I wanted my kids to have a very strong flavor of the sacred. I knew it would draw them back to the Church despite any troubles they might have."

Melkite priest and former Roman-rite Catholic Fr. Constantine Belisarius sees the recent influx of Westerners into the Eastern Churches as perhaps correcting a historical imbalance. He notes that in the New World, the Western Church was quick to declare its supremacy, and often Eastern Catholics were proselytized away from the rites of their birth into Roman Catholic churches. "There was ethnic tension. Some Eastern Catholic immigrants remember as children being told by Roman Catholic peers, 'You're not really Catholic.' That hurts."

Such tensions, most often fueled by misinformation, persist today. Fr. Constantine knows of a Ruthenian-rite Catholic who, while hospitalized, was refused Communion by the visiting Eucharistic minister. "You're not Catholic," she was informed. Fr. Constantine laments, "This is plain ignorance on the part of Roman Catholics. It's costly ignorance for the Catholic Church."

Malcontented Romans?

While many Eastern priests are enthusiastic about the addition of Westerners to their formerly exclusively ethnic congregations, not everyone sees the situation as positive. Fr. Joseph Amar, a Maronite priest who teaches classics at Notre Dame University, doubts that the rite-switchers have "an authentic attraction to the Eastern rite." He suspects that many of them are "discontented Traditionalists" yearning for the Tridentine rite. "The Eastern churches aren't some kind of pristine Christianity. People who expect that are in for some real surprises."

Fr. Constantine admits, "Angry Roman Catholics can be a real millstone around the neck of an uneducated Eastern rite pastor. But if you can educate them, if they're willing to embrace the Eastern tradition, you can get them beyond being reactionary." He says he knows people who initially came to an Eastern rite church because they were angry "but they aren't angry any more."

Fr. Richard Roher has encountered some "Roman malcontents" in the early years of his new Ruthenian parish of Sts. Cyril and Methodius in Carey, North Carolina. But "they didn't stay. Once they realized the parish wasn't going to ever look like a 1950's Roman Catholic church, they left. Folks don't stay here long if they're angry with the Church. We make it clear that we love the Church and they won't find a sympathetic ear here."

Around 70% of his congregation are former Roman rite Catholics, and he himself switched rites six years ago. "When I first got here, there had been some 'Latinization' of the church, but I phased those traditions out. I'm very, very Byzantine," he says. Most of the switchers, he admits, "are young families with children. The children are very involved in the liturgy, and that keeps the parents coming. Parish members have told me they've gone from dragging their kids to Mass to cutting vacations short because their kids insist on being home for Divine Liturgy!"

The church also attracts Protestants, who are the majority in the area. "The best compliment I've gotten was from a Baptist who said, 'This is a Christ-centered church!' after she'd been here once. Our emphasis on Scripture and the patristic tradition attracts them." Some have even begun taking instruction to become Catholic.

George and Ann Lally are two Irish Catholics who joined Fr. Roher's parish. They were attracted by "the sense of community, tradition, and reverence. Fr. Rick does an exceptional job of explaining things we'd taken for granted about both rites." Their children love the church, particularly their son, who serves at Divine Liturgy. The whole family has "grown spiritually" because of the Church. They switched rites six months ago.

In a more typical situation, Stanley Budzinkski became interested in the Eastern churches when he began dating a Ruthenian Catholic. "I had gone through Catholic school all the way through and never heard of the Eastern Churches," he confesses. "It was a big mystery to me when I first started dating Jenny." But investigating the Ruthenian rite of the Church brought him to "fall in love. It was so much to my liking. God works in so many different ways."

Budzinski married his girlfriend and became a Ruthenian over twenty years ago. Later he underwent training to become a cantor in St. Mary of the Dormition Church in Wilkesbarre, Pennsylvania.He treasures the rite's many ancient devotions to the Virgin Mary, including the moleben service and the akathist - a sung litany of Mary's titles.

Rev. Mark Melone of the Melkite Parish of St. George in Sacramento, California, notes that 50% of the priests in his diocese are former Roman Catholics. He attributes this to Eastern Catholicism's "integrated spirituality" as well as to the fact that they were the first to use English in their liturgies in this country. "In a sense, our tradition is more personal and less cerebral. We tend to have smaller communities, and everyone gets involved."

He himself became Melkite in his college years, before becoming a priest over twenty years ago. For himself, the Melkite church resonated with his Italian background and upbringing. "I found the Byzantine rite expresses my Mediterranean Christianity a lot better."

Another new Melkite parish is run by Fr. Daniel Munn, an Anglican-turned-Catholic priest. He and his wife and four children entered the Catholic Church sixteen years ago. He hastens to say, "Now, I didn't become a Melkite because of their married clergy, which is what everyone thinks." His varied life as a "failed atheist" married to a Southern Baptist took him in and out of the Episcopal church and into Catholicism. The Eastern tradition had attracted him for a long time. "I'd always thought I'd join Greek Orthodoxy if I left Episcopalianism," he admits. "But that's not what God had in mind."

Recounting the bureaucratic hurdles he had to leap to become a Catholic priest, he says, "The Eastern Church has a definite gift for spirituality, but you can't beat the Roman Church when it comes to administration." In the end, it was easiest for him to enter the church via Roman Catholicism and be granted bi-ritual faculties. "All I had to do was encourage a latent schizophrenia," he jokes.

Although he is pastor of St. Ignatius of Antioch Melkite parish in Augusta, Georgia, he still celebrates the Western liturgy in a local Roman-rite parish every week. "I love everything about the Catholic Church in a way that someone not reared in it does, but there's something very special to me about what Eastern Christianity has preserved and makes alive. So asking me which rite I like better is like trying to decide which one of your kids you love better."

Regarding the status of the Eastern churches in America, he says, "I think the Eastern Church serves a good purpose in reminding the Roman part that Catholicism really is a universal Church embracing more than just Roman Catholicism." He adds, "I always tell my Roman rite friends that they have to go to Divine Liturgy at least one time before they die so that when they get to heaven, they'll know what God is doing."

In recent years, the Pope has called attention to the treasures and contributions of the Eastern Churches in his 1995 encyclical "Orientale Lumen" (Eastern Light). "We believe that the venerable and ancient tradition of the Eastern churches is an integral part of the heritage of Christ's church … the first need for Catholics is to be familiar with that tradition, so as to be nourished by it and to encourage the process of unity in the best way possible for each."

Fr. Joseph Francavilla, pastor of Holy Redeemer, says that the Eastern Churches are richly gifted with their very ethnicity, a balance to the universality of the Roman rite. "The Church is important not just because it is universal but because it is particular. In the Eastern Church we rejoice in the fact that the Church is mine." In addition, they are an almost prophetic sign of unity. The Eastern Churches are "monumental proof that the Church doesn't have to be Roman in order to be Catholic. We remained in charity and communion in Church in Rome without being Roman."

Fr. Constantine agrees, "The Church realizes that people stand before God in different postures. It's one of the great strengths of the Church and it's too bad that people aren't familiar with it. My feeling has been that if we fostered the Eastern Rites in America we could convert the whole country."


TOPICS: Activism; Apologetics; Catholic; Charismatic Christian; Current Events; Ecumenism; Evangelical Christian; General Discusssion; History; Mainline Protestant; Ministry/Outreach; Prayer; Religion & Culture; Theology; Worship
KEYWORDS: byzantine; coptic; maronite; melkite; roman; ruthenian; ukrainian; vatican
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1 posted on 06/03/2004 6:39:13 AM PDT by NYer
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To: american colleen; sinkspur; Lady In Blue; Salvation; Polycarp IV; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; ..
George and Ann Lally are two Irish Catholics who joined Fr. Roher's parish. They were attracted by "the sense of community, tradition, and reverence". Fr. Rick does an exceptional job of explaining things we'd taken for granted about both rites." Their children love the church, particularly their son, who serves at Divine Liturgy. The whole family has "grown spiritually" because of the Church. They switched rites six months ago.

"The Eastern Churches are the Treasures of the Catholic Church" ... Pope John XXIII

CATHOLIC RITES AND CHURCHES

2 posted on 06/03/2004 6:45:46 AM PDT by NYer (I would not believe the Gospel unless moved thereto by the Church. "- St. Augustine of Hippo)
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To: ahadams2; trad_anglican
Another new Melkite parish is run by Fr. Daniel Munn, an Anglican-turned-Catholic priest. He and his wife and four children entered the Catholic Church sixteen years ago. He hastens to say, "Now, I didn't become a Melkite because of their married clergy, which is what everyone thinks." His varied life as a "failed atheist" married to a Southern Baptist took him in and out of the Episcopal church and into Catholicism. The Eastern tradition had attracted him for a long time. "I'd always thought I'd join Greek Orthodoxy if I left Episcopalianism," he admits. "But that's not what God had in mind."
3 posted on 06/03/2004 6:52:33 AM PDT by NYer (I would not believe the Gospel unless moved thereto by the Church. "- St. Augustine of Hippo)
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To: Maximilian; AskStPhilomena; AAABEST
"I think the Eastern Church serves a good purpose in reminding the Roman part that Catholicism really is a universal Church embracing more than just Roman Catholicism." He adds, "I always tell my Roman rite friends that they have to go to Divine Liturgy at least one time before they die so that when they get to heaven, they'll know what God is doing."
4 posted on 06/03/2004 6:55:29 AM PDT by NYer (I would not believe the Gospel unless moved thereto by the Church. "- St. Augustine of Hippo)
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To: NYer
Obviously, there are many reasons why Westerners go to these Eastern Churches. But, it's pretty obvious that many of them are merely frustrated with liturgical abuse and a lack of respect for those attached to the Traditional Latin Mass, and are merely seeking some sort of Catholic Church in which they find some degree of solemnity and connection with the past.

It is long past time for the ancient liturgy in the West to be accorded the same respect as the ancient liturgies in the East.

5 posted on 06/03/2004 6:57:14 AM PDT by B Knotts
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To: B Knotts
It is long past time for the ancient liturgy in the West to be accorded the same respect as the ancient liturgies in the East.

Actually, the reverse trend prevailed for hundreds of years. To cite one example, from San Diego News Notes:

"The Maronite liturgy originally incorporated the Church's earliest liturgical forms, which is reflected in the fact that the Maronite Service of the Holy Mysteries contains the Church's oldest Eucharistic Prayer. Rome sent apostolic visitors to Lebanon between the 15th and 17th centuries to scrutinize Maronite liturgical texts, "in the period where they started to Latinize everything," Father Mouannes explained. They ordered the Maronites to purge elements from their liturgy deemed heretical, and the Maronites complied, even when obliged to burn liturgical books. However, in doing so, some of the Church's primordial liturgical practices were lost. "That's why, now, in our Mass, we have a lot of similarities with the Latin [Roman rite] Church," he pointed out. "We were Latinized more than the other ones [Eastern rite Churches], because we searched for it. We wanted to show that now we are one with Rome, one hundred percent; we are with the rock."

It was Vatican II that reversed this 'latinization' trend, recommending that the Eastern churches restore those elements that had been stripped out of their liturgy. Essentially, it has taken more than 400 years to arrive at this point!

6 posted on 06/03/2004 7:25:07 AM PDT by NYer (I would not believe the Gospel unless moved thereto by the Church. "- St. Augustine of Hippo)
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To: NYer
Actually, the reverse trend prevailed for hundreds of years.

Yes, but that is not a reason to "punish" the Traditional Latin Mass. It should be accorded the same respect as the ancient Eastern liturgies.

7 posted on 06/03/2004 7:53:57 AM PDT by B Knotts
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To: NYer

Very interesting article, thank you. It covers the situation from a variety of angles and doesn't take just one simplistic view. As the article points out, many Eastern rite parishes are just as modernized as the Roman Rite ones. The only time I ever attended an Eastern rite for a funeral, it was just as Novus Ordo-ized as the Western rites. But I understand that is not the case everywhere, and there seems to be a great deal of (mostly legitimate) diversity among the Eastern rites.


8 posted on 06/03/2004 8:00:10 AM PDT by Maximilian
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To: NYer
Thank you for posting this article and making us all aware of the Maronite rite.

Back in the 80's, when we lived in McCarrick's Metuchen there was a Maronite Church about 10 minutes away from us. I don't know why, but it never occurred to us to go there. Looking back I'm not sure I realized they were united with Rome.

We actually moved our family back to Philadelphia to get away from the abuses that were going on in Metuchen.

9 posted on 06/03/2004 8:05:58 AM PDT by old and tired
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To: B Knotts
the Traditional Latin Mass. It should be accorded the same respect as the ancient Eastern liturgies.

It should. You're right. It should be given a Tridentine Rite.

But, you see, the ultra-trads and the SSPXers don't want that. It would mean they have failed in their effort to reimpose the Tridentine Mass on the Latin Rite.

The goal of many traditionalists is to totally suppress the Novus Ordo.

10 posted on 06/03/2004 8:22:08 AM PDT by sinkspur (Adopt a dog or a cat from an animal shelter! It will save one life, and may save two.)
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To: sinkspur

I understand their principle. They don't to compromise with something that they see as damaging to the formation of Catholics.


11 posted on 06/03/2004 8:46:25 AM PDT by Pyro7480 (Sub tuum praesidium confugimus, sancta Dei Genitrix.... sed a periculis cunctis libera nos semper...)
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To: old and tired
I don't know why, but it never occurred to us to go there. Looking back I'm not sure I realized they were united with Rome.

Ditto! Were it not for this forum, I would never have considered attending an Eastern Rite church either. It was 'Sandyeggo' who mentioned that she had attended a Maronite Catholic liturgy, that set my wheels in motion.

We actually moved our family back to Philadelphia to get away from the abuses that were going on in Metuchen.

You are most fortunate! There are 8 Maronite Catholic Churches in the state of PA, including St. Maron Maronite Church in Philadelphia (Rev Msgr Sharbel Lischaa, (215) 389-1300) LISTING

Give it a try sometime - but - you must attend the liturgy at least 3 times (the first visit can be quite disorienting). Also, call ahead of time to inquire which of their liturgies is in English.

In fact, make a list of other Eastern Rite churches in your community and attend the liturgy at each one of them as well. You may be pleasantly surprised by the experience. Good luck and please let me know how your adventure turns out.

12 posted on 06/03/2004 8:56:05 AM PDT by NYer (I would not believe the Gospel unless moved thereto by the Church. "- St. Augustine of Hippo)
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To: sinkspur

Make that "They don't want to..."


13 posted on 06/03/2004 8:58:06 AM PDT by Pyro7480 (Sub tuum praesidium confugimus, sancta Dei Genitrix.... sed a periculis cunctis libera nos semper...)
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To: Pyro7480
I understand their principle. They don't to compromise with something that they see as damaging to the formation of Catholics.

It reflects an arrogance and pride that does not comport with Catholicism or even Christianity.

A separate rite would allow them to worship as they please, with their own apostolic administrators. Anyone who wishes to assist at an all-Tridentine-Rite parish could do so.

But, many ultra-trads don't want that. Just read what UR has to say.

He will tell you in no uncertain terms that a separate rite or apostolic administration is tantamount to accepting defeat.

14 posted on 06/03/2004 8:59:10 AM PDT by sinkspur (Adopt a dog or a cat from an animal shelter! It will save one life, and may save two.)
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To: sinkspur; ultima ratio

Please ping UR when you talk about him. You ask for the same from others.


15 posted on 06/03/2004 9:06:03 AM PDT by Pyro7480 (Sub tuum praesidium confugimus, sancta Dei Genitrix.... sed a periculis cunctis libera nos semper...)
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To: Pyro7480; ultima ratio

Sorry about that. I don't generally engage UR anymore, as he has plunged himself into sedevacantism, IMO.


16 posted on 06/03/2004 9:07:15 AM PDT by sinkspur (Adopt a dog or a cat from an animal shelter! It will save one life, and may save two.)
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To: sinkspur; ultima ratio

I'm not sure about that. I haven't read everything he has written recently. However, if he is still loyal to the SSPX, then he is against sedevacantism. Their Angelus Press published a book against sedevacantism this year.


17 posted on 06/03/2004 9:09:34 AM PDT by Pyro7480 (Sub tuum praesidium confugimus, sancta Dei Genitrix.... sed a periculis cunctis libera nos semper...)
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To: Pyro7480; ultima ratio
He will tell you he is against sedevacantism.

But, you have to read his stuff. It's been over the top, of late.

18 posted on 06/03/2004 9:13:05 AM PDT by sinkspur (Adopt a dog or a cat from an animal shelter! It will save one life, and may save two.)
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To: Flying Circus

ping


19 posted on 06/03/2004 9:13:48 AM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: Maximilian
Very interesting article, thank you.

Glad you enjoyed it! For so many years, I kept myself locked into the only liturgy I knew. This forum has been an epiphany for me for through it, I have learned so much more about my catholic faith and deepened my relationship with God.

The only time I ever attended an Eastern rite for a funeral, it was just as Novus Ordo-ized as the Western rites.

Lol! That must have been one very wealthy parish! Most of the Eastern Rite communities are quite small, with limited resources to build extravagant churches. Our community uses a small shrine built more than 50 years ago, as its church. The current pastor arrived 3 years ago, following his ordination. He studied at Boston College, attended St. John's Seminary and was ordained in Lebanon. He is bi-ritual and also assists the Diocese of Albany, by saying masses during the week at the priestless parishes, where he consecrates a sufficient number of hosts for their weekend liturgies.

After fixing up the little shrine, he worked with the parish community to help them achieve their goal of having a real church. Last year, they purchased an abandoned protestant church nearby and he, along with the men of the parish, have worked industriously to renovate the old building. Meanwhile, the women of the parish are actively working to raise funds needed to replace broken windows and install an elevator for the 'seasoned' members of the community (we have one parishioner who is 95 and still attends Sunday liturgy). There is a tremendous sense of community spirit, reminiscent of the first christian communities.

From the very beginning, I have been impressed with the orthodox teaching, the total respect for the Eucharist, and so pleased to see young boys arrive at mass, dressed in suits. Father has set high standards and expectations for those interested in enrolling in this parish. However, he watches over his community as a true father. Last year, when the organist became ill, he drove over to his house, unannounced, insisted that he get in his car and then drove him to the hospital. He remained with him the entire time. Once he was released, he drove for several hours, looking for an all night pharmacy where they could have his prescription filled. Needless to say, we hold this priest in high regard and with great respect.

20 posted on 06/03/2004 9:15:45 AM PDT by NYer (I would not believe the Gospel unless moved thereto by the Church. "- St. Augustine of Hippo)
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To: sinkspur
The goal of many traditionalists is to totally suppress the Novus Ordo.

I think that "many" is the wrong word. There is a fringe out there, to be sure, but they do not represent most traditionalists, as far as I can tell.

21 posted on 06/03/2004 9:15:55 AM PDT by B Knotts
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To: sinkspur
But, many ultra-trads don't want that. Just read what UR has to say.

Wait, don't you make a federal case any time someone mentions a Freeper in a post without copying them?

22 posted on 06/03/2004 9:17:25 AM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway

See posts #15 and 16.


23 posted on 06/03/2004 9:18:12 AM PDT by Pyro7480 (Sub tuum praesidium confugimus, sancta Dei Genitrix.... sed a periculis cunctis libera nos semper...)
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To: NYer

I grew up in a town with a Ukrainian Catholic Church. Never occurred to me to go there even though one of my friend's Dad went there--his mom went to our parish. And one of my other childhood friends went to a Greek Orthodox Church a few towns over. Same thing. Never crossed my mind to visit.

I think I'll poke around this area and see if there are any Eastern Rite churches nearby. Found one! http://www.olol-sf.org/ Hmm, the liturgy is in Syriac-Aramaic. Always wanted to learn that.


24 posted on 06/03/2004 9:21:57 AM PDT by Betis70
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To: Betis70; sandyeggo
An excellent find! May I make several suggestions?

According to their web site:

*Please join us every Sunday at 9:00 and 11:00 am. as we celebrate the divine liturgy. Following the divine liturgy, join us for complimentary coffee and snacks. *

Call ahead to inquire which of these liturgies is in English. There will be elements of the liturgy in both Aramaic and Arabic, and this will give you a greater appreciation of the beauty found in their prayers.

Stay for the refreshments! The pastor will undoubtedly recognize a new face and come over. Engage him in conversation - the Maronite priests are highly educated and full of information! (Our pastor is fluent in 6 languages, has a working knowledge of 3 others and can read Ancient Greek, Latin and Aramaic). Use this opportunity to ask him questions.

Before attending, read the following from Our Lady's Maronite Church in Austin, TX. It will prepare you for some of the differences. Trust me, the first time I attended the Maronite liturgy, I had some inkling of what to expect but would have preferred to know more.

About the Rite

Note that in the Eastern Churches, most catholics make a profound bow towards the Tabernacle, while blessing themselves. This is the equivalent of genuflection in the Western Rite.

Also, communion is by intinction and on the tongue. Only the priest, bishop or deacon may touch the consecrated host. There are no EEMs. The priest will dip the host into the Precious Blood, place it on your tongue and say: "Receive the Body and Blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ, for the remission of sin and eternal salvation."

Note too that the entire liturgy is chanted; it is a dialog between the celebrant and the congregation. The 'tone' of the chant, dates back to the 1st century!

The consecration is in Aramaic, using the language and words of our Lord, at the Last Supper. During the liturgy, the priest will bless the congregation often, occasionally using a handcross. After reading the gospel, he will hold up the Book of the Gospels, and say: "This is the Truth!", will then bless the congregation with the Book itself.

Just prior to communion, the priest will bless the congregation with the Holy Mysteries. He will elevate the chalice and ciborium and use them to bless everyone in the form of a cross. After communion, this same blessing takes place. At those times, the congregation stands - again, this is a great sign of respect in the Eastern Rites.

If you do decide to go, promise yourself that you will attend at least 3 times. The first time is disorienting, the 2nd time is a bit more comfortable and by the third visit, you will be able to fully absorb all of the liturgy.

Please let me and 'Sandyeggo' know how it goes!

Poosh BaShlomo (Peace be with you!)

25 posted on 06/03/2004 9:54:04 AM PDT by NYer (I would not believe the Gospel unless moved thereto by the Church. "- St. Augustine of Hippo)
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To: NYer

Wow thanks for all the information. I had thought I would call up the priest and meett with him on the Saturday before I go too see which liturgy I should attend.

I always take communion in the mouth, so that won't be a problem. I will probably have to dress nicer than when I go to my normal parish. I usually go in a dress shirt, pants and shoes and am often the best dressed (young) male there. Nice to know about the bow versus genuflect difference. I'll check out the website you mention.


26 posted on 06/03/2004 10:11:58 AM PDT by Betis70
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To: NYer
After fixing up the little shrine, he worked with the parish community to help them achieve their goal of having a real church. Last year, they purchased an abandoned protestant church nearby and he, along with the men of the parish, have worked industriously to renovate the old building.

This sounds wonderful. But at the same time you have to recognize that this is not really traditional in reality, even if it is in spirit. The people at your chapel are trying to recreate lost traditions, just like traditional Catholics are doing with the tridentine rite. I give them full credit, of course, but still we need to recognize that the eastern rites were not miraculously preserved intact.

In fact, it sounds as if the spirit of that one priest is primarily responsible for what you have there. Thank God for the handful of priests like him who have fought to preserve tradition, whether in the Maronite rite or in the Roman rite.

27 posted on 06/03/2004 10:13:26 AM PDT by Maximilian
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To: NYer; Betis70
My wife and I travel to St. Petersburg Florida on a regular basis and attend Mass at a Ukrainian Catholic Church when there. The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom is very beautiful however, not easy to follow if you're not familiar with it. My only faux pas came during the recital of the Creed. In their version of a Missal it reads:

And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, Who proceeds from the Father (and the Son.).

So I said the words "and the Son" and was the only one in the congregation to do so. I don't know if that's the norm in Eastern Rite Churches or a Parish prerogative. Anyway, I figure when in the Ukraine, do as the Ukrainians do :-) Or something like that.

Here's the link to the Parish.

Epiphany of Our Lord

28 posted on 06/03/2004 10:25:01 AM PDT by pegleg
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To: Maximilian
The people at your chapel are trying to recreate lost traditions, just like traditional Catholics are doing with the tridentine rite.

Actually, I neglected to tell you that their 100 year old church collapsed and that is why they are using the shrine as a church. The parish turns 100 years old next year.

There are many Maronite communities across the US in a similar situation. In each instance, they use whatever facilities are available to them and are actively raising funds to build a new church or renovate an old one. Essentially, the Maronite Catholic Church is thriving in the US and spreading into new communities, like Las Vegas, NV and Tulsa, OK.

Coincidentally, next year when we move into our 'new' church, Father will also offer the Roman Rite mass. He hopes this will accomodate those Roman Catholics who will be losing their local parishes, when Bishop Hubbard closes two of his churches in that community, later this year.

29 posted on 06/03/2004 10:57:09 AM PDT by NYer (I would not believe the Gospel unless moved thereto by the Church. "- St. Augustine of Hippo)
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To: pegleg

Thanks for posting the link! Beautiful church and wonderful liturgy. There is a Ukrainian Catholic Church near me, as well, and it was on my list of churches to attend. The Maronite Church, however, grabbed both my heart and my soul, and wouldn't let go ;-D


30 posted on 06/03/2004 11:04:43 AM PDT by NYer (I would not believe the Gospel unless moved thereto by the Church. "- St. Augustine of Hippo)
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To: NYer

I know the Maronite rite has a high percentage of Latin rite Catholics, I imagine considering your local ordinary, that your parish is much the same way as well. I would love to go to a Maronite rite parish one day. One question, do they use leavened or unleavened bread as hosts?


31 posted on 06/03/2004 11:37:18 AM PDT by RFT1
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To: NYer

"Fr. Joseph Amar, a Maronite priest who teaches classics at Notre Dame University, doubts that the rite-switchers have "an authentic attraction to the Eastern rite." He suspects that many of them are "discontented Traditionalists" yearning for the Tridentine rite. "The Eastern churches aren't some kind of pristine Christianity. People who expect that are in for some real surprises.""


That about sums it up. Make the traditional Latin Mass freely available - not just once a week in an old bomb-shelter 40 miles out of town - and interest in converting to the Eastern rites will dwindle. Until then, the Byzantines (particularly the more tradition-minded among them) continue to provide some shelter in the storm for all those who, in good conscience, can no longer assist at the novus ordo.


32 posted on 06/03/2004 1:42:28 PM PDT by AskStPhilomena
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To: Betis70
I will probably have to dress nicer than when I go to my normal parish. I usually go in a dress shirt, pants and shoes and am often the best dressed (young) male there.

It's summer! That would be considered very appropriate attire. It's unusual to see someone dressed in jeans, except for an occasioinal stray ;-D

Just to give you a 'taste' of the intense depth of this liturgy, at the conclusion of the 'Qoorbono' (the word Mass is Latin - though some of the Maronites do refer to it as such), the priest silently prays:

"Remain in peace, O altar of God,
and I hope to return to you in peace.
May the sacrifice which I have offered upon you
forgive my sins, help me to avoid my faults,
and prepare me to stand blameless before the throne of Christ.
I know not whether I will be able to return to you again to offer sacrifice.
Guard me, O Lord, and protect Thy Holy Church
so that She may remain the Way of Salvation and the Light of the World."

33 posted on 06/03/2004 2:21:41 PM PDT by NYer (I would not believe the Gospel unless moved thereto by the Church. "- St. Augustine of Hippo)
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To: RFT1; Betis70
One question, do they use leavened or unleavened bread as hosts?

Unleavened. From what I have read, there was a time when they used leavened bread but the Maronites were latinized many years ago and the hosts are identical to those used in the Latin Rite mass. Maronites cultivate profound adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, seeing in the Holy Eucharist the Risen Christ who sent to us the Sanctifying Spirit. They are also deeply devoted to Mary, The Mother of the Light, hailing her strength and fidelity in the title of "Cedar of Lebanon."

An interesting note. The Maronites have remained faithful to the Chair of St. Peter from the very beginning. In 517 AD, 350 Maronite monks were martyered defending the decrees of the Council of Chalcedon. That day is celebrated on July 31 of the Maronite Calendar. During the many years of persecution the maronites kept the faith pure, authentic, and free from heresy, handing down only what was delivered to them from their fathers who inherited it through the apostles from Christ. Thus their faith, like the cedars which surround Lebanon's mountainous region is deep rooted and firm. The Maronites have always had a great attachment to the mother of God, Mary who's intersection has brought them out of times of hardship and trial.

34 posted on 06/03/2004 2:48:48 PM PDT by NYer (I would not believe the Gospel unless moved thereto by the Church. "- St. Augustine of Hippo)
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To: AskStPhilomena; Maximilian; sandyeggo
That about sums it up.

Not really. That may have been his experience but it has not been mine, nor that of the pastor at our Maronite Catholic Church.

"Discontented" traditionalists will not find the Maronite Rite anywhere near a substitute for the Tridentine Rite. They are very different. In your defense, however, I will note the following remark from an old Maronite who was born and raised in Lebanon. This gentleman is well into his 70s and recalls the pre Vatican II Maronite Rite when the entire liturgy was in Arabic. He commented to me one evening, after attending a beautiful 'Adoration of the Cross' Lenten service (all in Syriac), that this brought back memories from his childlhood when the entire liturgy was chanted by a choir in Syriac. He then noted that he felt great sympathy for the followers of Archbishop Lefebvre. "What's wrong with them wanting to celebrate the liturgy to which they are so devoted?"

This gentleman, however, has adjusted to the changes in the Maronite liturgy. He is not waging war against it. He is the one who does the readings each Sunday in Arabic. He hosts our 'Gospel Soiree', when we gather with our pastor to study the bible. Both he and his wife are devoted to their Maronite liturgy, be it in Arabic, Syriac, English or Swahili.

35 posted on 06/03/2004 3:01:02 PM PDT by NYer (I would not believe the Gospel unless moved thereto by the Church. "- St. Augustine of Hippo)
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To: pegleg
So I said the words "and the Son"

Oops

36 posted on 06/03/2004 3:55:07 PM PDT by don-o (Stop Freeploading. Do the right thing and sign up for a monthly donation.)
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To: NYer

I must confess I've never partaken of the Maronite rite, though I've enjoyed the Ruthenian Byzantine rite on numerous occasions. The parish priest had some sympathy for traditionalists of the Roman rite reeling after all the changes instituted at Vatican 2, but he was far more angry at the "sacking of Constantinople" many centuries earlier. Although I appreciated the beautiful liturgy, including the incensing and veneration of all the icons, some of the doctrines (e.g. a maximum of 40 days in purgatory) and the omission of the Filioque from the creed was problematic. I also noted that ecumaniac inroads were being made, such as including orthodox "saints" (who never recognized the pope or the concept of papal infallibility - limited as it is) on their liturgical calendar.


37 posted on 06/03/2004 4:27:40 PM PDT by AskStPhilomena
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To: AskStPhilomena
I must confess I've never partaken of the Maronite rite

Don't know where you live but you can certainly do a google search using the words "maronite" and "your state".

The Apostles Creed is identical to that in the Western Rite.

Like most Eastern Rites, the Maronite Catholic Church incorporates the Trisagion into its liturgy. The priest faces east, towards the Crucifix when he prays:

The celebrant sings three times:

Aramaic
Qadeeshat aloho; Qadeeshat hyeltono; Qadeeshat lomoyouto.

English
Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One

As he chants the last phrase, he makes a profound bow towards the Crucifix, as do the acolytes.

The congregation responds: Itraham alein.

English: Have mercy on us.

The celebrant concludes:

O holy and immortal Lord,
sanctify our minds and purify
our consciences,
that we may praise you with pure hearts
and listen to your Holy Scriptures.
To you be glory, for ever. Amen.

The Maronites have been associated with the Chair of St. Peter from day one. There is no comparable equivalent in the orthodox religions, nor have the Maronites ever separated from Rome, despite being victimized by its attempt to latinicize their liturgy.

The Maronites have an expression:

 "The Maronite, works, builds, and plants as if he is celebrating the liturgy. His whole economy has a sacramental taste and a liturgical savoring- the vine and the wheat for the bread and the wine of the Eucharist; the olive tree to make the holy oils; the mulberry plant to weave the altar cloth and the vestments for benediction. All of which are signs of the hereafter." Father Michel HAYEK

They have remained faithful to the Magisterium for 2000 years. It is a beautiful and faith filled liturgy. If I can assist you in finding a Maronite Church in your community or help in any other way, please do not hesitate to ask. It cannot replace the Tridentine Rite; rather, it brings its own spiritual depth to those who seek a closer relationship with our Lord.

38 posted on 06/03/2004 5:01:49 PM PDT by NYer (I would not believe the Gospel unless moved thereto by the Church. "- St. Augustine of Hippo)
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To: Pyro7480; sinkspur

Why not ask Sinkspur what I have said that is over the top? I have said I believe JPII is a bad pope--but I've said this from the beginning. I have also said that Assisi I and II bring him close to the brink of material heresy. That is not sedevacantist--many solid Catholics think this. This does not mean I think the Pope is illegitimate--after all, he is not formally heretical. Sinkspur can't seem to make these essential distinctions. As for not addressing me directly--he may just be tired of having been told so often his random barbs don't add up--like this one about my being a sedevacantist. He makes the charge--but doesn't back it up. He confuses criticism of the Pope with denying his legitimacy. That's nonsense.


39 posted on 06/03/2004 6:27:16 PM PDT by ultima ratio
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To: sinkspur

"It would mean they have failed in their effort to reimpose the Tridentine Mass on the Latin Rite."

Nonsense. Nothing would be "reimposed" because the Tridentine was never imposed in the first place. It evolved gradually over the millenia. Pius V only codified it.


40 posted on 06/03/2004 6:31:12 PM PDT by ultima ratio
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To: sinkspur

"It reflects an arrogance and pride that does not comport with Catholicism or even Christianity."

Who are the arrogant and proud ones--those who dare to fabricate a new Mass and trash the ancient one that the Holy Spirit had guided through the centuries--or we who support the ancient Mass that had been guaranteed for all ages hence by Pius V?


41 posted on 06/03/2004 6:35:16 PM PDT by ultima ratio
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To: B Knotts

Of course traditionalists wish the suppression of the Novus Ordo. Look at the harm it's already done to the Catholic faith! Why should we want to keep it?


42 posted on 06/03/2004 6:38:12 PM PDT by ultima ratio
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To: ultima ratio; Pyro7480; B Knotts
Of course traditionalists wish the suppression of the Novus Ordo. Look at the harm it's already done to the Catholic faith! Why should we want to keep it?

Here ya go, Pyro. Suppression of the Novus Ordo is the objective of the mouth breathers and Williamson-worshippers in the SSPX.

And, Knotts, UR is exhibit A of what I was speaking.

43 posted on 06/03/2004 7:35:59 PM PDT by sinkspur (Adopt a dog or a cat from an animal shelter! It will save one life, and may save two.)
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To: sinkspur

First, you know--because I've told you countless times--I don't cotton to Williamson. So calling me a Williamson-worshiper is a deliberate misrepresentation. Second, you are right. Traditionalists seek the demise of the Novus Ordo, which is viewed as dangerous to the faith. The two Masses are incompatible--one reflecting a genuine Catholicism, the other an ersatz Catholicism designed to appeal to Protestants. One expresses the dogmas of the Church, the other deliberately undermines these in order to protestantize the faithful.

The people who introduced the Novus Ordo understood this very well. This is why they themselves sought to destroy the ancient Mass--knowing full well the new liturgy violates the proscriptions laid down by Trent. Why do you suppose the conciliar Church had its knives out for the Econe in the first place? Do you think they hated this traditional seminary because it was unorthodox or immoral? To the contrary--it was for the very opposite reason--precisely because it was traditionally moral and orthodox--and supported the ancient Mass. It was Lefebvre's very orthodoxy that was despised--and he alone of all the bishops of the Church drew the ire of Rome, beginning with the reign of Paul VI, then continuing through that of JPII, even while many other openly apostate and disobedient prelates were not only tolerated, but were actually promoted by Rome, some of them out-and-out heretics.

So yes, one or the other Mass must disappear--because each expresses a different religion. But since the ancient Mass was the one that was handed-down from the apostles and was the one guided by the Lord over the millenia, whereas the new Mass was a concoction invented by a committee of liberal humanists a scant thirty+ years ago, and since the ancient Mass had been blessed through the ages by fruits of the Holy Spirit whereas the new Mass has produced nothing but scandals and loss of faith, there can be no doubt which one ought to survive and which one ought to perish.


44 posted on 06/03/2004 8:19:35 PM PDT by ultima ratio
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To: ultima ratio
So yes, one or the other Mass must disappear--

That's not true, but your obstinacy reflects the disingenuousness of the SSPX.

You've been offered an apostolic administration, but Fellay and Williamson will have none of it.

Here's some news: ALL of the Cardinals promoted by JPII are Novus Ordo bishops. Every single one of them.

You'd better do any "deal" you're going to do with JPII. His successor is likely to tell the SSPX to take a hike.

45 posted on 06/03/2004 8:45:28 PM PDT by sinkspur (Adopt a dog or a cat from an animal shelter! It will save one life, and may save two.)
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To: ultima ratio
Some traditionalists wish it. Others do not. I do not think it is fair to blame all that has gone wrong in the post-concilar Church on the new Mass. The decline had started even before Vatican II, actually, AFAIK.

On the other hand, it is true, IMO, that practically all of the present problems can be traced to modernism, which, as you know, Pope St. Pius X warned about even in 1907.

I'm no expert on Church history, but IMHO, and from what I have read on the matter, it could be fairly said that the Council, the new Mass, the air of reform to the point of excess, and the "spirit of Vatican II" merely gave modernism the room to breath that it subsequently used to inflict the harm on the Church that we now see.

46 posted on 06/03/2004 8:59:58 PM PDT by B Knotts
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To: sinkspur
You'd better do any "deal" you're going to do with JPII. His successor is likely to tell the SSPX to take a hike.

I'd add this qualifier: If Cardinal Hoyos is the next Pope, he will try to regularize SSPX to the extent he can.

And, yes, they should have accepted the apostolic administration. That's the best they can realistically hope for, unless they intend to remain in an irregular status. It would have been beneficial to the people who currently attend their Masses, to the people who are denied an indult Mass (or for whom it is extremely inconvenient), and to the Church as a whole.

47 posted on 06/03/2004 9:09:29 PM PDT by B Knotts
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To: B Knotts

The decline did not begin until the close of Vatican II. Just before the Council the Church was actually at its zenith in terms of numbers of vocations, Mass attendance, conversions, baptisms, etc. It was at the apex of its political and cultural influence--even one of its bishops, Bishop Sheen, was as popular on national t.v. as Milton Berle. The decline began precipitously within ten years after the Council's close, with the incredible--and brutal--revolution that followed. Everything abruptly changed--liturgy, devotions, the Church calendar, sacramental rites, theology, seminary training, etc. With the introduction of the Novus Ordo, Mass attendance of all Catholics dropped abruptly from 80%+ to around 25%. It now hovers at around 17%. Belief in key dogmas also dropped precipitously. Belief in the Real Presence plunged. Now only 25% of all Catholics believe in this essential dogma. So too with belief in the Resurrection. Here is how Bishop Fellay put it recently in an interview:

"The cause [for decline of faith] is within the Church, but when someone tells them that, they cry out: No, if something isn’t right, it must be the world’s fault.
But allow me a little analogy, that of the chicken coop. It’s well known that an open henhouse allows the fox to enter and ravage the place. They say, It’s the fox’s fault. And I dare say, Who left the door open? The fox does its job. It’s the same with the world, it does it’s job trying to destroy the Church and corrupt Christians. To say that it’s the world’s fault that things are not going well is the same as saying it’s the fox’s fault. I’m sorry, but a mea culpa is owed by the one who was in charge of the door. Because this time it is not a matter of negligence, but of choice. At the Council there was an opening to the world; they not only opened the door, they took it off its hinges. At the time, there was talk of opening windows. To let in a little fresh air, the Pope said. But in fact it was a whirlwind that entered. Now there’s a disaster and it’s the world that is to blame. I’m sorry, but the door needs to be put back, and quickly."


48 posted on 06/03/2004 10:05:45 PM PDT by ultima ratio
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To: sinkspur

"Here's some news: ALL of the Cardinals promoted by JPII are Novus Ordo bishops. Every single one of them."

You think I don't know this? Here's more news--not one of them is a traditional Catholic. That should alarm anybody who cares about the Church. Right now these men are mediocrities at best. Many are disasters. Some are out and out heretics. That tells me this: that the Church is imploding precisely because it is being badly led. But no one can strong-arm the Holy Spirit, not even the Pope. No pontiff can force the flowers to bloom. Right now nothing is flourishing--for a good reason.


49 posted on 06/03/2004 10:12:12 PM PDT by ultima ratio
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To: B Knotts; sinkspur

"You'd better do any "deal" you're going to do with JPII. His successor is likely to tell the SSPX to take a hike."

What worse can another pope do? This one has charged the SSPX with schism and its leaders with excommunication--falsely. And it is precisely because the SSPX stands on solid ground morally that they remain invulnerable to subsequent attacks. It is Rome that needs to repent, not the Society which has kept the faith.

As for the current status of SSPX--how would an apostolic administration be better than their situation right now? Right now the Pope himself has marginalized them, casting them from himself unjustly--which has freed them to expand and oppose his reign of novelty. It has also allowed them to protect the faith in its purity--as it was practiced and believed before the modernists took over.


50 posted on 06/03/2004 10:34:47 PM PDT by ultima ratio
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