I don’t know if this has been an issue of thought in the past, but can someone out there, propose some realistic ideas, programs, plans to draw people to our churches to celebrate and consider joining each parish. It seems many of our churches don’t increase in numbers, as the Roman Catholics are.
Do we need more advertising, more education to our Catholic bretheren------------I hear of many unhappy with the way things are changing-------how can we get them back or have them come to our church. I see some churches and even one eparchy in particular that seem to have good plans.
What is the answer?? Many have said this and its really true-------- Byzantine Catholic—“the best kept secret of the Catholic Church”. I am sure this would apply to other Oriental and Non-Latin Catholic churches and rites, too. John
It’s a sad fact that a certain percentage of the increase that various Roman Catholic parishes are experiencing is a result of our own (EC) actions. Within our extremely mobile society, a lot of Eastern Catholics who relocate to areas not serviced by a parish of their own sui iuris Church ‘default’ to membership within the nearest Latin Catholic parish, which are usually readily accessible in virtually any geographic area. And as these EC’s adapt to life as Latin Catholics, it seems we lose them (and those who come after them) forever.
As far as more education to our Latin Catholic brethren, well, I’m all for it! But if we were to use their unhappiness with changes in their own Church and liturgical practices as an enticement for them to come and experience Eastern Catholicism (and, hopefully, stay!), we’d most assuredly be accused of proselytizing. It sort of a Catch-22. Because of the nature of our Catholic communion of Churches and because of the “few-and-far-between” nature of our Eastern Catholic parishes, the Latin Church is in the enviable position of being able to welcome our EC “refugees” with open arms in parish upon parish. We EC’s, on the other hand, cannot use what could probably be our #1 selling point - the awesome beauty of our ancient liturgy - as a means to enhance our dwindling ranks with dissatisfied Latins…
…UNLESS, that is, they somehow discover on their own the liturgical beauty that they’ve been missing out on and that’s been available to them as Catholics all along.
THAT’S why it’s incumbent upon every Eastern Catholic to go out and invite other Catholics (read: Latins) to visit and worship with them. No proselytizing here! Just friends welcoming friends to worship with them! Believe me… once they’re in the door, the Liturgy will sell itself!
I agree with everything my friend Al has sated above, plus this remark of my own:
You really need to focus on evangelizing non-Catholic Christians, particularly the unchurched and the multitude of Protestants. This culture is in dire need of a reawakening, and your own particular church and tradition has a great gift which needs to be shared.
Concentrating on some way to bring back Rusyns and Slovaks who have drifted off into the Latin church is an inefficient use of your time and energy. And attracting Latins, of whom it can be said are already Catholic, is like rearranging the deck chairs, if you follow my meaning, plus it would be considered poaching if it was pursued as a deliberate policy. Educating Latins about your church is another thing entirely, but it will not fill the pews.
For similar reasons I would not see the Orthodox and eastern Catholics targeting one another as a good thing, the focus now should be on marrying the two into one big family, not devouring each other’s children, especially while the majority of Americans are so lost!.
Never forget that you are bound and committed to the Great Commission, and any church…yours or mine included, that does not try to take this message to the streets and into the hearts of their unserved neighbors might just as well close down, for it has lost it’s own mandate under Christ.
Anthony Dragani had written a very good essay on evangelization once, but I’ll be danged if I can remember where it is at the moment. Perhaps Al, my brother, has access to it.
I’m one of the Byzantine Catholics who relocated and assimilated into the Latin Rite. Evening masses and closeness made the Latin Rite very enticing. Then once I went to college and joined a Newman Center I basically completely assimilated into that rite. However, now I try go to a Divine Liturgy about once every month or two and thanks to this forum, a lot of the problems I had with Eastern theology I realize are not problematic at all and just a different understanding based on the culture that means essentially the same thing. So this forum is a good place to start. I think going to the colleges and attracting the youth is the way to go. The lack of youth in the Byzantine Rite was a huge factor in why I stopped going.
I"m RC and have a friend that is BC, I’ve been to her church a few times and I enjoyed it greatly - granted, I can’t see myself driving 2 1/2 hours each way to go to daily mass, so I think I’m staying put. However, I would make one comment - while it is a beautiful literagey, if you’ve never seen it before and aren’t used to it, you really need an active guide. I tried to follow along, but most of the people in the church were doing different things from the people next to them so I wasn’t sure what was right and what wasn’t. It in all was pretty confusing and I didn’t get as much from it because I was worrying more about when I should do what.
By all means, invite people to attend, but make sure you explain things well and help them through it - also assure them that they won’t be looked at funny if they don’t do the right thing at the right time.
This is interesting because thee are many catholic conversions to Orthodoxy in the US. Generally what you’d call "traditio0nal’ catholics who are looking for a reverent and consisten liturgy.
The Orthodox parishes are growing in my area and they face the same problems of a mobil society as Eastern Rite parishes.
I don’t know how the Eastern Rite parishes here are doing. But maybe if those catholics conserting to Orthodoxy knew of the Eastern Rite parishes in their areas they might change Rites rather than Churches.
Another point, many Protestanst who convert to Catholicsm end up then completing their journey by converting to orthodoxy. Rob Dreher one the the Dalla Morning Star editors is one I recently read about who took this journey.
Part of the reason many Protestent converts to catholicsm end up leaving and going to Orthody is I suspect the desire for a more reverent liturgy.
So BR parishes maybe should be evangelizing among Protestants who are looking for a devout liturgical experience.
Maybe. But I suspect it depends on the kinds of Protestants you are talking about. Around here, the converts to Catholicism are overwhelmingly from evangelical or fundamentalist Protestant sects. The ones I know (and I know a lot of them) are not here because of liturgical aesthetics, but because of the Eucharist. Otherwise, simplicty and directness are things they favor. The ones I know prefer the Pauline Mass, whatever negative thing some Catholics have to say about it, and find even the TLM foreign and bewildering.
I think if I were an EC leader, I would be bugging the local Latin bishop to have Eastern liturgies, performed by EC priests, at various convenient parishes from time to time, and at regular Mass times. Latins and Easterners differ in many ways; not just in liturgical preferences. Doubtless some of Eastern heritage “go Latin” in more ways than one. But on the other hand, there are doubtless some Latins who innately are more oriented to the more mystical kind of approach that is found in the Eastern Catholic churches. It could lead to increasing numbers of Eastern Catholic parishes (doubtless small at first) as well as a greater appreciation of the Eastern churches by the Latins.
And yes, Hesychios, I get it with the reference to the Titanic. Take it to the Non Catholic section where you know it belongs, and where you have been told it belongs.
First of all brothers I’m not a Roman Catholic, I’m a Latin or western Catholic. The only Roman Catholics on Earth live in Roman. The term Roman Catholic was meant to be demeaning at the time of its invention.
Ref: New Advent
Now to the point on hand in order to at least get Latin Catholics is to point out clearly that the Eastern rite is truly Catholic and loyal to the seat of Peter. When I was 20 years old I had an opportunity to join a Byzantine church, something I would have killed to do now, but I was afraid to attend because I didn’t know anything about the Eastern rite of the at the time.
Smallest of half-thoughts here… but we seem to do a lot of this to ourselves with our parochial approaches to self-preservation and treating our experience of the church as “our thing”… I am not familiar with a single Greek Catholic parish that operates a food kitchen or has adopted a Catholic community (parish) to support outside of ethnic boundries (supporting “our own”)… Even if we are poor and offer our meager resources to the work of the beatitudes, we will gain much from it - membership included. If the charities and the focus is all about building “Rusyn Hall” or assisiting people in our own ethnic groups, or supporting our cousins on the other side of the sea… That sort of self preservation is limited.
The yoking of our faith to our ethnicity - something that is both needless and prone to abuse - is something that is killing us in a post-immigration, post-ethnic suburban malaise. If and when some penitent soul stumbles through our doors looking for salvation, the very last damned question we should be asking is*** “What is your last name?” ***Sadly, in too many places, that is still the first.
I believe that there has always been a steady stream, but I very much doubt it is a hardy flow. More succinctly, many who may be inclined to want a smaller church where the bishops seems to be able to whip the elect into shape (emphasis on “seem”) will always be attracted to a community outside of the Catholic Church - the Church Joyce once described as “Here comes everybody!”
Rod Dreher has, I believe, succumbed to some of the Evangelical baggage that he failed to check when he supposedly left Protestantism. The whole notion of “things are getting ugly, we better get out” really smacks of a lingering Protestant mindset… and the search for the more pristine community NOT in the headlines for having - lo and behold - sinners who were known quantities among their ranks began. (I am guessing Dreher is not well familiar with the crop of home-grown scandals “at home and abroad” in different circles. So be it.)
I still believe the majority of disaffected Catholics would still be far more prone to go into a schismatic group, Evangelicalism or even Episcopalianism, depending upon the source of their own personal disaffection.
I assume by BR you mean “Byzantine-Rite” or something like that. If that is so I suggest using BC or BCC instead.
But in regard to your original question, yes, they should be evangelizing someone. Protestants would make sense.
But from my experience they put more effort in bringing Latin Catholics into their churches than actually promoting their brand of Catholicism. That’s not evangelizing, it’s poaching.
Not that the Latin church doesn’t deserve it, it certainly swallowed up an awful large measure of BC over the years without shedding any tears over it.
But I think the BC have a great gift to share with the world, they really do. Not only a dignified traditional liturgy but a bar-none awesome spirituality. They need to share it out to the greater general community.
Demographically speaking, if an Eastern/Oriental Catholic moves to a Latin Church by necessity (such as a job), they should make the parish office aware that they want to be registered as Eastern/Oriental Catholics (though they are attending a Latin parish). I don’t see how hard that would be if one approaches the parish council.
For those who move to Latin parishes, take the initiative to introduce our spirituality. This can be done in many ways - ask the parish priest if you can start a class to introduce people to Eastern/Oriental Catholicism; hold picnics or lunch-ins with an Eastern/Oriental theme; ask if you can place a booth to discuss Eastern/Oriental Catholicism with interested parishioners after mass; ask if you can distribute pamphlets explaining Eastern/Oriental Catholicism in the pews or in the lobby (narthex), etc.
Canvass your local neighborhoods inviting people to Church; spread out pamphlets advertising your Church in parking lots; place an ad in the local newpaper for your Church, etc.
Ask for charitable support from local businesses.
For college students, form official clubs so you can use college facilities to hold meetings; evangelize.
Ask your neighboring local Latin parish for support.
I think that Eastern Catholics are even moreso identitfied with a culture/nation/people than the Orthodox. The large Orthodox churches here which are getting many catholic converts identify themselves only as Eastern Orthodox. It a more universal sense.
If an ERastern Catholic emigrates to the West in a generation their kids mostly no longer see themselves as Iraqi or Lebanese or whatever. are no longer. So a Maronite church, or a CVhaldean church so identified may lose its appeal over generations.
I am rambling here but the Eastern Rites in the West maybe should be evangelizing through their particular spirituality. Embracing more than just a particulat people or culture.
I read on a post here that many Polish National Catholic parishes are dropping Polish from their names and going by National Catholic Church.
I think that is a direction Eastern Rites might consider - emphasizing their universality w/in the universal church.
I actually almost took that journey. I was raised Southern Baptist, converted to Latin Rite Catholicism in 2005, and recently was considering Orthodoxy. Until some lovely people clued me in about the Eastern Rites!
As a Catholic of the Latin Rite, I would enjoy a meeting/presentation type of event, helping to explain the Eastern Catholic Churches and Rites.
I can’t say I would consider changing Rites, but it’s just something I’d like and might help educated people. With education, people might consider looking into any of the multiple Rites of our Church.