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Re: Ukrainian Catholic Church Closings in the Coal Regions [Re: Yuhannon] #290574 06/04/08 02:24 PM
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Ethnic parishes are a death sentence ? I guess they didn't hear about that at Saints Volodymyr and Olha in Chicago, which is possibly the most vibrant EC church in the US and where ALL liturgies are in Ukrainian, despite the fact that more than a few parishoners can speak English.

The UGCC parish I attend is slowly shrinking due to it's aging membership, but last Sunday I witnessed more enthusiam than I've ever seen there previously. And what was the reason for it ? The re-interduction of Ukrainian language classes after many years !

Some ethnic parishes may appear to be doomed, but there numbers pale when compared to RC churches that tried everything to be all inclusive to everyone, yet today are home to Protestant congregations or are litter strewn prairies in an urban wasteland.

Re: Ukrainian Catholic Church Closings in the Coal Regions [Re: Chtec] #290581 06/04/08 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Chtec
A church closing is always a sad event. frown

Here's an article about the closings in the RC Diocese of Allentown:

http://www.republicanherald.com/articles/2008/06/01/news/breaking_news/doc4841b264a814f468426523.txt

From my count, 49 church buildings will be closed in this process.

Dave


I have to agree with one of the respondents to the article--the posts are way down at the bottom of it for those who didn't read down that far. Where did they get some of the names for these newly consolidated churches? Doesn't sound like the parishioners had much say. Not only is your church closed, but it's name and therefore it's history and heritage are cast away too--and so is that of the parishioners if their hard working ancestors paid to found and build it. Pastoral sensitivity at work once again.

Re: Ukrainian Catholic Church Closings in the Coal Regions [Re: John K] #290583 06/04/08 04:21 PM
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Dear Lawrence,

Right on! This has been our experience up here as well.

In fact, all that stuff about our ethnic identity disappearing over time is but one Hierarch's opinion (even if oft-repeated) but is challenged by contemporary sociological insight (such as you have provided).

The greater the pull toward mainstream society is, the greater the push in the other direction toward emphasizing one's uniqueness and local community. St Volodymyr and Olha's in Chicago is a prime example of this (and so is our Diak!).

I used to believe what the Administrator said about the English-language and having one jurisdiction since we're all shrinking etc. And he was always ready with (accurate) statistics to back up his banter.

But there's fight left in the Eastern Churches and their cultural matrix yet!

And if Angela of Glasgow (aka "Anhelyna") can learn the Divine Liturgy in Ukrainian . . . Shame on the rest of us!

Alex


Re: Ukrainian Catholic Church Closings in the Coal Regions [Re: Fr. Jon] #290820 06/06/08 01:36 PM
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It doesn't matter what the cultural matrix is. Church Slavonic is fine for liturgy, so is Ukrainian.

So is English, Spanish or Tagolog or Swahili.

It should not even matter what jurisdiction a parish belongs to, a Ukrainian parish should be consolidated with a Ruthenian one if necessary, or vice versa. That goes for Orthodox as well as Catholics, after all these people need to be properly served.

What does matter is whether the church is growing and spreading among it's neighbors, and unless someone can prove that the whole nation has been properly evangelized the job is simply not done. One of the primary reasons the older urban parishes are closing is that the population is migrating out and away. Now I don't know about the Coal region of Pennsylvania, but in other areas I do know about those neighborhoods are not empty, they are filled with all kinds of people.

Placing ones hope in the "imports" of families from a certain unique cultural matrix will ultimately fail if these make the same mistakes the previous generations of immigrants made, sooner or later the thing will become a museum piece as each new future generation dissolves into the predominant culture and moves far away. It is actually quite ridiculous as a policy for a church.

While the Hungarians and Greeks and Ukrainians and Slovaks are moving on they should be leaving a thriving parish in the hands of the Latinos, Asians and Caribean Blacks and Anglo-Saxons who are moving in. It is a source of disgrace that these parishes have (almost universally) been unable to evangelize their surroundings, it looks like a nearly 100% failure rate.

The Great Commission is of primary importance, and the church that is not bringing the message of Christ to the outside community beyond it's self-selected few has lost it's mandate, and if it is shrinking and dying it pretty much deserves that fate. Don't weep for it.

The will of the Holy Spirit may by frustrated by us, but will not be stopped by any of us, if this or that culturally matrixed church fails in it's mandate, God will find another to do His work, I am sure.

Michael

Re: Ukrainian Catholic Church Closings in the Coal Regions [Re: Hesychios] #290830 06/06/08 03:20 PM
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Fr Serge Keleher Offline
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Quote
Church Slavonic is fine for liturgy, so is Ukrainian.

So is English, Spanish or Tagolog or Swahili.


Interesting. What liturgical texts of our are available in Tagalog or Swahili?

Fr. Serge

Re: Ukrainian Catholic Church Closings in the Coal Regions [Re: Fr Serge Keleher] #290835 06/06/08 04:13 PM
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Chtec Offline
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Originally Posted by Serge Keleher
Interesting. What liturgical texts of our are available in Tagalog or Swahili?

Fr. Serge


I don't know about Tagalog, but a fair amount has been published in Swahili. The Orthodox Church in Kenya uses Swahili along with English, Greek and local tribal languages. (I believe Swahili may be used elsewhere in Africa, but I do not know to what extent.) The Kenyans have translated and published liturgical materials for their use; sadly, I doubt they're available on Amazon. wink The Orthodox Christian Mission Center used to sell a recording of Orthodox seminarians from Kenya singing liturgical music and "bible camp" songs, mostly in Swahili. So, yes, Swahili is an established language for the Byzantine liturgy.

And through the magic of YouTube, we can get a brief glimpse of the use of local languages among the Eastern Orthodox in Africa:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPvcFQ1Yb4k

WARNING TO ALL FORUMITES: Video includes footage of clergy dancing native dances. If that sort of inculturation offends you, don't watch past 1 minute, 40 seconds. biggrin

Dave

Re: Ukrainian Catholic Church Closings in the Coal Regions [Re: Fr Serge Keleher] #290839 06/06/08 05:08 PM
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Hello father,
Originally Posted by Serge Keleher
Quote
Church Slavonic is fine for liturgy, so is Ukrainian.

So is English, Spanish or Tagolog or Swahili.


Interesting. What liturgical texts of our are available in Tagalog or Swahili?

Fr. Serge
We may have to work on that, if the need becomes apparent... grin

But if there are, or will someday be such liturgical texts Tagalog will be fine for any of us. Even, I dare say, for future Ukrainian Greek Catholic church mission works or the Moscow Patriarchate mission works for that matter.

Michael

Re: Ukrainian Catholic Church Closings in the Coal Regions [Re: Fr Serge Keleher] #290841 06/06/08 05:48 PM
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Reader Daniel Offline
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Fr. Serge,

What is the standard process for reclaiming liturgical items when a church is closed? Does it go to the local deanery/diocese?

I attend an Orthodox mission in North Carolina (OCA), and some of these liturgical items would be certainly be of use if they were available.

In XC,
Reader Daniel

Re: Ukrainian Catholic Church Closings in the Coal Regions [Re: Reader Daniel] #290944 06/07/08 05:16 PM
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Fr Serge Keleher Offline
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If I knew the answer to your perfectly sensible question I would be standing in line right this minute looking for a share for my mission parish in Dublin! Logically, one would expect the diocese to be responsile for the disposition of such items.

Fr. Serge

Re: Ukrainian Catholic Church Closings in the Coal Regions [Re: Reader Daniel] #290968 06/07/08 07:33 PM
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Two Lungs Offline
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Two things were mentioned in the newspaper article that may be relevant.

In the case of the UGCC parishes, both already share their Pastors with the receiving parishes.

Metropolitan Stefan Soroka is scheduled to celebrate the final Divine Liturgies at both Churches closing this month.

Some items may be headed to the Archeparchy's museum, located at its Cathedral complex in Philadelphia.

Re: Ukrainian Catholic Church Closings in the Coal Regions [Re: John K] #290972 06/07/08 08:09 PM
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A similar consolidation process is ongoing in the RC Diocese of Scranton.
Originally Posted by John K

I have to agree with one of the respondents to the article--the posts are way down at the bottom of it for those who didn't read down that far. Where did they get some of the names for these newly consolidated churches? Doesn't sound like the parishioners had much say. Not only is your church closed, but it's name and therefore it's history and heritage are cast away too--and so is that of the parishioners if their hard working ancestors paid to found and build it. Pastoral sensitivity at work once again.


I cannot say anything about closings in the Allentown Diocese, but it seems to me that the process in Scranton shows a reasonable sensitivity to the local communities. The Diocesan website has about 80 pages of information about the process, including statistics, committee structures, information forms, etc.

As to the Names given to combined Parishes, the Catholic Light newspaper has an article about two consolidations, in Freeland and in Pittston. See page 12 in this issue (pdf format).

http://www.dioceseofscranton.org/news/Catholic%20Light%205-29-08.pdf

By way of disclosure, I have several cousins who were members of St. John the Evangelist in Pittston and two who went to school at Mother Seton High School next door. Anyone doing a Church tour in NE Pennsylvania should pay a visit there --- the interior is magnificent.

Re: Ukrainian Catholic Church Closings in the Coal Regions [Re: Fr Serge Keleher] #291278 06/10/08 06:03 PM
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Thank you Fr. Serge. Hopefully these items will be used to the glory of God in liturgical worship and not collect dust in a museum.

Mission parishes with very limited budgets very much value and appreciate hand-me-downs from older dying (or in this place closed) churches.

Reader Daniel

Re: Ukrainian Catholic Church Closings in the Coal Regions [Re: Hesychios] #291704 06/13/08 11:07 PM
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Fr. Jon Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Hesychios
What does matter is whether the church is growing and spreading among it's neighbors, and unless someone can prove that the whole nation has been properly evangelized the job is simply not done. One of the primary reasons the older urban parishes are closing is that the population is migrating out and away. Now I don't know about the Coal region of Pennsylvania, but in other areas I do know about those neighborhoods are not empty, they are filled with all kinds of people. Michael


I can factually state that the population in the anthracite coal regions of PA is dropping drastically every year. Funerals far outweigh baptisms and new folks moving into the area. In my hometown in the Diocese of Harrisburg we went through serious church consolidations in 1995, and although I was only 12 I remember going from a small church one Sunday, crying with the rest of the parish family over the closing of the parish, to the next Sunday when we were amazed to a see a church fuller than it had been in 40 years. I remember the new life - resources for a youth ministry program, a new, wonderfully full choir which had more than 7 or 8 stada-baba's at my old parish; a pastor, a parochial vicar under the age of 40 and a stable Mass and Confessions schedule whereas the week previous we had a part-time priest who traveled in from another, larger parish. I can't think of anyone now who could honestly say that 13 years after those difficult consolidations that it was not just nice, but that it was necessary. Even now, things are grim. In those 13 years we have had almost 1,000 funerals (just shy right now), and every year with deaths we lose $15,000-$20,000 in revenue. We are adjacent to Schuylkill County; their demographics are no different, they just delayed as long as possible. I have said enough, I can go on...

As for the naming of the new parishes: in our diocese, they tried to chose names which were non-ethnic. Additionally, they tried to chose names which were not already employed by other parishes. I don't find the names all too strange: Mahanoy City's Blessed Teresa of Calcutta was chosen because of the sisters' convent there in that town, and the fact that Mother Teresa visited there in 1995. "Queenship of Mary" while uncommon, is still a very important feast for the Latin Church, being the Octave Day of the Solemnity of the Assumption.

Re: Ukrainian Catholic Church Closings in the Coal Regions [Re: domilsean] #291936 06/16/08 12:11 PM
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God help them to survive , where are children and grandchildren ruthenians and ukrainians that arrived many years ago , americanized??

Re: Ukrainian Catholic Church Closings in the Coal Regions [Re: bojko] #291970 06/16/08 04:48 PM
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Fr. Jon Offline OP
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Americanized? We should hope so - in a sense.

I am a third-generation born in the US. The "Coal Region Ruthenians/Ukrainians" have been through two world wars, a great depression, and so many social changes that while they are proud of their ethnic heritage, they are not going to pledge allegiance to any other flag than the Stars and Stripes.

I am sure that the other "coal crackers" who frequent this forum would agree that the only way to understand the coal region folk is to live there for some time, and then it'll all make sense.

Most (perhaps some exceptions) don't have dreams of returning to the 'old country' except maybe to visit ancestral villages for genealogical research. They would not consider themselves "diaspora." Other more recent immigrant communities would, of course, be different and thus I will never pretend speak for them.

An anectode: several years ago there was a newly ordained priest from Ukraine who was appointed administrator of a church nearby (which shall remain nameless). He entered into the church hall when the ladies were making pyrohy (monthly fundraiser) and exclaimed, "there is nothing better than Ukrainian pyrohy made by Ukrainian women!" Then one of the workers took him aside and told him (and he was understanding...) that he just insulted the head of the pyrohy project, who is an Italian woman!!! They don't consider themselves making Ukrainian pyrohy - they just make pyrohy!

This thread coincides well with the "Ethnic Parishes Good or Bad" thread in the parish life forum.

In the coal regions these Eastern Churches serve less as a way of preserving ethnic identity and more as a way of a beautiful and Catholic spiritual nourishment. Isn't this the goal?

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