Father Deacon El,
It was good to see you too, for our annual acquaintance and the privilege to attend the annual Compline. Father John mentioned that he saw me twice on EWTN at the Mass for Life. The great advantage of being part of the procession is that one has a reserved seat for this nearly 3 hour event.
Our main celebrant Very Reverend Bryan Eyman was in Virginia the night before and was iced in....fortunately he made it and we started late. The basilica had difficulty finding someone with the keys to the iconostas. After it was finally opened the north deacon door completely closed and re-locked, so we dealt with only two doors.
That glitch aside, the attendance wasn't bad for a transient audience. Just before we started we only had about five, but once the singing started we attracted more. After the precautionary and instructive announcement about receiving the Eucharist we had 15-20 communicants (quickly estimated count.) I was pleased and honored to make available the celebration of the Byzantine ritual of the Divine Liturgy. There are many hungry sheep looking for substance and inspiration in their celebration of praise to God and we were able to feed them. I talked in depth to two men who are very interested. They are of the type who contact us on this forum and the facebook Byzantine Catholics page for info.
Father James Ragan of the Pittsburgh Archeparchy rode down with me from Bedford, PA and concelebrated the Divine Liturgy and I am very grateful.
The Basilica was very friendly and helpful; some of the confusion was due to my anxiety and part due to disorganization probably because the chapel is used so seldom. I was pleasantly surprised how well stocked the sacristy was, even including a set of deacon vestments.
I'm inclined to want to make this an annual event, but don't want to exclude or "compete" with other Eastern Churches who may want to use the chapel. When I made initial contact with the Basilica I was told that the Chaldean Catholics inquired about use of the Crypt Church but it was already committed. The bishops would have to work out a rotating arrangement.
It was already a little too late after the March to join the Akathist at the Supreme Court and I apologize to Father Richard for that. I am not a city dweller and have an aversion to fighting beltway and I-270 rush hour traffic.
It was a delight to associate with my former diaconate classmates and current "seminarians" Deacon Joe Wargacki and Steve Casmus and to be in the procession with them. And finally my thanks to Bishop Kurt for his eparchial permission for the Divine Liturgy.