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Joined: Sep 2015
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Agapios Offline OP
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Good morning,

I'm doing some research on starting an Outreach church here in Boise. I need to find out who might be interested in attending, but I'm not sure how to go about this with it seeming like I'm poaching parishners from Latin Rite Churches. Does anyone have any ideas on how I can go about this without offending anyone before a church even gets started?

Thank you for your help beforehand. Peace and Blessing to all of you.


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I'd put an ad in the local diocesan newspaper. Perhaps ask permission to place up flyers in all the local parishes.

It's nice to remind folks that we are a universal church. It's not poaching, because it's a Catholic church.

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Here's a suggestion to run by Bishop Gerald or the Chancery Office.....
The laws and regulations of the Catholic Churches are guided by what we call Canon Law. These law say that one is a member of a Particular Church (Roman, Byzantine, Melkite, Ukrainian, etc) in which they are baptised. In a "mixed" Catholic marriage the family should belong to the Church of the husband. Children belong to the same Church until age 13 when they may choose on their own.
After your consultation with the Bishop, letters should be sent (preferably by the Eparchy) to the Roman parishes in your region (with cooperation of the local Roman bishop) requesting that pastors check their baptism/confirmation/matrimony records to see if there are any Eastern Church members, with their names and addresses sent to the Chancery.
This is a very formal and formidable project, but is probably the only way that you will get any cooperation, unless there is the unlikely chance that there is a bi-ritual priest in the diocese.
This may get you a few Catholic members but most likely you will have to evangelize to the unchurched. Good luck.

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Yes, and contact the chancery first. I reached out to the parishes near me (two dioceses, actually), and did not clear with the chanceries first. The one came back and covered my error, and has been in full support. The other did not. It is easier to leverage RC resources such as the diocesan newspapers and parish bulletins if you have a letter from the bishop or chancellor supporting or even mandating cooperation in your efforts. Otherwise, you will probably be ignored. Also, reach out to the various eparchies to see if they know anybody in your area, and can give get you contacts with other recent inquiries.

I started the process in April of 2014, and our Outreach was established in September (so we have had our first anniversary, glory to God!). It is a lot of work, but well worth it.

In Christ,
Adam

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Agapios Offline OP
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Thank you everyone!

God bless,

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What does an "outreach church" look like? What does one need to start? What activities/services would one offer?

Likewise, is contacting a chancery really the first step? Why not meet with a few friends/acquaintances privately or as a small prayer group?

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Meeting with a few friends as a prayer group is fine. However, that won't not work for the establishment of a community with a liturgical and sacramental life.

An Outreach is a canonically established community. In our case, we have an antimension from Bishop John (it says Byzantine Catholic Outreach in Iowa). We are one step below a mission, two below a parish. I think you have to have five to start. Anyway, we have to the right to meet, but the Eparchy does not have the obligation to provide regular sacramental services. However we since we have a deacon, we celebrate Typika with Communion almost every Sunday, and the priest who oversees our group comes out for the Mysteries as he can.

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Akemner, thank you for the reply. In addition to a Sunday typika, does your community have any other services? Reader Vespers, for example?

Also, out of curiosity, is this the same model used by all Greek Catholic jurisdictions (in the US or elsewhere)? That is to say, do all bishops have groups start as an "outreach", progress to a "mission" and finally to a "parish"?

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In Front Royal, Virginia Archbishop Stefan allowed us to begin as a full mission right from the beginning. We have had three Liturgies now, beginning with 67 attendees at the first. We are served with priests coming from the seminary in Washington. There was no "outreach" to begin our effort.

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Our issue is that our families are scattered over about 3500 square miles. We did try with regular Reader's vespers for several months, however, due to distances traveled (35 miles for us, 30 for our deacon-we are the closest to the space), and competing events in the church, both Saturday nights and Sunday mornings became unworkable. We will have vespers or paraklesis during the week from time to time.

When we have had Liturgies, we get differing attendences depending on the town we were in. In Columbus Junction, we've had 130 and 80 (mostly hispanics). In West Liberty, IA, it we've had 45. Typika we have either 13 or ca. 24 (depending which families can make it-some have to come from as far as 100 miles). We do not have the luxury of priests or high population density in our part of the country, so we do what we can.


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