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Byzantine Vocations

Posted By: Rev. Fr. Peter-Michael Preble

Byzantine Vocations - 10/18/02 10:47 AM

Greetings All,

I would like to have a discussion here about what we can do about the vocation situation in the Byzantine church. Now, let us not get into wheather we should be formed in Latin Seminaries or some other place, I think we have done that before. I am a very practical guy, what can we do to make the situation better, the present situation, that means no married guys. I don't agree, but we can do nothing about that now can we.
Posted By: Lemko Rusyn

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/18/02 02:47 PM

Is this, perhaps, the answer?

http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/20021008.htm
Posted By: Administrator

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/18/02 03:07 PM

LR,

A worthy topic in itself but I don't think that is what Peter had in mind.

Admin
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/18/02 03:24 PM

Dear Brother Preble,

The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church has many vocations in Ukraine - too many, one might say!

We have plenty of married priest vocations as well right here.

I may be simplifying things, but I think a good part of the problem in the Ruthenian Church is the big question mark with respect to married candidates getting ordained.

One problem I immediately saw, as someone literally surrounded by Presbyteras wink , was that when the issue of married candidates to the priesthood in the Ruthenian Church comes up, some of you immediately get on the topic of their "worthiness."

Is the worthiness of celibate candidates assumed by you?

Alex
Posted By: Joe T

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/20/02 12:40 PM

Br. Peter begins his thread with the typical Latin assumptions for "real" vocations: (1) the take-it-or-leave-it mandatory celibacy rule and (2) ignoring proper formation for Byzantine clergy within the context of our patrimony. These two factors ARE on the minds of everyone and have been issues of discussion when considering vocations and their formation. Removing the discussion on vocations from these two noticable problem areas makes such a discussion futile, if not useless.

Education outside that context is fine. There are not many Byzantine academies offering classes and/or degrees in our theological tradition. But being formed in the context of a Latin formation program is different. Been there, done that. It doesn't work. Byzantine theology becomes nothing but a Supplementary Catholicism. We run the risk of becoming a bag of Catholic Oreos: "real" Catholicism (Latin) in the inside and "supplemental" Catholicism (Byzantine) on the outside. This can only affirm the classic misnomer "Roman Catholics of the Byzantine Rite."

I think an open discussion WITHOUT Br. Peter's two restrictions would be better. No reason to continue playing the "Mommy, may I" game. Simply stating that there is nothing we can do about the celibacy rule is simply hogwash.
Posted By: Deacon John Montalvo

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/20/02 02:12 PM

Alex,

With his being a member of the Romanian Church, Br. Peter probably cannot speak to the Ruthenian situation.

As far as the vocations to the priesthood are concerned, I propose the following for consideration. They are in no particular order.

First, parishes need to supply vocation for their continued existence. So if a parish has not supplied a vocation to the priesthood, no resident priest can be assigned, when the pool of available priests shrinks further. Along with this it becomes encumbent upon the hierarchy to make the decision not to use bi-ritual priests for the reasons Joe T has presented.

Second, parishes need to educate parents as to their role in providing those vocations. We need to learn "to tithe" our children as well as our finances. Children are our gifts to the Church.

Third, our bishops and priests need to be involved with the process of calling men to the priesthood in a more informal way. Speaking to a number of priests and deacons, I discovered a number of pursued their vocation because the bishop or priest commented that they should become a priest or deacon. This was done not in some formal setting, but in an informal gathering. In my own situation, the then Bishop of Van Nuys, George Kuzma, asked me to consider the diaconate after a First Friday Fish Fry at our parish.

Fourth, we need some direction from our hierarchs regarding dispensing the celibacy issue for presbyteral ordination. How long have we had our particular law?

John
Posted By: ByzantineAscetic

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/20/02 06:38 PM

Slava Isusu Christu!

Give me 10 years and i will be ordained a Byzantine Catholic Capuchin Franiscan Priest.
In Greece.

From: Daniel
In The Holy+Theotokos
Posted By: Two Lungs

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/20/02 06:42 PM

Dear Bisantino,

I think all four of your points are valid. I think they can be paired together. Parish vocations will come based on encouragement and support from the families in the parish. However, ruling out bi-ritual priests might increase the difficulty of establishing new mission parishes.

The informal approach by a Bishop to a candidate would seem to be the way move toward married priests. The candidate and the Bishop would have to figure out how to get the man to move to Pittsburgh for study and still take care of his family obligations. This will probably require a very indivivualized approach, depending on the wife's career prospects and the children's needs.

The first married candidates are likely to be older men, who have raised their children and can relocate more easily.

John
Pilgrim and Odd Duck
Posted By: Steven

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/20/02 07:38 PM

Quote
Parish vocations will come based on encouragement and support from the families in the parish. However ruiling out bi-ritual Priests might increase the difficulty of establishing new mission parishes.
Very true. I know in Southeastern Pennsylvania Byzantine Catholic Mission Parishes have not only been established, but thrived because of bi-ritual Priests. Specifically the Byzantine Catholic Mission in Hilltown and the Byzantine Catholic Church at 24 and South in Philadelphia. Also in Olyphant the UGCC and Byzantine Catholic Churches have been sharing duties for years. But I also agree that the partnership should be kept Byzantine Catholic.
Posted By: Joe T

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/20/02 07:45 PM

Bisantino John makes good sense. John P & OD follows with comments about doing studies at Pittsburgh with family. We should consider the possibility, I say the possibility, that when our bishops get off the fence and make a decision and permit married priests that seminary studies, if done at Pittsburgh, be done while they are still young, already have a college degree (never know when you'll need it administering a tiny parish while needing additional income from some tent-making job), and remain single until after completing theological studies. Several seminarians from our churches on the other side of the pond tell me that marriage during studies is not permitted and that they must wait until they are complete. But if our bishops make a decision tomorrow on accepting men who intend to marry before ordination and after completing studies, it will take four to eight years to start getting ordinations and filling the vacant parishes or sending them out to missions. I believe the church can make allowances for those candidates who are mature and educated enough to handle priestly ministry until a regular, up-front, open, "we now offer married priesthood" ministry is actually offered and promoted.

But promoting vocations is easier than one may think - as Bisantino Juan tells us. Gott watch them fish fries!

What is wrong with going up to some man in the parish and telling him that you think he should consider some form of ministry, deaconate or priesthood? Pious humility may prevent some from considering it, thinking it is for others. But if a number of parishioners convey that they think that someone should seriously look into it (in the spirit of popular axios), then some may get to thinking. What would a man think if several families got together and told him that they will sponsor his studies for a year (deaconate or priesthood) to see if it was really for him? How about grabbing those men who just finished their college degree - or about to - and offering them the same?
Posted By: Deacon John Montalvo

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/21/02 02:41 AM

Another proposal is positive peer pressure.

I am the catechist for the 7th and 8th grade. Instead of following the book, we had a discussion on this vocation issue. It was quite surprising to find out that a number of the boys have thought about the priesthood but are a bit timid or unsure. One boy thought God would reveal the call through a major tragedy in his life. One of the girls stated that her brother has thought about it, but she said, "my brother, yeah, right".

We opened the bible to Mark's Gospel (3:21) where Jesus' relatives thought he was out of his mind. The discussion centered on encouraging their peers who are discerning a priestly or monastic vocation rather than thinking them odd.

John
Posted By: Rev. Fr. Peter-Michael Preble

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/21/02 10:34 AM

Joe T,

I find it hard to believe that I have typical Latin assumptions, since I am not Latin, anway, lets see what we can do.

What, in your mind, is the proper formation for Byzantine clergy within the context of our patrimony?

As far as your first point, unless your a bishop, and I don't know it, there is nothing we or you can do about the celibacy thing right now.

When was the last time you were educated in a latin seminary, recently, last year, 10 years?

As I have mentioned on several occasions on this board, the program that we have here in Boston is not the best, but it is getting the job done. I am a big supporter of education for the clergy. I am not sure how much time you have in pastoral settings, but there are many questions being asked by the people right now, that a non educated priest would have a very hard time answering. Perhaps where your from, you don't mind a superficial religious experience, but I feel that our people need something more than just a touchy feely type of thing.

The mission parish that I am assigned to shares space with the Romanian Orthodox parish. The priest is a wonderful, holy man, married by the way, but his theology is very weak, and his people do not have the slightest idea about many things. They feel that if they sit downstairs and drink coffee while liturgy is going on, then they have been to liturgy.

I realize that we have a crisis, but I do not think that means we should short change our people by sending people out, married or not, who are not prepared. Minsitry is very difficult, and if you do not have the right preparation, academic, spiritual, human, pastoral, then they guy will leave or, God forbid, his people leave.

If we are going to be with Rome, then we have to play by all the rules, not just the ones we like. I wuld suggest you read the Apostolic Exhortation, by our Pope, Pastores Dabo Vobis, and also the documents by, our US Bishops conference regarding the formation of the clergy.

What I was looking for was how do we get more young people, and I will admit that we need a married clergy, interested in the life and ministry of the priest? If we can answer that question, then the rest will take care of itself.

Well, off to my "take-it-or-leave-it, Latin assumption, overerly academic, seminary studies.

Pace Domnului

Peter
Posted By: Joe T

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/21/02 11:55 AM

Dear Brother Peter,

"I am a big supporter of education for the clergy."

Me too, but are you confusing academic education with formation?

"I am not sure how much time you have in pastoral settings,"

I learned early on to watch where I sit in pastures. Learned my lesson while visiting my uncle's farm in Marstellar, PA. wink

"but there are many questions being asked by the people right now, that a non educated priest would have a very hard time answering."

There's nothing more dangerous than good intentions combined with stupidity.

"Perhaps where your from, you don't mind a superficial religious experience,"

Only in my seminary days, but only for a few moments here and there. Then I sobered up. A few tough nights at the college pub, ya know.

"but I feel that our people need something more than just a touchy feely type of thing."

Who is suggesting that?

"I do not think that means we should short change our people by sending people out, married or not, who are not prepared."

Who is suggesting that?

"If we are going to be with Rome, then we have to play by all the rules..."

Then there is to be no discussion further than what the US Bishops Conference decides for us. Like the Gospel lesson, we are to become circumcised unto the Law of the Latin Church first. Good luck in your studies.

I should probably remind you that the two problems are: (1) proper formation, which includes academics, in the context of our patrimony and (2) addressing the imposed mandatory celibacy law - as we consider vocations.

Joe
Posted By: Rev. Fr. Peter-Michael Preble

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/21/02 12:52 PM

Joe,

It seems to me we agree moret han we disagree, and that is a good thing.

"Me too, but are you confusing academic education with formation?"

The way I look at the formation process, and perhaps it is my latin again, but I think that formation needs to be intergrated. Academic, pastoral, spiritual, and human. All four need to be intergrated in the formation process. Thank goodness the program is not heavy on academics, or I would be bagging groceries at the supermarket. I think the program, as it is laid out, is very intergrated.

I think that we need a married clergy, as I stated before, the question then comes, how can they do it? I think you need to be at a seminary, in residence, to make it work.

Holy Cross, here in Boston, has mostly married people preparing for ministry. They have housing for them, and they are actually considering starting a school for the kids right on campus. I think something like that could be worked out, or why not just use either Holy Cross of St. Vlad's, a wonderful place by the way.

Anyway, lets keep chatting.

Peter
Posted By: Ung-Certez

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/21/02 11:13 PM

eek What it all boils down to is the fact that celibacy is the ultimate Latinization of some Eastern Catholics (i.e. Ruthenian Metropolia)here in North America. If Rome wants us to be true to our Eastern patrimony, it needs to come out and say it is o.k. for all Eastern Catholic particular churches in north America to ordain married men! Case closed!!

Ung-Certez
Posted By: Logos - Alexis

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/22/02 01:06 AM

Amen Brother Ben.
Posted By: Joe T

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/22/02 01:11 AM

"If Rome wants us to be true to our Eastern patrimony, it needs to come out and say it is o.k. for all Eastern Catholic particular churches in north America to ordain married men!"

Um ... well ... maybe not Rome, but maybe our bishops? Huh? Who was/were ultimately responsible for the fine kettle of fish we have been in for over 70+ years? Rome? Nope. It boils down to our bishops, my friend. Case still open.
Posted By: sam

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/22/02 02:04 AM

Question for Steven from Phila:
Wondering what bi-ritual priests are you referring to in the Hilltown mission?
In my memory, this hard-working mission was squashed by its bishop, due to 'lack' of membership and $$$, just as St. Jude's mission in NJ was closed.

Is there a new Ruthenian mission in Phila?
Can you provide more info?
THanks,
Sam
Posted By: Steven

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/22/02 02:31 AM

Dear Sam,

www.byzcath.org/users/holyghostph

As far as I know the Mission in Hilltown is still there.
Posted By: Diak

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/22/02 05:06 AM

Why does only Pittsburgh seem to be under consideration?

There are other successful institutions of Eastern Christian studies with larger and more diverse faculties with a much wider range of resources at hand.

We have married priest candidates in the UGCC studying at St. Paul in and also Holy Spirit Seminary. St. Paul University has a doctorate program through the Sheptytsky Institute, the only such program in Eastern Christian Studies in North America. So in that case there is already an established seminary as well as a world-class Eastern Christian academic institution and exceptional faculty (Catholic and Orthodox).

The seminary cannot feasibly take the place of an established advanced center of Eastern Christian studies such as St. Paul's/Sheptytsky Institute or St. Vladimir's.

Instead of reinventing the wheel and trying to build up a faculty now working with only half a dozen or so vocations, which will take a considerable time and financial investment, wouldn't the money and resources be better spent getting some good married candidates formed at institutions existing which have a proven track record in Eastern Christian academics?

This seems more sensible than backtracking to prop up the infrastructure to try to compete with institutions like St. Vladimir's and St. Paul's/Sheptytsky Institute.

More competition amongst ourselves...that's the American Greek Catholic way.
Posted By: Herbigny

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/22/02 12:12 PM

Good idea Diak!

A little inter-ecclesial unity and exchange!

Cross-fertilization in this case would only strengthen and promote (rather than dilute) our Orthodoxy.

We seem to have little problem getting together with the Latins. But rarely do we get together amongst fellow OrthodoxInCommunionWithRome. Why is that, esp. amongst fellow Byzantine Churches?

A case of: "if we don't hang together..."

It might also help with "dark side" of some of our Churches' over emphasis on ethnicity.

herb.
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/22/02 01:32 PM

Dear Herbigny,

Your point on ethnicity is excellent!

I've often thought the Ruthenians far too nationalistic for their own good! wink

It is the kind of tunnel-visioned nationalism that prevents them from associating with Ukies and makes them want to maintain their own ethnic ghetto at all costs! smile

What's wrong with our perogies (O.K. Diak, "pyrohy")?

Alex
Posted By: StuartK

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/22/02 02:43 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Diak:
This seems more sensible than backtracking to prop up the infrastructure to try to compete with institutions like St. Vladimir's and St. Paul's/Sheptytsky Institute.
I'm all for outsourcing the training of Byzantine Catholic clergy to the Orthodox. That would allow us to focus on our core competencies, which seem to be bingo, pirohis, polkas, and kvetching.
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/22/02 02:58 PM

Dear Mar Stuart,

As far what I know of Ruthenians, you've no argument from me! smile smile

But, really, All Wise One, can't you say anything positive about your Church?

Are you the only good apple in the Ruthenian bushel? wink

What would St John Chrysostom say about that?

p.s. What is "kvetching?"

Alex
Posted By: Sharon Mech

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/22/02 03:58 PM

Alex,

I thought your Yiddish was better than that! biggrin

To kvetch is to complain.

Cheers from da Jew..

Sharon
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/22/02 04:01 PM

Dear Mother Sharon,

B'shem haAv, v'haBen, v'Ruach haKodesh, Elohim echod, Amen!

Shalom!

Yiddish? What's Yiddish? wink

Thanks for the transliteration!

You are great, no kvetchen about that . . .

In Yeshua haMashiach and Miriam,

Ba shana haba Bi-Yerushalayim!

Barush haShem Adonai!

(Are you impressed yet? wink ).

Alex
Posted By: Joe T

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/22/02 04:28 PM

Alex,

Do you not think we overly-nationalistic Ruthenians (assuming we have a nation somewhere!) are excellent in our core competencies? A number of our layfolks and clergy are earning their Eastern Theology at Orthodox programs, including the one with the Antiochians.

Joe
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/22/02 06:22 PM

Dear Cantor Joe,

I didn't say you guys weren't competent, I was commenting on Stuart's comment that you aren't competent.

Ask your question of your fellow Ruthenian Catholic, Mar Stuart.

And stop kvetching wink

Alex
Posted By: Dmitri Rostovski

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/22/02 06:32 PM

I have often felt a unified Greek Catholic Church is exactly what we need (at least among the slavs) in this country. Take the Ukrainian or Ruthenian name off the churches and put them under one Metropolitan (or Cardinal) in the US. Perhaps then we would have the resources to really make a stand for our praxis. With us and our Melkite (and Oriental) conterparts, we could really be a presence in this coutry. Just an idea...

Dmitri

P.S. Weren't the Ukrainians and Ruthenians one Church at one time? What happened?
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/22/02 06:40 PM

Dear Dmitri,

Yes, we were one Church.

We give "schism" a whole new modern meaning . . .

But I see no reason why we can't be together somehow and yet maintain our obvious cultural differences.

That way, Ukrainians can benefit from the more advanced Byzantine Ruthenians liturgically, and Ruthenians can benefit from our more advanced ecclesial infrastructure like seminaries and support for married priests etc.

I don't know why Ruthenians SEEM to distrust Ukies more than Russians or RC's.

Or is it just my imagination?

Alex
Posted By: Administrator

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/22/02 11:15 PM

Quote
Originally posted by StuartK:
I'm all for outsourcing the training of Byzantine Catholic clergy to the Orthodox. That would allow us to focus on our core competencies, which seem to be bingo, pirohis, polkas, and kvetching.
I think that Stuart needs a time out until he learns how to speak with respect.
Posted By: NDHoosier

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/22/02 11:30 PM

I've often wondered why we don't cooperate with the Ukrainians more.
Posted By: Joe T

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/22/02 11:52 PM

Administrator,

I don't know if Stuart needs a "time out" or not, but his comments remind me of a humorous incident, which calls to mind one of Stuart's core competencies.

A few years back, my wife and I were sponsored to attend the National Association of Pastoral Musicians convention in Pittsburgh, PA. On the Wednesday of that week, a Byzantine vesper service was to be celebrated at the local Ukrainian Catholic church in town. But because of the great number of people who signed up to go the vesper service was relocated to our Cathedral in Munhall. While hitching a ride with my wife on the bus filled with Dr. Vladimir Morosan's impromptu choir members (including my wife), our bus driver got kinda lost on the south side while looking for our cathedral on the scanty directions he received. How did we finally discover its location as it sat down the drive behind some greenery? Easy. The big BINGO sign at the entrance gave it away! Everyone yelled on the bus for the bus driver to stop. "Stop!" we all said, "This must be the place! 'Cause there is a BINGO sign, therefore they must be Catholic!" Everyone busted out laughing. He had to back up almost 100 feet before being able to steer into the drive. Thank God for our core competency of BINGO, because if it wasn't for that big sign (we never noticed any onion domes or church signs) we would have missed vespers for the Feast of Vladimir.

As for "outsourcing" to the Orthodox programs, my pastor earned his doctorate with the Antiochians approved by our former bishop. Currently, a few more folks are attending Orthodox programs, including the one I just mentioned.

As for the core competency of pirohis, I've discovered that more will show up at times to make pirohis rather than attend Pre-Sanctified Liturgy. This is sad.
Posted By: Diak

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/23/02 12:49 AM

Actually Alex, I'll take "varenyky" instead of that other Polonized term... biggrin

It goes back to the Kyivan Patriarchate issue. It really could be a means for a much more unified and strengthened Slavic Greek Catholic church worldwide.

And as pointed out sooo many times, the hypernationalisms that exacerbated the ethnic splits after the death of Kyr Soter in the USA are now history. We were a semi-united Greek Catholic Church at one time in the US. We really do need to pool resources and talents - look at what St. Vladimir's did for Orthodox academic studies. They have cross-jurisdictional faculty.

On a tangent - anyone catch Patriarch Lubomyr's remarks placing some of the problems with the current ecumenical situation squarely on Rome? Vitaemo Patriarshche!
Posted By: Steven

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/23/02 01:10 AM

Slava Isusu Christu!

Dear friends,

I would only agree to unity if Father Elias was made one of our Bishops.
Posted By: Hieromonk Elias

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/23/02 01:13 AM

Some worthy questions. Church cooperation, the ethnic question, and the ecumenical task are rightly some of the recurring discussions on this board. However our Brother Peter asked for constructive ideas about vocations in the Byzantine Church.

This also is an urgent question. Surely we might be able to come up with some positive, forward looking, ... even visionary ideas? I remember the video that the seminary in Pittsburgh produced a few years ago, as they began a fund raising programme. I shall never forget the closing sentence from the late Metropolitan Judson. He said, without vocations, without seminarians to serve our Church as priests, our Church would be in "grave difficulty".

I do not think we are far from being there. What is the way of the future?

Bisantino offered some good suggestions. But one of these sounded like the "nomination" programme initiated a couple of years ago. It was a concentrated structure of prayer, discernment, (a special icon) and ended with identifying vocation candidates. Sadly, it seemed that this brought forward no one!

Are there others programmes we might try? Are there other programmes which work? Can our Brother Peter's question be answered?

Is God not calling? Surely he wants to provide good ministers of the mysteries and servants of the Gospel? Are we as a Church not listening?

There must be a way forward... I hope so, or our late Metropolitan's fears will be realised.
Posted By: Joe T

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/23/02 02:38 AM

Fr. Elias,

One problem is the dearth of information on vocations. I wouldn't be too surprised if a pole was taken in our parishes with questions about those vocations offered and most would be clueless. I'm not trying to be cynical or negative here, just candid.

We tried that vocation icon and "Called by Name" program, but it soon died. How can one in a parish recommend vocations if they (1) don't know about vocation programs or what it is all about, (2) never met a nun or monk or rarely if ever seen or met their bishop to even think it was worthy to recommend, and (3) it is rarely explained to the people.

Something so serious to be written down on an index card? Who's being serious?

I've posted this many times before: COMMUNICATION. Out of sight; out of mind. And most of the time it is not on anyone's mind.

I cannot help but notice how the Lincoln, Nebraska Diocese recently built their own seminary and it is full. The same goes for the traditional Latin seminary in the same diocesan environs. What is their secret?

I contacted the seminaries and received packets of information explaining it all. They even sent me an application to begin the process of enrolling!!! They mean business and the people are informed what their mission is.

Many parents have given up on recommending a mandatory celibate priesthood to their sons. Some state that they are waiting for the day when married priests are allowed. Many want nothing to do with priesthood for their sons since all the bad publicity about homosexuals and pedophiles have turned them off.

Yet, some churches have high enrollment of seminarians and monks and nuns despite the media publicity of crisis.

I once posted a "positive suggestion" thread with many of my own ideas and observations. I cannot tell you how hard I tried to prevent myself from getting a bit angered. Stuart needed some time off for his comments, according to some, but he is absolutely correct. We fight a lot in our churches. We can't even get our identity straight, no less our grasp for mission and evangelization. Where ARE we headed? Do we know? Any clues? Who wants to be involved in a messy identity crisis?

"Hey, look at them Ruthenians! They've been here 100+ years and they STILL can't figure themselves out!"

Again, I am not being sarcastic, however some may want to interpret it. Our liturgical reforms have hit many over the years like a load of bricks. It is here that I again suggest that we put our liturgical reform gears in "park" and shift to more critical issues: future clergy.

Though greatly needed, many parishioners have been turned off with the now urgency to get back to more orthodox ways. That soured attitude is brewed day in and day out at home thus rubbing off on the minds and conscious of our youth. After graduation, most teens disappear.

The failed attempt to restore optional celibacy for our priests has also took the wind out of the vocation sails. Too many mixed signals and deadening silence.

We can suggest all the positive ideas we want, but before we put on the cologne or perfume, we must clean up. Shoot me for being blunt, but another vocation program won't do the trick. We need to hear from our bishops on many issues.
Posted By: Dr John

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/23/02 02:48 AM

I've read the above comments. I personally believe that we shall all have to hang together (as noted above) lest we hang separately.

As a moderator, I was somewhat chagrined to note Stuart K's comment about "core competencies". It is, in my opinion, not an appropriate comment about the Ruthenian/Byzantine Church. It lacks the universal charity that should be characteristic of the Church and its members.

There is, unfortunately, a tendency amongst the book-learned to look down upon the more "folksy" practices of the greater community and to highlight these as the "cardinal virtues" of the (real) worshipping parochial community. While the vast majority of our people(s) are not theologically sophisticated, nor, in many cases, college educated, THEY nonetheless are the ones who have preserved the very church which the book-learned venerate. To castigate the folksy ethnicity is inappropriate, because by doing so one denigrates the very people who have kept the faith alive.

While there might be a castle in Spain somewhere where the theological faith is practiced in some sort of angelic purity, here on earth it is inextricably linked to the living, breathing people who constitute the Church. While some might appreciate the Arab/Melkite manifestation, others prefer the Ukrainian or Ruthenian, and some respond spiritually to the Greek paradigm. But there is NO WAY that one can be a Byzantine Christian without being a part of one group or another.

Even if one intends to be an “American Byzantine”, the very organic development of our Church means that it has to have come from somewhere -- and that “somewhere” lies in the various ethnic communities of our ancestors who cared enough to preserve the faith.

If one is offended by pierogies/pyrohi, kielbasa/kolbassy, or Stanky and the Pennsylvania Coal Miners, then perhaps it is time to move on from the Ruthenian community, because this is an integral part of the history and living memory of the community. But one will find no succor among the Ukrainian people for they love the same things (although with different names). Same for the Polski’s. And good luck with the Serbs, Romanians, Albanians or Greeks.

So, unless Orbitz has a special fare to the Castles of Spain, one is stuck in the pedestrian reality of the people in the worshipping Church. And that means pierogi, kolbassi, beer, polkas, and the ever-venerable Chicken Dance.

Blessings!
Posted By: Joe T

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/23/02 03:17 AM

Dr. John,

With all due respect, I am one of those great-grandsons of Ruthenian immigrants (from Kojsov, Slovakia) who came to work in the coal mines of central PA, and find Stuart's comments hitting square on the nail. Sometimes it takes someone coming from the outside (knowing he was a convert) to say it like it is.

There is time when we have to quit navel-gazing and basing the future of our religion on pirohi recipes. The "hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil" monkey policy will only kill us. We have problems that need to be addressed ... and quickly.

I know/knew parishes that bulge with numbers for a fish fry but their temples are much less filled (rarely any children). Will the children and grandchildren of the Fish Fry group be around to start new missions?

Tradition is the handing down of the faith. My father learned his bible stories while husking corn on the farmstead while baba told stories. Socials are great, one can get a great bargain on dinners now and then. But if we are better at pinching pieroghis than knowing one's faith, then the evangelicals will beat us to a pulp. The armor and weapons Paul mentions isn't the pot and cookie cutter.

Your comments about educated laity is demeaning if not unfair. Many of those 'academic' folks you find easy to castigate come from those "unedubecated" families. It was that faith inspired piety of their families, parents and grandparents, that often prompted many to learn more. It is a grave mistake to think that those from academia are just mere book-knowledged dolts with sand in their head. Many do offer back to their faith communities their time and their services either by teaching as catechists, leading hymns by cantoring, administering practical aspects of the parish finances, or even pinching pieroghis ... and enjoying it every step of the way.
Posted By: Rev. Fr. Peter-Michael Preble

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/23/02 10:22 AM

Greetings All,

I find the continuing argument about families not mentioning the priesthood to their sons because of celabacy thing bunk. I am living in a latin seminary, an the place is full, and guess what, they have the celebacy thing. God is calling, the problem is noone is listening because we keep fighting about the same things.

Another problem I see, as far as getting butts in the seats, is that there are not many dynamic preachers out there. The parishes that are flourishing during liturgy have dynamic preachers and great programs for the kids, yes and fish frys.

This directly relates back to the education question we dicussed before. Preaching is an art. It needs to be taught. Yes its a gift, but it needs to be nurtured. This can;t be done through the mail or over the internet.

We have real problems folks. If we dont get people to come forward, then we wont have to worry abour perogies, or salmale, or anything like that. We will all be singing hymns at the local latin parish.

Peter
Posted By: Joe T

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/23/02 10:50 AM

"This directly relates back to the education question we dicussed before. Preaching is an art. It needs to be taught. Yes its a gift, but it needs to be nurtured. This can;t be done through the mail or over the internet."

Who is suggesting learning via mail or over the Internet? Did I miss something?

"I find the continuing argument about families not mentioning the priesthood to their sons because of celabacy thing bunk."

Whatever you wish to think. But a bad taste was left in many mouths back ten years ago in our neck of the woods. There is still hope for possible vocations with some who remained. We are working on it. It is not so much parents who aren't mentioning celibate preisthood, but the deadening silence from the non-laity.

This reminds me of Walter E. William's proverbial wisdom: If the servers don't eat at the restaraunt they work at and the cooks don't eat there, what is one to think? The "uneducated" laity in the pew (assuming that the laity are stupid like some may think) sense the unwillingness to promote vocations outside a vocation icon program or not-so-serious called by name program. [Slips were handed out one day and that was that. Here was a great opportunity for the laity to exercise their right for popular proclamation ("Axios!") in their own backyard but the seriousness of it all wasn't sensed. Did they actually feel that their words counted? Was there any follow-up? Was it just another shot in the dark?]

What am I supposed to think when hardly anything is promoted or written about such vocations in our newspapers? What AM I supposed to pray for? Does anyone know who their eparchial seminarians are? Do they know the names and parishes where their deacon-students and candidates are from? Are they made aware of the programs that are out there? Do they know we have a seminary or its whereabouts? Can they name any names of nuns? Do they know at least three names and locations of existing monasteries? Do they know the name of their bishop and where the cathedral is located? If I read the newspaper and only get cut-and-paste journalism [here is our official Byzantine news service: http://www.parma.org/cns.htm ] about other particular churches, then the answer is clear and distinct (to use one philosopher's phrase).

We have to get the word out. It's all about COMMUNICATION, not another blue-ribbon panel. I feel positive about our new church leadership. I feel they have the potential to do much good. Unfortunately, our Metropolia is one of the only particular churches that doesn't have their own official website on this continent.
Posted By: Administrator

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/23/02 02:35 PM

Quote
Joe Thur wrote to Dr. John:
With all due respect, I am one of those great-grandsons of Ruthenian immigrants (from Kojsov, Slovakia) who came to work in the coal mines of central PA, and find Stuart's comments hitting square on the nail. Sometimes it takes someone coming from the outside (knowing he was a convert) to say it like it is.
Stuart’s choice to focus on sarcasm and insult rather than the building up of the Church has rendered his voice to be meaningless. I am saddened that he has chosen to remove himself from the conversation since I think he may actually have something worth saying.

I agree with Joe Thur about the need for better communication in our Church. That is exactly the reason I started this website. The dozen or so e-mails I receive each day with questions about Byzantine Catholicism indicate that people are interested in our witness of Jesus Christ. We, as lay Byzantine Catholics, need to find ways to work with our bishops to build. We’ve had endless conversations about the problems. At some point we need to move the focus from the problem to the solution.

Quote
Br. Peter wrote:
I find the continuing argument about families not mentioning the priesthood to their sons because of celabacy thing bunk. I am living in a latin seminary, an the place is full, and guess what, they have the celebacy thing. God is calling, the problem is noone is listening because we keep fighting about the same things.

Another problem I see, as far as getting butts in the seats, is that there are not many dynamic preachers out there. The parishes that are flourishing during liturgy have dynamic preachers and great programs for the kids, yes and fish frys.
The Latin seminaries that are flourishing are those with a very strong concentration on prayer, liturgy and sound, orthodox Latin theology. At the risk of repeating myself too often, everything flows from the liturgy. We need to make a prayerful, well-celebrated and well-sung liturgy the focus of our parish lives. When we have good liturgy everything else falls into place. Without the celebration of good liturgy not much else is possible.

Admin
Posted By: Hieromonk Elias

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/23/02 02:52 PM

I am afraid I have to agree with our friend Joe on this point. Communication is vital and absolutely key to this question. Vocations must be a subject of our preaching and teaching. Of course God calls to the ministry. But the formation of these vocations from the first suggestion of a call is an important ministry and responsibility of ours (i.e. of the whole Church).

I have heard from one source that at the moment there are no new candidates for the priesthood for next year, and that the cut-off date for "first application" the next class of diaconate has passed. Very few have sent in the initial petition for this diaconal formation programme, (so sadly, it will be a much much smaller group than the 1st class), and of course the "discernment" and acceptance process is only beginning for them.

Am I wrong, surely it can't be that God is not calling ministers to serve his people in these days? Is everyone aware that in Pittsburgh a new diaconate formation programme will begin next summer (2003)?

Don't just say there are problems in the Church... so what is new? I dare say, there have been problems in the Church since the apostolic age. The Fathers of the Church were addressing problems, and faced crises of all kinds. To me, problems could just as well encourage vocations, as there is nothing like a challenge to create interest and enthusiasm for being part of a solution. It is complacency we must battle!

If we are "the Church", what can we do? I think it is wrong to put the responsibility on bishops and vocations' directors. They are few, and this is a big country. They have many trials and urgencies to deal with every day. Of course they want vocations, but they are also trying to manage eparchies stretched over vast territories, and very often our vocations' directors are also pastors of busy parishes and on other 'commissions' as well. I am not making excuses for them, but only saying that we can be part of a solution, as much as identifying the crisis and its causes.

This forum is one method of communication about our Church's need and our programmes of formation and education. But of course, it only reaches this forum's good readership. What is the best way to communicate to the rest of our Church? Can we help? How can we adequately communicate this vital need, and positively encourage a generous response to God's call?

Elias
Posted By: Hieromonk Elias

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/23/02 02:58 PM

I cannot agree more with our esteemed administrator, on the subject of a renewed prayer life, and a worthy experience of Liturgy. It is from our Liturgy that the 'call' comes. That is true for me certainly, and it was the love of the Liturgy that brought me to serve as a monastic and as a priest. One obvious response to this crisis is a dedication to the authentic renewal and revitalization of our Liturgical experience as monasteries, parishes, and as a Church.
Posted By: Joe T

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/23/02 03:44 PM

Fr. Elias asked: "Is everyone aware that in Pittsburgh a new diaconate formation programme will begin next summer (2003)?"

Fr. Elias,

Short answer: No. I assume it will start, but nothing official.

Longer answer: To date, I have not seen any literature, announcement, or otherwise in my parish from Pittsburgh or Parma that there will be another deaconate program. I did receive my annual eparchial stewardship appeal form though.

"I think it is wrong to put the responsibility on bishops and vocations' directors."

But what exactly is the job of a church overseer? For things to work efficiently in any organizational endeavor, responsibility must equal authority. Things begin to buckle down when some have all the authority and no responsbility and some who have all the responsibility but no authority.

Many Latin dioceses have lay folks assisting in the application process of vocations (and interviewing candidates) before the bishop ever hears about the applicant. This way nobody has to hear the director complain about being "too busy" with other things to direct. If we don't think going out and beating paths to the doors of potential vocations is important ...
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/23/02 04:39 PM

Dear Dr. John,

Well, for someone who is as learned as you, you certainly know all about us folksy unlearned types!

We had a priest with two doctorates from Rome, both on the Eastern Church.

He had no connection whatever with the real life situation of his parishioners and made no attempt to do so.

He once read the Gospel at the Resurrection Mattins in, count 'em, twelve languages.

What the heck did our parish need to hear the Gospel in all those languages for? When someone mentiond this to him later, he just retorted, "So what? All those people are idiots . . ."

Let the theologians and scripture scholars do their thing, it is important.

But until our way of training priests isn't more focused on the actual lives of the parishioners, we will continue in our current state, for the most part.

You provide us all with the reality check we need.

The sarcasm we were subjected to above could, in truth, have ONLY come from a convert.

Alex
Posted By: Joe T

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/23/02 04:56 PM

Alex,

Are you suggesting we dump the seminary program? Is education useless and ineffective in pastoral ministry? We can dump education altogether and all become sycophants.

The case you mention is of one priest who was rude. Do we castigate ALL priests because of the rudeness of one? Do we castigate ALL priests because one may be a pedophile? Are all priests pedophiles and rude? See where the fallacy leads?

We make the mistake in assuming that our laity are nothing but an ignorant and uneducated horde of illiterate serfs. Many of the laity I know have professional degrees (read: all educated) and are employed in professional areas in all walks of life. Most of their children are sent to colleges too. The "actual lives of parishioners" also includes the relentless pursuit of education and re-education. No reason to hold the laity in such contempt. They deserve better credit.
Posted By: Administrator

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/23/02 05:01 PM

Joe,

Why do you always look to interpret things in the most negative light possible? Alex’s post was clearly one that supported both academic AND pastoral formation. The need for a complete and balanced formation program has been much discussed here. If I, as an uneducated layman, can see this surely you, with all your education and degrees, should be able to see this.

Admin
Posted By: Joe T

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/23/02 05:20 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Administrator:
Joe,

Why do you always look to interpret things in the most negative light possible? Alex's post was clearly one that supported both academic AND pastoral formation. The need for a complete and balanced formation program has been much discussed here. If I, as an uneducated layman, can see this surely you, with all your education and degrees, should be able to see this.

Admin
Adm,

I was only commenting on Alex's negative post. I agree that formation needs to include a bit of everything and keep balanced. But to owe the rudeness of the priest to his two doctorate degrees is ridicule and one-sided. The problem lies deeper in the priest's personality and not the value or dis-value of education. Alex should recognize this.
Posted By: Hieromonk Elias

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/23/02 05:29 PM

Dear Joe,

I thank you for a good suggestion. "Many Latin diocese have a full time vocations co-ordinator". This could be a layman or a religious of course! Is there someone or somehow we can fund the salary and benefits of a suitable professional person who would be able and willing to take on this task? I would be all for it!

Elias
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/23/02 05:31 PM

Posted By: Joe T

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/23/02 05:35 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Hieromonk Elias:
Dear Joe,

I thank you for a good suggestion. "Many Latin diocese have a full time vocations co-ordinator". This could be a layman or a religious of course! Is there someone or somehow we can fund the salary and benefits of a suitable professional person who would be able and willing to take on this task? I would be all for it!

Elias
Dear Fr. Elias,

I believe I wrote, "Many Latin dioceses have lay folks assisting in the application process of vocations ..." Of course, these assistants are volunteers, namely deacons and their spouses, since they are intimately cognizant of the process and demands of their ministry. The cost if FREE! smile I'm unaware of full-time paid vocations coordinators anywhere.
Posted By: Hieromonk Elias

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/23/02 05:36 PM

Thanks for the correction, I apologize for misreading the post.
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/23/02 05:42 PM

Bless me a sinner, Father Elias,

There's been alot of that going around on this thread lately.

Alex
Posted By: Hieromonk Elias

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/23/02 05:54 PM

God blesses you!

So I see!
Posted By: Deacon John Montalvo

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/23/02 05:59 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Hieromonk Elias:
I am afraid I have to agree with our friend Joe on this point. Communication is vital and absolutely key to this question. Vocations must be a subject of our preaching and teaching. Of course God calls to the ministry. But the formation of these vocations from the first suggestion of a call is an important ministry and responsibility of ours (i.e. of the whole Church).

I have heard from one source that at the moment there are no new candidates for the priesthood for next year, and that the cut-off date for "first application" the next class of diaconate has passed. Very few have sent in the initial petition for this diaconal formation programme, (so sadly, it will be a much much smaller group than the 1st class), and of course the "discernment" and acceptance process is only beginning for them.

Am I wrong, surely it can't be that God is not calling ministers to serve his people in these days? Is everyone aware that in Pittsburgh a new diaconate formation programme will begin next summer (2003)?

...
Elias
Fr Hieromonk,

I cannot agree more. Communication is the missing link. The called by name program provided the vocation director with 34 contacts in Van Nuys. The fruit of this effort will not be realized overnight. Although I am not aware of what is going on in the other eparchies at least 10+ applications for the diaconate program were sent out by the vocation director. The cohort from Van Nuys may well exceed the first in terms of numbers. Additionally, Hegumen Nicholas of HRM reported that the brotherhood will be adding 3 more men within the next year.

I also think that we have to view vocation opportunities in the most ordinary aspects in our communal pilgrimage of faith. This is something that everyone can do. Although the final decision to call a man to orders is for the bishop, we all can encourage men in our parishes to begin the discernment process. This is something that belongs to the Church, not just the hierachy. As a parent or grandparent speak to your children and grandchild about considering a vocation. If you are a catechist speak to the children about vocations (when the sisters were in charge of catechetical teaching, they did this) If you are the youth co-ordinator of the parish talk to the youth. If you are involved with adult education suggest to the men to consider a ministerial vocation, or at least ask the adults to present the notion to their children or grandchildren. God can only work with what we are willing to give to Him. Because we may be constrained by a law that makes it difficult (impossible?) to ordain married men to the priesthood, does that mean God is no longer calling men to serve in the Ruthenian Church?

The question boils down to this, "What/Who are we willing to give to God for the service of His Church?" As long as we are faithful to His call, God can certainly overcome some supposed incompetentcy. Complaining about the past and doing nothing for the future is a wasted effort. (Remember the parable of the talents?)

John
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/23/02 06:20 PM

Dear John,

That is all well and good - you raise many excellent points.

I grew up in an atmosphere of tremendous criticism of our priests and bishops.

I heard this criticism as an altar-server, at home and during church committees.

How many young people, exposed to the same sort of demeaning criticism of their pastors, are turned off the very thought of serving in the ministerial Priesthood?

Several posters here and on other threads gave a primary example of what I'm talking about.

There is a time and a place for criticism of the Church.

It adds nothing toward the encouragement of vocations.

Alex
Posted By: Deacon John Montalvo

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/23/02 06:24 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Orthodox Catholic:
Dear John,

That is all well and good - you raise many excellent points.

I grew up in an atmosphere of tremendous criticism of our priests and bishops.

I heard this criticism as an altar-server, at home and during church committees.
...

It adds nothing toward the encouragement of vocations.

Alex
Alex,

are Ukrainians anything like the Spanish- they are their happiest when they are complaining? biggrin So if this is done at home, parish ministry is like one big happy family.

John
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/23/02 06:30 PM

Dear John,

Good point - I once wanted to shove a Ukie who was criticizing our pastor for his sermon - a good, healthy, sincere shove!

We too had a problem with married priests. Before the fall of communism, our bishops wouldn't ordain them here, but, instead, sent them across the pond (the Black Sea in this case) to get them ordained over there and then have them return as "missionaries to Canada." wink

Eventually, ideas changed with the influx of new, dynamic, barely-can-speaka-da-Inglish-linkvwich Ukrainian married priests.

The really nice thing about these priests is that they don't talk down to us, they punctuate their sermons with real-life examples, versus above-the-head real textbook cases.

They all have excellent seminary educations - but somehow that hasn't hurt their ability to be sociable, understandable and pleasant wink .

Why don't you become a Priest, Smarty Pants? wink

Alex
Posted By: amonasticbeginner

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/23/02 06:51 PM

smile This sure is an interesting thread!

Re:Communication -- The eparchy newspapers are an excellent way to share information (besides this Forum). I'm probably one of a few people who receive all three eparchy newspapers and the newsletter from the fourth (I'm Ruthenian). That's the place to share information. I assume other CHURCHES have their own newspapers, too. We all need information about our deacons and seminarians to share with other potential candidates. We need continual -- note: continual -- information about our monasteries and about restoring traditional monastic life.

And MOST ESPECIALLY, we need to pray for men and women to step forward to consecrate their lives to God.

One little step I do, since our parish is on a "tourist" route, is to ask our visitors to pray for vocations in their home parish and in other churches they visit. Of course, they always say YES. (They wouldn't dare say NO.) They are always surprised -- no one had asked them indivudally to pray for vocations. :p
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/23/02 08:34 PM

Dear monasticbeginner,

That is all just "jim-dandy."

I am a failed vocation, as you know.

It is easy for me to blame everyone under the sun, including my bishop for what is my own failure.

A failure to keep a focus on the possibility of a vocation, to follow it through.

To struggle with those in the Church who may have differing ideas from you about how your vocation, and vocations in general, should be followed through.

To avoid the temptation to berate church authorities and to be sanctimonious (and I am NOT referring to anyone in particular ON THIS FORUM FYI!).

That just doesn't cut it.

It doesn't cut it with me and it doesn't cut it with others.

We can try to make the road to the altar smoother for people.

But when we come to serve the Lord, we MUST prepare our hearts for temptation and struggle, or so the Scriptures say.

It is hard work, pain, suffering and struggle.

Not everyone who wants to be a Priest, or is told should be a Priest, is ultimately destined to be a Priest.

The road to the Priesthood is strewn with thorns as well as roses.

Personally, I think we should emphasize that we are ALL called by the Lord to serve His Body that is the Church.

We ALL have a vocation to service.

Not just priests!

And today has been an eye-opener for me as well.

Alex
Posted By: Nicky's Baba

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/24/02 12:08 AM

Alex,

Why do you call yourself a a failed vocation? Just because you were not ready at a previous point in time it does mean you can't grow spiritually to the point where you can become a successful vocation. The fat lady ain't sung yet.

Guys,

As you know we are a small Byzantine group in SE WI. I had signed us up for a Ethnic fair at Christmas time, crafts and baked goods. I listed us as Ruthenian. I will provide the ethnic background but also provide a great deal of info about the Church. It is not my intention to focus on ethnicity but we will have contact with a large number of people. We will raise funds for our community but more so raise awareness of the Byzantine Church. BTW I will focus that people of all persuasions do belong and are welcome. To be inclusive I plan to focus on St. Nicholas. I wish I did not have to use and attach it to ethnicity but I can't pass up this opportunity. Media out reach is so expensive. Pray for our success.

Nicky's Baba
Posted By: Dr John

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/24/02 02:15 AM

Dear Nicky's Baba:

GO GET 'EM!!!!

I think that it's the reality of our Church that we are not only the liturgical and theological reality, but also the food eating, beverage drinking and music dancing folks that we are.

Apropos comments above, I always understand "church" as the people and their collective energies, whether liturgical and sacramental, or gastronomic and artistic. Our Eastern folks have always appreciated the combination of both aspects. Some decry the fact that there are more people at the Lenten dinners or fish-frys or spaghetti suppers than there are at Divine Liturgy. I don't see this as necessarily a bad thing. When contraposed to the olden days "sacrament factories" in the RC church, when "everyone went to Mass" but never did another thing, the Eastern perspective of getting together for 'activities', including Divine Liturgy, then we are much healthier for it.

So, cook up the stuff and bake your hearts out -- and let the visitors to the event see not only the interesting foodstuffs, but also the real joy and friendliness that is the Byzantine community. THAT's the way to make converts!!!

Blessings! (And good luck in your efforts!!!)
Posted By: Rev. Fr. Peter-Michael Preble

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/24/02 10:39 AM

I think we are circling aroung the answer here, or atleast one of them. COMMUNICATION is the key to anything.

One of the best parts about being here in Boston, is that my Eparchy has a mission here that I have been assigned to. The priest lives near by the seminary, and is able to take advantage of some classes here to keep up to date. But the big plus, is the people see me everyday.

One Sunday, after I had been at the mission of about 6 months, this little old lady who speaks like no English at all, came up to me, took my hand, kissed it, and told me in Romanian, that now I belong to them. They are on this road with me. I wish they would help me with the work on the road, but it is nice to have company.

The message needs to get out. I asked the vocation people here in Boston how many contacts they have each year and how many that translates into for people actually applying to the seminary. Keep in mind there are three full time people here 2 priests, and one secretary, all paid.

They get about 200 people per year interested, out of that, they get about 50 that are real serious, and last year, three applied to the seminary. They communicate constantly with the priests.

I am not sure what the answer is. I do know that God is calling people, married and single, to a vocation. Ask yourself a question. Are you doing everything you can for your church, are you chanting, reading, serving at the altar, cleaning up, teaching religious education, do your churches have bible studies and prayer groups that meet wheather the priest is invilved or not. DO you have vesper services on Saturday night, and services at other times of the year. If we are not doing all of these things, then we are not doing enough.

As far as failed vocations go, I must be a failure also. I spent five years in a Benedictine Monastery, took vows and everything, and then I left. I did not fail, god called me somewhere else, to another type of vocation. The key is to ask yourself, what did I learn form this experience. What did God teach me here.

We all need to communicate. Perhaps the Adminsitrator could contact the Bishops in our respective Eparchies, and ask them who the seminarians are, post their names and e-mail here on this website, with pictures. Ask who the deacon candidates are and do the same thing, ask when the programs being and post that information.

We need to do all we can to make this work. It is not all up to the guy that wears the fancy hat.

Off to write another paper,

From the road,

Peter
Posted By: Our Lady's slave

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/24/02 12:17 PM

I know that this thread is not aimed at Latins - BUT I can't help feeling that we are also to a certain extent having the same problems - that of an apparent lack of Vocations.

For the next 6 years if all goes well, and no students leave our Semninaries during their course our Archdiocese will be able to ordain 1 [yes one] Priest each year.

Now our Archdiocese covers an enormous part of the West of Scotland - OK in your terms of land area etc it's small. We have 17 Deaneries, covering 107 Parishes, Numerous Religious Houses [ I can't honestly count them all quickly . but most Parishes have a religious Community, albeit of perhaps 3 members, within their territory] Schools etc. And yet this year only ONE student started in Seminary - and he is now based in the Spanish Seminary. We are also reaching crisis point - putting it bluntly more priests die than we can replace.

Like you we are saying - what can we do ?? Someone tell us. Our students often have a year long Discernment programme which is run for the whole of Scotland - the prospective Students meet together for a few weekends in the year, develop friendships and keep in touch with each other, as well as the Vocations Directors, their Spiritual Advisors, Parish Priests etc etc. They are screened academically and psychologically and yet some drop out at that stage. They go to Seminary for 6 or 7 years - meet with the Students for the whole of Scotland, and during their years more drop out. Those who go abroad are usually well supported by their friends and Parishes at home - most of them have their own laptops and so can use e-mail to keep in contact. They do Pastoral Work in the Summer in parishes and get more people supporting them - but they still drop out. OK it's far better for them to drop out whilst still in Seminary rather than after Ordination.

So how do we attract young men to the Service of God ? We've tried everything - vocations evenings , individual approaches, Articles , the present students making approaches. No we have not tried a Vocations Icon , but the reason for that is obvious.

I honestly think it comes back to the home background - parents who are willing to raise the possibility of a Vocation with their children and then the parents being willing to support their child during and often after the training. But of course with you, you also need wives to encourage and support their husbands too - and then this also means adequate financial support for a married Priest and his family.

There is no easy solution - but one thing will help :-

PRAYER, PRAYER, PRAYER AND ...........YES MORE PRAYER

Angela
Posted By: anastasios

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/24/02 01:14 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Dr John:
Some decry the fact that there are more people at the Lenten dinners or fish-frys or spaghetti suppers than there are at Divine Liturgy. I don't see this as necessarily a bad thing. When contraposed to the olden days "sacrament factories" in the RC church, when "everyone went to Mass" but never did another thing, the Eastern perspective of getting together for 'activities', including Divine Liturgy, then we are much healthier for it.
Dear Dr. J--

Why does everything have to be "either/or"? When "Everyone went to Mass" but "never" did "another thing"?? That is a wild generalization. The people that went to Mass then because it was the "social" thing to do are the same people hanging out at spaghetti dinners because it is a "social" thing to do. Either way it's good that they are there, but it doesn't mean they'll ever receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ. My mother-in-law came to Divine Liturgy with us for 4 months straight once and still comes to our Church's parties. But ask her if she believes that the Bible is true, and she'll usually say they are "nice" stories and that Church is nice becuase the priest is friendly, the parties are good, and "the singing is nice." My father-in-law goes to RC church on Christmas because he thinks the music is basically a free concert!

Do you REALLY think this is better for some? I don't. You relativize Liturgy and Dinners. Liturgy is ten million times more important than a bingo party or a dinner party. The later certainly are tools to build up the community and invite newcomers--believe me, I'm there. But Liturgy is what makes us who we are. We are the Church when we come together in the eschatological eighth day of the Divine Liturgy, and partake of the Holy Body and Blood of Our Savior Jesus Christ. We step out of ourselves and into Heaven. Not so at a fish fry.

As this century progresses, perhaps the only people who are eastern Christians will be those who are by choice. If people want fish fries, they can go to the neighborhood block party. Sad thing is, even those are dying out because television is killing our social activities (I once read an article about that in a political science class. scary).

I don't think the root of your idea--that fellowship is good and for some might be the only way they relate to the community--is bad; however, I think you have taken it to an unhealthy extreme. Perhaps you would like to restate your opinion more clearly in a more moderate way?

In Christ,

anastasios
Posted By: Nicky's Baba

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/24/02 03:14 PM

As far as vocations we are not that big of a church for pootential candidates to be overlooked or lost in the shuffle.For this to happen something's not working right. The married priest candidate situation - too much waiting on it is not not a good thing. Set it up the best they can and work the bugs out as they go along. Just make sure the first group going in realizes they are the trial group.

Anastasios
I think Dr. John was speaking about fellowship after Liturgy,which is common in our Church. That was not done years ago in the Roman Church. Their social activities were more structured and attached to Holy Name or some ladies group. The interaction between people was not in a casual setting. I think our fellowship time after Liturgy allows visitors to ask questions in a relaxed setting and parishioners to maintain contact in the same type setting. I think many ideas that benefit our parishes come out at fellowship were as in a structure group meeting ideas don't flow so freely. What I will be doing on Dec. 7 is basically the same.Since many people don't know what Ruthenian is we should be fielding alot of questions.

Nicky's Baba
Posted By: Joe T

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/24/02 04:35 PM

"Some decry the fact that there are more people at the Lenten dinners or fish-frys or spaghetti suppers than there are at Divine Liturgy. I don't see this as necessarily a bad thing."

Dr. John,

I hope this one never makes it into our parish bulletins! Can you imagine the response?

I agree with the need to be more than mere Mass Factories. Socials DO help since our parishes are so small and it offers opportunities to newcomers to experience our level of interaction rather than the 5,000+ member parish where one can get lost in the crowd. One can't hide too well in most of our parishes.

Anastasios does make a point and maybe your above statement needs clarification?

Why are we Church? The all-you-can-eat fish fries don't make much sense for Byzantine Christians (or Latin ones for that matter) if we are to attend to the Pre-Sanctified Liturgy in a spirit of fasting and prayer on Fridays.

The Divine Liturgy used to include the Agape Meal. Where did it go? Why did the Fathers decide to rid of it and just keep the Liturgical Service?

We can make the mistake in thinking that the social (or socializing) aspect is more important than Mass Factories. This implies that true community happens in parties and pot-luck dinners. But what about the community that comes from Eucharistic Communion? Is this not better? Even bar flies get together at the local pub for fish-fries.

In the end, the Agape got canned. And I am sure that St. John Chrysostom tried often to keep his sermons long enough to prevent the folks from attending the games near the church. Today, I hear the 5-minute sermon being promoted because it is assumed that most people have A.D.D. or don't care. Maybe if we DID have something to say (like actually preaching the Gospel) and do liturgy well (as Administrator suggests) we will realize that true community happens where heaven and earth meet and where the angels sing.

We are taught that the ministry of the deacon is: the Altar first, the Word second, and charity third. Even the Pope has written so in that same order. Interesting since many will think that charity needs to come first before Liturgy. This is a fine assumption and even caring, but remember our Lord who said that we will always have the poor (remember his anointing by the woman at Bethany?) but you will only have me for a short time. This is something for us to contemplate when we prioritize socials over liturgy. Even our litija is taken at the temple porch (or back of the church in the narthex) when food gifts were offered to give to the poor, thus showing that even charity is done IN the context of liturgy.

Consider the relationship between liturgy and socials: In most traditional and conventional protocol, the social or familiar celebration comes AFTER the liturgy. This priority started with the Agape Meal as our precedent. Wedding receptions (and honeymoons) are celebrated AFTER the crowning though conventional culture has been promoting bachelor and bachelorette parties (with strippers and drinking) prior to one's wedding day. Is this how we prepare for our wedding? Personally, I refused to have a bachelor's party, and instead, took my fiancé to a dinner the weekend before to share our last date together as un-married folks.

We can also see how our Western non-religious culture also suggests having X-mas parties BEFORE Christmas. Christians, unlike pagans, celebrate feast days AFTER and not before the feast, hence we don't sing Christmas Carols BEFORE liturgy like they do no the radio (or at the local pub). Note the time when the Twelve Days of Christmas were actually celebrated.

Case in point: My wife's former Latin parish purchased land for their new parish community to build a temple and social hall. The pastor decided that a temple was first to be built. The temple went up and was finally finished AND PAID OFF before they even broke ground for their community hall. Dedication and priority had to be set first before the social thing.

You might be speaking of being MORE THAN while I amd speaking of PRIORITIES.

Joe Thur
Posted By: NDHoosier

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/24/02 04:47 PM

I do not agree with Dr. John's apparent placement of the Divine Liturgy and parish fellowship on equal footing.

However, I will say that I have observed a tremendous difference in the nature of socialization between Roman Catholic parishes and the Byzantine Catholic parish I now attend. Coffee and rolls after Mass begets chit-chat, but the social hour (or two, or even three) after Divine Liturgy is social glue. Moreover, the people put effort into it at my parish. It isn't just having doughnuts delivered. People bring real food. I even introduced fleishkuechle and knoephla soup to the pirohi-and-halushki crowd.

I am sure that the smaller congregation has a lot to do with the stronger sense of unity, but there is something more - a lot more!
Posted By: Joe T

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/24/02 04:58 PM

"fleishkuechle and knoephla soup"

Please explain. Sounds like something that will satisfy my partially German-Prussian taste buds. Is there meat in that knoephla soup?

Is there a possibility in turning those socials into Agape Meals?

Such socials have their own importance as bisantino noted about him being asked about being a deacon at a fish-fry. Look where he is now: a subdeacon heading for the deaconate!

We might be speaking of three problems: (1) asking for something more than making our true social gathering (Heb: synagogue; Gk: synaxis) a mere rubric deroulment, (2) getting and keeping our priorities straight with Eucharistic Communion first (hence our Catholic Communion and the now defunct People of God title), and (3) using those social gatherings to promote tighter-knit parish families (beyond the chit-chat) and scouting out potential ministers.

And, of course, a more diversified offering of food, including those things mentioned above.
Posted By: Our Lady's slave

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/24/02 06:13 PM

Joe

<<mass factories>> Please . I find that offensive
Posted By: Theophilos

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/24/02 06:20 PM

Glory to Jesus Christ!

I've been reading these posts with great interest, especially since the vocation crisis is one that affects "both lungs" of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church in North America (as well as, for that matter, Western Europe).

I wonder, however, whether we haven't inadvertently left out of the discussion what seems to be a rather important factor in the dwindling number of vocations: that we live in a culture that strongly discourages the kind of personal sacrifice a monastic or presbyter, whether married or not, is expected to make – especially the sacrifice of wealth, comfort, status, and autonomy (in the radical sense of "anomie," that is). Interestingly enough, at least in the United States, we are also on the precipice of an impending crisis in secondary education – too many students and too few teachers. This situation may be considered roughly parallel to the issue of vocations, insofar as it also seems to be a consequence of the kinds of "habits of the heart" our society has created.

Communication is certainly critical, second only to the need for prayer. But what should we be communicating? Yes, we need to identify possible vocations, encourage them, let them know how much the Church needs them and that we will support them fully in their journey – all of this can (and should) be done through both regular dialogue with young men and by living the faith in a way that truly radiates God's glory. We must, in a word, make service to the Church look as attractive as it really is (or can be) – which is not to say, however, that we should paint a false portrait that there is no real hard work involved. Maybe we should call this kind of communication "internal," since it focuses on, and works directly through the medium of, the Church Herself.

But at the same time, it seems to me that we must tackle head-on and helmet to helmet (hey, it's football season and God's team – the Steelers, of course – seems to have finally gotten itself on the right track) the cultural and societal assumptions held by the possible vocations themselves, their parents and friends, and the other "external" communities in which they live, work, and play (school, city, soccer team, chess club, etc.). Let's face it, until we as Church recognize that people are products of their environment (at least in part), and make a concerted effort to act on this undeniable fact of all human life, I don't think we in this country will ever enjoy the luxury of turning would-be seminarians away.

The images of health, wealth, beauty, and power propagated by the various print and electronic media in the consumerist West, by many leading academics (consider the raging debate over euthanasia), and by the healthy, wealthy, beautiful, and powerful themselves are ubiquitous and unavoidable. Whether we admit it or not, these images – in reality, these cultural imperatives – have decisively contributed to our identity, to our self-understanding, and to our understanding of others. It is a noble battle we as Christians fight against these forces, but it is one that requires both the loving grace of God and terrific personal exertion. It's not easy. It's sure as hell not fun. And it certainly invites a lot of perplexed looks on the faces of your friends and colleagues (to wit, "You seem so smart, why do you need to miss work to go to church on a Monday?").

The temptation to "conform to this world" (cf. Rom 12.2) confronts all of us, but it is especially pronounced – in my humble opinion, forged in the fires of teaching Eastern Christianity to teenagers for three years – for young men in their late teens and early twenties. How do we communicate to them that much of the world in which they live has simply gotten it wrong: that it may seem fun and rewarding to wear the Ring of Gyges but that it really isn't, because real joy requires effort, sacrifice, and possibly suffering. I don't think Socrates (or anyone else, for that matter) ever provided a knock-down answer to the question "Why is virtue always better than vice?" in a way that would convince the young, especially the young people in our society who are continually distracted by unhealthy images and behaviors, pushed to attain worldly success by any means necessary, and expected "to find themselves" and "just do it."

Communicating to them the need to consider serving the Church requires us to show them that the world "out there," the one in which we all live, has taken the inherent goodness of God's creation and has frequently – though by no means always – turned it to the wrong end. It thus stands in need of transformation. How do we make this clear? It's not enough to say to them, largely because our culture has accepted His widely-reported death, that "God says so." Most young men and women, even the churchgoing, have been told that they are too wise to believe anything so simple.

I've rambled on way too long. I guess my main point boils down to this: how do we create a message that really speaks to young people in our self-interested and increasingly selfish culture? Is it possible to talk about encouraging vocations without also confronting that culture and acknowledging just how "counter-cultural" the laying on of hands is?

In Christ,
Theophilos
Posted By: Joe T

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/24/02 06:21 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Our Lady's slave of love:
Joe

<<mass factories>> Please . I find that offensive
And not the "sacramental factories" that Dr. John mentions? I really didn't mean anything by it.

This is as offensive as old advertisements in the U. S. Catholic Directory that referred to large parishes as "plants." The terms only recall a now defunk understanding that was prevelant even in publications. Such was my usage.

I knew a number of priests who referred to the countles number of Masses on Sunday (and Saturday evening) as "working the mill" - another factory/plant cliche.

I apologize if you personally found this offensive without knowing how such manufacturing terminology was used in days past.

Please refer to http://www.stmonica.net/historyb.htm and scroll down to the section, 1923-1949, and read the fourth paragraph.

http://www.catholic-forum.com/smma/hist.htm see the blurb about 1963.

http://www.archden.org/noel/07085.htm see fourth paragraph about Juan Fullana, CR.

http://www.stmichaelschurch-poway.org/history.htm see the 7th paragraph where the the only building lacking to the parish plant was the church hall!
Posted By: NDHoosier

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/24/02 06:31 PM

Fleischkuechle (pronounced FLYSH-kee-kla) and knoephla soup (NIFF-la) are traditional foods of Volga and Black Sea Germans, often known as "Germans from Russia". I grew up in western North Dakota, which is LOADED with Germans from Russia (Black Sea group).

Fleischkuechle is essentially a tablespoon of half-beef, half pork meatloaf mix wrapped in buttermilk biscuit dough and deep-fried.

Knoephla soup starts with 3 gallons of water and some heavy biscuit dough. The dough is cut into small dumplings. Boil the water and add chopped vegetables to taste. The only "requirements" for vegetables are diced potatoes and finely chopped onions (I recommend scallions, and lots of them). Add the dumplings and boil until the dumplings swell then shrink. Add 2 pints heavy cream and 1 stick butter. Cook another 5 minutes. Will need salt and pepper, but I don't add it during cooking.

Hungry yet, Alex? smile

Enjoy!
Posted By: Deacon John Montalvo

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/24/02 06:39 PM

Quote
Originally posted by anastasios:

...
As this century progresses, perhaps the only people who are eastern Christians will be those who are by choice. If people want fish fries, they can go to the neighborhood block party. Sad thing is, even those are dying out because television is killing our social activities (I once read an article about that in a political science class. scary).

...
In Christ,

anastasios[/QB]
Anastasios,

you've been reading Karl Rahner's, the Christian of the Future haven't you! biggrin

John

Here's an excerpt:

"At that future date there will be Christian or Catholic communities all over the world, though not evenly distributed. Everywhere they will be a little flock, because mankind grows quicker than Christendom and because men will not be Christians by custom and tradition, through institutions and history, or because of the homogeneity of a social milieu and public opinion, but -- leaving out of account the sacred flame of parental example and the intimate sphere of home, family and small groups -- they will be Christians only because of their own act of faith attained in a difficult struggle and perpetually achieved anew. Everywhere will be diaspora and the diaspora will be everywhere."
Posted By: Nicky's Baba

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/24/02 10:39 PM

Mass Factories- In my former RC parish ( no not all parishes & people do this) I have seen people behave cluelessly while they were at Mass. You know the same look on their faces like when they are doing the dishes. Our group is small where I am at right now and I don't see this. In fact during fellowship we have had wonderful exchanges about everything from the saints, to tradition in the Church, the history of the Church coming to America.

Many people who attend dinners don't belong to the Parish.I see that statement as a generalization.
For converts and returning fallen aways the graces of Divine Liturgy are important but the socialization afterwards is important also. Hpoefully during social time they will see the parishioners setting example and living their faith. From that they can be inspired and drawn towards the spiritual life of the parish and be eager for Catechesis. In some instances both Liturgy and fellowship work in tandem and are important.
If it is true that actual parishioners attend dinners and not Liturgy then they aren't getting it. The Pastor should hold instruction classes during the dinners. wink

Nicky's Baba
Posted By: Joe T

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/25/02 12:15 AM

Nicky's Baba,

I remember a parishioner once called a former pastor that she wasn't able to make it for liturgy on Sunday morning (the blizzard was pretty bad and walking across the street from her house to the church was too much), but she did remind him that she will certainly be there for Bingo that week to help support the church with her "contributions." :p
Posted By: Jackcus

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/25/02 01:47 AM

Regarding vocations and communications, I just had an enlightening experience. The Seminary is running a "Come and See" weekend visit to the Seminary for young men 16-25 from Nov 1-3. It is designed to be a gentle introduction to vocational discernment and a non-threatening look at the inside of a seminary. Camera ready reproducible brochures went out to the office of vocations in each eparchy nearly 2 months ago.
Tonight, on a dare almost, I invited a young man I know to come. He said, "Why didn't I hear about this in my parish?" and accepted immediately. Then he added, "I think there's another guy who'd like to come too."
If parochial clergy aren't supporting what few pathetic attempts we ARE making to encourage people to hear the Lord's voice calling, we have a real communication problem. We're communicating apathy.
Pray for us at the Seminary. So far, thank God, it's been a very good year.
Fr. Jack Custer
Posted By: Joe T

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/25/02 01:57 AM

RE: "Come and see" weekend at our seminary.

Fr. Jack wrote: "...brochures went out to the office of vocations in each eparchy nearly 2 months ago."

Really?

Can you post the details?

Thank you for the effort on your side of the border. Glad to hear that you all are having a good year at the seminary.
Posted By: Our Lady's slave

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/25/02 07:48 AM

Joe ,

Sorry if I seemed to be rather touchy - I think this is possibly one of these different English problems. Here 'Mass Factories' is not a welcome term - not used by Catholics but is a term of belittlement by others.

Oh and I do have problems with the use of Pastor - just as an odd bit of information - the term is used by Protestant Churches but invariably by those who stand and protest outside such august meetings as the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland - their posters usually say "No Popery" and such - these folk are rather a nuisance as you will understand

Angela
Posted By: Joe T

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/25/02 10:50 AM

Quote
Originally posted by Our Lady's slave of love:
Joe ,

Oh and I do have problems with the use of Pastor -
Angela
Angela,

No problem. As for "pastor" I don't know what to say since here in the States we have numerous Pastoral ministry programs by that name. eek

How about "pastoral plants?" Forgive me.

Joe Thur
Posted By: DavidB, the Byzantine Catholic

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/25/02 03:07 PM

I have noticed something in my skimming of this thread.....

I am using a quote from Fr Jack Custer as it expresses what I have seen explicitly.

Quote
Originally posted by Jackcus:
Regarding vocations and communications, I just had an enlightening experience. The Seminary is running a "Come and See" weekend visit to the Seminary for young men 16-25 from Nov 1-3.
Are we saying, older men need not apply?

The discussion talk about education and how we present vocations to our children...

What about older men? Older men that possibly do not have a bachelors degree?

David, an older man discerning a vocation
Posted By: Joe T

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/25/02 04:29 PM

DavidB,

There is nothing holding you back from contacting your pastor, vocation director, and the seminary. You are implying that you are of legal age, right? The age group Fr. Jack mentions consists of some who are under the legal age and may be still living at home or are at college or working but haven't settled down. A different class of men compared to adults and older folks who may have a different state in life (property, job, family(?) and the like). Check out the main page of this website for the individual eparchy links and scroll down to your vocation director's phone number and give him a call. The seminary staff has been very hospitable for guests who come and see on their own.

Advice: To save yourself from a tearing out your hair, make sure to ditto your request to another church representative (your pastor and/or spiritual director) so a third party knows you are doing this - given the communications problem. wink What are you contemplating; the diaconate, the presbyterate, the monastic life?

Good luck and get going! Let us know how it goes or send me a private message.

Joe Thur
Posted By: Kelly

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/25/02 06:27 PM

I haven't any earth-shattering solutions or insights - nothing that hasn't been tried before.

But, I think there are some things that can and should be done that have been mentioned here and there throughout this thread:

1. Prayer - and more prayer (Including continuing the Vocation Icon and encouraging parents to be "generous" to God with their children in encouraging them to consider serving God in a religious vocation)

2. Personal Invitation (Both the clergy and the folks in the pews personally inviting men and women to consider serving God in and through the Church - we see with Fr. Jack's example that this can and does work)

3. Organization and contacts (volunteer or paid) with the proper information (come-and-see dates, deadlines, procedures, requirements, etc.) who have the time and patience to both follow-through and follow-up on inquiries and the disposition to work with those considering serving God through the Church (probably preferably someone who's "been there")

4. Formation and service within the parish (Through heartfelt liturgies, inspiring homilies, and service opportunities - not just serving alongside other parishioners, but also priests, deacons, and sisters)

5. Formation and service at Otpusts and other events (The exposure to so many clergy and religious at Uniontown can be inspiring for all ages, and the opportunities to be with like-aged Byzantines for the younger generations can help inspire them in the Faith.)

6. Discussion and brainstorming amongst clergy and religious sisters as to how they came to serve Christ in the Church. Joe, Fr. Elias, Fr. Jack, and others who are already in service to the Church and/or are preparing to serve the Church, what led you to the point of service? What were the key elements that got you where you are? I think we can really learn about fostering vocations through those who are preparing for and living out their vocations.

7. Grace to respond to the invitation to serve... which leads us back to #1: Prayer.

With prayers for an increase in vocations,
Kelly
Posted By: DavidB, the Byzantine Catholic

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/25/02 07:02 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Joe T:
DavidB,

There is nothing holding you back from contacting your pastor, vocation director, and the seminary. You are implying that you are of legal age, right? The age group Fr. Jack mentions consists of some who are under the legal age and may be still living at home or are at college or working but haven't settled down. A different class of men compared to adults and older folks who may have a different state in life (property, job, family(?) and the like). Check out the main page of this website for the individual eparchy links and scroll down to your vocation director's phone number and give him a call. The seminary staff has been very hospitable for guests who come and see on their own.

Advice: To save yourself from a tearing out your hair, make sure to ditto your request to another church representative (your pastor and/or spiritual director) so a third party knows you are doing this - given the communications problem. wink What are you contemplating; the diaconate, the presbyterate, the monastic life?

Good luck and get going! Let us know how it goes or send me a private message.

Joe Thur
Joe,
I was mainly commenting on the fact that this thread titled "Byzantine Vocations" there has been no discussion of those vocations that fall outside of a set idea.

That is older vocations, people without bachelors degrees.

I am in touch with people and discerning where I am called to be. Right now I think that is the monastic life, anything more than that is up to others I believe, but I hold out hope for the diaconate, as I do not have a bachelors degree.

While our church may be open to older vocations I do believe that there is the idea that "no bachelors degree? no need to apply".

Do not get me started on the Latin Church and its ideas....

Just a sampling, I will try not to rant to much.

Most orders have a hard stop on vocations at age 35. Most want bachelors degrees. Most want no debt, this includes student loans.....

So, please allow this small rant, Under 35 with bachelors degree but no debt (or student loan).... Where can they find these men?

David
Posted By: NDHoosier

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/25/02 07:15 PM

Here's another thing to consider -

How do the Ruthenian and Ukrainian Churches view former Latins (canonical transfer concluded) who might be drawn to the priesthood. No arguments about dodging celibacy - I'm only considering in this post those candidates who would embrace celibacy in the Ruthenian and Ukrainian Churches.
Posted By: Deacon John Montalvo

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/25/02 08:58 PM

Quote
Originally posted by NDHoosier:
Here's another thing to consider -

How do the Ruthenian and Ukrainian Churches view former Latins (canonical transfer concluded) who might be drawn to the priesthood. No arguments about dodging celibacy - I'm only considering in this post those candidates who would embrace celibacy in the Ruthenian and Ukrainian Churches.
With the eparchial priests of Van Nuys (that is ordained for the eparchy of Van Nuys) having last names such as Hernandez, O'Brien, and Burnette you could draw your own conclusion.
Posted By: NDHoosier

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/25/02 10:19 PM

Quote
Originally posted by bisantino:
With the eparchial priests of Van Nuys (that is ordained for the eparchy of Van Nuys) having last names such as Hernandez, O'Brien, and Burnette you could draw your own conclusion.
What do you mean? These are Anglicized slavic names! You know - Hernandovich, Obrienov, and Bernetski! biggrin
Posted By: Diak

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/26/02 11:04 AM

In response to the ex-Latin question above - my married Ukrainian Catholic pastor's last name is MacKinnon - Carpatho-Scotch ? Hebridean Slavic?

He went through a Latin permanent diaconate program in the days before any Ukrainian, Melkite or Ruthenian programs existed and was accepted as a candidate for the priesthood. He did, however, have to have to prove a change of church sui juris before being accepted as a candidate for the priesthood and had to have written consent from his wife.
Posted By: Maximus

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/26/02 01:51 PM

Quote
Originally posted by anastasios:
Quote
Originally posted by Dr John:
[b]Some decry the fact that there are more people at the Lenten dinners or fish-frys or spaghetti suppers than there are at Divine Liturgy. I don't see this as necessarily a bad thing. When contraposed to the olden days "sacrament factories" in the RC church, when "everyone went to Mass" but never did another thing, the Eastern perspective of getting together for 'activities', including Divine Liturgy, then we are much healthier for it.
Dear Dr. J--

As this century progresses, perhaps the only people who are eastern Christians will be those who are by choice. If people want fish fries, they can go to the neighborhood block party. Sad thing is, even those are dying out because television is killing our social activities (I once read an article about that in a political science class. scary).

anastasios[/b]
I haven't read all of the posts in this thread, and I'm not sure I care to, but anastasios you almost make me want to sign up and follow you under whatever Eastern Christian banner you fly. You are a head of your time. The Christian Church is undeserving of you. If Jesus is your Lord then he certainly has a good vassal.

I will say that you should give the spirit of Dr John's post some good recognition. I think in spirit he is correct in at least one major way - Be Who You Are. The amount of deception that goes on in the Roman Church is almost enough to make me vomit. Yes Christianity should bend and be flexable to various cultures - modern cultures - but by-god stay true to who you are also. And those that will serve in truth and loyalty will come. Maybe not in the representation you think though.

The truth of the situation is that there is a great culture war going on. Christianity is on the loosing end. Vocations to the Priesthood start in the home as a child, society and it's values can not be factored out of this at all, outside of this vocations may be spun from repented sinners willing to give up everything including their life to fight on the right side of the war, and serve their Lord well. Christianity outside of John Paul II may not have the generalship to arise to the challenge. If there would be a competent player, in at least the western world, I would have to say I would put my money on the force of Islam.

Justin
Posted By: Joe T

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/26/02 02:09 PM

Quote
Originally posted by NDHoosier:
Quote
Originally posted by bisantino:
[b]With the eparchial priests of Van Nuys (that is ordained for the eparchy of Van Nuys) having last names such as Hernandez, O'Brien, and Burnette you could draw your own conclusion.
What do you mean? These are Anglicized slavic names! You know - Hernandovich, Obrienov, and Bernetski! biggrin [/b]
NDHoosier,

I guess Bisantino John didn't know the true history of those names. :p
Posted By: Joe T

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/26/02 02:13 PM

Quote
Originally posted by NDHoosier:
Here's another thing to consider -

How do the Ruthenian and Ukrainian Churches view former Latins (canonical transfer concluded) who might be drawn to the priesthood. No arguments about dodging celibacy - I'm only considering in this post those candidates who would embrace celibacy in the Ruthenian and Ukrainian Churches.
NDHoosier,

You can contact my pastor, Protopresbyter Dr. Bryan Eyman (originally Eymanovic? biggrin ) and ask him.

http://www.ncweb.com/org/lcbcc/
Posted By: Jim

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/26/02 03:16 PM

An interesting thread, indeed! Some observations:

I expect everyone here already knows that marriage for priests (or not) is a small t tradition that can be changed by the hierarchy of the church. There are orthodox seminary graduates that delay being ordained so that they can marry first, after finding a wife who will also make a suitable matushka for parish life. The eastern jurisdictions are understanding of the candidate's needs, especially since his wife also has a role to play in parish life. They know that it is not easy to attract men to the priesthood in the first place, let alone a priesthood that has to be celibate. Among the Ruthenians, the memory of a married clergy is very much alive, and continues to interfere with vocations.

Why not start by recognizing the need to develop the life in Christ of men in our congregations, regardless of age, marital status, economic status, and education? Prayer, fasting, study, and almsgiving and charitable activities in general are needed from all of us who declare ourselves to be of the True Faith. A structured program that works to grow believers sounds more realistic as a starting place to me. The vocations may come or not, but perhaps more men will try to increase their dispassionate discernment with the help of God, His Saints, and his fellow sojourners who accompany him on the journey.
Posted By: Maximus

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/26/02 04:54 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Jim:
An interesting thread, indeed! Some observations:

I expect everyone here already knows that marriage for priests (or not) is a small t tradition that can be changed by the hierarchy of the church. There are orthodox seminary graduates that delay being ordained so that they can marry first, after finding a wife who will also make a suitable matushka for parish life. The eastern jurisdictions are understanding of the candidate's needs, especially since his wife also has a role to play in parish life. They know that it is not easy to attract men to the priesthood in the first place, let alone a priesthood that has to be celibate. Among the Ruthenians, the memory of a married clergy is very much alive, and continues to interfere with vocations.

Why not start by recognizing the need to develop the life in Christ of men in our congregations, regardless of age, marital status, economic status, and education? Prayer, fasting, study, and almsgiving and charitable activities in general are needed from all of us who declare ourselves to be of the True Faith. A structured program that works to grow believers sounds more realistic as a starting place to me. The vocations may come or not, but perhaps more men will try to increase their dispassionate discernment with the help of God, His Saints, and his fellow sojourners who accompany him on the journey.
Jim says: "his fellow sojourners who accompany him on the journey."

Rome in it's greatness understood this concept, fundamental to building any great society. A citizen is not an island, he/she is effected/affected by his/her surroundings. Especially if that citizen hasn't even reached the age of thirty.

Just the other day, in this city, we had a catholic high school kid - active in his church - participate in the murder-for-car-rims of another young man - refusing to give up his car. I say societial values are winning out (non-Christian values that is). Now two young lives are destroyed, one in a casket another going to prison. Vocations to the Priesthood don't come out of materialistic pop cultures not wanting to work for the extras they would like to have. Not grasping the value of life and the value of car rims.

I would caustion this marraige before ordination though. Fine have a married Priesthood. But the talk I have long heard on this forum treats marriage to a woman as though it is a sole means to sex and compnay - love can come later if ever. Personally I think it is important to love the person you marry. How is it seminarian students will find it so easy to find someone they love prior to ordination when a large portion of people in the world find it hard and trying to find that person special to them? At one time I understand parents use to arrange marriages, so the seminarian probably had less to worry about -concerning finding a wife - then the average young seminarian today? But really, women, wives, should not be looked at as a sole means for are selfish sexual appitite and are lust for company. Nothing wrong with sexual want or company, but love should be involved in this too. Many here talk as though one can just go out and get a wife. Certainly one can find some woman to marry, many 30'ish women with 3 or 4 kids by one or more man that is not in the picture, are at a time in their life where a committed guy to them is appealing. But is this the woman you feel is good for you now as a seminarian? I don't answer that or make any judgements on anyone. I just put forth the question.

Justin
Posted By: Jim

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/26/02 08:27 PM

Perhaps I should go a little further, and say that a married clergy has been the norm in eastern orthodox jursidictions, and still is. Celibacy is required only of bishops and monastics there. Once ordained, however, eastern orthodox clergy are not permitted to marry if they are to retain their ministry. All the above can be applied to Russians, Antiocheans, Greeks, Serbs, Roumanians, and so on. The Ruthenians in America were prohibited from continuing married clergy back in the 1930s. Prior to that, their clergy could be married like their orthodox colleagues. In eastern customs a priest's wife usually has a central ministry within the parish herself involving children, ministering to the sick and the needy, and support services for the altar, among other things. Marriage is viewed as a path to holiness.
Posted By: Logos - Alexis

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/26/02 09:37 PM

Isn't celibacy viewed as being "holier" than marriage is, in Eastern Catholicism and Orthodoxy. I know it is in Roman Catholicism.

ChristTeen287
Posted By: Deacon John Montalvo

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/26/02 10:14 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Joe T:
Quote
Originally posted by NDHoosier:
[b]
Quote
Originally posted by bisantino:
[b]With the eparchial priests of Van Nuys (that is ordained for the eparchy of Van Nuys) having last names such as Hernandez, O'Brien, and Burnette you could draw your own conclusion.
What do you mean? These are Anglicized slavic names! You know - Hernandovich, Obrienov, and Bernetski! biggrin [/b]
NDHoosier,

I guess Bisantino John didn't know the true history of those names. :p [/b]
I guess my own surname is hispanicized, Mont-Alvo, "white mountain", since this must refer to the snow capped Carpathian mountains. On my mother's side the family is gallego, i.e. from Galicia. biggrin

John Montalvo
Posted By: Joe T

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/26/02 11:18 PM

"I guess my own surname is hispanicized, Mont-Alvo, "white mountain", since this must refer to the snow capped Carpathian mountains. On my mother's side the family is gallego, i.e. from Galicia."

Bisantovich Juan,

Nice to see some of us cradle-Rusyns diversify! It only helps add more recipes to the many goodies in our Paschal Baskets. Long live Incarnational Christianity!

Jose
Posted By: Joe T

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/26/02 11:29 PM

"Isn't celibacy viewed as being "holier" than marriage is, in Eastern Catholicism and Orthodoxy. I know it is in Roman Catholicism."

CT,

That is an interesting question, but perpetual continence is also viewed as a "gift," whereas marriage is a sacred mystery.

What do you mean by "holier?"
Posted By: Logos - Alexis

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/26/02 11:46 PM

Joe T,

I'm not really sure of what I mean by "holier." I put it in quotation marks because (I believe) that was the word used when I read an article on it by a Roman Catholic.

ChristTeen287
Posted By: Joe T

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/27/02 01:33 AM

"... women, wives, should not be looked at as a sole means for are selfish sexual appitite and are lust for company. Nothing wrong with sexual want or company, but love should be involved in this too. Many here talk as though one can just go out and get a wife."

Justin,

You remind us well of the necessity to instill love first in any relationship, especially in marriage. I think women will appreciate your words. Yet, is this no different than those guys who have a girlfriend while studying in college and then waiting for after graduation and getting a job before popping the question? Love sometimes demands sacrifice and patience.

If a seminarian has a friendship for eight years while studying, then getting hitched prior to ordination is no rush job. She can also serve as an inspiration to study hard and finish on time.

Abstinence makes the heart grow fonder.
Posted By: Maximus

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/27/02 01:48 AM

Quote
Originally posted by Joe T:


Yet, is this no different than those guys who have a girlfriend while studying in college and then waiting for after graduation and getting a job before popping the question? Love sometimes demands sacrifice and patience.

If a seminarian has a friendship for eight years while studying, then getting hitched prior to ordination is no rush job. She can also serve as an inspiration to study hard and finish on time.

Abstinence makes the heart grow fonder.
Absolutely true Joe. And it is good to see situations like this, were neither person betrays the other, and honors the time and love the other gave to them.

And it is even possible for a seminarian to meet a woman he loves and that loves him, a year or even a few months prior to ordination. They should marry too. And he should be ordained.

Justin
Posted By: Rev. Fr. Peter-Michael Preble

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/28/02 11:22 AM

ChristTeen,

Your assumption that celebacy is holier than marriage is incorrect. The teaching on celebacy in the western catholic church is that it is a state of being just like marriage. Not better, just different. Chastity, is called for in and out of marriage. In marriage, it is to onely one person, and out of means none of the above.

In the east, atleast in the eastern catholic church, the teaching is the same.

There is some really wrong information out there about the teaching on celebacy. I urge you to read the Catechism of the Catholic Church to get your inforamtion.

Peter - Currently Celebate
Posted By: Joe T

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/28/02 12:21 PM

"There is some really wrong information out there about the teaching on celebacy [sic]. I urge you to read the Catechism of the Catholic Church to get your inforamtion."

Br. Peter,

I was wondering what Eastern Tradition has to say about celibacy? What book do I turn to for that? I believe ChristTeen was concerned about celibacy in itself, not chastity. Is celibacy "holier" in itself (by nature) compared to marriage?

ChristTeen,

Br. Peter has introduced another aspect common to both celibacy and marriage: chastity. People embracing either one or the other are called to be chaste.

To all,

What does the priest mean by "Holy things to (the holy) holy people?" Is he only referring to those who are celibate? or married? or chaste?
Posted By: Maximus

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/28/02 04:50 PM

Most modern Catholics will do all they can to escape the tradition of the Virgin Mary. Some what similar to the Christ who no longer has His hands nailed to the cross but extended above as being raised from off of the cross.

"Holier" is questionable. But for sure celibacy is superior to conjucal acts.

Most people haven't a clue as to what celibacy is all about. Even monastic men that frequently masterbate will not understand what celibacy is about.

We must understand one thing about marriage. One can be married and yet unchaste. One can be married and have extramarital affairs. One can not be celibate and have sex, with any body. One can be celibate however and be of unchaste heart - i.e. frequent masterbation.

In America it is calculated by survey that almost half of American married women "cheat" on their husband. It is also calculated that over half, upwards of 60%, of American husbands "cheat" on their wives. If one had to tally celibacy against American marriages - then yes celibacy would be superior to American marriages in general.

The conjucal act will almost always produce pleasure. Less frequently it will produce children. Thus logicaly the conjucal act is primarily a source of pleasure and secondarily a source of reproduction.

Now what is celibacy all about? No it's not so much about not having sex as people think, though of course this what it foremostly is. So what is it? I know but I had to learn the hard way, and without anyone ever telling me. So since so many modern Christians think their so darn smart, I won't say. There is the fate worst then not having the navigational map but still eventually arriving where one always was trying to get to - it is time wasted, that could have produced much good fruit, but can never be gotten back - and in that much even when the person arrives where he/she was looking for - while happy - they regret the time wasted in long wrong routes that could have been avoided.

Justin
Posted By: Joe T

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/28/02 05:11 PM

"Most modern Catholics will do all they can to escape the tradition of the Virgin Mary."

How does one remain a "virgin" after engaging in the marital act and giving birth? Can ANYONE do that one?

"Now what is celibacy all about? No it's not so much about not having sex as people think, though of course this what it foremostly is. So what is it? I know but I had to learn the hard way, and without anyone ever telling me. So since so many modern Christians think their so darn smart, I won't say."

I was hoping that you would give us a definition on celibacy. What is celibacy and how is it related to holiness?
Posted By: Rev. Fr. Peter-Michael Preble

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/28/02 10:28 PM

"I was wondering what Eastern Tradition has to say about celibacy? What book do I turn to for that?"

If you mean eastern catholic tradition, then refer to my previous comment. The Catechism of the Catholic Church applies to eastern catholics as well as western catholics.

Peter
Posted By: Jim

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/28/02 10:55 PM

Br. Peter,

At the risk of sounding like I am dancing around the topic of celibacy instead of responding directly, I can only say that the orthodox east relies on the proceedings of the seven ecumenical councils available in the large patristic series that Light-N-Life Publishing sells for around $360 these days. One volume deals with the decisions of the councils themselves, and meticulously addresses what deacons, priests, and so on can and cannot do once they are in their vocations as it relates to being deposed or excommunicated.

Having said that, it is more difficult to answer more specifically about celibacy itself, because I always relied on what I was told by priests, bishops, or monastics on the topic. Alexander Schmemmann's book on marriage would help to clarify some, since the orthodox permit divorce, and allow up to 3 marriages total. There was Constantinopolitan royal court pressure that caused that in particular (which is not addressed in the council decisions, as I recall). And a candidate for Holy Orders can marry as long as he does so before being ordained. Even so, he cannot marry more than once- just laity can do that. If a priest's wife dies leaving him with children, he frequently feels compelled to leave the priesthood in order to provide sufficient care for his children, either with another wife, or a secular job that allows him greater flexibility as to how he allocates his time.

Celibacy also equates to exclusive chastity with one's spouse or no sexual partner at all as in the Roman Church. Beyond that, things get hazier. Take birth control, for instance. There appear to be conflicting views and no definitive statements from the orthodox one way or the other on birth control, though they are staunchly against abortion on grounds that it is actually murder. No murder is involved in preconception birth control however, which possibly is why they can't agree on that.

If I find anything else to add I pass it along. Hope this helped a little.
Posted By: Joe T

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/28/02 11:55 PM

"If you mean eastern catholic tradition, then refer to my previous comment. The Catechism of the Catholic Church applies to eastern catholics as well as western catholics."

Br. Peter,

How do you know?

How does your statement compare to the following quote found on your parish homepage? http://www.stjosephsbyz.org/us.htm

"... we share a theological approach, liturgy and spirituality with the Orthodox Churches, including the Church of Romania from which the first Romanian Byzantine Catholics came ..."
Posted By: Maximus

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/29/02 12:34 AM

Quote
Originally posted by Joe T:
"Most modern Catholics will do all they can to escape the tradition of the Virgin Mary."

How does one remain a "virgin" after engaging in the marital act and giving birth? Can ANYONE do that one?

"Now what is celibacy all about? No it's not so much about not having sex as people think, though of course this what it foremostly is. So what is it? I know but I had to learn the hard way, and without anyone ever telling me. So since so many modern Christians think their so darn smart, I won't say."

I was hoping that you would give us a definition on celibacy. What is celibacy and how is it related to holiness?
Dear Joe, I don't follow you here? Your first question.

I brought up the Virgin Mary because she is the holiest Christian Saint within Apostolic Christianity. You can not seperate her identity from her virginity. No Christian other then Protestants could stand to think of the Our Lady having hot sex panting and moaning. Let us be honest about the situation Christianity views virginity with purity.

As for your second question. Celibacy is no more then successfuly living out life without sex. Before or after having sex. In the context of Christianity this is done by means of vows - laity or clergy. In Christianity one is to either give life their life in marriage - and build a family. Or one is to give themselves in celibacy as a single person - and this is where the rest of the purpose of celibacy comes in, which is Co********************************************

Justin
Posted By: Dr John

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/29/02 06:18 AM

I think that the focus of the discussion on celibacy and chastity is a good one; but when the thread goes immediately to 'sexuality', then we are playing the young person's game.

The whole purpose of the vow of celibacy is to make a public profession that one's heart will not be diverted from the professed goal of service to God and to the Church. It really is only marginally related to sexuality, but is more a discipline of the heart that says I will not allow my heart to be diverted to another person, no matter how wonderful that person may be. I do this "for the sake of the Kingdom". We are made to love other human beings (well, duh!) and it is perfectly natural at times to encounter a person over whom one falls head over heels. But the discipline of the vow requires that one not divert one's focus "from the prize". This is truly the most difficult aspect of the vow of chastity. It is setting the limit on how close one can allow one's self to come to another human being without jeopardizing one's vowed commitment.

And this is when many have struggled and some have fallen. And there is oftentimes the excuse that "I'm not abnegating my vow; I just have a special friend who understands me and helps me get through things". While close friendships are indeed wonderful and a gift from God and from the other person, one must understand clearly where the line is to be drawn. And this is precisely why one needs a spiritual director with whom one is in frequent contact: to avoid self-deception.

If one is more concerned about the "sexuality" stuff, then one has already missed the boat on celibacy.

Blessings!
Posted By: Rev. Fr. Peter-Michael Preble

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/29/02 11:30 AM

Joe T,

Thanks for visiting our website. Not many people stop by.

Yes, it is true, as the statement says, that we follow some traditions from the Romanian church, however, the church here in the US is much different then the curch in Romania.

Perhaps I am wrong here, but the theological approach, and the traditions of the Romanian church are those that fit with the CCC.

The Romanian Greek-Catholic Church in Union with Rome, teaches that the celbate state is not a higher position then the married state. Higher no, different, yes.

The question that was posed to me was "I was wondering what Eastern Tradition has to say about celibacy? What book do I turn to for that?"

And my response was "If you mean eastern catholic tradition, then refer to my previous comment. The Catechism of the Catholic Church applies to eastern catholics as well as western catholics."

I assumed, and maybe I was incorrect, that he was refering to eastern catholic tradition, after all that is what I am. If he was refering to eastern orthodox tradition, then that is a different story all together.

Again Joe T, thanks for visitng the site, any comments on it?

Peter
Posted By: Fr. Deacon Lance

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/29/02 01:25 PM

Brother Peter,

You state: "And my response was 'If you mean eastern catholic tradition, then refer to my previous comment. The Catechism of the Catholic Church applies to eastern catholics as well as western catholics.'

I assumed, and maybe I was incorrect, that he was refering to eastern catholic tradition, after all that is what I am. If he was refering to eastern orthodox tradition, then that is a different story all together."

The above statement shows quite clearly, at least from my point of view, why Eastern Catholic seminarians should not be formed, in whole or part, in Latin seminaries. The above statement puts forward the idea that we should be Catholic first, Byzantine second.

There should be no divergence between Byzantine Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic tradition, excepting communion with Rome. The CCC is a fine document but it is not written by us or from our traditional viewpoint. So for teaching from or about our traditions it is of limited value. The whole point of Orientale Lumen, and all the other documents addressed to us, is to rediscover our traditions and use our own sources for teaching not copping out and saying we believe whatever the CCC or other Latin documents say we should. However, if I have misread your statement, I apologize in advance.

In Christ,
Lance
Posted By: Maximus

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/29/02 02:28 PM

Dr. John,

I would not disagree with most of your post. As you said celibacy is not soley about sex. Most people would not recognize this.

But I would not dismiss sexuality so quickly. It is an important issue within celibacy, indeed the first and most important. Just like recovery for an alcoholic, he can not find himself or his freedom until he first stops drinking. Not picking up the drink is the first and most important thing. Nothing can come until that abstinance.

The reason so many people have an issue with celibacy is because it is sexual. They are addicted to sex, to being touched. It's really no more harder then that. People will not recognize it as an addiction because their lives are not driven out of control because of their sexual intercourse. So people will say that one is insane to consider celibacy optional. Except of course unless ones addiction is pedophilia then automaticly we demand that celibacy is that persons only option.

Personally I don't consider celibacy or marital sex holy. They are no more holy then not driving your car drunk. They are just the appropriate things to do.

A major key to understanding what celibacy is about is 'self mastery'. Once one is celibate and understands this then they will begin to understand what direction their life is to take. However it has been from my observation and experience that frequent masterbation can cloud ones mind regarding the direction to be taken in their celibate life.

When you said Dr. John that it is to God and Church. You where hiting the nail on the head. One does not have to be Christian however, the same principal applies - it is for something far greater then just yourself. It very much rooted in selflessness.

Marriage is rooted in selflessness also. But it's energy is must be placed not only in "God" but in ones spouse and family.

If both are selflessness and both are devoted to "God" then if marriage is also devoted to spouse and family then does the celibate only pray and put in 8hrs for "Church"? No. There is an answer I would give but this is the whole thing I did not want to mention.

Justin
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/29/02 02:52 PM

Dear Friends (hopefully this refers to everyone posting on this thread),

I've come to the happy realization - and acceptance - that I have a Byzantine vocation.

It is a vocation to the religious life - although involving neither the priesthood nor the monastic state.

For me, the acceptance of this as a gift from God to me personally means that vocation is a charisma or a Gift of the Spirit, just as celibacy is.

I don't accept the view that those who aren't celibate somehow don't have the commitment or focus that celibates do, or else don't have it to as intense a degree.

A celibate with strong sexual urges or who is always thinking about sex truly lacks the kind of focus that we should all have on the Object or Final End that is Christ.

I just don't see celibacy as an important component of a committed Christian vocation, no matter what it is, save for monasticism.

(The Celtic monks, in reality, were often married and the Scottish surname "MacNab" actually means "Son of the Abbot.")

Celibacy is not a necessary component of the priesthood, or even of the episcopacy, if the early Church has any say here.

It is one of the charismata of the Spirit, but what is it exactly?

For me, celibacy is another way of experiencing marriage and intimacy.

It is a way of commitment to a particular service or ministry whose nature requires a complete (not better or more intense) focus on its labours.

It is also an eschatological witness made by the person who is celibate to the future resurrection when there "will be no sex" as Christ told the Sadducees who came to tempt Him with their story about the widow married to seven brothers.

Fasting is a similar witness. When we fast, we fast as an expression of sorrow that the Bridegroom is not with us. We fast to discipline ourselves.

But we also fast as a way to witness to the coming Resurrection of our bodies in the Body of Christ when the only food we'll require is our continuing participation in that Body and in that Life.

Alex
Posted By: Joe T

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/29/02 05:17 PM

Lance wrote:

"The above statement shows quite clearly, at least from my point of view, why Eastern Catholic seminarians should not be formed, in whole or part, in Latin seminaries. The above statement puts forward the idea that we should be Catholic first, Byzantine second."

Absolutely. Otherwise, Eastern Catholicism becomes a "supplemental" form of Catholicism.

"There should be no divergence between Byzantine Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic tradition, excepting communion with Rome. The CCC is a fine document but it is not written by us or from our traditional viewpoint."

I concur with Lance on this. The CCC is, indeed, a beautiful book, which was greatly needed in the Latin Church after so many years of experimental theologies since Vatican II. But for Byzantine Catholics to thump through it like it was THEIR very own catechism prooftexting misses out on some excellent sources of our own tradition, namely our liturgy and liturgical hymns. So much theology in them that one can spend a lifetime drinking from its font of wisdom.

How does one explain Theosis with the CCC if it isn't even in the index? Many parishes use Meyendorff's "Byzantine Theology" or Panayiotis Nellas' "Deification in Christ," both of which are published by SVS.

How do we explain the feasts of Mary's Nativity, Presentation if we don't understand how the Protoevangelium of James was its source? or how to understand one of the three themes of Jerusalem Matins (Descent into Hades) and the Resurrection Icon and the majority of the Resurrection Troparia if we don't get familiar with the Gospel of Nicodemus? or how to understand our Eastern feast of Theophany if we aren't familiar with the apocryphal and Syrian gospels, namely the apocryphal Acts of the Apostles? or how to understand the meaning of "the rock" in a Byzantine Tradition? Our Pentectostarion refers to Jesus or faith in Jesus every time "rock" is used and not the Pope in Rome! How does an Eastern cleric, who is educated in a Latin formation program, go about explaining the faith if he only relies on the CCC and not his very own tradition? Where do we turn to for explanations? The answer is in our very own liturgy and liturgical hymns and liturgical prayers, which are not the basis of the CCC.

It is no wonder why many of our liturgical traditions fell out of use. We didn't have the lexicon to convey their importance or how it fit into the mosaic of Byzantine thought. So, naturally we took on easy-to-comprehend pious practices of other traditions and adopted their catechisms as our own. We felt comfortable using English measurements to engineer things in metric. We were working on the same project, but failed miserably to make things fit.

There is nothing more annoying than going through one formation program only to have to do it all over again so one is better prepared to serve one's own parishioners in the context of a different theological tradition.

But, all in all, it is still better than years past when our clergy were edubecated at Calvinist schools in Europe.
Posted By: Aklie Semaet

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/29/02 05:27 PM

Alex,

May God Bless you on your spiritual journey and may the Holy Spirit guide you in your vocation and calling. I envy the Byzantine Church that they can have you as an actual member and we can have you only as an honorary. From my observation during my time spent reading and participating in this forum you have truly been an inspiration and a good example.

Egzabiher ke-ante gar yihun (may God be with you)

Melkam guzo (happy [spiritual] journey)

Aklile-Semaet
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/29/02 06:21 PM

Dear Cantor Joe,

If I may make so bold and speak with you, what about any pragmatic considerations concerning the utilization of a catechism per se in teaching the faith, liturgy etc.?

Certainly, the Orthodox Church has her fair share of historic Catechisms - that of Peter Mohyla, John of Damascus and Dositheus.

Is it that the catechism, as a religious teaching genre, is itself of limited capability to inculcate a solid grounding in Eastern theology or the fact that Latin catechisms purporting to be "universal" are?

Alex
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/29/02 06:23 PM

Selam Aklile!

Thank you for your kindness.

I've come to the end of a troubling spiritual journey and for that I am truly thankful.

It was, in fact, Joe Thur's comments on vocations that got me thinking about the direction of my life until now.

I would gladly become Ethiopian Orthodox any time!!

Alex
Posted By: Maximus

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/29/02 06:52 PM

Alex,

Celibacy may not be for everyone to commit to. This is ok. I don't think we must diminish celibacy to feel ok in the way we choose to live our lives. Personaly I'm happy that pedophilia is not a problem of mine. There may be people who attain greater virtue then us and their may be people who are far less virtues then us. This is just something we will have to face in life. I use to ask my spiritual director all the time: "tell me where on the scale am I? How far down or up?" He use to always respond to me, I paraphrase: well I wouldn't think of it in those terms. I have just now recently began to understand what he means. And what wisdom. We are taught that you have a winner over here and a loser over there. Man! This is not life. Life is a series of loses and wins. It is a continual struggle. We do the best with what we have, with what we aquire. The celibate state is a tough one and anyone who can be successful at this level of self mastery I applaude. If that hurts your noggin then look at the heroin addict. He or she will tell you that heroin is better then sex, and that lack of sex doesn't make their body sick, take their breath away, give them nightmares. They will tell you sex is easier to give up then heroin. But some how some of them give up heroin. Sometimes it's only for a few years, sometimes forever. If you believe in the Christian God then it is that God you have to take up the matter with your overwhelming sexual desires. No celibate person created your body.

You are not weak for sexual desire. This is what your ego might tell you but it is a deception. Man, the body is weak. All the time. Some celibates have big round bellies from eating to much. Some can keep celibate but be brung down by wine. Some can never conquer their anger. The list goes on and on. Just live and struggle you do not have to prove your worth. If Christianity tells you you have to do A & B to prove your worth, then it is a religion of lies. You exist so you are already worthy.

Justin
Posted By: Herbigny

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/29/02 07:01 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Orthodox Catholic:
The Celtic monks, in reality, were often married and the Scottish surname "MacNab" actually means "Son of the Abbot."
Alex
This is fascinating!!!

Can you give further information?!!?

I had heard that this happened once during a rather odd period in the history of the Great Church of the East, but it was subsequently seen to be an aberration - the result apparently of undue pressure from the dominant state-religionists, the Zoroastrians.

Re. the Celts I only had heard there were double monasteries, but not actually Married Monastics!

thanks.

herb.
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/29/02 07:44 PM

Dear Herb,

Yes, the Celtic Church, as you know, had a number of "peculiarities" that drove the incoming Roman Christians "bananas" and this was one of them.

Not to mention their different tonsure, date of Easter (they refused to take Communion on Easter Sunday, but deferred it to "Little Easter" or St Thomas Sunday) etc.

Their missionaries were often titled, "Saint" even while they were alive - following the New Testament tradition, of course.

Their monastics often had families, living in their separate "cashels" and this obtained until the Synod of Whitby put a stop to it.

The Celtic monastics were very strict and followed an amazing regimen of prayer and fasting. Many of them were celibate, but both traditions obtained among them.

Alex
Posted By: amonasticbeginner

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/29/02 08:33 PM

I wish to repeat what others have said -- there is no such thing as a failed vocation -- as long as we follow the Will of God.

I have observed a number of Byzantine Catholic/Eastern Catholics who have had experience in Roman Catholic religious orders. I think Our Lord is using their experience as a stepping stone to restoring traditional monastic life in our Churches. It's all part of God's mysterious ways -- His wonders to perform.

Not failed, but transformed for His glory, for His people on earth, for witness to Jesus Christ in the 3rd millennium!! Oh, what a glorious time to living!! :p
Posted By: Herbigny

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/29/02 08:35 PM

dear Alex:

Thanks for the quick reply.

Can you give me some references and sources, please? I'm sure people will not believe me when I tell them.

Much Thanks!

herb.
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/29/02 08:51 PM

Dear Herb,

If I'm not mistaken, Meyendorff makes mention of this in his book, "Imperial Unity and the Byzantine Legacy."

It's been a while since I did my Celtic studies in university ("filler" courses that turned out to be a major obsession!).

The Celtic novelist, Nigel Tranter, with whom I corresponded before his death some time ago, did a lot of research on the Celtic Church.

His "Columba" and "Druid Sacrifice" goes into the marriage of Celtic monks - and his research, given his awards for Celtic history, is impeccable.

I've never really gone into it a whole lot.

Sorry I wasn't much help.

Alex
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/29/02 09:05 PM

Dear Monasticbeginner,

Yes, my internet spiritual Father, namely, the Administrator, brought this home to me recently.

I've discovered I have a vocation, but it doesn't involve incense, altars or liturgical singing. (Some are 'incensed' at me, but you know what I mean).

I think your point is important insofar as IF we can get everyone understanding that they truly have a vocation, perhaps those whom God is truly calling to the Priesthood and Monastic life can awaken from the sweet spiritual slumber of slothfulness and get moving on it.

I used to wonder what to do with myself, and spent a lot of time posting here, for example wink .

And the only reason I'm posting today is a) to let people know I'm still alive; b) that I'm well, and c) waiting for a phone call from a colleague with whom I'm forging an alliance to do a special job.

So you are right on and I think everyone here is privileged to have someone with the depth of your wisdom.

Alex
Posted By: Logos - Alexis

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/29/02 10:59 PM

Alex,

Do you mind telling us what you believe to be your vocation? If it is personal or private, then I apologize for delving into your business. Otherwise, I'm very curious to know. Whatever your vocation might be, may it bring you closer to your Creator.

ChristTeen287
Posted By: Maximus

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/29/02 11:36 PM

Alex,

I was thinking and wondering how you might have taken my post? Because I didn't mean it to be harsh at all to you. But I'm not sure if it came across that way or not. One thing I hope I don't come across as an abnoxious younger person preaching to someone older. Hopefuly age and experience brings some wisdom with it. But I meant to speak as one person to another. And maybe that might have been harsh I don't know.

At any rate amonasticbegginer pretty much summed up my feelings towards this loser/winner attitude prevelant through out the world, Christianity included. But to each his own. I stick by what I say because mines comes from experience and not just theory without trial. But again to each his own smile

I got myself on another forum defending Christianity. Surely to have my ear bitten off. But then this is what I do best fighting against the odds. Truth is rarely popular anyways and opposed by many camps so enemies are bound to be made. Oh well.

Kind Regards,

Justin
Posted By: Dr John

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/30/02 03:18 AM

I am really happy that Alex has had a type of epiphany. What this really proves is two things: if we both tractate and discuss with other spiritual people, and then follow up in prayer, we will make progress. Secondly: we have to get beyond the idea that "vocations" are pigeonhole-able, which is just the obverse of saying that "the Spirit moves where He will". One doesn't have to find the "vocation", one just has to be assured that where one is moving is in God's plan.

For all the talk about sexuality, personal choices, marriage/commitment, and virtue/vices, we just have to ensure that whatever we do is consonant with the will of God. There were certainly those who thought St. Francis of Assisi was a nut-case. [Sheesh, he talked with the birds and farm animals for heaven's sake!!] And Fr. Damien of Molokai didn't just "minister" to the lepers on a periodic basis, but he actually lived with them. There is now a movement among ex-Jesuits in the U.S. to discover how former members of the Order can establish some sort of formal linkage to the community to help carry out the mission of the Society of Jesus. This will, of course, scare the daylights out of the more "block-order" folks ["Yikes!!! But what will these men BE??! They can't be REAL Jesuits if they're married or 'hooked up'!!!]

So, I think that the Church, trusting fully in the Holy Spirit and INTENSE prayer -- oh yeah, and FASTING too -- should start being creative about ways that human souls can serve God and God's people in ways that haven't been thought of before. I suspect that much of this creativity will come in North America because the pioneer spirit of trying stuff to see if it will work is still present in the people. Without wrapping myself in the flag, I will state that Americans are still among the most innovatively creative people in the world. Most new inventions come from the U.S., and the rest of the world just embellishes on the basic concept. And I have no doubt that some new ways of organizing God's people to service of God and the Church will come from among our peoples. We just have to do the prayer and fasting, and then set out to try, try and try again until we succeed.

May the Lord give all who truly seek to serve God and God's people all the graces that they need to fulfil their mission. And may the Lord give us all the strength to move forward in this endeavor. [And I hope that the Lord provides Alex with red shoes. I can't think of anything else to pray for for him, so red shoes it is!! Alex! What's your shoe size?]

Blessings!!
Posted By: Inawe

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/30/02 03:52 AM

Quote
And I have no doubt that some new ways of organizing God's people to service of God and the Church will come from among our peoples. We just have to do the prayer and fasting, and then set out to try, try and try again until we succeed.

May the Lord give all who truly seek to serve God and God's people all the graces that they need to fulfil their mission. And may the Lord give us all the strength to move forward in this endeavor. [And I hope that the Lord provides Alex with red shoes. I can't think of anything else to pray for for him, so red shoes it is!! Alex! What's your shoe size?]

Blessings!!
Dr. John,

AMEN!

Steve
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/30/02 02:05 PM

Dear Dr. John,

YES, absolutely, couldn't have said it better myself (a foregone conclusion).

Your point on having relationships with other spiritual people, such as on this Forum, is what really is the key - and I'm grateful to the Administrator, yourself, Steve and so many others here, especially Cantor Joe for his thoughts on the Byzantine Vocations thread.

Your excellent point on intense prayer is something that tells me you have charismata you may not be aware of wink .

Being in a state of despair and confusion, I focused exclusively on an ambitious rule of prayer.

The temptations for me to discard it early were so great that I thought the Evil One himself was at the root of them.

It was almost as if something evil had come to walk next to me and made its presence known to me.

I had to not only begin prayer with the Sign of the Cross over myself, but outwardly, as if to "shoo" the thing away.

Then, at one point, the strenuous effort and tension died down suddenly.

It was during a reflection on Christ's Passion at the moment He was stripped of His raiment prior to being nailed to the Cross.

That reflection took on a life of its own at that moment.

Then the thought came that Christ was stripped in order to clothe us with His Grace and Mercy.

Rather than reflecting on the experience of humiliation and suffering of Christ, I realized that He was thinking of me, and all of us, at that moment to show us that as His garments were being ripped from His wounded Body, He was covering us with the Deifying power of His Grace that He was pouring out on us.

The Blood of Christ is sprinkled on us, blessing us, forgiving us,uplifting us and deifying us.

The Saviour and Messiah looks lovingly on us from the Tree of Life with tears, beckoning us to come to Him and be nourished with the Blood and Water from His Side.

I'm going to write some things and communicate with others. That is my vocation.

It seems that the reality of it is impressed insofar as a colleague, who is not religious, is all afire with getting me to go ahead and calls me daily to ask if I've done anything yet . . .

I've relaxed and become spiritually limp - be still and know that I am God, the Psalmist sings.

Sometimes we need to stand with Moses on the riverbank and see the salvation of our God.

I can feel the drops of water of the parting waves still, and can hear their roar.

What a fool I've been. God is found in the stillness of the breeze, the silence of the night and we are leaves driven by His Wind.

Alex
Posted By: Maximus

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/30/02 04:00 PM

Truely prayer is powerful. I don't know how this works though. It is an interesting phenomina.

Currently a new prayer I have adopted is to pray to Divine Karma, that I may recieve good karma and to take away my bad karma. Still early I will see how this works out in my life? So far just to think it is calming on the brain.

The same people with your same goal is important also. A Hindue Yogi I read, from a book a friend gave to me to borrow, says it is almost impossible to get better in whatever your endevour if you don't have other persons that are already accomplished in your pursued goal around you. He says almost impossible but still possible. I must fall into his possible category in one respect - I am sober today and better then I have been at any other point at which I have struggled with this. And I don't pray to God for power or help nor do I associate with many people. I don't know? One day at a time. Tomorrow is tomorrow with the world or not. If one can begin to master themselves free of clicks then they can begin to find freedom - perhaps? Perhaps not?

Though Dr John I would not discount principal for emotions. Principals can help one toward their vocation - I think at least. I don't know I have decided on the type of person I want to become, and in doing so I have turned my back on my GI Bill for instance. I feel the government can keep their money. If I go to college I do not need their encouragement. Yes I have issues with the government. smile lol. But I feel what I do today will build me for tommorrow i.e. service to Buddha, service to Christ, service to Allah, or may be service to a child and wife. Even if it doesn't at least I'll have not sold out for an easier road. Just my thoughts at least.

Hopefully everyone will find whatever vocation best fits them and helps them feel at peace.

Justin

P.S. though I have issues with Catholicism I could be harder on it. I mean I remember all the good christians I've met along the way. Because, while I respect and encourage the crucifix amongst Christians. I myself can not bare to be around one. I associate it with to many negative things. Recalling a friend on mine being made to work like a dog so bad that he would wake shouting in pain from his tendons & ligaments. He would ask me for hot peppers to eat just to relieve him from the pain. No one was to talk with him and he could not eat with others. He was made to sleep out in a trailer where roaches crawl around at night. Thinking about the time I spoke with him when I wasn't suppose to, and he stopped me because he didn't want to get in anymore trouble and was willing to carry his cross. Almost brings tears to my eyes now.

I should - and I do apologies for bringing my negative issues with Christianity onto this forum. This lacks good character. At any rate I can no longer handle posting on two or three forums. This is my only religious one left and one other one I have alreay cut down on posting on. The other one is rather fun smile well not always smile to much flaming. But I like some of the topics so you have to take the bitter with the sweet smile

Wish everyone well.

Salut!
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/30/02 04:08 PM

Salut to you too, Big Guy!

Alex
Posted By: Aklie Semaet

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/30/02 04:42 PM

Alex, if there is any gift that you definitely have (in my humble observation) it is writing with a poetic verse (not the same thing as poetry even though I am sure you are skilled there too). If I ever tried to write something like that I am sure it would come across badly.

Do you write liturgical music by any chance?
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/30/02 04:51 PM

Selam Aklile,

Yes, I've written three Akathists in my time: Our Lady of Fatima, King Charles the Martyr and Jan Hus!

Those who can't sing - write! wink

The Episcopal Church has blessed the Akathist to King Charles for private use.

And some Lutheran Churches in Germany have put my Akathist to Jan Hus to music and are using parts of it (they're not used to such long services, I suppose!).

As for how I came to write the latter two Akathist services, don't ask!

I'm probably in enough trouble already for mentioning them . . .

God bless,

Alex/Alemayu
Posted By: Aklie Semaet

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/30/02 05:09 PM

The Episcopal Church has blessed the Akathist to King Charles for private use.

Ah ha! So this is why you believe that he is on his way to Orthodoxy? cool
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/30/02 05:29 PM

Dear Aklile,

That's not the only reason by far. smile

King Charles was a very religious man who travelled throughout Europe and spoke with leading Catholic AND Orthodox people of his time.

He received a copy of the Alexandrian canon of Scriptures from Patriarch Cyril Lucaris, for example.

He also believed himself to be the head of the "Orthodox Church of England" as opposed to the "Puritans."

When appointing bishops, he always asked Archbishop William Laud to mark off the "orthodox" bishops with an "O."

And his theology leaned toward High Church all around.

There are Western Rite Orthodox who venerate him privately - and even publicly. Fr. Stephen Walinski of the Antiochian Orthodox Church in Omaha, Nebraska, had a beautiful icon of him written.

Alex
Posted By: Brian

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/31/02 12:55 AM

Ah the Stuart Kings (I still retain a romantic love for them)

They were often at their best in the ends of their lives rather then as rulers. Witness Charles I's advice to his children (Prince Henry ad Princess Elizabeth) before his execution, his last words at the execution or Charles II's conversion to Catholicism on his deathbed (he called out to the Benedictine priest who received him "ah! You who once saved my body, now have come to save my soul!!!", his attempt, although in great pain to kneel to receive the Blessed Sacrament etc. All of these scenes from history still move me to tears!

Brian
Posted By: Hieromonk Elias

Re: Byzantine Vocations - 10/31/02 02:32 AM

Dear, in Christ,

This topic has gone to the tenth page! It has also wandered far from our Brother Peter's original question.

May I suggest that if there is more to say on Byzantine Vocations' promotion, (or any other topic) it might better be begun in a new thread, as this one has wandered far.

Elias
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