By Andrew Mentock

http://www.todayscatholicnews.org - Every Sunday in Mishawaka, a Mass is celebrated at a church where the congregation’s view of the altar is mostly obscured by a screen of colorful iconography; the readings are spoken from the back of the church; and the body and blood of Christ are mixed together and administered on a spoon. Although quite different from the Mass that most of the faithful within the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend celebrate each weekend and Holy Day of Obligation, this Mass is nonetheless Catholic.

St. Michael Ukrainian Byzantine Catholic Church was established on the west side of Mishawaka in 1916 and has cared for the spiritual life of Eastern Rite Catholics ever since.

The first thing one who walks into St. Michael is likely to notice is the vibrant iconography painted onto the Iconostasis, or wall of icons and religious paintings, near the altar. The prominent yellow, red and blue colors stick out; as do the doors leading to the altar, which only the priest may use. The embellished images of Jesus, Mary, and several saints may lead one to incorrectly assume that St. Michael is an Orthodox Church.

“Any Catholic can come to St. Michael and receive Communion and attend the Divine Liturgy,” said Rev. George Kuzara CPPS, the parish’s pastor. Attending Mass at St. Michael on Sunday fulfills a Roman Catholic’s Sunday obligation.

St. Michael is part of the Ukrainian Byzantine Catholic Church, one of the 22 Eastern Catholic churches. Together with the Roman Catholic Church, they make up the one universal church.

“It’s important to understand the Eastern churches because of what Pope John Paul II said about how the church ‘breathes with both lungs.’ It doesn’t have one lung,” said Rev. Kuzara. “It has both the Eastern and Roman Catholic churches.”

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Teachings of Christ

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God." (John 3:16-18 ESV)

Exaltation of the Cross

Save Your people, O Lord, and bless Your inheritance; * grant victory to Your Church over her enemies * and protect Your commonwealth by Your Cross. (Troparion - Tone 1)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Willingly lifted up on the Cross, O Christ God, * bestow Your compassions upon the new commonwealth that bears Your name. * By your power grant joy to Your Church, * granting her victory over her enemies. * May she have your Cross as the weapon of peace * and the invincible ensign of victory. (Kontakion - Tone 4)

The Church celebrates the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross on September 14th.

Random Proverb

"My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you." (Proverbs 3:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

What, then, are the things which are being prepared for those who wait for Him? The Creator and Father of the ages, the All-holy One, Himself knows their greatness and beauty. Let us then strive to be found among the number of those that wait, that we may receive a share of the promised gifts.

St. Clement of Rome