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May the memory of St Michael the Archangel parish be eternal!


"One day all our ethnic traits ... will have disappeared. Time itself is seeing to this. And so we can not think of our communities as ethnic parishes, ... unless we wish to assure the death of our community."
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Yes, I have seen this on Facebook numerous times.

Vichnaja jemu pamjat' Otcu Svete Mikhail Cerkvij.

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If the 150 people who showed up for the last Divine Liturgy (Mass??!!?) had shown up every week (instead of the 55 the story says was average attendance), the parish would still be open.

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Well, knowing what things are like in urban neighborhoods anymore...yeah. Half those people see churches as decorated buildings that add peace and comfort to a neighborhood, but they don't go in to worship along side those that would regularly go there. Shows you how city life in this country is going anymore... *Sigh*

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Originally Posted by StuartK
If the 150 people who showed up for the last Divine Liturgy (Mass??!!?) had shown up every week (instead of the 55 the story says was average attendance), the parish would still be open.

Stuart,

Just once, try and avoid being judgmental, difficult as that might be for you. As I suspect that you might well know - should you bother to stop and consider it - closing Divine Liturgies bring out folk who cannot realistically regularly attend a given temple. Those with historic, familial ties to the parish are inevitably present, despite having relocated.

Had you read the story more closely, you'd also have noted that the congregation that day included faithful from the sister parish of St Nicholas in Barberton.

So, instead of being critical, rejoice that the displaced parishioners have another place to go and will hopefully not be lost. Express appreciation for how infrequently closures have occurred in the Eparchy of Parma of the Ruthenians. Admire the pastoral manner in which Vladyka John invariably handles these sad events. And, finally, keep in mind that your own former parish could as well have benefited from you remaining steadfast there, rather than moving on to elsewhere.

Many years,

Neil


"One day all our ethnic traits ... will have disappeared. Time itself is seeing to this. And so we can not think of our communities as ethnic parishes, ... unless we wish to assure the death of our community."
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Perhaps a more trenchant question might be "Where did all the Ruthenians go, and why?"

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Not sure about that, Stuart. I'm guessing that we will have to wind up becoming part of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church to keep the Eastern Rite alive. Perhaps having a major Eastern Rite Catholic Church as a result of that might change the Byzantine Catholic landscape.

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Shame.

Barberton is only about 15-20 minutes from Akron, but I doubt people will make that drive. If they lived east of Akron in Middlebury or North Hill or Highland Square it's going to be a half hour. Not something most people will once or twice a week.

I know the losses pre-date the RDL. But you can trace a lot of the loss back to the 1980s with the first liturgical reforms. The RDL caused a new free-fall. And if you compare them the losses are much higher than the Ukrainian Catholics or the Orthodox have had. Some of the Orthodox churches have held their own. But of course they say liturgy has nothing to do with it. I think the bishops are intent on driving away the people. Reforms! Reforms! We must have more reforms! There are still people left!

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Hey, Joe--the main problem is the inability of the Ruthenians to resolve their identity crisis. They can't be a tertium quid. Sooner or later, they'll just have to decide whether they want to be Orthodox Christians in Communion with Rome, or whether they want to be Latin Catholics, but there can be no more straddling the center line. The lack of direction from the bishops only makes things worse.

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I'm saddened that 55 people supposedly can't sustain a parish. Sure, our people are tight with their donations, but there are activities that raise money. I would guess that even the large parishes can't sustain their parish strictly with donations....they have bazaars, dinners, cookbooks and bingos.

Sad indeed. And if it is because of a vocation crisis, why don't we ordain readers. One doesn't have to be a priest to be an administrator, which allows priests to serve multiple parishes. There are Protestant ministers who have 4 "charges" and they depend strictly on parish donations.

Canon law says that the faithful must be served; is sending them to another parish really doing that. All I hear is "close them down".....it makes me wonder..... Have the Rusyns no creativity?

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Pretty interesting and somewhat sad to go back and look at posts from 5-7 years ago when the RDL debate was going on.....

I'm sure it will be seen as gloating but many folks including me were predicting all this to be coming with churches closing.....and this is not the last of it....I seem to remember a year ago St. Gregory's in the Cleveland area closing as well.....

We're 5.5 years into the RDL.....I'm not in the BCA anymore but all I'm seeing is the same decline....very very very sad.....

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I dunno, it might be getting to the point where I think Sviatoslav, Pope Benedict, and Metropolitan William might have to have a closed door meeting, and reach an agreement for the Ruthenian Byzantine Church and the UGCC to work together, and form a combined Church to resolve these issues. That's what I think may wind up happening.

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Originally Posted by StuartK
Perhaps a more trenchant question might be "Where did all the Ruthenians go, and why?"

Easy answer, Stuart.

THEY

DIED!!

I was speaking with Fr. Thomas Loya about 10 years ago at a Theology of the Body conference in Gettysburg PA and he made this comment:

"If the Byzantine Catholic Church in America doesn't learn how to evangelize, it will be gone in 50 years."

I asked him what he meant by that statement.

"Next time you go to a parish, look around and see what you see. Chances are that you will see 90% old babas, no young adults and few children."

He's right. We don't evangelize. We don't do what the cults do and go out in twos to the neighborhoods around us to share the beauty and riches of the Byzantine Liturgy and the love and forgiveness of Christ. We are an ethnic ghetto with an ethnic ghetto mentality, as if our worship was only made for folks from the Ural Mountains of Central Europe who speak some form of Slovak.

In Hershey PA there is a mega church, Hershey Free Church, that is filled to the gills with X Catholics. About 70% of the congregation, from what I have come to understand. That's another place all the Catholics, including some Ruthenians, have gone.

It is time for the Byzantine Catholic Church to aggressively get onboard with the New Evangelization. You don't have to be Slovak to deeply appreciate the beauty of our Liturgy. All you have to do is to want authentic worship. Lord knows I'm not, and I was enchanted with the Liturgy from the first moment I saw it.

Fr. Loya was right. We will either learn to evangelize or we will die in this country.

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Right, it's like I said. We need to reach across the aisle, and run campaigns to get those from the Latin Church to at least consider giving the Byzantine Rite a try, and see if they like the Divine Liturgy, and if they do, then offer them to come over, and become parishioners, and bring their families. I don't think there's been as much of a drive like we had back in the 80s and 90s, where we were able to reach out to the Roman Church to bring people to the Byzantine Church. Looks like we're going to have to try a lot harder to convince the West that we are just as much Catholic, and just as much under Pope Benedict as they are.

After all, I'm proof of this, born, baptized, and given my sacraments in the Roman Rite, lived near the two Eastern Catholic Cathedrals of St. John the Baptist, St. Josaphat, and other Byzantine Rite Churches in the Parma area, got myself introduced (maybe those five gold-domed towers of St. Josaphat looked too inviting, but it worked). I stopped in, sat in on a Ukrainian-Language Divine Liturgy, even though I felt like I wasn't in Cleveland, or even in this country going there, and the priest took me to see Bishop Moskal, he introduced me and my mother, gave me an icon of the Theotokos, and voila, I was an Eastern Rite Catholic, and made a parishioner and an altar server in a Ruthenian Church of Holy Spirit Parish. Now that's good partnership on the Ruthenian BCC and the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church in action. Let's hope those two Churches can work together to a point where they'll become one.

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