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#422697 09/04/22 02:52 AM
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Hello all!

My wife and I have been seriously exploring changing Rites for a little over a year. At this point, we’ve become well acquainted with the Byzantine(T/t)raditions and calendar (we attend a local Ruthenian parish and have for some time), but the lingering questions are all practical and “logistical” questions. We have three boys (all baptized Latin Catholics) and a fourth son on the way. That said, I’m going to throw out a list of some of them below. Any answers or insights would be appreciated. Also, I intend to talk to our priest about many of these, but insights from people in the proverbial trenches and how families deal with some of the following issues would be great.

1) It’s the western CHURCH and the eastern CHURCHES. If we transfer Rites and our boys receive Chrismation and Communion (and baptism) in the Ruthenian church, are we bound to the Ruthenian church or are we bound to any/all churches of the Byzantine Rite? (Back story- we love our local Ruthenian parish but we’re exploring a move. What happens if we end up in an area with only a Melkite or Maronite parish and one of our boys wants to marry? What if I or my wife meet an untimely end? Would we need to have a Ruthenian wedding or funeral or are we only bound Byzantine rituals?)

2) How do Byzantine families navigate living in areas with no Byzantine presence? Do you travel to have your children received in a/the Byzantine church ? Will Latin priests accommodate you on infant Communion and/or Chrismation?

3) How, in instances where you are without access to a Byzantine church, do families meet the spiritual needs of their children and nurture a love of Byzantine (T/t)radition without regular access to the Liturgy?

4) I’ll have four boys. What if one of them finds their home in the Latin church and/or is called to the Latin priesthood? Will they encounter extra difficulties in transferring Rites because my wife and I have transferred out of the Latin church?

That’s all for now. I’m sure there will be more to come. Thanks to everyone for any answers in advance.

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I would talk to a priest about it. That said, What ifs are just that. You don't know what will be. We converted/changed Churches to the Ruthenian Church. We have been part of other parishes that belong to other Churches (Catholic and Orthodox), and only old OCA parishes feel like 'nash'. This is what we do:

We made the change, and then moved to a place where the nearest GC parish was three hours away (Romanian) and nearest Ruthenian was four hours. So we had to make a decision as to where hour tent was staked. At home we do everything as Ruthenian (Old school though) as we can, keeping the traditional fasts as closely as possible, and singing a reader's service. We started a mission that has Divine Liturgy once or twice a month (Ruthenian with help from a Melkite priest-our folks are Latins, Ruthenians, Romanians, and Ukrainians).

1. You are not strictly bound to the Ruthenian Church save for if there are issues relating to marriage and ordination. If you move, you live life in the parish that is nearby, unless you are us who move to an area that is far away from any eastern parish. I don't know what we would have done if we were closer to a Maronite parish (one is two hours away). They are good people, and faithful. For me, personally, I was privileged to grow up with old Hunkies, and there is something about Rusyn mountain culture that speaks to me personally: Prostopinije, the way the people interacted, the small and intimate Liturgy, the food, the home made church furnishings, baptisms in a beer cooler. The folk elements made the Church and worship of God more real and personal to me than really any of the big ritzy new parishes that the Orthodox and Melkites tend to build. If the culture is not important, then the Liturgy is more or less the same for all Byzantine Rites, save for music and short cuts.

2. The local Latin diocese has a policy of communing EC children (our outreach group is all over). Many priests are accommodating and get a kick out of. Some do not. Some Priests and Eucharistic Ministers do not like it and refuse (even if there is a policy in place). When we would go to a new parish, we go and talk to the priest first. If not, we don't go to communion. In small parishes, we get noticed (we have 10 kids) and someone asks and we can have the conversation needed. That said, the Latin Church was not really cutting it, and I think that to be good Catholics, Eastern Catholics should live out their lives as fully as possible according to the way their Church lays it out. So we started an outreach/mission. We tried traveling, but two hours is the max we found viable for us on a regular basis. Most people with families find one hour is the max distance for weekly travel. If you want to go to church more often, you have to live closer. At first we traveled six hours back to our home parish for baptisms and chrismations. Local Latins were not comfortable with infant communion, and it is actually not practical the way they do it, so really no communion until about three. By the way, you will find that many EC parishes do not practice paedocommunion either. With will commune the baby at baptism and then at age seven or so. I depends on the parish.

3. We try to pray Vespers every evening. We keep the fasts, starting with Vespers the evening before (it helps give them a different perspective on time versus secular time). We celebrate our special saints. I read to them the lives of the saints a dinner. We go to the cemetery on days when it is customary and sing some of the Panakhida hymns. We sing the paraliturgical hymns that make up a big part of Rusyn folk culture. Before the mission, we would pray Typika and read the Sunday readings (could be done everyday). We do this on Sundays in the mission when we don't have Divine Liturgy.

4. If the change in Church occurs after baptism and before the child is 14, they can revert back to the Latin Church after age 14, and then that is permanent. There are no further difficulties, just some paperwork. If they are raised in the Latin Church, but are Eastern, they must be married by a priest and not a deacon or it not a valid marriage.

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Thank you for the quick answer! Really appreciate your perspective, especially since you have a large family and understand the difficulties that go into frequent travel. We’ve found that our max travel distance is about 2 hours, but it starts to wear on you pretty quickly. Not sure of the age range of your children, but our oldest is 6 and he’s a trooper but the younger two (soon to be younger three) just hit a wall after the one hour mark.

As we’ve explored moving we’ve tried to find areas where we can locate ourselves within an hour of a Byzantine parish and/or a (traditional) Latin parish, but it tends to be more difficult than one would think. That said, how difficult is it to start a mission/outreach parish?

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Our age range is 21 years to 21 months. With gas prices it gets tougher.

It is not easy to start a mission/outreach. There are a lot of factors that go into play, such as willingness of priests to help, bishops to support, and getting a decent sized group of dedicated people to show. Resources are tight and priestly availability is waning. Unfortunately, generally Catholics do not tend to see value in Liturgy that does not involve a sacrament (much less Vespers and Matins with a priest and even much less Reader's services). That is not always the case, but that is a pretty strong factor.

All in all you are better being someplace near a parish or mission. You can PM me, as I am curious about where you are thinking of going. There are good options in unexpected places.

Last edited by akemner; 09/06/22 02:32 PM.
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At this point, we haven’t really picked out any place in particular (all options are on the table). All politics aside, California has turned into a nearly unlivable hell-scape. Our area is somewhat rural so it’s better than a lot of areas, but it doesn’t change the statewide policies that make it very difficult for young, blue collar families with a single income (like ours) to live here.

All that said, our parish here is phenomenal. We’ve got a great priest and some very involved families. Thanks to TC, there are tons of Latin Rite families taking refuge in the parish (mine included among them), so there are tons of kids for the foreseeable future as well.

To answer your question, however, we’ve been looking very hard at a move to Missouri. We visited a while back and met with the deacon and his wife at the local Ruthenian parish and I had some job interviews near KC, but nothing panned out. I’m looking at that as a sign to sit tight and enjoy the community we’re in (easy to do) and dive further into Byzantine Rite. Our priest is a young, enthusiastic, relatable and knowledgeable fellow, so in regards to transferring rites, we have a wealth of information at our fingertips (from a… shall we say “administrative” perspective, for lack of a better term).

As Latin Catholics, however, we’ve never been faced with some of the “supply issues” that Byzantine Catholics face as a reality of every day living and it’s interesting to learn how those are handled. Even in places where there is no access to a Latin Mass, you can usually find a reverent Novus Ordo or Ordinariate Mass if you look hard enough. Suffice it to say, I’m floored by the dedication of Byzantine Catholics to preserving their (T/t)raditions and the “how” and “what” are of particular interest given our situation.

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The KC parish is excellent (but I am biased-it is my home parish). Indiana, Ohio, Texas, and Georgia have good parishes as well that are easily accessible from rural areas. If you are willing to do some elbow grease, I would not discount Iowa or Nebraska either.


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