Why Another Online Directory?
For years, "The Unofficial Directory of Eastern Catholic Churches in the US" served as a centralized on-line resource for location data on Eastern and Oriental Catholic parishes. Regretably, a few years ago, it ceased to be updated and, over time, its usefulness declined. The upgrading and expansion of ByzCath suggested an opportunity to develop a new, improved, and more comprehensive on-line directory and the owner of this site graciously agreed to host it.
Aren't there already online directories which list Eastern & Oriental Catholic churches?
Then, why this one?
To successfully use an eparchial directory to locate a parish, one must know which is the relevant eparchy. In some cases, that's easily determined.
Melkites and Romanians, for instance, have only a single eparchy each in the US. However, some Churches have anywhere from two to four eparchies and, in several cases, a single state is divided between two eparchies of the same Church. Additionally, if one wants information on all E&OC parishes in an area, rather than just those of a single Church, it requires accessing several eparchial sites.
Masstimes.org is to be commended for what it has accomplished. However, the disparity of numbers between Latin parishes and those of the E&OC Churches make it very difficult to isolate the latter in lists derived on the basis of a demographic factor (e.g., city or zip code). It's true that the difficulty is somewhat alleviated by the ability to search for parishes of a particular eparchy. However, using that option presents the same obstacles discussed in the prior paragraph.
Sites that list only E&OC parishes generally present the information grouped by state, listed alphabetically by city/town within each. Such lists can be difficult to locate as none of the sites are prominent in their own right. As well, the information provided is ordinarily limited to jurisdiction, address and phone number, sometimes with the addition of a link to the parish website, if any.
Other considerations, present to various degrees in each type of site, are related to accuracy. The address provided is sometimes a mailing address, rather than a church's physical address. In other instances, it is the address of the rectory, which may not be physically adjacent to the church itself. When schedules of Divine Services appear, they are often incomplete or out-of-date.
Of course, the latter is, potentially, a very real problem for any directory, including this one. Accuracy in this regard depends almost entirely on pastors or parishioners making the effort to provide updated schedule data to us in a timely manner.