Saint John the Baptist and Saint Mary's Byzantine Catholic Churches
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Thank you for visiting us at our website. Whether or not you are looking for a church to call home, or whether you happen to be new to the area or are just traveling through, we would love to have you come and worship with us! We love to sing, and we love to pray -- we are Byzantine Catholics, and are sometimes referred to as "the best kept secret in the Catholic Church".
Following are some frequently asked questions:
I'm Roman Catholic, can I worship with you and receive communion, and will
it fulfill my Sunday obligation?
Yes, it will fulfill your Sunday obligation. We are in full communion with the Roman Catholic Church and the Vatican. Any Catholic in a state of grace is welcome to receive Holy
Communion. Byzantine Catholics receive Communion in both species. The priest will give Holy Communion with a small spoon directly into the mouth of the communicant. At communion simply approach the priest and tell him your name, then tilt your head back without sticking out your tongue and Communion will be placed directly into your mouth. You do not need to say "amen" following reception of Communion.
How do I follow along during the service?
Our service is called the Divine Liturgy, and the most common parts can be found in the small dark green pew booklets found in each pew. Although there will be some prayers not found in this book, it will allow you to pray and sing most of the liturgy if you so desire. Although the Divine Liturgy has many different prayers and chants than the Roman Catholic Mass, there are also some profound similarities you will notice as well.
What about the Sign of the Cross, and when do I stand or sit?
We bless ourselves with the Sign of the Cross at many different times during the Divine Liturgy, but principally when the Holy Trinity is mentioned by name. We tend to stand for a good portion of the Liturgy, but there are times when we sit as well (stand when people stand and sit when they sit.) Do not feel self conscious about when exactly to use the sign of the cross or be overly concerned with posture but simply be at ease and enjoy being in the presence of the Lord.
What language will the Divine Liturgy be in?
Primarily English, but there may be several small portions chanted in Church Slavonic. Church Slavonic is the traditional liturgical language of our mother Church and is still commonly in use in many of our sister churches in Eastern Europe. The Slavonic prayers can be found in the back of the dark green booklets as well.
Why does the priest have his back to the congregation?
Actually, the priest as a representative of the assembled believers and the believers themselves are together facing God and participating in the Eucharistic sacrifice and the sacrifice of themselves to God in an act of worship. It shows a profound unity between the priest and the community of assembled believers as we participate in the Liturgy, literally "the work of the people" in worship.
Why are parishioners processing to the front of the church at the conclusion of the Liturgy?
At the end of the Divine Liturgy following a feast day or Holy Day of Obligation, parishioners receive an anointing with oil on the forehead and receive a piece of blessed bread. This custom is known as "mirovanije." Upon receiving the anointing, the priest and the parishioner exchange a greeting depending on the liturgical season:
Priest: Christ is with us! Response: He is and always will be.
Priest: Christ is risen! Response: Indeed He is Risen!
Priest: Christ is born! Response: Glorify Him!
What if I have more questions?
Feel free free to ask Fr. Vasyl in person or via e-mail about any other questions you may have.