Who are Byzantine Catholics?
Put simply, we are similar to Eastern Orthodox Christians, but we are in full communion with the Catholic Church and our Holy Father, Francis, the Pope of Rome. We share the same Catholic Faith, but we express our common Faith differently in our Liturgy and theology. We celebrate the Byzantine Divine Liturgy and Holy Mysteries (Sacraments), and we observe the Byzantine liturgical calendar of feasts and fasts like our Orthodox brothers and sisters, (with whom, sadly, we are not in full communion). We encourage you to visit our parish, meet us, and experience our beautiful liturgy for yourself!
Can I attend Mass at your church?
Of course! We celebrate the Eucharist every Sunday and on major Holy Days. Although, we don’t call it Mass. We call it the Divine Liturgy. And, like the Mass, it is the Holy Sacrifice of the Eucharist where we receive the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ.
Does attending a Byzantine Catholic Liturgy fulfill my Mass obligation?
Can I receive the Holy Eucharist at your church?
All Catholics who are properly prepared and disposed to receive the Eucharist (i.e, those who are in a state of grace), can indeed do so at our church. Receiving the Eucharist is a little different than what you may be used to in that the Holy Bread (which is leavened) is placed in the Holy Chalice, and the priest or deacon distributes Holy Communion by means of a special spoon.
Can I go to Confession at your church?
Of course! The Holy Mystery of Confession is offered every Sunday at 9:30am or by appointment.
How is the Byzantine Divine Liturgy different from the Roman Catholic Mass?
Like the Mass, the Divine Liturgy is a celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Eucharist. Both have the same basic structure: the Liturgy of the Word followed by the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Both have some of the same prayers, (e.g, “Alleluia,” “Holy, Holy, Holy,” “Our Father”). But the Divine Liturgy itself is substantially different. Most of the prayers are different. Most of the Liturgy is chanted. We have different vestments, a different altar arrangement, and we also give Holy Communion to our infants and children, (who are confirmed immediately after they are baptized, though we call the Sacrament of Confirmation the Holy Mystery of Chrismation).
How is the Byzantine liturgical year different from the Roman Catholic liturgical year?
We have the same basic seasons, Advent (which we also call the Christmas Fast or Philipovka) and Lent (which we also call the Great Fast). We don’t use the term “Ordinary Time,” but instead refer to those periods as the days and weeks after Pentecost. Some Byzantine Catholic Churches celebrate using the Julian Calendar (like the Orthodox do), but our Church uses the Gregorian Calendar like Roman Catholics do. We have many of the same feasts, but sometimes we use different names for them, (e.g. we call the Assumption the Dormition and the Immaculate Conception the Maternity of Holy Anna).
Our liturgical year starts on September 1st, instead of the First Sunday of Advent. Our Christmas Fast (Advent) is forty days rather than four weeks, and our Great Fast (Lent) begins the Monday before Ash Wednesday, which we call Clean Monday. We celebrate All Saints on the First Sunday after Pentecost instead of on November 1st. And we celebrate five All Souls Saturdays before and during the Season of Lent.
Do you belong to a different diocese than Roman Catholics?
Yes. We call our dioceses eparchies. St. Michael Byzantine Catholic Church is part of the Eparchy of Passaic, which is governed by our God-loving Bishop +Kurt Burnette. The Byzantine Catholic Church is one of more than twenty Eastern Catholic Churches. Each of us is a Church in own right within the Catholic Church, (a canonical Sui Iuris Church as we are called). Other Eastern Catholic Churches like us include the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, the Maronite Church, the Chaldean Catholic Church, the Armenian Catholic Church, the Coptic Catholic Church, The Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, the Syro-Malankar Catholic Church, etc. While we have different bishops and eparchies, we are all Catholic.
Is it true that your priests are able to be married?
Our priests are not permitted to get married, but we do allow married men to be ordained priests. We have many married clergy with families, including our own Father Andriy and his family. However, we do not permit married clergy to be ordained bishops. Our bishops, (and all Roman Catholic and Eastern Christian Bishops), are celibate.
Have other questions?
Check out, Christ Our Pascha: Catechism of the Ukrainian Catholic Church. Like us, Ukrainian Catholics are Byzantine, and although we are different Churches, we have similar beliefs and practices. We also encourage you to visit us and experience the Byzantine Catholic Church firsthand. Check our Calendar for Liturgy times.