Eastern Catholics Offer Much to U.S. Church
Armenian Bishop Mikael Mouradian of New York, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, and an unidentified priest socialize before a meeting at the Congregation for Eastern Churches at the Vatican 15 May. U.S. bishops from the Chaldean, Ruthenian, Maronite, Ukrainian, Armenian, Melkite, Syriac and Romanian Catholic churches were making their ad limina visits to the Vatican to report on the status of their dioceses. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)
16 May 2012 by Cindy Wooden
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — While their numbers
are small and their material resources are few, members of
the Eastern Catholic churches in the United States have
much to offer the country in terms of their fidelity to
Christ despite persecution and their deeply religious
cultures, said Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the
Congregation for Eastern Churches.
Eastern Catholics are a bridge supporting
Catholics in their homelands with prayers, advocacy and
financial support while at the same time enriching the
United States with their cultural and religious identity,
Cardinal Sandri told U.S. bishops from the Chaldean,
Ruthenian, Maronite, Ukrainian, Armenian, Melkite,
Syriac and Romanian Catholic churches.
The cardinal met with the 14 bishops May 15 to
discuss a wide variety of common concerns at the
beginning of the bishops ad limina visits to the Vatican.
Earlier in the morning, the cardinal was the main celebrant
and homilist at a Mass with the bishops in St. Peters
The heads of every diocese or eparchy — as the
Eastern Catholic jurisdictions are known — send detailed
reports on their dioceses to the Vatican before the ad
Summarizing what was common in the reports of
the Eastern Catholic dioceses, Cardinal Sandri said, Your
territories are enormous, and your communities often find
themselves far from each other. Some of the eparchies are
young and still in need of adequate structures. Many of
the dioceses — some of which cover the entire United
States or even the United States and Canada — have few
financial resources and the situation has been exacerbated
by the economic crisis, the cardinal said.
The arrival of new immigrants, many fleeing
persecution in places like Iraq, have increased the size of
several of the Eastern churches, like the Chaldean
Catholic Church. But the cardinal said other Eastern
churches, whose membership is composed largely of
people who have been in the United States for several
generations, are experiencing a dramatic fall in their
You are not immune to the same corrosive effect
on morals and family life as are your fellow Latin
Catholics, Cardinal Sandri said.
All the churches are hurting for clergy, he said.
Even those that have a relatively high proportion of clergy
to faithful are stretched by the great distances those priests
must travel to minister to the faithful.
Tags: United States Eastern Churches Cardinal Leonardo Sandri Congregation for Eastern Churches