U.S. Eastern Catholic Bishops
Syriac Bishop Yousif Habash of Newark, N.J., Ukrainian Catholic Bishop Richard S. Seminack of Chicago and Romanian Bishop John M. Botean of Canton, Ohio, concelebrate a Maronite Divine Service of the Holy Mysteries with U.S. bishops from the Eastern Catholic churches at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome 17 May. 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)
18 May 2012 by Cindy Wooden
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Eastern Catholic
bishops in the United States share their brother bishops concerns about religious freedom and evangelization, and see their distinct liturgies as powerful tools for expanding their flocks.
Bishops from the Chaldean, Ruthenian, Maronite,
Ukrainian, Armenian, Melkite, Syriac and Romanian
Catholic churches were at the Vatican May 15-19 for their
ad limina visits. They were the last group of U.S.
bishops to make the visits to report on the status of their
dioceses to Pope Benedict XVI and to hold discussions
with Vatican officials.
Maronite Bishop Gregory J. Mansour of St.
Maron of Brooklyn, N.Y., said Eastern Christians, whose
churches have experienced much persecution over the
centuries, have a message for their fellow Christians in the
West: Dont be silenced by anybody.
Christianity doesnt seek to impose on
anybody, he said. Thats the false myth in American
society, because the Catholic witness to non-Christians
takes place primarily through service in hospitals, nursing
homes and schools, said the bishop, whose diocese covers
40 parishes in 16 states.
For the Maronite Church in the United States, he
said, one challenge is to meet the needs both of Maronites
whose families have been in the country for generations
and of newcomers from Lebanon and the Middle East,
who may speak only Arabic.
The other (challenge) is to welcome people who
have no church background, no faith background and have
found a home with us, he said.
Its fascinating, among my clergy (there are) last
names like Beaton, Franklin, Jensen, Morrison — not the
traditional Arabic names. You have men who have found
a great love for this church, its liturgy and spirituality, the
Ukrainian Archbishop Stefan Soroka of
Philadelphia told Catholic News Service that the recent
immigration of Catholics from Ukraine has been a source
of renewal for his church, which has been losing many of
the children of earlier generations of Ukrainian
Building up the faith of members and persuading
those who have left to return is a challenge the Eastern
Catholic bishops share with their Latin-rite counterparts,
Tags: Vatican United States Eastern Churches Congregation for Eastern Churches