154 Gold Ave NW
About Eastern Catholicism
Rev. Michael Bliszcz,
In keeping with the Byzantine tradition, there are two dominant features
in our church: The holy place (or Sanctuary) that symbolizes heaven, and
the Nave where the congregation assembles, symbolizing the earth at the
location where the nave and the holy place meet (i.e. the place where
heaven and earth join) is a screen adorned with icons called the
“iconostasis” which separates the altar area from the congregation.
Only the clergy and [in the absence of subdeacons] lay-servers can go
beyond the iconostas during liturgical services. In addition, the holy
table (or altar) symbolizes the throne of God and only the clergy
consecrated for ministry are allowed to stand before it or touch it. It
is from this altar that our prayers, “rise like incense” to the
throne of God.
Unlike the Western Church which uses round pieces of unleavened bread for the Eucharist, The Eastern Church uses small pieces of bread cut from a specially made loaf called the Prosphora. Prior to the communion of the laity, these particles are placed in the chalice, and both species are given to the faithful by means of a spoon directly in one’s mouth.
With rare (extraordinary) circumstances, the Body and Blood of our Lord is touched by the clergy alone. During liturgical services the clergy face East (toward the altar) along with the people to symbolize that the priest is leading us to Heaven our true home.
Our favorite holyday is Easter, which we also called Pascha. On Easter Sunday, many families bring their Easter meal to the church in a basket to be blessed by the priest. Eggs are a special symbol for us because they remind us of the resurrection of Christ. Jesus Christ rose from the tomb just as a baby chick hatches from its egg. We sing very special and joyous Easter hymns for a period of forty days after Easter, and we greet one another by saying, “Christ is Risen!” to which one responds with the greeting, “Indeed He is Risen.”
One of many beautiful icons at St. Michael's
Among the saints, we honor the Virgin Mary as the highest and the greatest and address her as “our most holy and immaculate, most blessed and glorious Lady, the Mother of God and ever-virgin Mary”.
Pope John Paul II had relatives on his mother’s side of the family who were Ukrainian Catholics of the Byzantine Rite.
You can find a much more extensive overview of Byzantine Catholicism on this excellent page on ByzCath.org, a website devoted to the Byzantine Catholic Church in America.
|Church Location:||Mailing Address:|
|St. Michael Ukrainian Catholic Church||601 Spring Ave. NE, Apt 101|
|154 Gold Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504||Grand Rapids, MI 49503|
|03/27/11 08:01 PM||Phone: 616.742.0874|