Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brothers to dwell together in unity!
It is like the precious oil upon the head,
Coming down upon the beard,
Even Aaron’s beard,
Coming down upon the edge of his robes.
It is like the dew of Hermon
Coming down upon the mountains of Zion;
For there the LORD commanded the blessing—life forever.
As someone who belongs to a minority group within the Catholic Church, I often see room for improvement or the negative side of things. However, I recently had a few really positive encounters, and I think it’s important to highlight those.
I’m going to Pittsburgh for the weekend. Pittsburgh is kind of like Mecca for Ruthenian Catholics in the United States. Our Metropolitan Archbishop is in Pittsburgh, and we Rusyns have deep ethnic roots in the greater Pittsburgh area. So, there are at least a few Ruthenian parishes in Pittsburgh.
But I’m not going for Rusyn-related reasons; I’m going to visit a Roman Catholic friend. I asked her if it would be possible for me to attend a Byzantine parish on Sunday. I’ve gone to Roman churches in Pittsburgh before, and my friend is a part of a really cool church community. But it’s the Sunday of the Fathers of the Nicene Council, and I’d like to embrace that. Plus…I like going to Divine Liturgy whenever possible. My friend responded to my message by saying that it should work and sent a link to the website to a parish that’s near her home.
Now, that might not seem like a big deal, but she knows how much being Eastern Catholic means to me. She knows that I love going to Liturgy. So she put forth a bit of effort to let me know that I could attend Liturgy in my own tradition. I could celebrate the Lord’s Supper with my people.
To me, that’s an act of love. It’s an act in favor of unity. It’s an act that seeks to support a sister in the Lord in worshipping according to her tradition. I believe that the Lord is pleased when we support one another in our faith traditions. I believe that He wants us to love one another because of our differences. He finds it to be good and pleasant when we embrace our differences and support one another.
The second thing that struck me might seem a bit odd. I was perusing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh’s website because I wanted to know if they’d moved Ascension to a Sunday. (Spoiler Alert: The website didn’t help me, BUT they didn’t move Ascension because they’re cool beans like that.) While exploring the site, I found this:
That link takes you to a list of all of the Eastern Catholic parishes within the geographic boundaries of the R.C. Diocese of Pittsburgh. It gives you addresses and phone numbers for those parishes. It even gives you links to parish websites.
That’s a great resource if you ask me. I happen to know the website for the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh. But if you’re visiting the greater Pittsburgh area and you don’t know how to find an Eastern Catholic parish for your particular flavor of Eastern Catholic, the Roman Catholic diocese has a list for you. Or if you’re Roman Catholic and you’re interested in visiting an Eastern Catholic parish but you don’t know how to find one, here’s a list.
That, to me, is beautiful. It’s a really cool act of love and unity. I’d love to see more acts like it.