Epiphany Byzantine Catholic Church is the spiritual home to Catholics of six different rites.
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His Holiness Pope Francis I

His Grace, Bishop Kurt
Eparchy of Passaic


The Catholic Church is a communion of churches, consisting of churches from the Eastern Tradition and the Western Tradition. The Western tradition is also known as the Roman Catholics or the Roman rite. The Eastern churches, often called the Eastern rites, help to complete the fullness of the Catholic Church, historically and theologically. The churches are in full communion with each other and are distinct from Orthodox Churches, which are not in full communion with the Universal Catholic Church. A 'Rite' is a liturgical tradition that describes the celebration of the Divine Liturgy, the Eucharist and other Mysteries (sacraments), and the general spiritual life of the Church. It is important to recognize that many Orthodox Churches celebrate the Byzantine Rite of spirituality. All Byzantine Catholics follow the Byzantine Rite; however, not all followers of the Byzantine Rite are Byzantine Catholic; nor are all followers of the Byzantine Rite in full communion with the Universal Catholic Church.

Byzantine Catholics are in union with Rome. We share the same basic faith and the same sacraments; however, the way of expressing them differs. The Byzantine church is one of many Eastern churches, each with their own heritage of theology, liturgy and discipline developed with their own respective languages and ecclesiastical organizations.

Blessed John Paul II has said, "The church must learn to breathe again with its two lungs, its Eastern one and its Western one."

In his homily at the Divine Liturgy commemorating the 350th Anniversary of the Union of Uzhorod on October 27, 1996, Pope John Paul II spoke with understanding and deep affection for the Byzantine Catholic Ruthenian Church. Following are excerpts from that homily.

"It is with immense joy that I welcome you, the Bishops, priests, men and women religious, and lay faithful of the Byzantine Catholic Ruthenian Church. You are the heirs of the evangelizing work of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, the Apostles of the Slavs, and at the same time heirs of the act of ecclesiastical union celebrated 350 years ago in the chapel of the Castle of Uzhorod, in Transcarpathian Ukraine, which was then in the Kingdom of Hungary. "That was an act of profound faith and trust ... leading, under the impulse of the divine Spirit, to new heights of fidelity to Christ and new efforts in the building up of his Body, which is the Church (cf. Col 1:24). "You have paid dearly for this union. In fact, you have never been without the experience of the Cross. Yet, as it was for St. Paul whose words we have just heard, this is your boast: 'Far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ' (Gal 6:14). "From the way in which the Ruthenian faithful have remained steadfast in the face of successive trials and tribulations, the light of Christ has shone ever more brightly on your people, your families and communities in Eastern Europe and in the New World. I am deeply moved to think that you are here today with the Bishop of Rome, in communion of spirit with your martyrs, to give thanks for the new opportunities now opening up before you... "Dear brothers and sisters: your spiritual identity is intimately connected with the search for the unity of all Christians. Your special vocation is to work through love for the fulfillment of the ardent prayer which the Lord Jesus Christ himself uttered on the eve of his Passover of suffering and glory: 'that they may all be one; even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you ... so that the world may believe that you have sent me' (Jn 17:21). "This you do above all in your dealings with your Eastern brethren, 'first of all by prayer, then by the example of your lives, by scrupulous fidelity to the ancient traditions of the East, by better knowledge of each other, by working together, and by a brotherly attitude towards persons and things' (Orientalium Ecclesiarum, n. 24). In this search, your guide and comfort will be the Most Holy Theotokos whom you venerate with tender devotion in the Liturgy... "May you who have suffered dearly for the faith put your whole trust in divine Providence which has always guided your steps and will not fail you as you face the great challenges ahead. 'Peace and mercy be upon you all!' (cf. Gal 6:16). "Amen."

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