I am a Roman Catholic with no Latin Masses near me, so to the Norvus Ordo I go. I’m not going to complain; the Priest at my church is very orthodox anf not any type of “innovator”, and that alone is worth its weight in gold.
Still, there is one thing I have always wanted to do, and that is attend a Divine Liturgy. I have few Orthodox churches near me, but several Byzantine Catholic, interestingly enough. Good for me – I can receive the Eucharist without asking the Priest first for permission.
I, at least, find the Byzantine church fascinating. They are strikingly similar in some ways and utterly alien in others. It is also surprisingly difficult to find digestible information about the Divine Liturgy. The only guide I found was 88(!!!) pages long and had a history lesson stuffed between what actually happened; not overly useful for a guy trying to not get lost in the service.
I also found it nigh impossible to figure out how they do Confession. Best I can tell they do it right before Mass at the front of the Church in full view of the parish (though quietly enough that nobody can hear you). Whether the Confession does anything to venial sins is apparently a matter of some debate. Go figure.
The best I can gather is that the Liturgy involves a lot of singing, a lot of incense, a lot of standing, and a lot of very specific rituals. It also looks to be very striking and memorable.
I had been looking for a nearby Byzantine Catholic Church for awhile now, the nearest being somewhere in the ballpark of a half hour away – not impossible, of course, but considering the three Roman churches within ten minutes from my house and a third 17 minutes away…not convenient.
Then I found one ten minutes away. A rather nice one too!
How did I miss it? It has no website and doesn’t update its Facebook page. Best I can tell after some digging it was nearly shut down in the 80’s until the other Byzantine church a half hour away absorbed it. Except nobody actually advertises its existence!
In any event the exterior is striking. I will be going to my local church for Easter, but I think I’ll be making a stop next week. I will report back on the experience in due time.