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What is Byzantine Catholicism?

We of Holy Ghost Parish are members of the Byzantine Catholic Church. We are united with Catholics of the Roman or Latin Rite in our faith and in our allegiance to the Pope of Rome. At the same time, we practice our faith according to the Byzantine Rite or Tradition, which we share with the Orthodox Churches.

How did the different Catholic Churches come to exist? After Pentecost, the Apostles fanned out from Jerusalem, bringing the Gospel to the whole World. In each place, the Christian community that sprang up celebrated the same sacraments and professed the same faith, but always under the influence of local culture.

Western Europe, from which most American Catholics trace their origins, received the faith from Roman missionaries. The Christians of Slovakia, the Ukraine, Russia, Romania, Hungary, etc., were baptized by missionaries from the capital of the eastern Roman Empire, Byzantium or Constantinople.

Holy Ghost Parish was founded by immigrants from the eastern part of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire, from cities and villages now spread among Poland, Ukraine, Hungary and, especially, Slovakia. Ethnically, these founders were Carpatho-Ruthenians or Rusins. Today, although we still use the Old Slavonic language in which our ancestors received the faith from St. Cyril and St. Methodius, our services are mostly in English and our parish includes persons of many different Ethnic groups. Holy Ghost prides itself on keeping alive many rich Slavic traditions, (dances, egg painting, Gubi, St. Nicholas Day, Christmas Holy Supper, Easter Basket Blessing, House Blessing, Easter Monday water games, choral singing, etc.).

Byzantine Catholicism is a universal expression of the Catholic faith. In the USA, Byzantine Catholics number more than one million and are served by a dozen dioceses according to nationality: Ruthenian, Ukrainian, Melkite, Romanian and Russian. Worldwide, more than 10 million people practice the Catholic faith in the Byzantine church. They are located primarily in the USA, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Jordan, Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, Slovakia, the Ukraine, Italy, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Hungary. Smaller communities are scattered throughout Europe and the Middle East.

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