By Andrew Mentock

http://www.todayscatholicnews.org - Every Sunday in Mishawaka, a Mass is celebrated at a church where the congregation’s view of the altar is mostly obscured by a screen of colorful iconography; the readings are spoken from the back of the church; and the body and blood of Christ are mixed together and administered on a spoon. Although quite different from the Mass that most of the faithful within the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend celebrate each weekend and Holy Day of Obligation, this Mass is nonetheless Catholic.

St. Michael Ukrainian Byzantine Catholic Church was established on the west side of Mishawaka in 1916 and has cared for the spiritual life of Eastern Rite Catholics ever since.

The first thing one who walks into St. Michael is likely to notice is the vibrant iconography painted onto the Iconostasis, or wall of icons and religious paintings, near the altar. The prominent yellow, red and blue colors stick out; as do the doors leading to the altar, which only the priest may use. The embellished images of Jesus, Mary, and several saints may lead one to incorrectly assume that St. Michael is an Orthodox Church.

“Any Catholic can come to St. Michael and receive Communion and attend the Divine Liturgy,” said Rev. George Kuzara CPPS, the parish’s pastor. Attending Mass at St. Michael on Sunday fulfills a Roman Catholic’s Sunday obligation.

St. Michael is part of the Ukrainian Byzantine Catholic Church, one of the 22 Eastern Catholic churches. Together with the Roman Catholic Church, they make up the one universal church.

“It’s important to understand the Eastern churches because of what Pope John Paul II said about how the church ‘breathes with both lungs.’ It doesn’t have one lung,” said Rev. Kuzara. “It has both the Eastern and Roman Catholic churches.”

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Teachings of Christ

“Whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:33 ESV)

Pentecost

Blessed are You, O Christ our God, * Who has shown the fishermen to be all wise, * by sending down to them the Holy Spirit, * and through them You have caught the whole world in Your net. * O Lover of Mankind, glory to You. (Troparion - Tone 8)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

When the Most High descended, confusing tongues, * He divided the nations; * but when He distributed the tongues of fire, * He called all to unity; * and, with one voice, * we glorify the Most Holy Spirit. (Kontakion - Tone 8)

Random Proverb

"Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live." (Proverbs 4:4 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

The soul has followed Moses and the cloud, both of these serving as guides for those who would advance in virtue; Moses here represents the commandments of the Law; and the cloud that leads the way, its spiritual meaning. The soul has been purified by crossing the Sea; it has removed from itself and destroyed the enemy army. It has tasted of the waters of Marah, that is, of life deprived of all sinful pleasure; and this at first had seemed bitter and unpleasant to the taste but offered a sensation of sweetness to those who accepted the wood. Next it enjoyed the beauty of the palm trees of the gospel and the springs; it filled itself with the living water, that is, the rock. It took within itself the bread of heaven. It overwhelmed the foreign host - a victory due to the extended arms of the Lawgiver, which thus foreshadowed the mystery of the Cross. Only then can the soul go on to the contemplation of transcendent Being.

St. Gregory of Nyssa