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

“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:33 ESV)

Saint Nicholas of Myra

The truth of your deeds has revealed you to your flock, * as a rule of faith, an image of meekness, and a teacher of abstinence. * Therefore, you attained the heights through humility, * and riches through poverty. * O Father and Hierarch Nicholas, * pray to Christ God that our souls may be saved. (Troparion, Tone 4)

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

In Myra, You were shown to be a servant of the sacred things, O Holy Nicholas, * for, fulfilling the Gospel of Christ, you, O Venerable, laid down your life for your people, * and saved the innocent from death. * Therefore, you were sanctified as a great initiate of the grace of God. (Kontakion, Tone 3)

Random Proverb

"My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live." (Proverbs 7:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

It is a fearful thing to hate whom God has loved. To look upon another – his weaknesses, his sins, his faults, his defects – is to look upon one who is suffering. He is suffering from negative passions, from the same sinful human corruption from which you yourself suffer. This is very important: do not look upon him with the judgmental eyes of comparison, noting the sins you assume you’d never commit. Rather, see him as a fellow sufferer, a fellow human being who is in need of the very healing of which you are in need. Help him, love him, pray for him, do unto him as you would have him do unto you.

St. Tikhon of Zadonsk