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When East Meets West View Comments
By Marianne C. Sailus

WHEN METROPOLITAN John of Pergamon met with Blessed John Paul II on June 28, 1998, he said, “As Your Holiness has aptly put it some years ago, East and West are the two lungs by which the Church breathes; their unity is essential to the healthy life of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.”

On June 24, 2001, Pope John Paul II, in a meeting with members of the Ukrainian Catholic episcopate, reiterated this: “Here there is a fraternal meeting between those who draw from the sources of Byzantine spirituality and those who are nourished by Latin spirituality. Here the deep sense of mystery which suffused the holy liturgy of the Eastern Churches and the mystical succinctness of the Latin Rite come face to face and mutually enrich each other.”

Having been adopted into a Western (Roman) Catholic family, having received the Sacraments of Initiation in that Church, and later having participated in its various ministries (religious education, lectoring, music ministry, youth ministry, extraordinary minister of the Eucharist, etc.), I have a fondness in my heart for the Church of my youth.

However, in 1992 at the age of 33, after six months of preparation with my pastor, I officially changed from Roman Catholic to Eastern Catholic and became a member of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, one of the Byzantine Particular Churches, as a way to increase my own spirituality. Today I enjoy worshiping in my Eastern and Western traditions.

This article illustrates the beauty and richness and diversity of both Churches, without detracting anything from either. The focus here is on the Ukrainian Catholic Church.

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Marianne C. Sailus is chaplain and coordinator of pastoral care at John Heinz Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine in Wilkes-Barre Township (Pennsylvania). She holds graduate degrees in religious studies and theology, and is a board-certified chaplain with the Association of Professional Chaplains.

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Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows: Born in Italy into a large family and baptized Francis, he lost his mother when he was only four years old. He was educated by the Jesuits and, having been cured twice of serious illnesses, came to believe that God was calling him to the religious life. Young Francis wished to join the Jesuits but was turned down, probably because of his age, not yet 17. Following the death of a sister to cholera, his resolve to enter religious life became even stronger and he was accepted by the Passionists. Upon entering the novitiate he was given the name Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows.
<p>Ever popular and cheerful, Gabriel quickly was successful in his effort to be faithful in little things. His spirit of prayer, love for the poor, consideration of the feelings of others, exact observance of the Passionist Rule as well as his bodily penances—always subject to the will of his wise superiors— made a deep impression on everyone.
</p><p>His superiors had great expectations of Gabriel as he prepared for the priesthood, but after only four years of religious life symptoms of tuberculosis appeared. Ever obedient, he patiently bore the painful effects of the disease and the restrictions it required, seeking no special notice. He died peacefully on February 27, 1862, at age 24, having been an example to both young and old.
</p><p>Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows was canonized in 1920.</p> American Catholic Blog Life is not always happy, but our connections to others can create a simple and grace-filled quiet celebration of our own and others’ lives. These others are the presence of Christ in our lives.


 
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