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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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Visitation: This is a fairly late feast, going back only to the 13th or 14th century. It was established widely throughout the Church to pray for unity. The present date of celebration was set in 1969 in order to follow the Annunciation of the Lord (March 25) and precede the Nativity of John the Baptist (June 24). 
<p>Like most feasts of Mary, it is closely connected with Jesus and his saving work. The more visible actors in the visitation drama (see Luke 1:39-45) are Mary and Elizabeth. However, Jesus and John the Baptist steal the scene in a hidden way. Jesus makes John leap with joy—the joy of messianic salvation. Elizabeth, in turn, is filled with the Holy Spirit and addresses words of praise to Mary—words that echo down through the ages. </p><p>It is helpful to recall that we do not have a journalist’s account of this meeting. Rather, Luke, speaking for the Church, gives a prayerful poet’s rendition of the scene. Elizabeth’s praise of Mary as “the mother of my Lord” can be viewed as the earliest Church’s devotion to Mary. As with all authentic devotion to Mary, Elizabeth’s (the Church’s) words first praise God for what God has done to Mary. Only secondly does she praise Mary for trusting God’s words. </p><p>Then comes the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55). Here Mary herself (like the Church) traces all her greatness to God.</p> American Catholic Blog Someone once told Pope Francis that his words had inspired him to give a lot more to the poor. Pope Francis’s response was to challenge the man not to just give money, but to roll up his sleeves, get his hands dirty, and actually reach out and help.

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