Archbishop Cordileone participates in Divine Liturgy at Eastern-rite church

Our Lady of Fatima Russian Byzantine Catholic Church in San Francisco celebrated the Nativity on Jan. 7

Deacon Kyrill Pagacz incenses an icon of the Nativity at Our Lady of Fatima Byzantine Catholic Church in San Francisco Jan. 7. The Eastern-rite parish follows the Julian Calendar and celebrated Christmas 12 days after the Roman Catholic celebration on Dec. 25. (Photos by Debra Greenblat/Catholic San Francisco)

As discarded Christmas trees lay in heaps on city sidewalks surrounding Our Lady of Fatima Russian Byzantine Catholic Church in San Francisco, parishioners of the Eastern-rite parish observed Christmas Day which they call The Nativity of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone was a special guest and participant in this year’s Divine Liturgy celebrated by Father Kevin Kennedy, pastor, with Deacon Kyrill Pagacz and three altar servers. Our Lady of Fatima Russian Byzantine Catholic Church is a parish of the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

Divine Liturgy is the name for the Mass in the Russian Byzantine Church. Congregants are separated from celebrants by a curtained altar during the liturgy and remain active and standing throughout it.

In his homily, Father Kennedy said the Byzantine liturgy is very specific with very exalted language for God. “God is incomprehensible, almighty, omnipotent, eternal,” he said. “And he is all those things.”

But God created us for a “transforming union” with himself by becoming one with his own creation and human realities, he said.

“God enters into that reality as a baby, as a child. And there is no room for him,” Father Kennedy said. “That’s the first reality.”

Christ experiences all our vulnerabilities except for sin, he said. “That vulnerability is God’s Christmas gift to us so that the omnipotent one might also be the one who can be touched and seen. We are not alone. He journeys with us and is part of us, sharing with us all that it is to be human.”

Full story at Catholic San Francisco.

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  1. Wonderful! The diversity in the Catholic Church is inspirational.

  2. Georgia, Excuse me but you think diversity in the V2 Church services and doctine is wonderful and inspirational? If so, welcome to protestantism. Which of the 50,000 world-wide sects are you looking to join? Who are you trying to kid? God and us sinners? There are many naive coexist tpes that don’t know, love, or serve and defend our God. God showed us His Way, Truth, Life, and how He wishes to be worshipped until the end of time. Anything else but Roman Catholic tradition is a charade, and counterfiet. Pray for God’s guidance!

  3. Is it true that the Russian Byzantine Church worship service is the Novus Ordo mass in the Russian vernacular? If so, why do they separate themselves from the western church?

    • Anonymous says:

      This is the Russian Byzantine Catholic Church. It is an Eastern Rite Catholic Church. It is united with the Roman Catholic Church. It does not pray the Roman Rite but Eastern Rites. I think they pray in English here.

  4. Anomynous,
    Do some research before speaking.

    • Anonymous says:

      I did but I have only been at the Roman Rite Mass said by a bi-ritual priest not the Divine Liturgy so please correct me if what I said was wrong.

      • lAllan is the one who needs to do some research. Anonymous, as far as it goes your explanation is generally acceptable. However, the Roman Rite is usually known as the Latin Rite. It is also more correct to say that the churches of the Eastern Rite are in full communion with Rome, rather than united with the Roman Catholic Church.

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