This week, though, we did not attend Divine Liturgy. Due to all of us having events Saturday evening, we decided to sleep in (Divine Liturgy requires us to get up at 8 am Sunday mornings) and instead go to Mass at our home parish at 11 am. It's been a while since we've been there, many months at this point, because, with very few exceptions, we've been exclusively going to the Ukrainian parish since the summer. I have to say, it was lovely to be back!
There were FAR more people there than I have seen in a long time (resulting from the pandemic, I'm thinking) and it was nice to feel a part of a larger community again. The English liturgy congregation at the Byzantine rite parish, while incredibly kind and welcoming, is extremely small. I also enjoyed seeing the Advent wreath flikering up on the altar, and all of the purple accoutrements that accompany Advent in the Latin rite. I happily picked up a bulletin and a church calendar for next year.
To my surprise, Anne perked up with interest when they announced that Children's Liturgy of the Word was back (had not resumed since before the pandemic last time we attended Mass there) and she went into the sacristy with the other kids for that. At 11, she's a bit "old" for that, lol, but I figure if she's interested in something faith related, I'm not going to complain! Even if she ends up just helping out the Religious Ed. coordinator, that was totally fine with me.
We got to see the new (granted, temporary) pastor for the first time, and he was quite nice and an excellent homilist. We all had a wonderful time, although (of course!) the children both commented on how Mass was longer than Divine Liturgy. 😂 And I think that this is something that is unique to the specific Byzantine rite parish that we are attending in that the English liturgy there is not chanted. Everything is traditionally chanted in the Byzantine rite, but the English language congregation is so tiny there that there isn't a choir/anyone to lead the chanting. If it were chanted, I think that it would be much longer, as we encountered the one time we attended when the two liturgies (English and Ukrainian) were combined, as they have someone who leads the chanting in Ukrainian. The Mass last Sunday was not particularly long, but the kids have gotten used to the (quite short) spoken Divine Liturgy.
Where do we go from here? I have absolutely no idea. I have to be honest and admit that if it were up to me, although I do love the Divine Liturgy and the Eastern traditions we've encountered such as iconography and those divine beeswax candles, I would go back to regularly attending Mass in the Latin rite. But I want to continue to encourage the more open conversations the kids and I have about our Sunday worship now, so I'm going to continue to pray and discern and we'll see where this journey takes us. :)
How is your Advent going so far, dear reader?