The Catholic Church is made up of 23 Particular Churches that are in communion with each other. All of the Catholic Churches have the same Christian faith, share in the same Holy Mysteries (Sacraments), and are united together by the leadership of the Pope of Rome, yet we express our faith according to our own rites.
Each rite of the Catholic Church has its own faith tradition that has been shaped by its geographical culture, language(s), and history. All of the rites express their faith in different ways, yet they hold the same faith.
The Byzantine Rite, of which the Ukrainian Greek (Byzantine) Catholic Church is part of, stems from the early church in Greece and Asia Minor. Our Church has an extremely rich spiritual, theological and scriptural tradition. In total there are 14 Particular Catholic Churches that worship according to the Byzantine Rite.
The Ukrainian Catholic Church has been shaped by its unique history, Slavic culture, deep monastic tradition, and more recently extreme persecution at the hands of the Communists. It happens to be the second largest Catholic Church preceded in size only by the Roman Catholic Church which worships according to the Latin Rite.
As Byzantine Catholics we proudly maintain our orthodox liturgical, spiritual and theological way of life, yet we also recognize, work and pray with our Catholic brothers and sisters. In essence we are “Orthodox in communion with Rome.”
Do you have to be Ukrainian to be part of this Church?
No. The Ukrainian Catholic Church has many of its roots in what is today called Ukraine (thus the name), but we are made up of people from all cultures.
(As they say: “You don’t have to be Ukrainian to be part of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, any more than you have to be Italian to be part of the Roman Catholic Church.”)
Although some parishes may have a strong Ukrainian flavor, many Ukrainian Catholic parishes strive to be “pan-ethnic.”
Everyone is most welcome.