Some of you know that I am very friendly with several priests of the Byzantine Eparchy of Passaic, NJ. Ever since I was a college student in Northeastern Pennsylvania, I have held a certain fascination for the "Greek Catholics" whose worship resembles Orthodox practices, but who profess loyalty to the Bishop of Rome.
My graduate studies in Liturgiology helped me to better appreciate this rich prayer-form of our Eastern brothers and sisters. At the present time, I am discerning an interest in seeking Bi-ritual faculties for celebrating in both the Latin and Eastern-Rites. I believe that some of my ancestors that emigrated from Slovakia in the late 19th century, may have been Eastern-Rite Catholics.
Anyway, I recently received some great news about one of my Byzantine friends, Fr. Gerald Dino, pastor in Linden, NJ. Fr. Gerald was named to be the new Bishop of the Byzantine Eparchy (diocese) of Van Nuys, in California, whose territory encompasses the entire West Coast of the United States! Bishop-designate Dino will move from beautiful Linden, NJ to his Cathedral City of Phoenix, AZ in late March. He'll be "enthroned" as Bishop on March 27, in the midst of Bright Week (the Easter Octave for us Latins). Bishop Dino will be consecrated by the Metropolitan Archbishop of Pittsburgh, Archbishop Basil, in a ceremony dating back one thousand years, replete with much biblical and liturgical symbolism.
I hope to be able to travel out to Phoenix for this wonderful celebration, to witness a priest-friend become a Bishop, and to celebrate with his new diocesan family the beginning of a new era in their living the Gospel. It's truly a joy to be able to celebrate with my friends, and it gives me great hope that our Church will continue to grow "with both lungs of the Church, the East and West" (as Pope John Paul II used to say), and that Eastern and Western Catholics will continue to flourish and grow in this great land of ours. Let us continue to pray for each other!