RITE AND A CHURCH
The Catholic Church is a communion of 24 Churches. The largest is the Roman (Latin)
Church. Each Church celebrates the Eucharist using one of 7 liturgical rites, or ways
to worship. St. Ann’s is a Ruthenian Catholic Church that uses the Byzantine Rite in
our Eucharistic celebration. The Western and Eastern Churches form what St. John
Paul II called the “two lungs” of the Catholic Communion.
The Eucharist is called “Communion” because it unites Christ’s Body on earth.
Practicing Catholics from East or West who are properly disposed may receive the
Eucharist in any Eastern Catholic Church, a sign of our common belief and practice.
ARCHITECTURE, ART, & CHANT
Icons are beautiful – but they’re more than art. Icons are integral to Eastern Tradition
and offer a “window into heaven,” by making present to us, in a special way, those
they depict. We venerate and kiss icons to be close to the people in them – which brings us close to God.
Instead of soaring heights, Churches in the East have a “rounded” feel, accentuated by the large dome in the center. The symbolism is of Heaven meeting Earth – God inviting us into His home and dwelling among us.
You will immediately notice that our liturgies are nearly entirely sung. Our prayer
engages our whole bodies, indeed all our senses as we stand, bow, sing, move, listen,
smell the incense rising in prayer, taste our Heavenly King in the Eucharist, see the
beauty and power of our faith all around us, and reach our arms to God in prayer
together as a community.
SYMBOL, SIGN, & POWER OF THE CROSS
Worship in the Eastern Churches is a whole-body experience! We engage our bodies
by standing during the Liturgy as a sign of our dignity as persons made in God’s image; prostrating ourselves during the penitential season of the Great Fast (Lent); and making the Sign of the Cross repeatedly as a symbol of our belonging to the Trinitarian God.
You can usually spot an Eastern Catholic or Orthodox Christian by the Three-Bar Cross
around their neck. Legend says that the bars represent the title Pilate ordered written
above Jesus’ head, the place where the Lord’s arms were nailed, and the footrest. This
third bar is slanted up to represent the repentant Thief, and down to show the other
Thief’s rejection of Christ.
Whenever you are in the
Harrisburg area, please consider
St. Ann’s your spiritual home.
Eastern Catholics recognize the Pope
of Rome as the head of the Body of
Christ on earth, and are thus in
communion with him.