The administration and faculty of Assumption Catholic School in Perth Amboy, NJ gathered together on Wednesday, December 7, 2011 for a religious education seminar, presented by the Rev. Archpriest Daniel Troyan, Director of the Office of Evangelization for the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia. Father Ivan Turyk, pastor of Ukrainian Assumption Catholic Church, arranged for the first half of the presentation to take place in the Church. He warmly greeted everyone and introduced the day’s topic: “The Western and Eastern Rites, Different – Yet the Same, Two Traditions, But One Catholic Church.”
Fr. Dan began his talk by explaining the how the physical design, artistic arrangements, and all other elements of the Byzantine church have a purpose and profound meaning, specifically aimed at raising one’s heart and mind to the Lord God Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. His talk was highly informative and covered many areas including wonderful explanations about the different Diving Liturgies we celebrate throughout the year, the emphasis placed on Mary as the Most Pure Mother of God, the significance of the royal doors, the order of the icons on the iconostas, the sanctuary as the “Holy of Holies,” and the Divine Reception of the Sacraments or Holy Mysteries. The participants were especially intrigued by the beauty of Matrimony in the Byzantine Rite, with its betrothal ceremony, exchange of vows, crowning, and dance of Isaiah.
Fr. Dan also brought to light the basic differences and similarities between the Latin and the Byzantine Rites, emphasizing how both belong to the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church, yet witness to and express their shared faith in distinct ways. The historical fact that Catholicism originated in Jerusalem, was founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ, and now has a multitude of particular churches throughout the world, is a glorious testimony of the embodiment of the fullness of the one Catholic Church.
Everyone came away with an increased knowledge of our church roots and how various devotional practices were adapted over the centuries by the faithful. As one teacher stated: “Today’s presentation was a wonderful, down to earth explanation, of the “one-ness” of our Catholicism and the uniqueness of our Ukrainian Catholic traditions.” Also in attendance, as a special guest, was Ms. Irene Sena, Assistant Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Metuchen, who expressed her deep gratitude to our principal, Mr. Szpyhulsky, for his invitation to such an enlightening and uplifting conference.