Over the weekend of June 26-28, the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Parma held a 40th Anniversary celebration on the grounds of the cathedral and chancery office near Cleveland. We were invited to have a book and media display during the event to add to the other displays of historical items, educational material, and parish booths.
All during the weekend, prayer services were held almost every hour or so including Divine Liturgies, Vespers and Matins, the Hours, Akathists, Molebens, etc. The highlight was an outdoor Hierarchical Divine Liturgy with Bishop John Kudrick as the main celebrant and other Byzantine Catholic and Roman Catholic bishops concelebrating. Metropolitan Basil Schott presided along with two other retired local Roman Catholic bishops, and Metropolitan Nicholas of Johnstown was seated in a place of honor in front of the iconostasis. I estimate over 750 people attended the liturgy in glorious weather, but protected from the sun be a huge circus-like tent!
Several choirs participated by singing the responses for the various services, along with cantors from parishes throughout the eparchy. One complete Divine Liturgy was celebrated in Church Slavonic.
We had a constant flow of visitors to our display, and a great deal of interest particularly in our children’s prayer booklets and icon coloring books, and in the DVD recordings of Metropolitan Kallistos on the Church Fathers and Archimandrite Robert Taft on various aspects of Liturgy, including History, Theology and Spirituality themes. One pastor bought an entire set of these two world-renowned theologians, numbering 30 DVDs, and intends to use them for adult education programs at his parish.
It was also great to see many familiar faces and to meet new friends in the Byzantine Catholic world. I sincerely congratulat Bishop John and the clergy and workers of the Eparchy of Parma for hosting such a great event.