November 30 is the feast of Saint Andrew, the first-called apostle. He is also the patron of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, who by tradition traveled to the ancient city of Byzantium and founded the Church there. In some years over the last 20, I have been privileged to travel to Constantinople and be present for the celebrations, and especially the visit of the delegation from Rome that come to celebrate with the Orthodox. The most significant was in 2006 when Pope Benedict XVI himself led the delegation and was present for the Divine Liturgy celebrated by Patriarch Bartholomew.
But this year, since the OL Conference took place there, I stayed home for the special Divine Liturgy held at Mt. St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Seminary in Emmitsburg, MD. Father Lee Gross is Professor of Liturgy and Dean of Students, and has organized and hosted a Byzantine Catholic Divine Liturgy for the seminarians and students of the university on the same campus. The seminary choir has learned to sing the response according to the Carpathian chant tradition, and in four-part harmony.
So, this year, I was able to attend and serve as Lector for the Liturgy. The university chapel was filled almost to capacity with 200 persons, and Bishop William Skurla came to be the main celebrant.
As usual, it was a great event, and provided a wonderful opportunity for seminarians and students alike to learn about the Christian East by experiencing the Divine Liturgy. Congratulations to Father Lee for organizing this event, and to the seminarians who work to serve and sing according to the “eastern lung” of the Church.