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May 15, 2019

By Darcy Fargo

LAKE PLACID – Residents of the Diocese of Ogdensburg will have an opportunity to participate in a Byzantine liturgical expressionrite Divine Liturgy this Pentecost, as the pastor and youth group from Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church visit the North Country from Carnegie, Pennsylvania.

The Divine Liturgy will be celebrated June 9 at 4 p.m. at St. Agnes Church in Lake Placid, with Father Jason Charron celebrating. Father Charron, who studied at Wadhams Hall Seminary in Ogdensburg, brings his community’s youth group to Camp Guggenheim every couple years.

“The kids love it there,” he said. “We’ve been celebrating the Divine Liturgy at St. Agnes in Lake Placid when we take those trips. This year, we thought, ‘this is something they don’t have there. Let’s open it up to the diocese.’ Bishop Terry (R. LaValley) has been very gracious, and everything came together.”

The Ukrainian Catholic Church celebrates in the Byzantine rite, one of seven rites listed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church as “lawfully recognized rites to be of equal right and dignity.” Attending the Divine Liturgy meets the Sunday obligation for Latin rite (Roman) Catholics.

“Through no fault of their own, people think the Latin expression is standard and other liturgical families are exceptions,” Father Charron said. “The various liturgical forms aren’t in competition. They’re complimentary and draw from each other going back to the common source in Jerusalem.”

Father Charron noted that Saint John Paul II and Venerable Fulton Sheen both celebrated the Liturgy in both the Latin and Byzantine rites.

Father Charron said those accustomed to a Latin rite Mass will likely find the Byzantine Divine Liturgy to be a spiritual version of “sensory overload.”

“The East employs all five senses to the highest degree possible in its worship,” Father Charron said. “Through the use of the five senses, man reaches a point of surrender to the inner life of God and the life of grace. That happens through the Liturgy. The entirety of the Liturgy is sung; no part is recited except the homily. Much of the Liturgy employs incense. There’s visual stimulation with iconography. There’s near-constant bowing, prostration and making the Sign of the Cross. It all aids in elevating the mind and heart to the contemplation of the heavenly kingdom.”

Father Charron also noted that reception of the Eucharist is done through “intinction.”

“It’s one faith, one baptism, one Lord, one church,” he said. “But the expression of that one faith takes on different forms. The Eastern Catholics and Orthodox adopted expressions of goodness and beauty as experienced in the Greek and Syriac cultures. One of the different expressions of that faith is the use of leavened bread and intinction. Intinction is the immersion of Eucharistic bread into the consecrated wine. When people approach for Communion, they tilt their heads back and open mouths. It’s like a nestling bird whose mother is about to drop nourishment into the mouth.”

With the Divine Liturgy being celebrated on Pentecost, Father Charron said Latin rite Catholics will likely notice at least one significant difference.

“Traditionally, we bring in trees from the forest and prop them up in the church,” he said. “The whole interior would be filled with greenery, branches and boughs. I’m not sure if we’ll be able to do that in this case, but our vestments are also green. It’s a sign of divine life.”

Because of the chanting and other liturgical differences, the Divine Liturgy lasts slightly longer than a typical Latin Mass, typically around an hour and ten minutes.

“You only get what you put into it,” Father Charron said. “Coming to worship, it takes around 20 minutes to decompress from the world and get our minds oriented. The first 20 minutes is sort of an easing into worship. It’s like a meal: when you come into a meal, you first have an appetizer, then the meal, then dessert. Same reality unfolds in divine worship. We have to disassociate ourselves from the world, the flesh and the devil.”
Father Charron said he looks forward to worshipping with North Country residents. He indicated that worship aids would be available to help the unfamiliar participate in the Divine Liturgy.

“If it’s possible, try to come without preconceived notions,” he said. “Prepare with prayers before the Liturgy; that’s part of our tradition. But come and sing your heart out in the glorification of the holy and life-giving Trinity.”


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