There is a scene in the classic John Wayne / Maureen O’Hara film The Quiet Man. In this scene at the end of the movie, the local protestant minister in a mostly Catholic town, the Rev. Playfair, is in danger of being re-assigned to a someplace else because his congregation is so small. He doesn’t want to leave because he dearly loves the town of Innisfree. The Rev. Playfair’s Bishop is visiting Innisfree to assess the situation. The local Catholic priest, Father Peter Lonergan (played by Ward Bond) is sympathetic to Rev. Playfair’s predicament. So Fr. Lonergan gathers all the Catholics in the town to line the streets as the Rev. and his Bishop drive by so that the Bishop will think that the Rev. Playfair has great support in the town. To sell the ruse, Fr. Lonergan urges the Catholic townsfolk to give it all they have and says “Now I want yous all to cheer like Protestants! ” Classic.
Well if you live near Austin Texas, I want you to pray like Byzantines! I received an email from Geoffrey, an occasional commenter here at CMR, alerting us to a similar situation for Eastern Catholics at a Byzantine Mission in Austin Texas.
Well, the mission is in trouble, and it’s the only Byzantine Catholic misson available in Austin. If it gets shut down, there will be no way for Catholic Austinites to have access to the Divine Liturgy of St.John Chrysostom, within the fulness of our sacred Faith. Now, it is true that there are other Byzantine Churches in Austin, but none of them are in communion with our holy father.
Up until now, the mission has held services every Sunday at 6:00 pm. However, due to low attendance, we’ve been cut back to having Liturgy on Saturday night at 6:00 pm, on the 2nd and 4th weekend of each month. As you might imagine, this is quite a blow.
If our prospects don’t change soon, the mission will dissolve. If it dissolves, it is most likely that many members will leave communion with Rome and join a nearby Eastern Orthodox Church.
Geoffrey reminds us that even if you are a Latin Rite Catholic you can still help.
Latin Catholics are free to join and participate in Eastern parishes. The Church is perfectly okay with this, and Pope John Paul the Great even encouraged it. For those of your readers who do not live nearby Austin, I want to let them know that if there’s an Eastern Catholic parish around where they live, their help would be greatly appreciated.
So if you live near Austin, why not pray like a Byzantine.
The Austin Byzantine Catholic Mission is located at:
Our Lady’s Maronite Catholic Church
1320 E 51st St
Austin TX 78723-3037