50th Anniversary of Metropolitan Church to be observed in June
Fifty years ago an event occurred which had a positive, profound and lasting effect on our history in America. The Holy Father Pope Paul VI issued a decree on February 21, 1969 which elevated the Byzantine Catholic Church in America to the status of the Metropolitan Church.
At the same time the Eparchy of Parma was created. The Eparchy of Passaic which already existed became a Suffragen Eparchy, and the Eparchy of Holy Mary of Protection in Phoenix (formerly the Eparchy of Van Nuys) was yet to come. Most Reverend Stephen J. Kocisko became its first Metropolitan Archbishop. He was succeeded by Most ReverendsThomas V. Dolinay, Judson M. Procyk, Basil M. Schott and the present day Metropolitan Archbishop William C. Skurla.
When we think of the pioneer founders of our Church, we have to appreciate that they came with nothing but their faith, hope and trust in God. Together they sacrificed in many ways to build the Church and to erect its churches. They and those that came after saw the progression from Exarchate to Eparchy to Archeparchy to Metropolitan Church.
As with everyone and everything in the natural ebb and flow of life, we Byzantine Catholic faithful are familiar with many changes in our churches throughout the years. As we stand at the threshold of the next 50 years, we must reflect and possess the faith, hope and trust of our forbearers, as we carry forth the inheritance and legacy which they bequeathed to us.
To fittingly observe this dual anniversary, celebrations are being planned, both in Parma on Saturday, June 22, and in Pittsburgh on Sunday, June 23, 2019. Each day will feature a Divine Liturgy of Thanksgiving at the cathedral with a banquet afterward.
In Pittsburgh, the Assembly, “Concern for our Future,” which had its initial meeting last year will reconvene. Tentatively sessions may be held on Sunday evening of the celebration weekend, and the participants will come together on Monday, the next day, to further the work which they have begun toward the renewal and revitalization of their parishes.
The marking of time with celebration and thanksgiving is important in our lives. Whether it be the first birthday party of a sweet little baby, or the 50th anniversary of the creation of a Metropolitan Church and everything in between, all give pause for great gratitude and a deepening of faith, hope and trust in God.