Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A New Vicar General for the Antiochian Western Rite Vicariate

Those in the Western Rite Vicariate have known for six months or more, but I see it has finally been announced publicly: After 37 years of service, the Very Rev. Fr. Paul Schneirla, Archpriest, has retired as Vicar General of the Antiochian Western Rite Vicariate. His resignation takes place effective at the first of the year, at which time the Very Rev. Fr. Edward Hughes, Archpriest, will become Vicar General. Fr. Hughes is pastor of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Lawrence, Massachusetts, and has been a long-time member of the Western Rite Commission. Fr. Hughes spent many years evangelizing on behalf of the Western Rite, training new priests through the St. George Institute, and instructing Western Rite students in the House of Studies component of St. Stephen's Course. He is also an expert on the Byzantine Rite (a real liturgical expert; the kind with a degree) and multilingual, attributes that serve him well as the chairman of the Antiochian Department of Liturgics and Translations. Just Sunday, this blog posted a series of photographs of Fr. Hughes celebrating the Western Rite Mass of St. Gregory (although photos do justice neither to his chanting nor to his teaching abilities). The Vicariate has been left in good hands, indeed.

Fr. Paul Schneirla remains as vigorous as ever in his ninth decade of life. His efforts led to the creation of the Western Rite Vicariate and Patriarch ALEXANDER III's 1958 decree allowing the Western Rite to be celebrated throughout the Patriarchate of Antioch. Within three years, Alexander Turner brought his group into the Antiochian Archdiocese as its first Vicar General, with Fr. Schneirla following him. As dear as it is to his heart, the Western Rite is not Fr. Schneirla's only accomplishment. Indeed, SCOBA recognized Fr. Schneirla's extraordinary efforts on behalf of North American Orthodoxy one year ago tomorrow. But no award could adequately convey the thanks all friends of the Western Rite owe to him.

Our prayers are with both; we hope rather their more effectual prayers will be offered on our behalf. Ad multos annos to them both.


Sunday, December 07, 2008

Western Rite Slideshow

I've been saving these for...a very long time.

For those unable to attend a Western Rite Mass in a canonical Western Rite Orthodox Church but want to have some idea what it looks like, here is an uplifting sight: a slideshow of Fr. Edward Hughes celebrating the Liturgy of St. Gregory at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Lawrence, Massachusetts.

Of course, this is no substitute for worshiping in a real Orthodox Church, whether Western or Eastern, but it's nice to see. Enjoy.

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