A Different Look — Experiencing Different Rites

One thing I have come to love in the beauty of Catholicism is the variety of rites. I have had the joy of attending the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass celebrated in the Latin Rite, the Tridentine Rite, the Byzantine Rite, and the Melkite Rite. Each of the rites has its unique character and beauty. When I first experienced the other rites, I was inspired to make it my immediate goal to ensure that all I came across knew that other rites existed and that all should make an effort to experience the Holy Sacrifice in a different rite. Sadly, that desire got buried.

Recently, I was able to serve as a chaperone for a group of high school students who were going to experience the Byzantine Rite at St. Stephen’s Byzantine Cathedral here in Phoenix, AZ. We left our starting point late which meant that we would arrive just in time for the liturgy to start but it also meant no prep time to talk to the students about what they should expect.

We walked up the stairs and opened the doors. Immediately, students were drawn to its beauty. Then, it all began. Students were fumbling through the missal and bowing awkwardly as they were trying to participate and be respectful. After the service I went up to a couple of students and was overjoyed to hear that some of them felt out of place but they were able to appreciate it’s beauty. One student was wide eyed and was saying he wanted to come back and experience the liturgy again.

We have been challenged to breathe with both lungs. I want to re-ignite that early desire to encourage others to become familiar with the other rites of our Church. I will begin by making it a point to experience the Holy Sacrifice in a different rite at least once a quarter. I have slowly begun taking my wife and daughter. My goal, to build a healthy love and respect for the liturgy and the divine liturgy in the life of my family. My hope is that all Catholics would be open to this. It will help us appreciate the true “awesomeness” of our Church.

Javier Bravo