University professors and visiting priests will host Byzantine divine liturgies weekly in the Byzantine chapel in Ciszek Hall starting on Nov. 7. Since it was built in 1988 and until last year, there were at least weekly Byzantine liturgies in the chapel in Ciszek Hall.
The Rev. Thomas Sable, S.J., a former theology professor, retired from The University last year. Prior to his retirement, Sable, a biritual priest had been celebrating the divine liturgy each week in the chapel.
This year, some interested professors and students, including Steven T. Dougherty, Ph.D. of the math department and Patrick Clark, Ph.D. of the theology department, decided to start the liturgies up again. After contacting priests in the community and with the support of Campus Ministries, they were able to make arrangements so that every Monday at 6:30 p.m. liturgies can be celebrated in Ciszek Hall. The main focus of the liturgies, Clark explained, is the students.
“We are focusing it toward the students — those who are of that tradition and those who would like to learn more about it,” Clark said.
He went on to explain that the Byzantine liturgy is a fully Catholic liturgy but in the Byzantine Catholic tradition as opposed to the Roman Catholic tradition. He further explained that there will be two different types of liturgies, a Ruthenian liturgy and a Melkite liturgy, which will likely alternate each week.
“We are going to have what’s called a Ruthenian liturgy, which is sort of a Slavic mass, and then we’re going to have a Melkite liturgy, which is a liturgy that comes from the church of Antioch in Syria,” Clark said.
In addition to weekly services, he said that they also plan to have some events on campus to help explain the tradition and expand students’ exposure to it if they are interested in the liturgies. He hopes that the liturgies will help keep the heritage of this community going.
Part of the heritage is the legacy of Walter Ciszek, S.J., after whom the hall is named. Ciszek frequently celebrated Byzantine liturgies and is currently being considered for sainthood.
“We are also excited to keep the legacy of Fr. Ciszek alive. Ciszek Hall is named after a Jesuit who was a missionary to Russia and was also biritual and celebrated liturgy primarily in the Byzantine rite,” Clark explained.
Starting on Nov. 7 and every Monday thereafter, the Byzantine liturgy will be celebrated in Ciszek Hall at the top of Mulberry Street next to the Roche Wellness Center.