(NCR) - There was a time in the history of the Church in America that Eastern-rite Catholics were regarded with some suspicion by the dominant Latin-rite Catholic Church. They were forbidden to continue their tradition of allowing married men to be ordained to the priesthood, and Eastern-rite churches were expected to follow certain liturgical norms, including the installation of kneelers. (Traditionally, Eastern-rite Catholics stand during a good part of the liturgy, even during the consecration).
The demands led many Eastern Catholics in the United States to leave for the Orthodox Church.
But one of the documents of the Second Vatican Council, Orientalium Ecclesiarum, called upon Eastern Catholics to rediscover their authentic traditions, and Eastern Catholic Churches, though still relatively small, are thriving in the United States and elsewhere.
Now, an Eastern Catholic priest, Father Mark Morozowich, has been appointed head of one of the United States’ premiere Catholic schools of theology.
Father Morozowich, associate professor in the School of Theology and Religious Studies of The Catholic University of America, was appointed its dean July 1.
“It gives me great pleasure to appoint Father Mark Morozowich as dean of the School of Theology and Religious Studies,” said John Garvey, CUA president, in a statement. “Father Morozowich has the skills and the experience to lead our university’s oldest school and to address the challenge of leadership in the Church’s intellectual life. Father Morozowich is the first Eastern Catholic to head the school. Symbolically, this demonstrates The Catholic University of America’s commitment to Blessed John Paul II’s vision of the Church ‘breathing with two lungs’ — both Eastern and Western rites.”
Father Morozowich joined the theology and religious studies faculty in 2003 as an assistant professor of liturgical studies and sacramental theology. He studied with Jesuit Father Robert Taft, a leading expert in Eastern Christian studies, at the Oriental Institute in Rome and earned a doctorate in Eastern Christian studies there, with a specialization in liturgy. He served as associate dean for seminary and ministerial programs from July 2006 to June 2011 and as acting dean of the school since July 2011.
Father Morozowich researches the historical development of the liturgical year in Byzantine tradition with a concentration on Holy Week, as well as themes of sacramental theology in the patristic period and its relationship with liturgical history. He has written on pastoral implications of liturgical studies and their effect on Eastern Churches today.
A Western Pennsylvania native, Father Morozowich pursued a vocation to the priesthood in the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of St. Josaphat in Parma, Ohio. He studied at St. Basil’s Ukrainian Catholic Seminary in Stamford, Conn., and CUA, and served in parishes in Pittsburgh and in Butler, Pa.
He spoke recently with Register news editor John Burger...
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