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Why in the US do only Catholic churches have daily prayer services?

catholic daily mass

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#1 H. Smith

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Posted 24 October 2016 - 01:26 AM

Sometimes during the week a strong feeling arises to attend a church service or pray in a church. It can be because one is traveling, missed Sunday worship, or feels a spiritual need to pray alone or be part of a service.

 

In Russia or Ukraine, at least large churches have daily liturgy or prayer services or keep the doors open for random people to come, light a candle and pray.

 

If one looks at the service schedule in one's area in the US, most Catholic churches seem to have a mass or service every day or at least most weekdays. An elderly Catholic friend opened his parish's doors every day for the public to come and pray.

 

Take for example the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy's list of parishes:

http://www.ukrarchep...adelphia PA.pdf

They commonly have daily mass. It's true that historically they had twice as many parishioners as the OCA, but otherwise their demographics, where they choose to live and work, has been comparable.

 

Here you can find Catholic mass times near you:

https://discovermass.com/map

 

Even tiny functioning Catholic churches often seem to have masses most weekdays.

 

Turning to mainstream US Churches, the Greek Cathedral in NYC has services 3 of 7 days this week:

 

http://www.thecathedralnyc.org/
That's 3 days out of 7.
Sunday, October 23
 6th Sunday of Luke
8:45am
 Matins
10:00am
 Divine Liturgy

Wednesday, October 26
 St. Demetrios the Great Martyr
8:00am
 Matins
9:00am
 Divine Liturgy
6:00pm
 Archbishop's Open House

Friday, October 28
 Holy Protection/Oxi Day
8:00am
 Matins
9:00am
 Divine Liturgy

 

 

 

The Russian Patriarchal Cathedral in NYC has 2 liturgies this week and another 3 days are for molebens and/or akathists. That's 5 days out of 7.
http://mospatusa.com...ctober_2016.pdf

 

The OCA Cathedral has services 4 out of 7 days in NYC:
 

 

Sunday, October 23
Holy Apostle James
9:00 am Hours & Divine Liturgy

Wednesday, October 26
Holy GM Demetrios, Myroblyte of Thessalonica
8:00 am Divine Liturgy

Thursday, October 27
6:00 pm 9th Hour/Vespers

Saturday, October 29
5:30 pm Vigil Service

 

Now my goal is not to pick on our Orthodox churches. OCA churches commonly have half the parishioners of Eastern Catholic churches, based on demographics: Catholic Poland and Austria pressured or forced Ukrainians to accept Catholicism for about six hundred years (c.1300-1939). And so I know it's harder to organize everything like volunteers to watch people coming off the street, or having daily prayer services that few or no people come to. And then there is the fact that Catholic priests are typically unmarried and don't have as many responsibilities. Also, I know that just having lots of services doesn't mean that your theology is right or that your church is better than other churches who celebrate only once or twice a week and keep the doors shut.

 

If we look at the mainstream non-EO churches, the same pattern seems to show up of having rarer services:

 

The main Lutheran church in Philly on Sunday has  2 worship services, "Qi Gong" on Tuesday, "Gentle Yoga" on Thursday, and Pet
Blessing on Saturday.  (http://www.lc-hc.org/calendar)

 

The Episcopal cathedral has Eucharist Sunday to Thursday, which is 5 of 7 days.
http://www.philadelp...al.org/services

 

Two Indian Orthodox city churches that I know supposedly have 1000-2000 members, and have services two to three days a week.

 

Keep in mind that we are talking about some of the biggest non-Catholic American denominations.

 

If we look at the "megachurches" that are typically Reformed, the pattern looks similar: Calvary Chapel in Philadelphia has services 3 of 7 days per week: (http://www.ccphilly....eekly-services/)

These megachurches claim to get thousands of people, like 3000-10,000.

Attendance Photo from CC Philadelphia:

https://scontent.fph...3da&oe=588F41CE

 

Enon Tabernacle Baptist is a massive city church that looks on the outside like a modern semi-nondescript multinational corporate company headquarters. It has services Sunday and Saturday and Family Fellowship Tuesday and Wednesday.

http://www.enontab.o...out/our-worship


Edited by H. Smith, 24 October 2016 - 01:32 AM.


#2 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 24 October 2016 - 08:54 AM

It would indeed be nice to have more weekday services or at least for the churches to be open. However, one has to remember the R.C. tend to have more priests per parish then we do and tend to have the parishioners living nearer to their churches, also in terms of the Liturgy in the R..C.C.  a priest can serve the mass alone (indeed historically a priest must serve the mass at least once a day in the R.C.C.) whereas we require at least one member of the congregation to be present at the Liturgy. We are also far less well organized then most Western Christians overall. Finally, this side of the pound there are quite a lot of Orthodox churches that do not own their church buildings but rent on them Sundays from the CofE - I don't know whether something similar happens in the U.S.A.



#3 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 24 October 2016 - 11:42 AM

Most Orthodox priests have to do a job to support themselves and their family.

#4 H. Smith

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Posted 24 October 2016 - 03:08 PM

It would indeed be nice to have more weekday services or at least for the churches to be open. However, one has to remember the R.C. tend to have more priests per parish then we do and tend to have the parishioners living nearer to their churches, also in terms of the Liturgy in the R..C.C.  a priest can serve the mass alone (indeed historically a priest must serve the mass at least once a day in the R.C.C.) whereas we require at least one member of the congregation to be present at the Liturgy. We are also far less well organized then most Western Christians overall. Finally, this side of the pound there are quite a lot of Orthodox churches that do not own their church buildings but rent on them Sundays from the CofE - I don't know whether something similar happens in the U.S.A.

 

Dear Rdr. Daniel,

I understand - I am not asking so much about Britain, where Orthodox are meeting in CoE churches, but more about the US and Canada where the demographics roughly follow the pattern of the Ukrainian Catholics who have daily Eastern Rite mass and we have our own church buildings. Here is a map of Orthodox in the world. You can see there is a big difference between the US and Britain:

2000px-Orthodoxy_by_Country.svg.png

In the Ukrainian Catholic churches near where I grew up, one of the Ukr. priests covered three churches, as one of them was quite small. He is scheduled for a daily mass at his main church. Ukr. Catholics have twice the number of Ukrainian parishioners, the basic historic makeup of the OCA, but we Orthodox also have Serbs, Greeks, Arabs (albeit with their own churches). I know what you mean about the Latins not requiring churchgoers in attendance for mass, but I'm just talking about keeping the church open or having 20 minutes of prayers like a moleben. There are numerous Orthodox churches with more parishioners than the Ukrainian Catholics have, especially when you compare an EO city cathedral or major suburban city church with a Catholic parish in a rural region.

 

Unfortunately, I don't know the numbers on priests holding two jobs- I know for sure some who do and others who don't. My impression is that most don't. It would make it hard for them to have daily prayers, I understand.

 

Even with all these real constraints on us, I am a bit surprised to see how a big majority of Catholic churches and Ukr. Catholic ones have daily services and that non-Catholic churches basically never do, even when it's an EO city church with 1500+ members, paid staff and paid deacons.


Edited by H. Smith, 24 October 2016 - 03:13 PM.


#5 Deacon John Martin

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Posted 26 October 2016 - 01:01 AM

1. Catholic priests in the Latin Rite are required to say Mass every day.

2. This probably resulted in influence on Eastern Catholic liturgics from an expectation of daily mass from the laity.

3. Traditionally, married Orthodox priests must be continent for several days before celebrating the Liturgy. This makes daily celebration of the liturgy difficult. St. John of Kronstadt, who lived with his wife like brother and sister, celebrated Liturgy every day.

4. Requirement of serving the liturgy, at least one chanter who knows the church music well enough to chant an entire liturgy.

5. Shortened proskomedia in Eastern Catholic rite?

 

Daily services depend on the desire of the congregation. If enough people want a daily service of some kind they will get it. But “daily mass” was not really an expectation in Orthodox countries that I know of.


Edited by Deacon John Martin, 26 October 2016 - 01:03 AM.


#6 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 26 October 2016 - 08:14 AM

'I am not asking so much about Britain, where Orthodox are meeting in CoE churches'

This is far too sweeping a statement; some parishes in Britain do, perforce, use Anglican church buildings but many, probably most, parishes have their church building (owned outright or rented).
 



#7 H. Smith

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Posted 26 October 2016 - 07:49 PM

'I am not asking so much about Britain, where Orthodox are meeting in CoE churches'

This is far too sweeping a statement; some parishes in Britain do, perforce, use Anglican church buildings but many, probably most, parishes have their church building (owned outright or rented).
 

I think you are right. I guess I was trying to be generous in the way I pursued the argument about whether English Orthodox had good reasons for not doing daily prayer services.



#8 Kosta

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Posted 30 October 2016 - 07:01 AM

In order to have daily services you would need a large concentration of Orthodox christians within close vicinity to the church, furthermore many of the laity have to be "old fashioned" meaning older traditional yiatias and babushkas etc. These areas would also have more clergy and chanters available for daily services.  Lets look at Astoria NY where there is a large concentration of ethnic Orthodox christians which would include an older ethnic demographic within walking distance:

 

St Demetrios Cathedral Astoria:

D.L. = everyday:

 St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church | Welcome to Our Parish Website

 

St Irene Chrysovalandou, Astoria

D.L =. every Sat and Sun and for any weekday feastday

Vespers everyday

Sacred Patriarchal and Stavropegial Monastery of St. Irene Chrysovalantou - Home

 

So if you want daily services you would have to live nearby a monastery. 



#9 Rdr. Elias

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Posted 26 November 2016 - 07:05 PM

I don't think there's a blanket reason. A lot of things come into play. One is that married priests can't really have Liturgy every day since they are to abstain from marital relations the night before....not an easy task and I imagine their wives wouldn't like it either.

As for other types of services, some do. One Church near me, the priest serves Matins and Vespers daily. My parish, the priest serves 3rd and 6th hours every day and Matins on Wednesday morning.

Some parishes, the priest works an outside job.

The list goes on. Overall, there is no one answer to say why.




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