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The Eastern Catholic Churches

St. Pope John Paul II said the Church must “breathe with both lungs” referring to the Eastern and Western spiritual traditions that developed within the Church Jesus Christ founded on Peter and his successors (Mt. 16:18-19), so that the world might know and believe that God is a loving Father who cares about each and every one of us (Jn. 17:23), and wishes everyone to be saved and to understand the truth (1Tim. 2:4). This truth, powered by our dynamic worship, also sets us free to live joyful lives, prompting us to go out on mission, actively seeking to serve those in the broader community, as well as invite others to experience the joy our Lord gives through liturgical worship grounded in apostolic tradition. The Omaha Byzantine Catholic Community seeks to embody this spirit with a thriving Eastern Catholic presence in our city and beyond.

The Catholic Church is made up of 22 individual "ritual" Churches, with their own distinct liturgy and customs. As a whole, “Eastern Catholics,” as they are called, make up roughly 2% of the entire Catholic Church in communion with the Bishop of Rome, the Pope. However, though relatively small in number, through our rich liturgy and spirituality, Eastern Catholics have an important role to play in communicating the extravagant love of God through His Son Jesus Christ, not only fostering unity and understanding between Eastern and Western Christians, but between those of various religions.

Fasting in the Eastern Church

Fasting is a large part of our Eastern Christian heart and mindset. One can consider that there are the "levels" of fasting/abstinence. As a reminder, we are to keep at least the minimum of what our churches ask of us to the best of our ability (generally, no meat on Wednesdays and Fridays on all days of the year) Below are further "levels" and ideas to incorporate into our lives as we continue to grow spiritually and can take on more and more.

(Note: In Level 3 and 4, “oil” refers specifically to olive oil.  “Fish” is generally meant to mean anything with a backbone, so shellfish is permitted (including lobster and shrimp!)

If this is your first year, we recommend Level 1 or Level 2.  Once he knows what you are doing, the enemy will put roadblocks and potholes in your way.  Don’t worry if you forget or miss a day, just start again.

Level 1:  This is the minimal requirement to observe during the Fasts.

  • The first day of the Great Fast, abstain from meat, eggs, and dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt, sour cream) products.

  • On all Wednesdays and Fridays during the Fast, abstain from meat.

  • On Good Friday, abstain from meat, eggs, and dairy products.

  • During the year, fast from meat every Wednesday and Friday

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