Welcome to the Western Rite Vicariate, a part of the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese in America. Effective May 18, 2012, by appointment of His Eminence Metropolitan Philip of Blessed Memory, His Grace Bishop John serves as the only Auxiliary Bishop to oversee the Western Rite Vicariate. Assisting His Grace is the V. Rev. Edward Hughes, Vicar General of the Western Rite Vicariate. The Vicariate includes more than 20 churches and missions located throughout the United States.
Life comes from death. Virginity gives birth to Life. Weakness perfects strength. Defeat leads to victory. Wisdom begins with fear. Humility overwhelms pride. Sorrow turns into joy. The dead become immortal.
The Christian faith is filled with many seeming contradictions. Our Lord's Passion not only teaches but instills and inculcates in us this key truth. Yet it is a truth that we too quickly forget, and which our lives too easily deny. This truth alone is able to sustain us in our darkest hours, when all hope seems lost, when faith seems pointless. This is why we must continually hear, and take to heart, the stories of the saints, especially the martyrs.
Consider St. Venantius. At the age of 15, because he confessed Christ, Venantius was scourged, imprisoned, tortured with torches, dangled head-down over smoke to suffocate, beaten so that both jaws were broken and he lost all his teeth, thrown into a dungpit and then fed to the lions. All these things he suffered without complaint. During all these afflictions holy Venantius was strengthened by angels. And his quiet patience and longsuffering, his firm constancy and conviction, his meek endurance and lack of complaint – this impressed all who saw and heard, so that these gruesome tortures did not frighten, but rather fortified the faithful and attracted the unknowing. When Venantius was finally beheaded, so were many new Christians who desired the certain hope and the strong faith that he evinced.
The Very Reverend W.S. Paul Schneirla, longtime pastor at St. Mary Church in Brooklyn, New York, fell asleep in Christ on Saturday, September 20th, 2014 at the age of 98. May his memory be eternal!
Father Paul was ordained an Antiochian priest in 1943, and served parishes in Iron Mountain, MI and Allentown PA, before moving to New York to serve at St. Mary's in Brooklyn from 1951 until his retirement in August, 2002. He served in many capacities within the Archdiocese for 71 years, including: the first chairman of the Department of Christian Education, the dean of the Atlantic Deanery, the first editor of The Word magazine, and as the Archdiocese's Ecumenical Officer.
As a young man, Fr. Paul had converted to Orthodoxy from a Protestant background, and thus years after his ordination, his interest in the Western Rite was kindled by a visit to one of the Rite's parishes within the Romanian Orthodox jurisdiction in Paris, France.
The biennial conference of the Western Rite Vicariate will be held Tuesday, August 5 through Friday, August 8 on the beautiful lakeside campus of Ss. Cyril and Methodius Roman Catholic Seminary and St. Mary’s Preparatory in Orchard Lake, Michigan.
The theme for this year's conference will be based on St. Paul's words to the Corinthians:
"Every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible." (1 Cor. 9.25)
Presentations will focus discipline and the spiritual life.
Bishop JOHN (Abdalah), Auxiliary Bishop for the Western Rite Vicariate, will attend and will address the clergy and laity. Other presenters include V. Rev. Patrick Reardon, V. Rev. Chad Hatfield, and V. Rev. Edward Hughes, Vicar General for the Vicariate.
Mass will be celebrated daily, together with Vespers and Lauds (or Morning Prayer).
The conference begins with Vespers at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, 5 August, followed by a formal welcome by His Grace, Bishop JOHN. Presentations will be given on Wednesday and Thursday, and will include the Bishop's address to participants. The final presentation, by Fr Hughes, will be on Friday morning. The Conference concludes at noon on Friday, 8 August.
In addition to the presentations, ample free time is scheduled for prayer and conversation. Participants will be able to visit the Galeria (an art museum dedicated to Polish history), the campus Grotto, and other sites on the spacious campus. Participants may also join a pontoon excursion to Apple Island where Chief Pontiac is visited and perhaps was buried, according to legend.