I’m a member of the OCA. We don’t have a Western Rite. In point of fact, we’ve been kinda opposed to it. But I love it. I’m so pleased with it that were a parish to form in San Francisco, I’d be hella supportive. The why of that is complex. I was Chrismated into the ER, I love Russian style chanting and I think our ER Holy Week is head-over-heels awesome. I can chant our services well, I enjoy serving and I can – with the help of our expert choir director and his “idiot books” as they are called – navigate our complex services.
I miss, however, the simplicity of Low Mass, the starkness of Stations of the Cross, the richness of the daily office. In the light of that last item, I am also a Novice Oblate of the Order of St Benedict, and I use a WR Daily Office as posted on a domain ironically called “Eastern Rite”. I admit I’d like a WR parish with no pews… but the organ doesn’t scare me if it’s done right. A “concert mass” isn’t a bad thing if it furthers devotion. The Rosary doesn’t need “Creative visualization” in order to “work”.
As St John of San Francisco pointed out, the West was orthodox a long time before it wasn’t – and, unlike the East, the West never fell into heresy: which is why Maximus the Confessor took refuge with the Pope when the entire eastern Church fell away from the Faith. The Western Liturgy is missing some of the “Correctives” added to the ER, because we never needed them in the West. Additionally, the “didactic hymnody” of the East is missing in the West because preaching the full faith was never outlawed here (at least not yet).
I’m not one of these people who imagines that the Western Rite is “better suited” to evangelizing Westerners. Most of the people I know couldn’t tell High Mass from Divine Liturgy or Deviled Eggs. The unchurched, however, need missionaries and need priests. There are enough ER communities in SF – some ROCOR Parishes are only blocks from each other. What there are not: more than only and exactly one traditionalist WR anything. What could hurt?
Let us pray to Pope St Gregory the great that someone will send us a new Augustine or a new Patrick. Let us pray that someone will send a new Cyril and Methodius. Let us beg for a new St Innocent. Let someone learn the language and reach out to us.
So if anyone is in SF and wants to pray the daily office, get with me: I do it almost daily.
And if any missionaries out there want to evangelize in SF, you should let me know. I’d love to help.
O God, who carest for Thy people with mercy and rulest them in love, through the intercession of Pope Saint Gregory, call, we pray thee, more labourers to the fields of San Francisco, white for harvest, that the flourishing of a holy flock may become the eternal joy of the shepherds; through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who livest and reignest with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, ever, world without end. Amen