Resources for Feasible Celebration of Ge’ez Rite Divine Liturgy for Ethiopian Diaspora Communities in North America
Bemnet Atraga Melaku Rev. D.Min.
This dissertation explores the practical pastoral challenges of the Ethiopian Catholic Ge'ez Rite diaspora community in North America, with a particular focus on the difficulty of accommodating the time-intensive celebration of the full form of the Ge’ez Sunday Divine Liturgy to sociocultural and economic pressures that often fill Sunday schedules with paid labor and community activities. After considering the lifestyle of this Diaspora Catholic community and consulting with community members themselves, this thesis proposes that there is a pastoral need for a more feasible (i.e., systematically and strategically abbreviated) celebration of the Divine Liturgy so that it can continue to be a liturgy celebrated with traditional integrity for the glorification of God and for the sanctification of humanity through active liturgical participation of the baptized. Through field research undertaken both in North America and Ethiopia that included ritual observation, liturgical participation, interviews, and surveys, this study examined various strategies previously used unofficially by different Ge'ez Rite Catholic communities to address some of these pastoral challenges. Drawing from these findings—and in conversation with significant issues in the historical, theological, pastoral, and cultural development of the Ethiopian Catholic Ge’ez Rite Divine Liturgy, this study suggests resources that could be used by Ethiopian liturgy experts and church authorities to arrive at a more feasible celebration of the Ge'ez Rite Divine Liturgy that might eventually be implemented officially for the Diaspora communities in North America to help resolve the ongoing pastoral challenges that these communities are facing.