St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Diocese, Chicago

His Holiness Pope John Paul II established St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Diocese of Chicago on March 13, 2001. Mar Jacob Angadiath is appointed as its first bishop and his Episcopal Ordination was held in Chicago, together with the inauguration of the diocese, on July 1, 2001

The Syro-Malabar Church is the second largest Church among the Eastern Catholic Churches. St. Thomas the Apostle founded the Syro-Malabar Church, otherwise called the Church of St. Thomas Christians, in South India. The present Kerala State is the home of this Church. For centuries, St. Thomas Christians lived in the kingdoms of Travancore and Cochin.

The first step of migration of our people was to the Malabar region to the north and High Ranges to the East. Since the faithful were mostly farmers, they were looking for farm land and wherever they settled, they built Churches and established their own faith communities. The first diocese established for the migrants was Tellicherry in 1953 with Bishop Mar Sebastian Valloppilly. Then in 1956, the diocese of Kothamangalam was established for those who were in High Ranges with Bishop Mar Mathew Pothanamuzhy. Tellicherry has become Archdiocese with four suffragan dioceses and Kothamangalam has been bifurcated to form Idukki diocese.

The second step of migration was to different cities of India, like Bombay, Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore and Calcutta. In 1988, Kalyan Diocese was established in Bombay for our Syro-Malabar faithful, with Bishop Mar Paul Chittilappally. This diocese is growing fast now under the leadership of present bishop Mar Thomas Elavanal, MCBS. Bangalore, Chennai and Delhi are eagerly waiting to be established as dioceses.
The third step of migration was to Europe and United States of America. In late nineteen sixties and seventies there were large flow of people to United States in search of better opportunities. Professionals of our Church found better prospects in this new world. Among the professionals, nurses outranked every other group. They came in great numbers, as there was shortage of nurses in USA. They settled in major metropolitan cities and they brought their family members. Wherever our faithful settled they were eager to have Syro-Malabar liturgy whenever it was possible with the help of visiting priests or student priests from our Church. Small communities were formed in this fashion.

Since Malayalam was the language of people from Kerala, at first it was called “Malayalam Qurbana” (Mass) for all the Catholics from Kerala. The people in various cities, comprising of Syro-Malabar, Syro-Malankara, and Latin Church members from Kerala organized several Kerala Catholic Associations. Kerala Catholic fellowship of Chicago, and India Catholic Association of New York were such organizations. These Associations arranged Holy Qurbana (Mass) once a month in various locations and special celebrations were arranged for Christmas and Easter. “Onam” celebrations and picnics were other occasions of cultural gatherings.

In 1996 His Excellency Mar Gregory Karotemprel, CMI, the chairman of the Commission for the pastoral care for the migrants and apostolic visitator to USA and Canada, came here and made personal effort to visit as many places as possible to meet with the priests and people of Syro-Malabar Church. This formal visit enabled him to make a thorough study of the spiritual care of the faithful and formulate a detailed report to be submitted to the Holy Father and the Congregation for the Oriental Churches. In his report, he requested for the establishment of a diocese for the Syro-Malabar faithful in USA and Canada. Enormous work done by Mar Gregory Karotemprel, CMI, for the formation of a diocese of the Syro-Malabar Church in USA/Canada has to be acknowledged and appreciated.

Again, His Beatitude Mar Varkey Cardinal Vithayathil, C.Ss.R. present Major Archbishop but then Administrator of the Syro-Malabar Major Archiepiscopal Church, in 1998 made an extensive visit to main cities of USA/Canada where the Syro-Malabar faithful were in considerable numbers. Having visited the people and realizing the need for better spiritual care for our people, the Major Archbishop also recommended to Rome the need of a hierarchical arrangement here.

In 1999 August a North American Syro-Malabar Catholic Convention was held in Philadelphia. The initial step was taken by lay-leaders of our Church in consultation with the then Directors of Syro-Malabar Missions in different places. The organizers worked hard to make this first Syro-Malabar Convention a great success. The presence of His Beatitude Mar Varkey Cardinal Vithayathil and other dignitaries of our Church made the Convention successful and it enhanced the need of hierarchical setting here in USA/Canada.

The announcement of the establishment of the St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Diocese of Chicago was a moment of joy to everyone. Rev. Fr. Jacob Angadiath, the Director of Syro-Malabar Mission in Chicago was appointed as the first bishop of this newly formed diocese. The area of this diocese (Eparchy) comprised the whole USA and Bishop Jacob Angadiath was also appointed as the Permanent Apostolic Visitator to Canada also. The Episcopal consecration of Mar Jacob Angadiath and the inauguration of the St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Diocese of Chicago took place in Chicago on July 1, 2001 at Hyatt Regency Hotel.

Bishop Mar Jacob Angadiath

Mar Jacob Angadiath, Bishop of St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Diocese of Chicago, was born on October 26, 1945 at Periappuram in Elanji Panchayat of Ernakulam District, in the State of Kerala, India. His parents were Ulahannan and Mariam Angadiath.

His home parish is St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, Periappuram, in the diocese of Palai. He has two brothers, A. Andrews Angadiath and A.U. Joseph Angadiath who are at Periappuram and one sister, Mrs. AleykuttyAugusthyChampamalayil at Matholapuram. His father died in 1948 and thereafter his mother and immediate family raised him.

St. Antony’s L.P. School, Kalluvettamada, Mulakulam was his first school were he received formal education for two years. Then he was transferred to Namakuzhy Government High School where he completed his high School in 1962. He was very active in literary practices of the school and catechism and Mission League activities of his parish.

He joined the Good Shepherd Minor Seminary, Palai to study for priesthood. He attended St. Thomas College, Palai, for Pre-university course and completed his Minor Seminary Program and joined the St. Thomas the Apostolic Seminary Vadavathoor. Kottayam, for his Philosophy and Theology courses in 1965. He had his Major Seminary formation under Very Rev. Msgr. KurianVanchipurackal, the First Rector and then under His Excellency Mar Joseph Pallikaparampil, the Second Rector. His spiritual director was very Rev. Msgr. Mathew Mankuzhikary, the well-known Spiritual guide.

His Excellency Mar Sebastian Vayalil, the first bishop of Palai, on January 5, 1972, ordained him a priest at St. Mary’s Church, Lalam Old, Palai. He had the privilege of receiving his First Holy Communion and Confirmation from the same bishop. His first assignment was at St. Joseph’s Church, Kudakkachira, under the veteran Vicar Very Rev. Fr. Joseph Alumkal. It was the year of 1972 known for its “College Strike”. His initial zeal enabled him to work hard. He was transferred to St. George Forane Church Aruvithura, in 1973. There he served as an assistant Vicar for four years under two experienced Vicars, Very Rev. Fr. Jacob Thazhathel, the Founder of the Congregation of the Daughters of St. Thomas and Very Rev. Fr. Jacob Gnavallil, an exemplary pastor. He was instrumental in starting the Georgian College of Aruvithura. He was appointed Vicar of St. John’s Church, Amparanirappel, in 1977 and there he served for more than three years. It was at this time he completed his Bachelor’s degree in English literature. Then he was appointed as the professor at Good Shepherd Minor Seminary, Palai. Besides teaching, he had the duty of the Spiritual Director and Vice Rector of the Seminary. He served the diocese as Secretary to the Association of the Diocesan Clergy in Palai. Mar Joseph Pallikaparampil, Bishop of Palai, who was in charge of the Overseas Mission of the Syro-Malabar Church, sent him to Dallas, Texas, USA to serve the Syro-Malabar faithful in that region. He was the first Syro-Malabar priest officially appointed to begin a Syro-Malabar ministry in USA, in 1984.

Most Rev. Thomas Tschoepe, Bishop of Dallas, welcomed him and appointed him as assistant pastor at St. Pius X Catholic Church, Dallas, with Rev. Msgr. Thomas W. Weinzapfel being the pastor. Rev. Robert Crisp, Rev. Arthur Mallinson, Rev. Msgr. Joseph Erbrick and Rev. Dennis O’Brien, M.M. were the other priests who served at St. Pius X Church while he was there. He came to Dallas in 1984 and started the Syro-Malabar Mission and established the St. Thomas the Apostle Indian Catholic Church in 1992 in Garland for the Syro-Malabar faithful. He attended the University of Dallas and completed his Masters in Theology program in 1995. In 1997 he was transferred from St. Pius X Church, to St. Michael the Archangel Parish, Garland, as assistant pastor. Rev. James Sharp was the pastor. He purchased a house in Garland for the rectory for the St. Thomas the Apostle parish.

He took charge as the Director of the Mar ThomaShleehaSyro-Malabar Mission in Chicago on July 1, 1999. The parish community was growing fast and various ministries were organized. He was a consultant of the Migration Committee of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB).

It was on March 13, 2001, the first Syro-Malabar Diocese outside India, namely, St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Diocese of Chicago was established and he was appointed the first Bishop of this newly formed diocese, by His Holiness, Pope John Paul II. His Episcopal ordination took place in Chicago on July 1, 2001, during the Second Syro-Malabar Convention. His Beatitude Mar Varkey Cardinal Vithayathil was the main celebrant of the Consecration ceremony; Mar Joseph Pallickaparaupil, Bishop of Palai, and Mar KuriakoseKunnacherry, Bishop of Kottayam, were the co-consecrators. His Eminence Francis Cardinal George was the homilist during the Holy Qurbana. Mar Jacob Angadiath’s diocese is extended all through the USA and he is the Permanent Apostolic Visitator to Canada.


St. Thomas Christians Chaldean Connection | Arrival of Portuguese | Syro-Malabar Church | Major Archiepiscopal Church
The Syro-Malabar Catholic Church is one of the 22 Eastern (Oriental) Catholic Churches in full communion with Rome. It is the second largest Eastern Catholic Church after the Ukrainian Church and the largest of the Saint Thomas Christian (Nazrani) denominations with 4.6 million believers. It is a sui juris Church governed by the Synod of Bishops headed by the Major Archbishop. The Syro-Malabar Church, with its deep-rooted spirituality and high rate of vocations to priesthood and religious life, can be considered as the most vibrant Catholic community in the world.

The St. Thomas Christians (Nazranis)

The Syro-Malabar Church is an Apostolic Church which traces its origin to the St. Thomas, the Apostle, who landed at Cranganore (Muziris) in 52 AD and founded seven Christian communities in Kerala, at Palayur, Cranganore, Kokkamangalam, Kottakavu (Parur), Quilon, Niranam, and Chayal. St. Thomas was martyred in A.D. 72 at Mylapore, near Chennai/Madras. The early Christian community in India was known as St. Thomas Christians. They were also called Nazranis, meaning those who follow the path of Jesus of Nazareth.

The East Syrian (Chaldean) Connection

From early centuries, the Church of St. Thomas Christians came into contact with the East Syrian Church, which also traces its origin to Apostle Thomas. From the 4th century until the end of the 16th century Thomas Christians were governed by Bishops who were appointed and sent by the Patriarch of the East Syrian Church. The Thomas Christians developed a unique system of ecclesiastical administration with the Bishops from Persia in charge of liturgical and spiritual matters and the local Archdeacon of All India (A priest) heading the Christian community and handling the administration of the Church through Palliyogam (early form of Synod).Thus the Thomas Christians shared the liturgical, theological, spiritual and other ecclesiastical traditions with the East Syrian Church; in socio-cultural organization and practices, however, they were distinctively Indian.

The Arrival of Portuguese and the Influence of the Latin Church

The arrival of the Portuguese in the 16th Century marks a new era in the life of the Thomas Christians. East Syrian Bishops stopped coming. Archdeacon lost his position and Latin Prelates exercised full authority over ecclesiastical administration for almost three centuries. This paved way for the latinization of liturgy and ecclesiastical administration. Following the Coonan Cross oath in 1653 and the introduction of the Padroado (the Portuguese jurisdiction under the Propaganda Congregation) in 1661, the Thomas Christians got divided into two groups, of which the group who resisted Latin rule formed a separate community under the Archdeacon. Later they accepted the West Syrian theological and liturgical tradition of the West Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch and came to be known as the Jacobite Church. They were further divided into several independent Churches. The group that remained faithful to Rome came to be known as Syro-Malabar Church, a name which became a common epithet only in the nineteenth century. It literally means Syrian Christians of the Malabar Coast (Kerala).

The Syro-Malabar Church

In 1886 the Padroado jurisdiction over the whole Malabar (Kerala) was suppressed and in 1887 Pope Leo XIII re-organized the Syro-Malabar Catholics into two independent Vicariates of Kottayam and Trissur. Finally, the Syro-Malabar Church obtained bishops of their own rites and nationality in 1896, when they were further reorganized into three vicariates of Trissur, Changanacherry and Ernakulam by Pope Leo XIII through his Brief Quae reiSacrae. Later, the Syro-Malabar Hierarchy was established on December 21, 1923, by the Apostolic Constitution Romani Pontifices of Pope Pius XI (ActaApostolicaeSedis, 16 [1924], pp. 257-262), with Ernakulam as the Metropolitan See and Trichur, Changanacherry and Kottayam (established in 1911 for the Southists) as suffragans. In 1956 Changanacherry was raised to the status of a Metropolitan See, with Pala as a suffragan diocese.
The restoration of the hierarchy initiated a process of liturgical reform that sought to restore the oriental identity of the Latinized Syro-Malabar rite, which was approved by Pius XII in 1957 and introduced in 1962. In subsequent years several new dioceses were established both within and outside Kerala. From 1962, the Church began to set up mission centers in Northern India, which later became dioceses. Last 40 years have been a period of steady growth for the Syro-Malabar Church.

The Syro-Malabar Major Archiepiscopal Church

On December 16, 1992, Pope John Paul II, by the Apostolic Constitution Quae maiori (ActaApostolicaeSedis, 85[1993], pp. 398-399), raised the Syro-Malabar Church to the status of Major Archiepiscopal suiiuris Church with the title of Ernakulam-Angamaly. Mar Antony Paidyara, the then Metropolitan of Ernakulam was appointed its First Major Archbishop with Mar Abraham Kattumana as the Pontifical Delegate who discharged the duties of the Major Archbishop. Archbishop Kattumana died unexpectedly during his visit to Rome in April 1995 and Mar Padiyara was given the powers of the Major Archbishop. In November 1996 Cardinal Padiyara resigned from his office as Major Archbishop. In his place Archbishop VarkeyVithayathil, C.Ss.R. was appointed as the Apostolic Administrator. In December 1998 he was appointed Major Archbishop by the Pope. In February 2001 Archbishop Vithayathil was created a Cardinal by Pope John Paul II. In 2004, the Holy See granted full administrative powers to the Syro-Malabar Church, including the power to elect bishops.
Major Archbishop Varkey Cardinal Vithayathil passed away on Arpil 1, 2011. On 24 May 2011 Mar George Alencherry was elected Major Archbishop. Pope Benedict XVI confirmed the election on 25 May 2011. He is the first head of the Syro-Malabar Church to be elected by its Synod. On February 18, 2012 Major Archbishop George Alencherry was made Cardinal and a member of the Consistory.

The Syro-Malabar Church Today

Today the Syro-Malabar Church is the second largest Eastern Church in Catholic communion and constitutes the largest group of St. Thomas Christians. The other two Catholic Churches in India are the Latin Church and the Syro-Malankara Church.
At present there are five Archdioceses - Ernakulam-Angamaly, Changanacherry, Trichur, Tellicherry and Kottayam and 13 eparchies - Bhadravathi, Belthangady, Irinjalakuda, Kanjirapally, Kothamangalam, Idukki, Mananthavady, Mandya, Palai, Palghat, Ramanathaapuram, Thamarassery, and Thuckalay within the canonical territory of the Major Archiepiscopal Church and 12 eparchies outside, of which Adilabad, Bijnor, Chanda, Gorakhpur, Jagdalpur, Kalyan, Rajkot, Sagar, Satna, and Ujjain in India are with exclusive jurisdiction and Kalyan and Faridabad in India and the St. Thomas Eparchy of Chicago in the United States of America enjoy personal jurisdiction.. There are altogether 4018204 (4 million) Syro-Malabarians within the 30 Syro-Malabar Eparchies and approximately 5,85,900 members live as migrants outside any Syro-Malabar Eparchy. There are 47 Bishops, 8547 priests (3,556 diocesan and 4,991 religious), and 32,114 women religious and 1214 major seminarians. Many Bishops, priests, religious and laity of the Syro-Malabar Church are present all over the world and share in missionary and pastoral life of the sister Churches.
The Syro-Malabar Church is very actively involved in educational, social and health-related fields. The Syro-Malabar Church runs 4860 educational, 262 ecclesiastical and 2614 health and charitable institutions. The corporate contribution of the of the Syro-Malabar Church to nation-building is inestimable.

The Pastoral Care of Eastern Catholics in the USA

(The following are taken from pages 20 to 33 of the book, Eastern Catholics in the United States of America published by American Conference of Catholic Bishops. Providing an overview of the four original Eastern Catholics traditions (Antiochian, Alexandrian, Byzantine, and Armenian), this book explores the similarities and differences between the Roman and Eastern Churches. Building on Pope John Paul II's apostolic letter, The Light of the East (Orientale Lumen), this new publication is designed to promote a greater understanding of the experience of Eastern Catholics in this country. From the U.S. bishops' Committee on the Relationship Between Eastern and Latin Catholic Churches.)
In order to consider the pastoral care of Eastern Catholics in the USA, it is necessary: to take into account various structures of Eastern Churches, especially the patriarchate and major archiepiscopate.

The Patriarchal Church

This is a Church under the pastoral care of a patriarch. As well as being the eparchical bishop of his own patriarchal eparchy, the patriarch also exercises special jurisdiction over all metropolitans, archeparchs (archbishops), eparchs (bishops), apostolic exarchs (vicars apostolic), and all the clergy and faithful of his Church within the geographical area of his patriarchate. The patriarch's jurisdiction does not extend outside the traditional territory of his patriarchate.

In the USA there are six eparchies and one exarchate of patriarchal or metropolitan sui juris Churches:

The Eparchy of Newton for Melkite Greek Catholics

The Eparchy of Saint Maron in New York for the Maronite Catholics in the Eastern USA

The Eparcby of Saint Thomas in Detroit for Chaldean Catholics

The Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon in Los Angeles for Maronite Catholics in the Western USA

 The Eparchy of Our Lady of Deliverance in Newark for Syrian Catholics
The Armenian Catholic Exarchate of the USA and Canada

The Romanian Catholic Eparchy of Saint George in Canton, which has its origins from the autonomous Metropolitan Church of Fagaras and Alba Julia
Major Archiepiscopal Church

A major archbishop is, in almost all respects, identical with a patriarch and has similar rights and privileges.

In the USA there is one metropolitan archeparchy of a major archiepiscopal Church, with three eparchies:

The Archeparchy of Philadelphia for Ukrainian     Catholics

The Eparchy of Stamford for Ukrainian Catholics

The Eparchy of Saint Nicholas in Chicago for Ukrainian Catholics

The Eparchy of Saint Josaphat in Parma for Ukrainian Catholics

(The St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Diocese of Chicago)

 The Autonomous Metropolitan Church
In the USA there is one autonomous metropolitan Church, that of Ruthenian Byzantine Catholics divided into one archeparchy and three eparchies:

The Archeparchy of Pittsburgh
The Eparchy of Passaic
The Eparchy of Parma
The Eparchy of Van Nuys
Other Eastern Catholic Churches

The other Eastern Churches for a variety of reasons have not yet established an eparchy or an apostolic exarchate in the USA. Some of these Churches-the Russian, Belarusan, Coptic, Ethiopian, Syro-Malabar, and Syro-Malankara do have one or more priests here in the USA. These priests and their faithful are entrusted to the governance of the local bishop of the Latin Church. (This book was published before the establishment of St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Diocese of Chicago).

However, members of Eastern Churches who do not have any contact with their own pastors ought to be helped as far as possible to observe their own tradition and customs.

Pope John Paul II expressed a special concern for these Catholics in his apostolic letter Orientale Lumen, "Where in the West there are no Eastern priests to look after the faithful of the Eastern Catholic Churches, Latin Ordinaries and their co-workers should see that those faithful grow in the awareness and knowledge of their own tradition, and they should be invited to co-operate actively in the growth of the Christian community by making their own particular contribution.”


Sacramental Interecclesial Legislation

When the Code of Canons for the Eastern Churches uses the phrase "autonomous ritual church" to designate the Latin Church and the Eastern Catholic Churches, it is evident that laws concerned with the relations between these Churches should no longer be called "inter ritual" but more appropriately "interecclesial."

In the day-to-day life of the Church, it is usually a question relating to the celebration of the Holy Mysteries of Christian Initiation and Marriage for Eastern Catholics, which require a clear understanding on the part of the minister of the Latin Church.
Membership of  Autonomous Ritual Churches

     It is not possible simply to be a "Catholic" - a member "at large" of the universal Catholic Church. A person is always a member of a specific autonomous ritual Church and only as such is a person a member of the Catholic Church.

     In Baptism, a person is enrolled in an autonomous ritual Church and the Church to which that person belongs is determined by church law. A person, no matter by whom or where or in what liturgical ceremony he or she is baptized, belongs to the autonomous ritual Church to which he or she should belong in accordance to the norms of law. Canons 29-30 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches establish the canonical legislation for Eastern Catholics.
From time to time, it may become necessary, when it is a question of membership of a Church by reason of Baptism, to clarify to which Church a Catholic belongs. In such cases, the following principles apply:
1.         Baptism of children under the age of fourteen:

By virtue of Baptism, a child is enrolled in the Church of the Catholic father or the Church of the mother if only the mother is Catholic or if both parents by agreement freely request it, with due regard for particular laws established by the Apostolic See; these principles also apply in the case of an adoptive father and mother;

i.          If only one parent is a Catholic, the child belongs to the Church of that parent.

ii.         If born of an unmarried mother, the child belongs to her Church;

iii.        If born of unknown parents, the child belongs to the Church of the legal guardians;

iv.        If born of nonbaptized parents the child is to be a member of the Church of the person undertaking the responsibility to educate the child in the Catholic faith.
2.         Baptism of children over the age of fourteen:

A person of fourteen years of age or older, who requests Baptism, is free to choose any Church.

The Holy Mysteries of Christian Initiation


A priest or deacon of the Latin Catholic may not baptize a child of Eastern Catholic parents, unless a priest of the parents’ Church cannot perform this holy mystery. The following circumstances constitute unavailability of the priest of the Eastern Church, and in such cases a priest or deacon of the Latin Church may baptize the child.

i.          The child is in danger of death;

ii.         The priest of the Eastern Church is too far away to bring the child to him;

iii.        The priest of the Eastern Church cannot come to baptize the child.

If, in these circumstances, a priest or deacon of the Latin Church baptizes the child he must:

i.          State, in his own baptismal register, to which Eastern Church the child belongs;

ii.         Send notifications of the baptism to the priest of the Eastern Church;

iii.        If there is no priest of the child's Eastern Church in the USA, the registration of the baptism is made only in the parochial register of the Latin Church, but the Eastern Church to which the child belongs must be noted.


In the Eastern Catholic Churches, Chrismation (known in the West as Confirmation) is always received at the time of Baptism. (When there is danger of death, it may be administered later.) If, in the exceptional circumstances as mentioned above, a Latin priest were to baptize a child belonging to an Eastern Church, unless such a priest has the faculties to administer the Holy Mystery of Chrismation and has the permission of the proper pastor to do so, he must not chrismate the child. The child should be chrismated by a priest of his or her own autonomous ritual Church as soon as possible after Baptism.

As many Eastern Catholic children attend Catholic schools under the control of the Latin Church, it often happens that they are involved in sacramental preparation programs. It is at these times that the question of Chrismation arises. As the Sacrament of Chrismation cannot be repeated, any attempt to do so is strictly prohibited.

If, at the time of confirmation for the class or group of children in the sacramental program, it is found that a child belonging to an Eastern Church has not yet received the holy mystery of Chrismation, the child must then be chrismated in his or her proper autonomous ritual Church.

The Eucharist

It is the normal practice of the Church that Catholics celebrate the Lord's day by participating in the celebration of the Eucharist in a community of their own Church. Nevertheless, where there is a diversity of Churches in the one place, the faithful worthily celebrate the resurrection of Jesus by attending the Eucharist in any of the autonomous ritual Churches.

Holy Communion may be received in any Catholic Church. Since sacramental initiation in the mystery of salvation is perfected in the reception of the Divine Eucharist, children of Eastern Catholic Churches who have not received the Eucharist at the time of their Christian initiation, should receive their first Holy Communion in their own autonomous Church.
The Holy Mystery of Penance

Catholics may receive absolution from any priest belonging to either the Latin or the Eastern Churches provided he has the faculty to administer the Holy Mystery of Penance. However, priests of the Latin Church hearing the confession of members of Eastern Churches should exercise particular care, as the perception of failing towards God and one's neighbor is deeply formed, and expressed, in terms drawn from one's own liturgical and religious experience.

Priests of the Latin Church need to be aware that the automatic penalties in the law of the Latin Church are not found in that of the Eastern Churches. On the other hand, the practice of "reserved sins" is still retained in the Eastern Churches.
The Holy Mystery of Matrimony

It is at the time of an impending marriage that members of Eastern Churches often come into contact with pastors of the Latin Church.

It is the canonical tradition of Eastern Churches that marriage is to be celebrated before the pastor of the groom unless particular law determines otherwise or a just cause excuses. Unlike the Latin Church, in the Eastern Churches a deacon cannot assist at a marriage.

In the USA, a priest of the Latin Church cannot, without special delegation from the eparch of the Eastern Church, validly bless the marriages of the subjects of that eparch even if celebrated in his parish:

1.         Two Eastern Catholics both of whom belong to the Armenian, Chaldean, Maronite, Melkite, Romanian, Ruthenian, Syrian, or Ukrainian Churches;

2.         An Eastern Catholic belonging to the Armenian, Chaldean, Maronite, Melkite, Romanian, Ruthenian, Syrian, or Ukrainian Churches marrying a baptized person who is not a member of the Catholic Church or an unbaptized person; a bishop of the Latin Church has no authority to permit such a marriage or grant a dispensation for it.

In the USA, a priest of the Latin Church, with the faculty to assist at marriages, may validly bless the following marriages involving Eastern Catholics:

1.         Two Eastern Catholics neither of whom belongs to the Armenian, Chaldean, Maronite, Melkite, Romanian, Ruthenian, Syrian, or Ukrainian Churches;

2.         An Eastern Catholic who does not belong to the Armenian, Chaldean, Maronite, Melkite, Romanian, Ruthenian, Syrian, or Ukrainian Churches marrying a baptized person who is not a member of the Catholic Church or an unbaptized person.

The marriage between a Latin Catholic and an Eastern Catholic should take place in the Church of the man. Unlike the Latin Church, a deacon in the Eastern Catholic Churches cannot validly assist at a marriage between a man belonging to the Latin Church and a woman belonging to an Eastern Church.

In the case where the groom is a member of the Armenian, Chaldean, Maronite, Melkite, Romanian, Ruthenian, Syrian, or Ukrainian Churches, and the bride is a Latin Catholic, the Eastern Eparch may grant a dispensation so that the marriage may be lawfully celebrated.

When dealing with the faithful of the Eastern Churches, Latin pastors must be aware of the differences in the legislation of the Latin Church and that of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches in regard to marriage. For example, the impediment of affinity extends in the collateral line to the second degree, that is, prohibiting marriage with one's sister/brother-in-Iaw. The impediment of spiritual relationship is retained in the Eastern Churches so a marriage between a sponsor and the baptized person and the parents of the same is invalid.
The Power to Dispense

Eastern Catholics can only be dispensed by their own eparch. Any  dispensation granted by a Latin bishop to the faithful of these Churches is invalid.

Those Eastern Catholics who do not have their own eparchy or exarchate established in the USA are placed under the jurisdiction of the local Latin bishop and may be validly dispensed by him.
Transfer from One Church to Another

In very exceptional circumstances, the Church permits the faithful to transfer their membership from one autonomous ritual Church to another. This is never undertaken lightly and touches upon the deepest relationship between the individual member of the body of Christ, its other members, and the bonds that link us to our Savior. Formerly the power to authorize such a transfer was reserved to the Apostolic See alone. For Eastern Catholics in the USA, such a transfer may take place on the agreement of the respective bishops. If there is no agreement, the request is submitted to the proper Roman dicastery.

Marriage also provides an opportunity for a person to transfer from one Church to another. An Eastern Catholic wife may transfer to the Church of her husband. A Latin Catholic husband or wife may transfer to the Church of their Eastern spouse at the time of marriage or during the marriage.