As the Apostles and other Christians went forth from Jerusalem they encountered different traditions, cultures, customs and languages. Soon the Church
became a communion of Churches united in love with each other, looking to the See of Peter in Rome as the first among them all. The Gospel of Christ has reached the four corners of the world.
Jesus prayed for their unity, “that they all may be one” (John 17:21). For Catholics united with the Pope in Rome, there is already an amazing unity even within the reality of cultural diversity.
The Catholic Church, comprised of twenty-one Eastern Churches and
one Western Church, is a communion of Churches, with the Pope as the visible head, “gathered in the one spirit,
breathing as though with two lungs - of the east and of the west - and burning with the love of Christ in one heart - having two ventricles” (Sacri Canones; Pope John Paul II).
There are six major traditions of the Catholic Church:
Alexandrian, Antiochene, Armenian, Chaldean, Constantinopolitan (Byzantine), Latin (Roman).
Each Catholic Church practices a common faith according to one of the six major traditions. The Maronite Church follows the Antiochene Tradition.
All Churches within the communion of Catholic Churches share the same:
Seven Mysteries (Sacraments)
Unity with the Pope of Rome.
All Catholics believe the same truths of the faith yet worship differently. One could say they share the same essence of faith, but have a different expression of that faith. Each Church embraces its own culture and tradition to express Her faith in Jesus the Risen Lord.
Each one of the Catholic Churches:
Encompasses a unique liturgy, theology, spirituality and discipline;
Is characterized by Her own cultural and linguistic tradition;
Is guided by a Patriarch, Major Archbishop, Metropolitan or other Hierarch, who along with their Synod of Bishops are in full communion with the Pope, the Successor of Saint Peter.