A Lent None Of Us Expected

A Pastoral Word from Fr. Justin Patterson:

With the spread of the Coronavirus COVID-19, our churches have had to make excruciatingly difficult decisions about what faithfulness looks like. After much prayer and careful consideration, our Archbishop Alexander has instructed his diocesan communities to cancel all public parish activities and services except for the most essential Divine Liturgies–which we continue to offer. Even when our clergy and choir offer the Liturgy, however, our people have been asked to remain at home and either pray with the parish watching the service through our new livestreaming capability or to pray the Typika (Obednitsa or “lay service” at home.) This is not the Lent we expected.

You can read our Archbishop’s letter here. What he asks us to do is difficult and jarring. How could it be otherwise? And while we are bombarded with panicked news sources, Archbishop Alexander is putting forward these rational measures based on the best science available and (mostly importantly) out of love–not only for the most vulnerable among our own members, but also for the most at risk among our fellow men and women who would experience high rates of death should our hospitals become overwhelmed all at once. Though it may be counterintuitive to us in our hearts, in this unique instance, not going to church is what love looks like. I ask our wonderful people to consider obeying our beloved archbishop–to attend to his request in all humility, hard though his request is. With that in mind I want to provide an update on all that will still be happening in our parish and how you can continue to participate in the life of the Church in these next few weeks.

How Can We “Go To Church?”

We are working on ways to keep the church “fully functioning” in the face of this extraordinary moment. How?

  • Liturgy is Still Happening  The Great Offering “on Behalf of All and For All” will be made each Sunday and Feast Day. Each baptized parishioner and catechumen will be mentioned by name in those services.
    • Sun., March 15 10am Liturgy of St. Basil
    • Wed., March 18 6pm Presanctified Liturgy
    • Fri, March 20 11am Presanctfied Liturgy
    • Sun., March 22 9am Cross Matins & 10am Liturgy of St. Basil
    • Wed., March 25 11am Vesperal Liturgy for Annunciation
    • Fri., March 27 11am Presanctified Liturgy
    • Sun., March 29 10am Liturgy of St. Basil
  • Livestreaming  We have already shared a couple livetreamed videos on our parish Facebook Page but are beginning a regular Livestream via our new St. Athanasius Youtube Channel, so you can pray along with us and hear the offered sermons. (Check out both sources while we are still in flux.)
  • Materials for Domestic Worship are now available and variable texts updated weekly.
  • Expanded Hours at Church for Prayer, Lighting Candles, and Visiting with Priest 
    • Open Church Hours (12pm to 8pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday)
    • Confessions by Appointment (contact Fr. Justin)
    • Confessions with Short Communion Service (2-6pm each Friday) by appointment to individuals or households (not in large groups)
  • Home Visits by both Clergy (w/ Communion) & Laity (in development!)

We encourage you to take this Lent as seriously as ever: to fast, to pray, to give alms, to reach out in love to support our brothers and sisters who are especially isolated. May God strengthen us in this unusual fasting season. Do not hesitate to reach out to me (the priest) with questions, concerns, or ideas. With love in Christ,     Fr. Justin 

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