Dear Friends and Faithful,
The blessing of the Lord!
Tomorrow (FRIDAY, APRIL 22) is the final day for confessions before Pascha; neither Fr David nor I will be available for confession during Holy Week. I am available, as noted on the calendar, from 4:00 pm until a few minutes before6:00 pm when we will begin the Vespers of Lazarus Saturday. I have some limited availability for appointments throughout the late morning and early afternoon tomorrow, as well.
Please join us in prayer as we receive our catechumens into the Church through the Sacraments of Holy Baptism and Chrismation on Lazarus Saturday, April 23, 2016 at 8:30 am. Divine Liturgy will be followed by a “Champagne and Caviar" Reception.
There are sign-up sheets in the kitchen for reading over the tomb of Christ from Holy Friday evening until Holy Saturday morning. Please sign up for a thirty minute slot (it seems the early morning hours are those now available). Also, we will begin reading the Book of Acts at 9:00 pm on Holy Saturday (all these time slots are accounted for). Finally, as is our custom, we will read a portion of the Prologue of the Gospel of John (John 1:1 - 17) at the Divine Liturgy of Pascha in as many languages as possible. If you are proficient in a language please let me know which language(s) you are able to do, and I will develop a list of readers and languages (there is also a signup sheet in the kitchen). Eg, the following were the languages read last year: Greek, Latin, Slavonic, Tamil, Bulgarian, German, Italian, Ukrainian, Spanish, Russian, Finnish, and Japanese.
As we are are increasingly crowded at SJOTL, particularly for Sunday Divine Liturgy, Palm Sunday, and Pascha, it is important for all of us to understand our surroundings in the church, and how they relate to other people, and the various liturgical ministries that are going on (Altar Serving, Choir, Readers, Bellringers, et al). First, please make every effort to remain in the nave once you have entered, leaving only for a 'cause worthy of a blessing'. Because of the relatively small space, hinges on the doors, etc., this 'coming and going' becomes very distracting over the course of service. Second, if you are not singing in the choir, please do not stand behind the choir during services; rather move somewhere more forward where there is more space (see the fuller note from our choir directors appended below). Also, especially for the heavily attended services like the Divine Liturgy and Pascha, unless you are a singer, and are fully prepared to sing for the service you are attending, do not stand in the choir area, or sit in the pews around the choir. Parents that have children with them, please make sure they are being tended to and older children should not be in the choir area at all unless they are singing.
Finally, during this Great Lent which is rapidly coming to a close, we have been praying that the 'Lord and Master' of our lives would take from us "the spirit of sloth, despair, lust of power and idle talk". With everyone having confessed their sins before Christ, it is especially important that as we approach this final days before Pascha that we turn our attention to the second portion of this prayer: "...give rather a spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love", and particularly how we show these and practice these toward one another. If we can focus on these things in light of Christ's saving passion and His resurrection from the dead, we will surely not be far from the Kingdom.
I wish you all a blessed celebration Feast of Palms, Holy Week, and Lord's Pascha!
Let me know if I can be of any assistance to you.
Dear Friends and Faithful,