Sunday, April 26, 2020
Third Sunday of Pascha
Sunday of the Myrrhbearing Women.
Readings at the Liturgy: 1) Acts 6:1-7, 2) I Pt 3:13-15, 18-22, 4:1-2, 7-11, 3) Mk 15:43-16:8
CHRIST IS RISEN, TRULY RISEN!
My dear parishioners and friends,
Like other churches, St. Catherine’s parish has not held public worship for five Sundays now, since Sunday, March 29th. As for the economy around us, that too has shut down, causing disruption and anxiety. Everyone knows all this, but I mention it because I want to remind both me and you that, even in the thick of pandemic, we Christians are optimists. Our Lord Jesus tells us, “Fear not, little flock!” (Lk 12:12) The present situation forces us (even me, in my resistance to technology!) to use alternative means of communication. So our parish’s web site and face book page have been brought up to date with photos and info, and I’ll have some message, the “Pastor’s Corner,” each week. We also want to have a “People’s Corner,” featuring stories sent in about how individuals and families are coping.
I dearly miss each and every one of you — the Lord’s day gathering of our congregation, the Liturgy of worship and praise, the singers, the altar servers, our booming church bell, the Sunday fellowship after Liturgy, the welcoming of visitors and new people, and especially, in this strangest of springtimes, paschal delight and the constant singing of “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death...” May the risen Lord and His most pure Mother keep us all healthy and positive. When church service resumes, you’ll see that the last two icons (the holy prophets David and Isaiah) have been installed in the iconostas. The iconographer, Father Ted Koufos, has done a beautiful job!
For the duration of the coronavirus pandemic an old painting of St. Rocco (or the French version, St. Roche) the Pilgrim, who was noted for his selfless care of the sick in a time of plague, is being enshrined in St. Catherine’s Church, Bond Head. He is the heavenly patron of people who are living through a time of plague or pandemic of any sort — as we are nowadays. I’ll tell you more about him and this painting next time. For now, ask his prayers, the prayers of the all-holy Theotokos and of all the saints, that the Lord save and keep us (Hospody, spasy i sokhrany!)
Once again, I miss you all. These past weeks I’ve been in touch with many over the phone, and a big “Thank You” to all who have called me! I pray for each and every one at the Divine Liturgy which, given the present circumstances, I celebrate privately in the church each day. God’s special blessing on everyone who’s stopped by the rectory with care packages of food and on those who’ve mailed in their weekly and Easter donations. Even with covid-19, the bills keep coming. And to the person who’s weeded the flower beds at the parking lot entrance to the church (I don’t know who it is), a kiss and a hug!
May we all — workers, parents and young scholars at home — bear in our hearts the thought that we are moving forward hand in hand, shoulder and shoulder, with the Saviour Christ who rose from the dead, with His most blessed Mother and all the saints, and with one another. There are rough spots, perhaps an unkindness here and there, occasional lack of patience, or anxiety for the future, but at the core, where it really counts, we know that “Christ is among us – He is and will be!” Thank You, Lord Jesus; keep us close!
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