Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Diocesan Policy Regarding Worship During Quarantine + Living in the Desert

Yesterday the Diocese of Chicago & Mid-America published a policy regarding worship during mandated quarantine. You can find the policy here:


However, our Michigan executive order is stronger than the diocese’s policy and we are going to have to be even more stringent for that reason. I had written yesterday that we were going to have to keep to 10 people maximum, but really we will have to be smaller than that. We need to have the fewest people necessary to hold the Divine Services. That is going to vary from service to service, but, including the clergy (which we have broken into two teams to keep the liklihood that we will have at least one healthy priest at all times as high as possible) we will try to stay at about 6 or 7 people most likely. Here is the sign up sheet to volunteer to sing or read – please add your name to this if you can help:


There is a change to tomorrow’s liturgical schedule. The Presanctified Liturgy will begin at 6:30 a.m. instead of 6:30 p.m. We will publish this widely – please make a note of this. Next week’s schedule will change a bit too. We will add more Presanctified Liturgies and probably move the Liturgy set for April 2 to the morning rather than have it in the evening. More to come on that as we figure out Fr. Moses’ work schedule or lack thereof going forward.

It has become clear that we are going to spend most or all of Great Lent in the spiritual desert. That is not necessarily a bad thing. But it takes a paradigm shift. There is much that can be gained from life in the desert, but there is always much temptation there. That makes sense of course – there is much reward when there is much work. We include here the life of St. Onuphrius the Great to give you an idea of life in the desert. Not that we will emulate it exactly. Not that angels will bring you Holy Communion in your desert (why would they since Fr. Moses and I are happy to do so, but St. Onuphrius obviously had not one to do so and thus the Lord cared for him), but so that you can see that the barren desert can bear much spiritual fruit if we endure with thanks and love to God for the blessing He is giving us.


But what shall we do in the desert? Here are a few ideas:

1. Establish the habit of saying morning and evening prayers. You can find short versions of these at our prayer kit page: PARISH PRAYER KIT

2. Establish the habit of reading the scripture daily. You can find the readings for the day at the top of our parish home page, in Sunday Reading, and on the annual calendar each of our parishioners is sent

3. Establish the habit of reading spiritual literature. Most of us have a spiritual book or two lying around the house. If so – pick one up, dust it off, and open it up! If not – please visit our LIBRARY PAGE to see how you can pick a good book from our parish library.

4. Keep up your tithe. This is not nothing. Yes – the parish needs your support. But even more importantly, YOU need to support the parish because it is spiritually important for you. You can learn more about that at this link: TREASURER’S CORNER

Let us ask, brothers and sisters, for peace during this time. Let us ask for sobriety. Let us ask for spiritual strength. And perhaps most important, let us ask the Lord to help us to establish good habits now that will carry through to the time when we are able to leave our desert. We are saved in community, but we perish alone. We have written that here many times. But now we are in our deserts not by our own choosing, but by the will of the Lord. So let us ask Him to make this time, which He is blessing us with, be spiritually fruitful. If we ask Him, and if we work to establish good habits in our desert, we can have great hope that indeed – we can improve during our time of exile. But we must push ourselves if we want to improve. We must work if we want to establish good habits. But if we try – really try – the Lord will crown our efforts with success!

In Christ,

Fr. Gregory

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