Wednesday, April 15, 2020

How We Will Meet Pascha in the Quarantine

Yesterday Archbishop Peter published this advice on the upcoming Paschal Services:

Archbishop Peter Guidance: Holy Week & Pascha

Vladyka’s instructions to us are not surprising, although of course we wish that we could invite everyone to the church for the celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord. The Lord will rise! Pascha will happen! It will just not be the same this year. We sincerely hope that we can all gather for the last day of Pascha, May 14/27, 2020. More information on that will be forthcoming.

In the mean time, in the light of Archbishop Peter’s guidance, we will do the following at our St. Vladimir parish:

1. Services at St. Vladimir’s will continue to be closed to the public until further notice.

2. All Divine Services will be served with a skeleton crew that allows for a priest, a deacon, a small choir, and an altar server.

3. All Divine Services will be broadcast on our Facebook Live Stream and our Audio Stream. Links to the live streams are here – we strongly encourage you to participate in these services:

St. Vladimir Social Media

4. The Icon of Jesus Christ in the Tomb (the Plashchenitsa) can be venerated in the church according to the following schedule – you MUST reserve your place. No walk ins are allowed:

Venerate the Plashchinitsa - Sign Up

5. Pascha baskets will be blessed on Holy Saturday from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. and on Pascha itself from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. using the following method – it is not possible to combine a Pascha basket blessing and venerating the Plashchenitsa:

A. Drive into the new driveway and go all the way to the end. Turn left into the large paved parking lot. Turn left again to drive down the old driveway. Stop at the entrance to the church. DO NOT GET OUT OF YOUR CAR UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. Roll down the back window of your car. The priest in charge will sing Paschal hymns and bless your basket. You will be given the opportunity to make a donation to St. Vladimir’s. Please note that volunteers will not be able to make change. See more information about material support of the parish during the pandemic here. Holy Week and Pascha provide a significant portion of our yearly income. We thank you kindly for remembering the parish at this time, and remind you that there is a match on your donations – $1 for every dollar you give until the last day of Pascha (14/27 May, 2020).

B. We strongly suggest that those in cars be masked. All St. Vladimir’s volunteers will be masked as well. You should wash or sanitize your hands after this interaction. St. Vladimir’s volunteers will sanitize their hands between all interactions and wash their hands regularly during the time of their volunteer work.

C. Your interaction with the volunteers should be brief. If you have concerns or questions about anything please reach out to me for a longer conversation.

Now that we know how we will meet Pascha the rest is up to us. Many times in the history of the Church it was not possible for Christians to gather to celebrate Pascha. During persecutions, for instance. Or during other pandemics. For US this is very strange, but the Church has experienced this many times. Have Christians in the past become despondent at this? Have they demonstrated in the streets? Or shown panic? Of course the answer is no. We must strive for peace, as Christians always have in the face of those things they cannot change. As Vladyka wrote in his letter:

“May the cry of “Christ is Risen!” resound throughout our diocese from temple to temple and house to house! And may the Lord’s will in this matter, too deep for us to fully fathom, at least be accepted by us with trust in His wisdom and magnanimous love for mankind.”

We cannot add to these wise words of our Archpastor. May we all heed them and act upon them with all our hearts!

Asking Your Prayers,

Fr. Gregory

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