A message to our Community from Fr George on COVID-19 Procedures

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

 

Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27)

 

Please know our thoughts and prayers are with you and your families during this crisis.

Our goal is to keep our cathedral family informed and healthy, and to minimize disruption to our community daily operation, while at the same time joining the national and local effort to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

For the sake of the health of our Faithful, the Archdiocese has taken many responsible measures to date. For all services, including the Divine Liturgy, only one priest and one chanter will conduct the services; meaning the Faithful will not assemble, but participate virtually via the Internet and multimedia. We encourage all of you to participate in the Divine Liturgy and any other services.

I wanted to reach out to you as I'm sure most of us are struggling to adjust to a new reality. This is the time when all of us, clergy and laity, are challenged to live our Faith not only responsibly, but with more determination through our access to God in “Spirit and in truth.” We affirm that it is not the walls that contain our faith, but our hearts, and that our Lord Jesus Christ appears to us, “even though the doors are shut” and grants us His peace” (John 20:19).

We are blessed with the Orthodox Faith that strengthens us during these difficult and challenging times. Fasting, worship, prayer, and Almsgiving are disciplines practiced during Holy Lent that strengthen our love for God and each other.

Avoid watching too much news coverage, eat healthy and exercise, create meaningful interactions with family and friends, connect with nature, go for a walk, but most importantly continue or start a daily prayer cycle. Even though we do not “go to church”, we ARE the church. The fact that we are currently unable to gather together at our cathedral to pray does not mean we should abandon prayer entirely.  If anything, we should increase our prayer: for ourselves, for all those who are ill or at risk, and for those who are on the frontline in fighting the spread of this disease.  This is the most important gift we can give to our communities during this time of isolation. Let us take this opportunity to make use of the "home church", and gather our families together to pray in our prayer corners and before our icons.  We are going to live stream the Lenten prayers services through our YouTube account. For tonight's service of the third Salutations to the Theotokos, please visit: https://youtu.be/KBycLU4jETg

Please visit our St. George Cathedral YouTube channel for all upcoming services:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCj9A92vgE5w89HQpt0Dnxjw

I would also recommend the Daily Readings app from our Archdiocese, which contains all the readings, daily saints, and additional prayers of our church right on your phone or device (goarch.org).

I am available anytime to talk on the phone, so please do not hesitate to reach out. My cell number is (860)559-5240. You will continue to receive communication from our cathedral, via Constant Contact, with updates.

Please know that I love you and that I am praying for all of you in the midst of this difficult time, and I ask for your prayers as well. May our Patron Saints George and Nektarios safeguard our cathedral community!

A Blessed Lent and May God bless you all!

Yours in Christ,

Fr. George