Pastoral Letters

Pastoral Message February 12, 2023

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As we are in the second week of the Triodion, the preparatory period which proceeds Great Lent, I would like to call to mind a few reminders and announcements concerning the Lenten Schedule of Services and Programs during this most sacred season. I am sending the following information from now, so that you can make proper arrangements and CLEAR your Lenten Calendar from secular distractions. 

Firstly, as we have done in the past, St. Anna’s has purchased a copy of a Lenten Resource for each family in our parish. This is done so that every household can commit to a process of prayer, study, inspiration, ascetic challenge and commitment during this most sacred time of growth. This year I have chosen the lovely devotional, Pilgrimage to Pascha, giving every family and individual a daily opportunity to engage their faith and develop a deeper understanding of Lenten themes, practices and purposes. The books will arrive within the next couple of weeks and will be distributed following the Divine Liturgy within the next two weeks, in time for you to include them in your Lenten practice. Please take advantage of this gracious and blessed opportunity.

As you can see in the attached Flyer, the entire Lenten Schedule is complete. Please keep in mind, that Monday Great Compline Services and Wednesday Evening Presanctified Liturgy Services will begin at 6:00 pm. Salutations and the Akathist Hymn will remain at 7:00 pm. 

We will continue our beloved practice of potluck dinners, sponsored by the various ministry groups following Presanctified Liturgies. Speakers have also been scheduled each week during the dinners. The lineup is set and you will not be disappointed. I love each of the speakers and what they have to share. I will send the list of speakers and ministry groups responsible for each week in the near future. You know how I love to make flyers…

Also, and this is very important, please make plans to be with us during the first weekend of Lent, March 3-5 for the Hierarchical Visit of Bishop Spyridon of Amastris. We are incredibly blessed to have His Grace with us from Friday Evening Salutations to the Sunday of Orthodoxy Divine Liturgy. His Retreat will be held on Saturday. His Grace gave a retreat at Prophet Elias a number of years ago (then, known as Fr. Spencer Kezios) and was received very enthusiastically. I expect no less of a successful Retreat from him, more than a decade later. Let’s have a wonderful showing of participation, please.

Lastly, I am finalizing the details of our long-awaited and greatly-missed GOYA Lenten Retreat. We have not taken our kids to a destination, weekend retreat since the Pandemic. I cannot express in words; how grateful I am to resume this practice. Our young people always thoroughly enjoyed their time together, focusing on their relationship with Christ. 

As you can see, there will be no lack of opportunities to grow and thrive in our Orthodox Christian Faith during this year’s services and programming. While we are operating with a full head of steam to transform the interior of our church, I am equally committed to the inner transformation of our souls, minds and hearts. I hope that we can all experience the joys and benefits that only the Season of Great Lent and the practices of the Fast can provide. I remain,

With Much Love in Christ,

Fr. Anthony Savas