Pastoral Letters

Pastoral Message March 19, 2023

Good Afternoon, Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Well, we’ve nearly reached the halfway point of Great Lent, and it is my solemn prayer that you have been pleased with your growth and commitment for these past three weeks. There is no other time in the calendar year which can yield so many spiritual fruits. I also trust that your reading of the book, “Pilgrimage to Pascha” has given you daily doses of inspiration and clarity. 

As I am sure many of you have noticed, the participation in this year’s Lenten Services have increased dramatically. Especially Wednesday night Presanctified Liturgies, dinners and lectures. There were more than 70 people in attendance for the Liturgy and to hear Mark Papanikolas speak. Thank you to all who are so enthusiastically praying with us during Great Lent!

But at this point, I’d like us to turn our Lenten attention specifically to our parish youth. Though some dedicated young people have certainly been present at many of the services, especially on Friday evenings with our youth readers, there are now some very specific activities that are geared toward their Lenten experiences. I ask and implore you all to have your children, grandchildren and godchildren with us.

This Wednesday evening’s potluck dinner will be sponsored by our parish Sunday School, GOYA and JOY. Calling all Kids! Please come to Presanctified this week at 6:00 pm. Sunday School teacher, Elaina Simos will be our speaker, and I hope we can all turn out to hear her message, directed to and for our youth. 

The weekend of March 31 to April 2 will be our first stay-away retreat for our young people since before the Pandemic. The GOYA Lenten Retreat, entitled, “I am a “______” of God”” will challenge our youth to explore their relationships with Him and others. We have planned an outstanding weekend of fun activities, inspiring sessions, worship services and fellowship. Please see the attached flyer for more information. 

On Friday, April 14, Great and Holy Friday, we will offer our annual Youth Holy Friday Retreat, from 11:30 am to 4:30 pm. Each year I prepare an excuse letter that can be given to teachers that will excuse our children from classes. Holy Friday is the single most important weekday in the entire year, please share in our commitment to our youth. Last year, over 60 kids between kindergarten and 12 grade participated. This year’s Retreat is full of powerful imagery, hands-on creations, and critical lessons, designed to help our children appreciate the fullness of Christ’s love for them. I have also attached this retreat flyer for more information. 

Lastly, be on the lookout for Altar Boy and Myrrh Bearer schedules – two ways for our young people to be liturgically involved in the services of Holy Week and Pascha.

Wow. There you have it. There is a lot going on this time of year for the spiritual benefit of our beautiful young people. Please continue to pray for them, serve them, and guide them. 

With Much Love in XC, 

Fr. Anthony Savas