March 17th, 2020 -- The Feast of St. Patrick, Bishop of Armagh & Enlightener of Ireland
Brothers and Sisters,
All previous directives are superseded by this recent letter, dated March 17th, 2020, in which the Metropolitan has decreed that all parish buildings of the Diocese of New England are to be closed effective immediately through April 1st.
EVERYONE -- especially all those “at risk” – the elderly, those with pre-existing chronic medical conditions (especially, according to the CDC: heart/lung disease, diabetes, hypertension, & cancer), the immuno-supressed/immuno-compromised, and any who are actively sick or exhibiting signs of illness – is strongly encouraged to remain home as much as possible for at least the rest of the month.
This simple tactic will help to "flatten the curve"
better than any other -- so, again, PLEASE stay home as much as you can
. Not only will this minimize the danger to our more vulnerable brothers and sisters, it will also help keep our healthcare systems (and providers -- including those in our parish) from being overwhelmed.
As noted in His Beatitude's letter, parish clergy will make a priority to reach out by all means possible to the faithful to ensure their pastoral needs are met during this crisis; in other words, as our Metropolitan states: "the temporary closing of the temples of worship does not mean the cessation of the life of the Church" [emphasis mine].
With that in mind, I ask that you continue to help us, as a parish, to support the ill, the afflicted, and those in need (or just stuck at home!) in our parish and our wider community by sustaining, if not increasing, your financial support to our parish during this crisis -- whether by check via mail (All Saints, 205 Scarborough Street, Hartford, CT 06105) or by donating online by clicking the Paypal "DONATE"
button on our parish website
(it's on the right hand side under our parish logo with the words "Support ASOC.")
Many thanks to the generous individuals and families that have already done so!
Our Facebook page
, our website
, and the OCA website
already have a number of resources available to help you (and your family) maintain your connection with Christ and His Church -- in the coming days, more resources will be made available. You may have seen this morning that we were able to "live stream" a portion of our Presanctified Liturgy in celebration of the Feast of St. Patrick on our Facebook page. We will work to provide more opportunities for this kind of experience through moliebens, akathists, reflections/sermons, and the "daily office" of prayers on Sundays, major feast days, Wednesdays/Fridays, and as many other days as possible over the next two weeks.
Over the rest of the week, I will be contacting everyone in our directory individually to help figure out how we can best serve you during this time (and perhaps how you might be able to help serve others in our community as well!).
While I think we can all agree that this not the Lent we expected -- it is the one we are going through together. It is an opportunity more than ever to care for those around us, to build our relationship with Christ, and to focus on what's really important.
Let's continue to work together to continue to trust in the Lord, to love our neighbor, and to open our hearts and minds to God: to be the Church -- even while our church's doors are closed.
Fr James Parnell
Pastor/Rector, All Saints Orthodox Church -- Hartford, CT