From the rector
As we draw near to Holy Week and Pascha, we must always think about repentance as well as the great joy of the Resurrection. That wonderful feast! Pascha will very soon be with us and we should prepare ourselves to experience that joy even though we are living through a difficult time. Regardless of how difficult things seem, the Resurrection of Christ brings even greater joy, knowing that our Savior has overcome the world and its sorrows. Often when thinking how difficult life has become we might be comforted by the thought that our trials are nothing in comparison with the martyrs, especially the New Martyrs of Russia. Millions of Russians suffered, were tormented and perished in the cruel years of godlessness. How many countless thousands of clergy, monastics and laity secretly observed Pascha in gulags and prisons and exile! May their example be for us an awakening when we can give thanks to our Merciful God for His goodness and long-suffering. Every generation sees some sort of suffering. That is the unavoidable lot of man. So, may this present suffering be for our salvation. May it make us stronger and more valiant in the face of our troubles! We must never let these present troubles make us afraid or downhearted. We must take every possible precaution and guard ourselves from the possibility of disease, but then we must put our lives in the hands of God and not allow ourselves to become overwhelmed.
At present, according to the Health Department, there are 330 cases of the virus in Albany County and 9 deaths. That is very sad and terrible news and we certainly have great sympathy for those families who are suffering. We must pray for all those who are suffering. We also must give thanks that it is not even more widespread. During our services we read a special prayer and have special petitions for those suffering. May God deliver all of us from this and put an end to this illness very quickly.
Of course this Holy Week and Pascha will be exceedingly difficult for us. Protopriest Fr. Michael and I have discussed this at length and have arrived at a schedule and plan. We will continue to serve with only the clergy, singers and a server. At each liturgy we may have a total of 6 communicants. Each person wishing to receive communion must contact us so a spot will be reserved for you. This weekend, blessed pussy willows will be placed outside the front door and you may take one bundle at your convenience. For Pascha itself, we will serve as usual according to the rubrics of the Holy Church with limited numbers. However, we do suggest that you watch the Paschal service on an electronic devise. For Communion, we ask that our congregation sit in their cars in the parking lot (and perhaps watch a live stream). Then at approximately 2:15 am Fr. Michael and I will bring chalices from the church to the church porch and distribute Communion to those who wish to receive, maintaining a distance from each other. We will have someone directing the flow of people. If you have recently been to confession, perhaps in the last few weeks, and have no previous sins you may receive Communion. Otherwise, you MUST make arrangements for confession with us as soon as possible. Paschal baskets will be blessed outdoors on tables provided.
Holy Communion will be distributed on the second day of Pascha, Monday the 20th at 9:45 for the communion of those who were not able to attend Pascha services.
Again, please contact either
Fr. Alexis Duncan 518-925-9165 firstname.lastname@example.org or
Fr. Michael Fritz 518-753-7550 email@example.com
Palm Sunday Communion 9:45 am
Holy Tuesday Presanctified 8:30 am
Holy Thursday Communion 9:45 am
Holy Friday Vespers 2:00 pm (please call for a reservation)
Burial Service 5:00 pm (please call for a reservation)
Individual Veneration of the Plaschinitsa will be available from 7pm – 11pm
Holy Saturday Communion 9:45 am
Midnight Office, Mattins and Liturgy (only clergy, choir and servers)
Paschal Communion 2:30 am
Bright Monday Communion 9:45 am