Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Christ is risen!
As in the early morning hours of Holy Pascha, I greet you with the joyful announcement of Christ’s Resurrection, wishing you the continued joy of the Feast of Feasts. Memories of our parish observance of Holy Week and Pascha are still fresh in our minds as we walk with the Risen Lord during these 40 full days of celebration. Having completed our 40 days of fasting, we now rejoice in our 40 days of feasting.
I am grateful to each and every one of our parishioners who made our Great Lent, Holy Week, and Pascha to be spiritually uplifting and fulfilling… and so very beautiful and inspiring. So many people were involved in so very many aspects of those days that it would be difficult (and risky) to attempt to prepare a list of names of those who should be thanked. There were so many areas of dedicated involvement and service—cleaning, decorating, singing, praying, reading, directing, traveling to and from church, serving in the Altar, baking and cooking, dyeing eggs, ironing and changing covers and servers robes, setting up and taking down and setting up again… and so many additional things taking place “behind the scenes” in order for everything to be prepared as a fitting offering to the Lord. All of this time, energy, and resources were all for one purpose: to give glory to the Lord Jesus Christ in celebration of His victory over darkness, sin, and death itself. All was done to give glory to the Triune God.
Now that Great Lent and Holy Week have passed and we are fully into the Paschal Season and heading toward the 50th day celebration of Pentecost, the challenge before us is to preserve the brightness, joy, and excitement of the Feast of Feasts! We do not want to allow our paschal greeting, “Christ is risen!” to be a mere habit or something that is simply routine, even though we’ve all returned to our normal schedules, everyday duties, and maybe even the monotony of our daily lives. No, we want to make our daily lives, in and out of season, to be true reflections of the joy of Pascha Night itself. (We remember that Saint Seraphim of Sarov greeted the people who came to him with the paschal greeting, no matter the time of the year). All we do, whether during Pascha or throughout the rest of the year, is to be done for one and the same purpose: to proclaim Christ’s victory over sin and death in the glory of His Resurrection- to proclaim the Good News that is the Gospel. And to give glory to God.
Let us, each and every one of us, do our part in keeping the joy of Pascha alive and vibrant in our parish, in our homes and families, with our friends and acquaintances, and in our daily lives—throughout the 40 days and throughout the entire year. I wish to express my gratitude to God for all of you, (priests, clergy, and faithful alike) for your participation in the life of our parish, and for your many personal kindnesses to me—and, most importantly, for how your lives and faith inspire me to walk ever more closely with Christ, our Crucified and Risen Savior.
Indeed He is risen!
With love in the Risen Lord,
Saturday: Vespers, 5:00 pm
Sunday: Divine Liturgy, 9:00 am
1614 E. Monte Vista Rd.
Phoenix, Az 85006