Dear Friends,

 

This past weekend I was ordained to the sacred priesthood in the Orthodox Church. It would be difficult to describe the experience; it was as profound as it was beautiful. I must admit that I had enjoyed a little respite from the various worries of ordained ministry, but am now invigorated and anxious to serve. You can scroll down to see our schedule of services over the next couple of weeks.

 

As you know, we have a dual ministry here on this mountain. The first is a ministry of hospitality and training in the Christian spiritual life through residential retreats and other programs. The other is the establishment of a small mission parish.

 

As far as the latter is concerned, we have been entrusted to the patronage and protection of Blessed Herman of Alaska, and were gifted with a relic of his, a piece of his bone. It will be housed here in a fitting reliquary. I was also given the Antimension for the altar (https://orthodoxwiki.org/Antimension) containing the relics of three Orthodox saints: Saint Elizabeth the New Martyr (a twentieth century saint martyred by the communists in Russia), Saint Fabian the Pope (martyred in AD 250), and Saint Dionysius, it is unclear which one. I was also given a relic from the grave of Saint Alexander Schmorell of Germany, martyred for his witness against the Nazis during WWII. Finally, I received a vile of oil infused with myrrh from a purportedly miraculous icon of Saint Nicholas that streams myrrh. In short, we have a chapel full of holy relics to assist us in growing closer to these courageous witnesses and servants of Christ our Lord, to strengthen our fervor and longing for the beauty of God, and thus ourselves to become the saints that God has made us to be. One outstanding characteristic of Orthodox Catholic Christianity is the abiding presence of the saints, who pray and worship with us, and who intercede for us at the throne of God, for God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. The saints are alive in Christ.

 

Clearly, God has acted. Now it is time for us to act. Will you join us in faithful witness to Christ our Lord? I am overjoyed that we can now hold Divine Liturgy (Mass) here, and just in time for Orthodox Lent, which begins at sundown this Sunday (3/14). Our Ash Wednesday is next week, and we will celebrate an imposition of ashes service at 1 pm. The following Sunday, the 21st, I will celebrate my first Mass as an Orthodox priest here at 10 am.

 

Yet another blessing has been bestowed on us: a young deacon and his new family, who will be serving here for a time. His name is Father Lazarus, and we invite you to come and meet him this Saturday at our weekly, and continuing, Great Vespers at 3 pm.

 

The schedule of services will be as follows:

 

  • Saturday March 13 (and all Saturdays): 3 pm: Great Vespers, and pre-Lenten service of forgiveness.
  • Wednesday March 17: 1 pm: Ash Wednesday Imposition of Ashes Service.
  • Sunday March 21, 1st Sunday in Lent: 8 am: Lauds. 9:15 am: Liturgy Rehearsal. 10 am: Divine Liturgy. 11:30 am: Coffee Hour. This will be the regular Sunday schedule going forward.

 

Please contact us if you are planning to attend. Orthodox Holy Week will begin April 25; Pascha (Easter) is on May 2. All are invited to participate and worship with us during this most holy time of year. Our Holy Week schedule will be forthcoming soon.

 

Yours in Christ,

 

Fr. James+