Glory to Jesus Christ!
We were recently remarking on how many great feasts there are this time of year (Transfiguration, Dormition, the Nativity of the Theotokos, and Exaltation of the Cross) and how wonderful it is to have everything that goes along with them: beautiful liturgical services, private prayer, and days off from our usual work.
Last month, on the Feast of the Dormition, we were blessed to have a beautiful group of people come to pray Matins and Divine Liturgy with us. Occasions like this fill us with gratitude for the gift of those who come to pray and that we now have a beautiful chapel to welcome them into. It's crazy to think that a year ago, we were "wandering in the wilderness," praying in a tent in our parking lot!
After the Liturgy on Dormition, Sister Onuphria combed through the gravel by our front porch and found many of the beautiful rocks Mother Petra has collected and spread among the gravel. She arranged them into the burial shroud for Dormition on the front porch. You can see a photo above.
A few days later, came the Eparchial Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Mariapoch. This year, we were really happy to be able to just be there and cantor some of the services (instead of being busy with many tasks). We were so moved by the conversations that we had with so many different people during the pilgrimage. It was a beautiful pilgrimage. Bishop Kurt joined in Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon. We are so grateful for everything he's been doing to shepherd our eparchy through this time of transition between bishops. (We are looking forward to welcoming Fr. Robert Pipta as the next bishop of the Eparchy of Parma on Nov. 8!) Photos from the pilgrimage can be found here.
The final of several icons from Greece finally arrived, and our chapel walls are filling out more. The icons on the left side of the chapel are (starting near the holy place and moving back toward the vestibule) St. Macrina, St. Basil and his family of many Saints, St. Elizabeth the New Martyr, St. Photina, our patronal Bridegroom icon, and then St. Mary of Egypt. On the right side of the chapel, we have Blessed Theodore Romzha, St. Nektarios of Aegina, St. Anthony of the Desert, St. Elijah the Prophet, and St. Porphyrios. The chandelier in the center on the nave has icons of the Twelve Apostles around it. It's awesome to be surrounded by these icons, and the presence of the Saints they are, as we pray each day!
We're enjoying the shift toward autumn very much. Mother Cecilia bought a couple beautiful pumpkins from one of our Amish neighbors around the corner on Exaltation of the Cross. She remarked that she doesn't want to waste any time in enjoying the season, and we are grateful! We're looking forward to other ways of enjoying the fall in this beautiful part of the country.
In the midst of all of the glories of the last couple of months, there have been many heartaches as well. We are so honored to be welcomed into the lives of so many people as they ask us for prayers. All of these beautiful feasts, combined with all of the prayer requests, often for very difficult and tragic situations, have been showing us different dimensions of the Feasts of our Church. It's a great blessing to get to be here, at the heart of the Church, "apart from the world," but also one with all of you.
As we wrap up this blog post, just a couple of reminders:
- Our Fall Work Day is coming up on October 14th. Details and the link to RSVP can be found here.
- The registration deadline for the Bridegroom's Banquet is less than a month away (October 16th). To find details for the event and more information, please visit the Bridegroom's Banquet page above. We're looking forward to being with you!