Saint Andrew Russian Greek Catholic Church

Letter from Father Alexei re: the Coronavirus

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Russian Greek-Catholic Church

Saint Andrew Russian Greek Catholic Church

538 Concord Street

El Segundo, CA 90245

(310) 322-1892

16 March 2020

Dear Parishioner of Saint Andrew Church,

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles announced this afternoon the suspension of Liturgies amid the current health threat due to COVID-19 (novel coronavirus).

Archbishop Jose H. Gomez, in a statement to the faithful of the Archdiocese, said:  “What we do in the Church, we do out of love for God and love for our brothers and sisters.   We are taking this extraordinary step today out of love and concern for those in our families and communities who are most vulnerable to this deadly coronavirus.”

He added:   “I ask your continued prayers for all those who are afflicted with this virus and those who are afraid and vulnerable.   I also ask you to pray and reach out to help the many families who are facing difficulties as a result of this emergency.   We also need to keep in our prayers all the doctors, nurses, caregivers, and public health and civil authorities working to contain the outbreak of this virus and treat those who are sick.”

Consequently, there will be no Sunday Liturgies or Lenten Services or  activities at our parish for an indefinite period.   On Sundays, I will prepare a brief reflection on the Scripture Readings and make this available to you via email.

This is a critical time to uplift our hearts to God and seek his guidance as the world is being challenged with this pandemic.  In the Gospel according to John, Jesus assures us: “In the world, you will have tribulation.  But take heart, I have overcome the world” [John 16.33].

In addition to the Prayer for Protection from the Coronavirus by His Grace, Bishop Alexis of Bethesda, which I distributed to you last Sunday in the bulletin (and which is available on our website), I am including the following from the Molieben sung in times of Devastating Epidemic and Death-bearing Pestilence, which I invite you to join me in praying daily.

Canon, Ode 6

Do Thou cleanse me, O Savior, for many are my transgressions and lead me up from the abyss of evil, I pray Thee, for I have cried out unto Thee.  And do Thou hear me, O God of my salvation.

Refrain:  O Most-holy Trinity, our God, glory to Thee.

We are lying in the depths of the sea of sickness, and the waves of destructive misfortunes overcome us. O Lord and Guide, extending a helping hand, do Thou save us now.

Refrain:  O Most-holy Trinity, our God, glory to Thee.

As in ancient times, with a divine gesture, Thou didst draw up the Paralytic from the infirmity of sickness, the bed of afflictions and weighty illness.   Showing compassion, do Thou grant health, O Greatly-merciful One.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

The ranks of Prophets, an assembly of Apostles, and a regiment of Martyrs now entreat Thee, O Only Greatly-merciful One, on behalf of Thy people:  O Good One, have compassion on them.

Now and Ever and Unto Ages of Ages.  Amen.

O Mary, pure Treasury of virginity:  Do thou thyself cleanse us, and deliver us from the infirmities, afflictions and sicknesses that have now seized us, that, with faith, we may glorify thee.

I will keep you posted as this situation develops.

Father Alexei