Feast Day of Holy Protection Mission in the Kansas City area
While many of the diocese’s clergy and faithful gathered this year, as always, to celebrate the Feast of the Holy Protection in the splendid diocesan cathedral in Chicago, others who could not travel still shared in the joy of Pokrov. In the Kansas City area, Holy Protection Orthodox Mission joyfully celebrated its feast day locally in a much smaller setting. Father Paisius Altschul of St. Mary of Egypt Serbian Orthodox Church, which also hosts Reconciliation Services, an inner city social services agency, and FOCUS, the pan-Orthodox social action ministry (see http://www.focusnorthamerica.org/ for more information), was very kind to come and serve, with the blessing of Bishops Peter and Longin.
The Vigil on Tuesday was sung on an unseasonably cold, dark and rainy evening. However, the podobny on Lord I Have Cried, courtesy of Carol Surgant’s liturgical music website (http://music.russianorthodox-stl.org/), shed a gentle light of their own. The Magnification/Velichanie, sung congregationally, was positively radiant. Afterwards, many worshippers lingered to share fellowship, talking and enjoying cider, cheesecake and strawberries.
At the Divine Liturgy on Wednesday morning, seventeen were in attendance, including two infants, one of whom was receiving the Holy Mysteries for the first time, having been baptized at St. John Chrysostom Church in St. Louis. Her dear little beribboned candle graced the icon stand. After the Liturgy, a modest Lenten trapeza featured apple pie, autumn sugar cookies, cider and various teas.
Father Paisius remarked that he was originally trained in the Russian Church Abroad, and the services proceeded very smoothly. His sermon dwelt on the fact that everything visible changes, but the love of our God and the prayers and protection of the Theotokos over us do not change. He also had some welcome words of encouragement for this small mission. Mother Bridget, who has had experience in Jordanville and Platina, was a great help at the kliros, which sang the Divine Liturgy in both Slavonic and English – music for the ears and hearts of those Holy Protection parishioners originally from Moscow and Ukraine. It was a joy for us who now have the breath of life to sing these services on the feast of St. Romanos the Melodist, and to ask prayers of, and for, all church musicians who have gone on before us.