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Guide the Young - 04/12/18

by Father Innocent, Abbot, St. John's Monastery

Orthodox LIFE School 2018

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” This oft repeated adage carries a practical truth that can rightly be called common sense. Yet how often do we, as a Church, fall short in heeding this practical advice? We fall short, most particularly, in how we teach, equip, and prepare our young people to assimilate the life of the Church and stand firm in the Faith as they enter an independent life in the world. 

In his address at our last Diocesan Assembly last year, His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin, warned us of the increasing loss of young adults from our parishes. He described the now familiar pattern of seeing a child grow up in the parish, come to services, graduate from high school, and leave home for college never to return to any Orthodox parish thereafter. This sad trend leaves our parishes bereft of the strength and vitality of our young. More pressingly, it drastically reduces the number of young people who choose a priestly vocation and go on to seminary. We face a dilemma: many older parish priests seek retirement only to discover there are no younger priests to replace them. We can blame ourselves for delivering a shallow spiritual life to our young people with the resulting scarcity of vocations and continuity in Church life, altogether. Clearly, Sunday morning spiritual life alone is insufficient to strengthen and fortify a young person launching out on his own. It is imperative that we give the fullness of the faith to our young so that they can live in it and thrive on their own. Without this foundation, we are “planning to fail.” More than ever before, the world has become a spiritual meat grinder that destroys young souls. Yet, there is hope.

Lenten Outreach and Evangelism in Colorado - 04/02/18

During Great Lent this year, the Southern Colorado Greek and OCA parishes joined together on the theme of outreach and evangelism during the Sunday night Vespers in Colorado Springs, Pueblo and Calhan. 

A simple summary of the overall message :

The first step in evangelization is dedication of one’s own life to God, not simply at conversion and baptism, but throughout our lifetime as new experiences change and deepen us. Do we sometimes feel we have two lives, a secular worldly life and a Church life? This indicates a need to re-dedicate our whole life to Christ. Do we have inner imaginary thoughts and temptations that we keep secret, an inner life separate by our own design from God? These deep and hidden inner places need to be opened, these inner places  dedicated to God, which is a theme of Great Lent. All the homilists gave examples of transformational witness in their own lives and in the lives of the saints.


“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His….” (Romans 6:3-5, Baptismal Epistle)


To the Reverend Clergy and Faithful of the Diocese of the West

Dearly beloved:

Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!

In an “early” Paschal celebration, such as we experience this year, it is easy to be caught off-guard in our preparation for the celebration. Confessions are put off because it doesn’t “feel like time yet,” fasting started very early (indeed, only a few short weeks after the Nativity Fast) and has grown wearisome., and our prayer faces the same temptation it always faces — to be lost in the cares and hustle and bustle of daily life. The Lenten “imps” have been nipping at our heels for weeks now.

Therefore, it is more important than ever that we make a concentrated effort to travel with the Lord on His journey through the resurrection of Lazarus in Bethany, His triumphant entrance into Jerusalem, the daily back and forth between Jerusalem and Bethany, preparing all of His disciples (including each of us) for the coming Passion, teaching us about His Kingdom through parables, and finally standing at the Cross and the empty tomb as we share in the wondrous miracle of His Resurrection. The Church’s calendar delicately unwraps the layers of the Messiah’s coming to His Passion. All we need to do is come and see, open our hearts, and ask Him to illumine each of us with the Resurrected Light.

Go Fund Me Campaign for Matushka Priscilla Shipley - 02/22/18

After years of suffering from chronic pain and other enigmatic symptoms, Matushka Priscilla Shipley was recently diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). According to the MS Society, symptoms of MS are often mistaken for other conditions including Lyme Disease for which she tested positive for several years ago.  Mat. Priscilla has tried every treatment under the sun to address what doctors thought were Lyme symptoms, all the while leaving her MS untreated for years.  Unfortunately, the MS progressed rapidly and just recently Mat. Priscilla was rendered blind in one eye and unable to walk.  Last week they went to Stanford, and had a very long informative appointment. It turns out that not only does Mat. Priscilla have MS, she also has a rarer disease called Neuromyelitis Optica or NMO. It's similar to MS, but much more serious and can be fatal. She will have to do more tests to rule out cancer, and then if there is no evidence of cancer start treatment for the NMO as soon as possible. This means immune suppressing infusions and steroids, among other things.

Her husband, Fr. Ian (the full time priest at Sts. Cyril and Methodius in Chico, CA) has been caring for her at home.  Doctors are unable to tell whether these debilitating conditions will be permanent or not.  Until then, the family is in great need of outside assistance while they travel to Stanford and UC Davis so that Matushka can begin her tests and treatments.  We ask for everyone’s prayers, and we also ask that you please consider helping to contribute financially, not only so that they might be able to work with home health aides who can provide much needed support, but also to help fund necessary renovations to their bathroom (to accommodate a wheelchair), travel expenses to and from Stanford and probably UC Davis and any additional medical costs not covered by insurance.  Thank you.  

To support the Shipleys, please click on the link: https://www.youcaring. com/priscillashipley-1089613

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