To be Orthodox means to have the God-man Christ constantly in your soul, to live in Him, think in Him, feel in Him, act in Him. In other words, to be Orthodox means to be a Christ-bearer and a Spirit-bearer." ~St. Justin Popovich

My Dearest Spiritual ’Ohana,

We welcome the “ringing in” of the Year 2021.  God-willing, this coming year will be a better one for everyone!  2020 was certainly a most challenging and interesting year for so many of us!  With the pandemic taking up the majority of that year, it left us experiencing challenges we never anticipated we would ever face, and for such an extended period of time!  The fact that this challenge has reached such epic proportions, globally, encompassing practically the entire world, is completely dumbfounding and perplexing.

St. Justin’s words are truly a prescription for living a most purposeful life and point to what really is important and essential in our lives as humans inhabiting the Earth, which is Christ Himself!  What greater resolution can we have every moment of our lives, as Christians, than Him?

As the Spiritual ‘Ohana of Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Pacific, how can we take the words of the Holy Elder St. Justin Popovich, practically, and make them a reality in our personal lives and in our lives as a parish community and the community at-large?

It means developing and nourishing, constantly, an always in-the-present personal relationship with Christ.  This is a dynamic which calls us to live in the “now” and work on our relationship with Him in our ever-present situation.  As we nourish and cultivate our relationships with our family, friends, etc., the same holds true with our Lord.  Pray to Him!  Repeat the Jesus Prayer throughout the day,  Read the Holy Scriptures, Holy Fathers, teaching and writings widely available surrounding the Orthodox Faith.  Feel free to ask me for any suggestions or recommendations!

In ever developing our personal relationship with Christ, we are enabled by the Grace of the Holy Spirit to be the Christ-bearers and Spirit-bearers in our personal relationships, communities and world we live in.  We each have important roles to play in the uniqueness God has gifted each one of us with.

In our parish community, even in the midst of the challenges faced by the pandemic and living in a virtual world, we can each think “outside of the box” to care for and engage with one another. Specifically, I want to put our hearts and minds together to invoke the Grace of the Holy Spirit to develop plans to engage all the current and future potential ministries and each and everyone of our members in building up our Church.  By Church, I am referring to the “Body of Christ,” which is all of you who are vital, living parts of His Body.  I have some vision and ideas.  I am sure that you have more, and I welcome your input!  Therefore, I trust that we can come up with special plans in the coming days and 2021 year!

Here are a few thoughts and ideas:  Develop small groups based on common interests; have each ministry develop strategies to engage each and every member within each ministry in creative use of time, talents and treasures/gifts. Perhaps, for example, our Adult Choir and Youth Choir can work on preparing beautiful “Virtual Choir” videos and sharing their talent in inspiring our parish and the world.  Our chanters can be instruments in mentoring and finding creative ways to teach, develop and involve others in the chanting/reading ministry.  Our Philoptochos can engage in ministries to be true “friends of the poor.”  These are just a few ideas that we can think about!

Have a Blessed 2021!

With Love in Christ,

+Fr. Alexander