I digress. I was perusing places to purchase paska (what a great sentence...try that five times fast) and went to my go-to ladies at the local Ukrainian Catholic church. While looking, I read the most recent bulletin. Check this out.
From the Desk of the Pastor:Dear Friends in Christ,
To my great edification I’ve received clear confirmation that people pay very close attention to the church bulletin. Last week’s bulletin had an announcement that Easter baskets would only be blessed on Easter Sunday, and not on Holy and Great Saturday.
Sorry about the format and that it's long but...WOW. I think I would drop dead if I read that in my bulletin. I suppose that's one benefit of having a small, homogeneous population, most of those whom don't like the "rules" have already left.The way people have responded to that decision has helped me to see that my parishioners are the best any priest would ever hope of having. I say that because people have let me know that they would like their baskets blessed on Holy Saturday, but each person has done this in a manner that was so charitable and helpful.Allow me to share with you my fears and hopes for our parish. The reason priests blessed baskets on Saturdays was because of the excessive number of people trying to have their baskets blessed on one day, Easter. Today, our parishes don’t have the numbers which we used to 50 years ago, so it seems to make sense just to have it all on one day. But, this is beside the point. The point I want to make is that Easter, Holy and Great Pascha, is the holiest day of the year. If the calendar were a solar system, then Easter would be the Sun. Everything in our church life revolves around this supremely holy day. My fear is that people will come to get their baskets blessed on Saturday, after attending the Holy Saturday service in the evening, and not come to church on the actual day of Sunday. Now, I understand that technically the Holy Saturday service is an Easter service, the vestments are changed to bright ones and “Christ is Risen!” is sung. However, to attend only that service and to not attend Matins or Liturgy on the morning of Easter Sunday is like coming to a wedding and leaving before the vows. My hope is that we will be one parish on this day above all others. We are a parish with three Sunday liturgies and we never have one liturgy wherein all are present. I believe with all my heart that Holy and Great Pascha is the one day of the year when we should all be together in church as one family in Christ. On that day, we are neither Ukrainian nor American, neither young nor old, neither rich nor poor. On that day we are all together to sing those glorious and goose-bump inducing words: Christ is Risen!
Now, more often than not, I use this publication as the "don't" list for things to do when trying to get to heaven. For example, there was an article entitled "Hunger Games" last month about going to insane lengths (flying from New York to Europe and back in one day) to experience some trendy and/or exceptional restaurants...mainly for the purpose of bragging to friends and colleagues (and Facebook). DH and I spotted at least 4 of the 7 Deadly Sins in that one article. If it wasn't so sad I would use it as a teaching aid for the kids.
Wherever this weekend finds you, I pray it is one of great rest. Remember, always, to give thanks to the One from whom all of your blessings flow.
We are blessed.