Greetings, faithful of St. Barbara’s –
The world has definitely changed in the past few days. I know that there is a lot of anxiety and concern surrounding the coronavirus, this is indeed a very troubling time. How appropriate that during this season we regularly sing the Compline service, where we are repeatedly reminded that God is with us in times of distress, and in times when we have no other help – we still have the comfort of His presence and the peace of His Holy Spirit!
The world has faced pandemics before, and we have been able to overcome them. Most importantly we have learned from them, and we know more about how to defeat them. Until this virus is eradicated, we all need to be smart about the way that we interact with each other so we can bring that end about quickly!
Our Archbishop, Elpidophoros, has written a letter to all of the faithful – which I know that most everyone has seen (see link at end). We will still be holding all worship services as scheduled, so we will be following all of the requirements in the letter. I have listed them below to make sure that everyone is aware of them and I encourage everyone to follow them.
The most important item is – if you feel sick, please stay home! That should be a rule for any community gathering. If you would like me to bring you communion when you need to stay home for any reason, please call or text me at (818) 536-9122.
Santa Barbara County has declared a public health state of emergency so that public events would be cancelled, although as of now no cases have been discovered or reported. We will make sure that everyone is kept updated on developments, and we will let you know if any of this information changes.
Unfortunately, we will not be holding any Sunday School classes or dance practices at this time. Even though there will be no dancing for Greek Independence day on March 29th, we will are still having a luncheon and speaker provided by AHEPA.
Please continue to pray for a quick end to this virus, for everyone that has contracted this virus around the world, and all of those who are on the front lines valiantly fighting against it. This will be overcome – until then remember that God is with us and be safe! ~~~“Fr. BoB”
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” — John 16:33
1) We will provide stations in the Narthex for the Faithful to disinfect their hands as they enter the Church.
2) Signs will be posted at the entrance that recommend sick persons not attend the Services, but participate via television or the Internet (visit www.goholycross.org)
3) The clergy will not offer their hands to be reverenced and will refrain from touching the faithful either through handshakes or an embrace.
4) Signs will be posted recommending that honor be shown to Icons and the blessing cross by only bowing.
5) No books – Liturgical or Scriptural, will be kept in the pews. Parishioners will be instructed to bring their own books from home.
6) Antidoron will not be offered after communion. At the end of the service, the priest will wash and sanitize his hands to distribute the Antidoron. (Change from Archdiocese suggestion).
7) In the case of the use of flowers (Sunday of the Veneration of the Cross, Palm Sunday, Holy Friday), the Faithful will take them on their own as they leave the church. On Holy Wednesday (Holy Unction), each priest will anoint each Faithful using separate cotton-tipped swabs.
8) The Eucharist will be distributed as per usual.
9) In concelebrations, the clerical “Kiss of Peace” will be through bowing to one another. In parishes where the laity exchange the “Kiss of Peace,” they will avoid contact through bowing to one another.
10) After every service, all liturgical objects and surfaces to be thoroughly cleaned.
11) Please refrain from greeting each other with personal contact such as handshakes, a kiss, or a hug.