Dear Faithful Holy Trinity Family,
During this holy and sacred season of Lent, the Great Compline service reminds us of the ever-presence of our loving Lord with the hymn, “God is with us; give ear O you nations, for God is with us!” As you read the attached update, please allow that to be the underlying message of hope and strength. We do not face this or any other challenge in our life or the life of our community without that assurance: “God is with us!”
Concerns over the current COVID-19 crisis sweeping the globe have brought about many and rapid changes in our daily lives and activities. We are a community of faithful Orthodox Christian believers; we are also active members of the society around us, personally and as a church community. It is, therefore, our calling to simultaneously be witnesses to the saving Good News of Jesus Christ—Who brings us peace and hope—and to be responsible citizens who are contributing positively and responsibly in the calls for caution and safety to help reduce the spread and impact of this new virus for the protection and well-being of all. We do this with the guidance of our Patriarchate, Archdiocese, Metropolis, government and public health officials.
With all that in mind, our parish leadership – myself, Father Radu, the Parish Council and parish ministry leaders – have been in consultation concerning an appropriate community response, and today I am announcing the attached changes, effective immediately and continuing through March 31 (pending further updates). Please feel free to communicate with myself, Father Radu, the Parish Council or your ministry leaders regarding any further suggestions, concerns or needs. We are here to help.
Our priority is to care well for the Holy Trinity family and the surrounding community during this period of increased anxiety and daily disruption. It is times like these where the Church also has the opportunity to show added measures of love, grace, and hospitality to one another both inside and outside the walls of our Holy Church and to shine the faithful light of hope in Jesus Christ to the world around us.
GOYA Lenten Soup Sales – Still ON!
The GOYA is once again offering its very popular Lenten soup and sauces sales throughout Lent and ending April 12. Among the many good reasons to buy some to take home are that they are strict Lenten recipes, they provide fund-raising support for our GOYA ministry ... plus they taste great and they are good for you! Please visit the Lenten Soup Sales Table as you exit Divine Liturgy each Sunday! Thank you for supporting our youth as you strive to maintain and grow your spiritual discipline of fasting during Lent!
Saint Photios Awards - Nominations Due TODAY – YOU can nominate someone!
The seventh Annual Metropolis of Pittsburgh Saint Photios Awards Banquet will be held on Saturday, May 2. Nominations for two recipients from Holy Trinity Church are due to the church office by TODAY and must be submitted using the form that was included in the March edition of the Herald. Thank you for your input!
Kids Helping Kids Campaign – Collection of School Supplies
The Kids Helping Kids Campaign will be collecting school supplies for the Operation Classroom project at the National Philoptochos Convention this summer. A collection bin can be found in the Gallery today. School supplies needed include pencils, crayons, washable markers, scissors, glue sticks, Kleenex, paper towels, notebooks, pocket folders, pencil-top erasers, rulers, and new books. Please see Marianne Stearns with any questions. Thank you!
New “Safety and Security Ministry” Security Officer Presence Outside Sunday Services Begins Today
A new “Safety and Security Ministry” was recently formed by the Parish Council to assess the safety and security needs of our church and to develop a comprehensive church security plan, including the need for security presence on Sunday mornings. This is a practice being adopted by many churches today. After reviewing several proposals from security experts in the area, the ministry team has decided to employ the Town of McCandless Police and Fire Departments to provide an extra layer of security each Sunday morning and during other special church services. Beginning today, you will see a uniformed police officer and his patrol car outside our church building. He is there strictly as an added level of precaution and a visible sign that Holy Trinity Church takes security seriously. Please note that we have not received any reports of a threat or concern whatsoever. We are simply being proactive and responsible for the safety of the entire Holy Trinity family. Additional measures currently under discussion are upgrading our security and alert systems and developing safety evacuation procedures involving all parishioners. More information about the work of this new ministry team will be available as progress continues. It is our goal to keep the parish informed, and to remind us all that no matter how we prepare, ultimately we have only One True Shepherd and Guardian of the flock: “The Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you” (2 Thess 3.3)
Services This Week (NOTE: FOR THOSE NOT ABLE TO ATTEND DUE TO VIRUS CONCERNS, ALL SERVICES AT HOLY TRINITY CHURCH AND ST. GEORGE CHAPEL ARE BROADCAST ONLINE AT HOLYTRINITYPGH.ORG)
- Mon. Mar. 16, 6:30pm: Great Compline (SG)
- Wed. Mar. 18, 6:30pm: Pre-Sanctified Liturgy ONLY (HT);
NO covered dish dinner or presentation after due to COVID-19 restrictions.
- Fri. Mar. 20, 6:30pm: Service of Salutations to the Theotokos (SG)
“Faith and Family WEEKDAYS” This Week
Holy Trinity Church’s “Faith and Family WEEKDAYS” ministry has been updated once again to provide valuable faith growth and learning to the entire Holy Trinity family. Building on the fruits of our six years, we are now including more days and more opportunities for everyone to participate in and grow from worship, spiritual life and educational ministries beyond Sunday morning and to make the Church the "crossroad of daily life”.
THIS WEEK’S OFFERINGS:
- Daily: Prayer Partners. Have you remembered your prayer partner every day? Please keep the promise.
- ALL OTHER FAITH & FAMILY WEEKDAYS MINISTRIES POSTPONED DUE TO THE COVID-19 CHANGES
[March] Philoptochos Monthly Meeting– CANCELED DUE TO VIRUS
The next Ladies Philoptochos monthly meeting will be held today in the Fireside Room following Divine Liturgy. New members are always welcome!
[Mar 20-22] Metropolis GOYA Spring Retreat – CANCELED DUE TO VIRUS
The Metropolis GOYA Spring Retreat has been cancelled due to concerns about the COVID-19 virus.
[Mar 22] Annual Lenten Luncheon– CANCELED DUE TO VIRUS
The annual celebration of Godparent/Godchild Sunday and the Philoptochos Lenten Luncheon has also been cancelled due to concerns about the COVID-19 virus.
[Mar 26-June 23] Festival Cooking – IT’S BACK!
Mark your calendars NOW with these important dates! Our goal is to get at least 30 people each day so that we may finish on time! The festival is bigger than ever and can only work if EVERYONE gives at least a few hours of THEIR time for OUR festival! Look over the dates and times below…you’ll see both evening and daytime hours, during the week and on the weekend. Everyone’s help is needed!
- Thursday, March 26 - Pastitsio – POSTPONED due to virus
- Friday, March 27 - Pastitsio – POSTPONED due to virus
- Saturday, March 28 - Pastitsio – POSTPONED due to virus
- Tuesday, May 5, 9:00am-6:30pm – Kourambiethes
- Tuesday, May 12, 9:00am-9:00pm – Apricot Rolls
- Tuesday, May 19, 9:00am-9:00pm - Koulourakia
- Tuesday, May 26, 9:00am-9:00pm – Galaktoboureko
- Tuesday, June 2, 9:00am-9:00pm – Finikia
- Tuesday, June 9, 9:00am-9:00pm – Finikia/Karithopita
- Tuesday, June 23, 9:30am-8:30pm - Diples
[Mar 29] Philoptochos Pascha Bread Sale
The Ladies Philoptochos is again offering their delicious traditional Greek Pascha Bread for sale! All proceeds benefit the charitable endeavors of the Philoptochos. A Pascha Bread Order Form was enclosed with the March edition of the Herald, and copies will also be available at the church office window. All orders must be prepaid and turned in to the office or mailed to the church by Sunday, March 29, 2020. Please make checks payable to “Holy Trinity Ladies Philoptochos” with “Pascha Bread” in the memo line. Pickup your PREPAID order FOLLOWING Divine Liturgy on Palm Sunday, April 12th. Please call Nicole Steiner (412-781-6109) with any questions.
[Mar 31] Philoptochos Cookbook – Deadline Extended
Our Holy Trinity Philoptochos announces the final call for submissions of recipes for their new cookbook by the March 31st deadline. Recipe submission forms can be found in the March edition of the Herald and at the church office window. Please call/text Maria Georgiadis Athanas at 724-991-5129 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
[Apr 7] Bereavement Support Ministry: Monthly Group Session – CANCELED DUE TO VIRUS
Our Bereavement Support Ministry Team provides spiritual care to our parishioners and their extended family & friends in time of grief and loss. If you have questions about grief and want to learn and share conversation, then please attend our next Bereavement Support Group session on Tuesday, April 7th in the Conference Room. Light refreshments and relaxed fellowship begin at 6:30 pm for those who choose. Then 7:00-8:30 pm is group learning and sharing with our Bereavement facilitators. Feel free to bring a family member and/or friend. Contact Amy Armanious, Visitation Ministry Coordinator with any questions by email at Visitation@holytrinitypgh.org
OUTREACH OPPORTUNITIES – Please volunteer your family or group to help
Please see Mike Kritiotis today, or contact him at 412-518-0588, or at email@example.com to sign up your family/group/ministry for either of these two worthy causes! Thank you, good and faithful servants of Christ!
- 1. One Date Still Available to Feed the Homeless at Pleasant Valley! Holy Trinity has a long-standing commitment to serve meals to the men at Pleasant Valley homeless shelter. This organization, near our old neighborhood on the North Side, provides overnight accommodations to 30 homeless men, 365 nights each year and relies totally on volunteers to feed the men. The date of Sunday, September 13 is still available. Our volunteers will prepare and bring the cooked food to the shelter, where they serve it at 8:00pm.
- 2. Sign Up to Provide Bag Lunches for Needy Families. It’s time once again to get your group or family together for a meaningful day of giving to the poor and hungry in our region. Sponsored through the Orthodox outreach of the “Neighborhood Resilience Project”, the 2020 weekly schedule of delivering 140 lunch bags to our less fortunate neighbors every Saturday of the year, has many open dates available. Holy Trinity Church’s participation has been critical in fulfilling this goal in the past, and we are grateful for our parishioners’ renewed generosity this time around.
Lenten and Holy Week Schedules of Services – ALL STILL ON AS SCHEDULED
The March issue of The Herald contains a complete schedule of services for Lent. Please post it in a conspicuous place in your home. Make a family plan and circle the services you are able to attend and place them on your schedule and on your phone’s calendar! As the hymn from the Book of Psalms tells us during the Great Compline service, “God is with us.” Lent provides us a special time to be with Him. See you there!
Lenten Coffee Hour Reminder – CANCELED THROUGH MARCH 31 DUE TO VIRUS
Please keep in mind that throughout Lent our Coffee Hours following the Divine Liturgy observe the Orthodox Lenten fasting schedule. Anyone sponsoring a memorial coffee hour or providing Church School snacks is asked to take care that non-meat and non-dairy items are provided. The Philoptochos and the Church School can provide a list of suggestions for good alternatives. Thank you for helping our community grow in this proper and helpful Orthodox spiritual practice.
Lenten Resources Available on the Internet
Looking for educational or inspirational information and resources for Lent? Try one of the best religious sites on the Internet: the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. To visit the general site, go to www.goarch.org/lent. There you will find Lenten messages, scriptures, prayers, articles, hymns, videos and more.
Upcoming Lenten and Paschal Dates – STILL ON AS SCHEDULED PENDING FURTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS
Wondering about Lenten and Paschal dates? Here’s a helpful guide to some of the important events coming up. Mark them on your calendar!
- Saturday of Lazarus/Palm Cross/Candle prep: Apr 11
- Palm Sunday: Apr 12
- Holy Week: Apr 13-18
- Holy Friday (schedule off work & school): Apr 17
- The Great and Holy Pascha: Apr 19
Welcome to the Sundays of Lent and the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil
During the Sundays of Lent, the Orthodox Church changes from using the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom to the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil. Why do we do that and what are the differences? To most outward appearances, the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil differs very little from the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, and those wishing to follow the service in the Divine Liturgy book may use the regular book to do so. The primary difference is in the prayers said by the priest in the later part of the service and the hymn “All of Creation” (“Epi Si Heri”) which replaces the usual “It Is Worthy” (“Axion Estin”) after the Consecration of the Holy Gifts. Why the change? In general, the prayers of St. Basil are more penitential, and therefore lend themselves to the Church's liturgical preparation for important holy days; hence, their use during Great Lent and on the eves of Nativity and Theophany. During this service, as the priest offers the prayers, there may be times when the choir completes its hymn and the priest is still offering the prayer. During this season of increased prayer and spiritual attention, please use those times to follow along with the prayers with your own heart and immerse yourself in this beautiful worship experience. Rather than “wait for” the priest to finish the prayers, join him in the prayer of your own heart! The large green Holy Trinity Divine Liturgy books indicate where the changes in those prayers are, and you may follow them to develop a greater understanding and appreciation of their beauty and meaning. A blessed Lent to all!
Welcome, Holy Trinity Guests!
We welcome all our guests to Holy Trinity Church today, whether as visitors from out of town, family members joining others here for worship today or even soon-to-be members here for the first time. No matter what the reason the Holy Spirit brought you here today, we welcome you with open arms and hearts filled with the love of Christ. Please help us welcome you by signing in at the hospitality table in the Narthex, where you will be presented with a yellow lapel Cross to help our Holy Trinity family know you're here. Please fill out an information card so we can contact you with any information you may need concerning life here at Holy Trinity Church. Following Liturgy, we invite you to stop by our Connect Center located in the Gallery and join us for our Fellowship Coffee hour.
About Receiving Holy Communion in the Orthodox Church
As an extension of our hospitality and outreach ministries, we welcome all who have come to worship with us today. Whether you are an Orthodox Christian, an inquirer to the faith or a first-time guest in an Orthodox Church, we are pleased to have you with us and thankful for the opportunity to share and bear witness to this ancient and timeless Faith. In accordance with the holy canons and traditions of the Church, please note that Holy Communion and the other Holy Mysteries (Sacraments) are received only by those who are baptized and chrismated (confirmed) Orthodox Christians who have properly prepared through prayer, fasting and confession. All others are invited receive the antidoron (blessed bread) and a blessing from the priest at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy. The antidoron is not a sacramental offering but is blessing and a reflection of the agape (love) feast that followed worship in the ancient Christian Church. Please join our parish family for hospitality after the holy services and allow us to meet and welcome you. Interested in joining or learning more about the Orthodox Christian Faith? Please see one of our priests or complete a visitor’s card today!
For those who do receive, please remember the following helpful hints aimed at helping to preserve the solemnity and safety of the Holy Mystery: 1) The Church School Staff only is asked to please proceed first to receive from the left-most chalice so they may depart for their classrooms before their students arrive; 2) All other students, parishioners and Orthodox Christian guests, please remain at your place until you are dismissed by the Parish Council down the center aisle only; 3) We respectfully ask women to remove their lipstick before approaching the Holy Chalice; 4) Please wait in the Holy Communion line reverently, prayerfully and quietly without talking; 5) It is traditional as we approach with awe that we make the sign of the Cross or bow down with a “metanoia” as an act of humility before the Lord; 5) Be sure to offer your baptismal name to priest before receiving; 6) Please take great care to place the red cloth under your chin and to fully open your mouth FULLY so that none of the precious Body and Blood of Christ is accidentally spilled. Thank you for your cooperation, and may God have mercy on us all!
Upcoming Memorials: March 22: Constantine Backeris (45 yrs.), Marie Backeris (2 yrs.) and MaryAyne Bistolas (1 yr.)