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Resources for Praying at Home

Because we have been asked to stay home by our civil and ecclesiastical authorities through April 30, the following resources are available so Holy Trinity Orthodox Church can continue its mission to Build Up the Church Beyond the Parish, even when the building is closed.

Prayer Services

Virtual Parish Gatherings

To join any of the following online meetings via video, use this link: https://join.freeconferencecall.com/holytrinity-oca, otherwise call (508) 924-5540. If prompted, the online meeting ID is holytrinity-oca. For additional assistance connecting to the meeting, text “Help” to (508) 924-5540. Message and data rates may apply.

Parish Commemorations

To stay connected by prayer with your parish family, an updated list of all current and prospective members of Holy Trinity and the Chapel of the Holy Spirit—including their spouses and children—is now available. The list also contains names of departed parishioners (newly-departed and historical), current members of the armed forces, and those who have asked the parish to pray for them.

Parish-Commemorations

Pastoral and Financial Emergencies

If you are in need of immediate pastoral assistance (sickness or death of a loved one), or financial assistance through Matthew 25, the Parish Office is remotely open 24 hours a day by calling (814) 231-2855. For non-emergencies, you may email/text office@holytrinity-oca.org.

Get Palms for Your Home Churches

Palms will be blessed at Holy Trinity Orthodox Church on Lazarus Saturday morning (April 11) and will be available for pickup at the weekly “Open House” (for personal prayer and meditation) that afternoon from
1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Parishioners in a high-risk category—those over 65, those with serious medical conditions, those with any symptoms of illness of any kind, and those with family/household members who in the past 15 days have been with COVID-19 patients or high-risk individuals—should and may arrange contactless delivery of blessed palms through the Parish Office

How-to-make-Palm-Crosses

Related: How to make Palm Crosses (courtesy of Anna Stickles).

Fr. Ignatius to Lead Virtual Church School Sessions

Father Ignatius is meeting virtually with the Sunday School this week at three age-specific times: 

Students will have an opportunity to ask Father questions and learn how to they can make their own “sacrifice of praise” before their home altars. Both children and adults can continue to refer to the Reader’s Services and many other resources posted at holytrinity-oca.org.  

In-Person Services Remain Suspended

In-person worship services are suspended until further notice, but parish clergy and volunteers are available to assist you should a pastoral issue or emergency arise. Please continue to utilize the Reader’s Services and other resources posted at holytrinity-oca.org, and check the website often to view the latest schedule. (Also please pray for the Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America, who are meeting this Monday to determine if/when liturgical services can resume.)

Additional reflections and information will be included in the April Trisagion being mailed this week. Not yet a member of our mailing list? Send us your address today

All Services Suspended through March 31

His Eminence Archbishop Melchisedek has issued a directive that effective immediately all parishes of the Archdiocese of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania are to immediately cease all services, activities, social gatherings, etc. with the exception of the following: 

Each parish priest may open his church on the coming two Saturday afternoons (March 21 and March 28) for two to three hours of his choosing for the faithful to come and offer a private prayer and light candles. While we are not encouraging people to do this in light of the governmental guidelines, it is realized some people will gain much strength from this visit. It is imperative that people in high-risk categories (i.e., senior citizens/individuals with on-going health problems/people not feeling well currently) not consider this act. Individuals are reminded to maintain “social distancing” during this visit and avoid interacting with large numbers of people.

Holy Trinity’s “open houses” as described above are 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. this Saturday and next.  

His Eminence’s directives go on to say:

Except for so-called “death-bed confessions,” confessions are suspended until this period of time has concluded. (This, of course, does not preclude informal spiritual discussions between our priests and our parish penitents via the phone and emails…) 

You can reach the parish’s clergy through the Parish Office—814-231-2855 (phone); office@holytriniy-oca.org (text/email)—which remains open with as regular hours as possible should a need arise in our parish family or the broader community. While routine pastoral visits are to cease per His Eminence’s directives, our clergy, following proper personal safety protocols, are still available to you to respond to any emergency situation requiring immediate pastoral attention.

Attached is a service that can be prayed by the faithful of the Archdiocese regularly in front of their prayer corners concerning this virus. The Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Ellwood City, while closed to visitors during this period as per Holy Synod directives concerning all OCA monasteries, will probably continue to live-stream the monastery’s services; their web address for more info is: orthodoxmonasteryellwoodcity.org.

The work of Holy Trinity Orthodox Church continues even though we cannot gather as Christ’s people. With Fr. Ignatius’ blessing Matthew 25 met virtually earlier today with the deacons to postpone the Lion’s Pantry Drive and Soup-er Sunday to the Sundays of October, but will continue to offer immediate assistance to the State College Food Bank and other charities. We will have more on this in letters to the parish and in the April Trisagion, but in the meantime, please remember the parish through your stewardship if you are able.

Related: Official Announcement on the Archdiocese of Pittsburgh website

Parish Message on COVID-19

UPDATE (March 17, 2020): All services and gatherings are suspended, although the ministry of the parish continues. Read more here.

In accordance with guidelines released Friday, March 13 by the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America, Fr. Ignatius updated parishioners, guests, and visitors on measures now in place to ensure that the parish continues praying for the health and salvation of the world, while at the same time adopts common-sense, temporary precautions to limit the spread of infectious disease. 

The worship schedule remains unchanged and all faithful not in a high-risk category are encouraged to offer thanksgiving to our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ, and receive His Holy Mysteries. However, it is imperative that anyone who exhibits symptoms of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (a.k.a. COVID-19)—fever, cough, shortness of breath, etc.—self-quarantine for fourteen days. Father also fervently asks you to seek medical assistance and let a member of the clergy know if this is the case so that they may provide you pastoral support and visitation to the furthest extent possible.

There will be no changes to the way Holy Communion is administered, however, the parish is adopting the following changes through at least the end of March 2020 (in addition to the aforementioned guidelines mentioned above): 

  • Antidoron—the blessed, but not consecrated, holy bread taken to cleanse one’s palate after receiving Holy Communion—will be cut and distributed by one healthy adult only, who has prepared himself according to the parish’s standard practice (washing of hands and application of hand sanitizer); as opposed to the open bowls on the sides of the church. 
  • To minimize the amount of surfaces touched, our Greeters will assist by opening the main doors of the church for you, and the doors leading into the Nave will remain open for the entire service. (To create a prayerful atmosphere for all, parents with young children are asked to give them their necessary breaks in the Nursery, which is located at the east end of the Parish Hall; audio from the service is piped in.). 
  • Fr. Ignatius can bless you over the head with the Cross at the conclusion of each service, as opposed to the traditional hand blessing. The veneration icons will remain in place—and they will continue to be cleaned as usual—but you may reverence them by simply bowing before them, if you so choose.
  • Sunday School will resume March 15 and remain in session during this time, but teachers will sanitize all classroom surfaces before the start of class.
  • Bagel service has been discontinued until at least Sunday, April 5, and the rest of Coffee Hour will be scaled back to include only coffee and items that are served by hosts wearing gloves; there will not be an open table in the Parish Hall for the time being. (Because Soup-er Sunday has always been served in this manner, the Sunday, March 29 fundraiser luncheon is still on! Parents and teachers will take extra care to ensure our youth food preparers and hosts take all the appropriate precautions.)
  • Likewise, at each of the remaining Wednesday Lenten Potlucks, please place your covered food in the kitchen before the Presanctified Liturgy to be served by volunteers cafeteria-style. If you are interested in assisting with this task, please let Deacon Alex know.

Please join your fellow clergy and all members of the parish in praying for all those afflicted with and adversely impacted by COVID-19. Thank you for your continued stewardship of the parish—including the Matthew 25 Ministry (student food insecurity will remain a problem after the current crisis abates)—so we can continue ministering to the least among us and Building Up the Church Beyond Our Parish

Schedule Your Portrait for the 2020 Directory

Now that the parish has a rector, Holy Trinity and the Chapel of the Holy Spirit is updating the online and print directories for 2020. Our goal is for all individuals and families in the parish to be included.

Like three years ago, photography will be professionally done through Lifetouch. All participants will get a free copy of the directory along with an 8” x 10” portrait. Photography will take place in the Parish Hall the Thursday and Friday of Cheesefare Week, February 27-28, 2020. Afternoon and evening sessions are available on a first come, first served basis. Appointments are required.

Mark your calendars: All-parish photographs take place after the Divine Liturgy on Forgiveness (Cheesefare) Sunday, March 1, 2020.

For your convenience, all photography will take place in the Parish Hall. A variety of shots will be taken: One pose will be selected for the 2020 Parish Directory and you will receive a complimentary 8″ x 10″ for you to keep in appreciation for your time. Participants will have the opportunity to buy portraits on the day of your session. No purchase is necessary—you are no obligation to order additional prints. Lifetouch’s portrait price lists are available in the church office for those who wish to review them prior to their portrait reservation.

Please take advantage of this opportunity to be professionally photographed. To schedule a time for you and/or your family, click here. You may also sign up in the Narthex following each Sunday Divine Liturgy in February or call the church office at (814) 231-2855 for assistance.

Fr. Ignatius Hunter Appointed as Rector

After the Divine Liturgy, His Eminence Archbishop Melchisedek revealed his choice for the next rector of the parish—the Rev. Priest Ignatius Hunter. 

Father Ignatius joins us via of St. Innocent Mission in Napakiak, Alaska and St. Michael’s Church in Mount Carmel, PA, where he lived with his wife, Matushka Seraphima, and two children, Daniel and Elizabeth. He holds bachelor degrees in Religion, History, and General Economics from Lycoming College and master degrees from Asbury Theological Seminary, St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, and the University of Alaska. Father Ignatius officially begins February 1, at which point Fr. David and Dn. Alexander’s terms as Interim Priest and Acting Administrator, respectively, will end. Father David will resume his role at Holy Trinity as Associate Rector—keeping his regular office hours in State College through the month of February to assist Fr. Ignatius in the transition—and remain Priest-in-Charge at the Chapel of the Holy Spirit. Deacon Alexander will remain on staff full-time with a title and roles to be determined. 

May God grant Fr. Ignatius, Mka. Seraphima, and his entire family many years!

Join us at the March for Life

Help fill our van to the 47th Annual March for Life!

HolyTrinity and the Chapel of the Holy Spirit are currently accepting reservations by email through this Wednesday for the annual one-day pilgrimage to Washington, D.C. Our vans depart Friday, January 24 at 6:30 a.m., and return around 10 p.m. College students and youth are especially encouraged to attend. As in previous years, all costs are covered by the parish.

Special Parish Meeting this Sunday

Although included in the 2020 Budget, the Chapel of the Holy Spirit’s proposal for a refinanced mortgage through the Archdiocese of Pittsburgh requires a two-thirds vote of no fewer than 51% of the parish membership.

Therefore, the Council will conduct a Special Parish Meeting this Sunday following the Divine Liturgy. It will be chaired by our Dean, Fr. Mark Meholick; Archbishop Melchisedek will also attend as a show of support. If approved, equity from a new $150,000 mortgage (which will be financed by the Archdiocese at 0% APR for 25 years) will be used to build a 12- by 24-foot addition on the Chapel’s east side to house its altar.