Here is an OpEd from Father Shaun, a Melkite priest in San Diego, writing following a clergy meeting in San Antonio, Texas this week. The point of reposting Father Shaun’s note is to give the parish an update on the meeting and because it contains several points of interest on sacred Scripture, the Divine Liturgy and our common mission as witnesses to Jesus Christ as Melkites. May God help us live our mission to make Him known, loved and served. Emphasis by the editor.
Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ:
Christ is with us!
I hope you and your loved ones are well.
Just a few notes here at the end of the first full day of the clergy conference:
We started with an interesting and edifying presentation from Bishop François. His many insights, thoughts, and plans for the eparchy are exciting. Given that he is a Scripture scholar, his take on our approach to Sacred Scripture is refreshing: instead of approaching it as do some Protestants (i.e., a series of verses strung together) we need to look at the whole narrative, to see the whole picture.
He also noted that, for those Melkites who complain our liturgy is too long, that we need to remember we are recapitulating the entirety of Salvation History when we worship (i.e., our liturgies are not long enough)! A glorious idea we should keep in mind every time we enter God’s house.
We also had some wonderful presentations on vocations. We can look forward to great initiatives as this year progresses — especially when it comes to the training and blessing of Readers!
As we may know, our list of members of our community needs to be updated — as do the lists of many Melkite communities across the country. We can expect a push to get our list updated. Bishop François would also like our list to include not just members, but “friends” of the Melkite Church who may live within the boundaries of our mission — his vision for our Church is broad, indeed.
I had the great fortune to have lunch with Sayidna and several other priests. His Grace’s vision for planning and developing processes for many aspects of eparchial life will take time to grow but will pay off in the long run. We should be patient but please do know that he is working diligently on addressing all sorts of matters (e.g., from how to bolster communities that are thriving to dealing appropriately with communities that are stagnating…or worse).
He briefly discussed his schedule for the next few months. He told me that he will return to California after Pascha to visit the communities he’s not yet visited; we look forward to that visit. We’re all proud of St. Jacob’s and we can expect to display that pride in full force when he arrives in a few months.
He also mentioned that he has a meeting with His Holiness, Pope Francis, in May — an exciting opportunity for Sayidna to sing the praises of the Melkite Church in America.
The day was long — as will be the next few days — packed with meetings and presentations and, first and foremost, uplifting worship. It is so good to experience the richness of our Orthros, Compline, Vespers, and tomorrow, Divine Liturgy with the clergy of the eparchy.
Keep us all in your prayers. May the Lord continue to bless His Grace, his clergy, and the faithful whom he shepherds.