SOUTH BOUND BROOK, N.J. – An announcement from the Office of the President of the Consistory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the U.S.A. (UOC-U.S.A.) released on May 29 and updated on June 2 included a list of specific parishes that are able to resume liturgical services.
The parishes are located in the states of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Florida, Delaware, Indiana, Oklahoma, Ohio, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Washington, Michigan, California, North Carolina, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey.
None of the parishes listed as of June 2 are in the Metropolitan New York/New Jersey area. In New Jersey, only one parish can resume services: Holy Trinity in Trenton. The New York parishes listed are: Holy Trinity in Cheektowaga, St. John the Baptist in Johnson City, Protection of the Birth-Giver of God in Rochester and St. Nicholas in Troy.
Readers may check the list on the UOC-U.S.A. website (see https://www.uocofusa.org/news_200529_1).
The announcement signed by Archbishop Daniel, president of the Consistory, read in part: “I write today to share some measure of prayerful hope during this difficult time of pandemic and social distancing. In recent weeks, we have watched with relief as various state governments gradually opened community services of select businesses and activities, with prudent precautions firmly in place to prevent a severe ‘second wave’ of the coronavirus pandemic. In keeping with this gradual reopening of our society, it is necessary that we make similar arrangements within our Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the U.S.A. to allow once again for the communal celebration of sacred liturgical services, which are the most ‘essential’ activity known to our world.”
The announcement pointed out that, in the pastoral letter of the Council of Bishops of the UOC-U.S.A. issued on May 20, clergy and parishes of the Church were urged to initiate steps towards reopening parish communities. “Each parish is mandated to submit to the Council of Bishops a detailed plan for reopening, and having held a Zoom conference with the hierarchs, a blessing will be given for the opening of each parish individually,” it was noted.
“The liturgical services that you will attend in our parish communities in the weeks ahead will look and feel quite different from the services you remember from two months ago. It will be imperative for all of us – pastors, parish staff, volunteers and all the faithful – to work together during these times. The pandemic is not over, and safety precautions must be followed in order to promote the continued health and safety of everyone in our community,” Archbishop Daniel wrote.