Dear Cathedral Ohana:
I returned to Honolulu from Manila on Saturday morning and arrived in the middle of a downpour. The rain falling from the sky was a reminder to me of the spiritual cleansing I experience in my three days of silence while on retreat in Quezon City and I return to you feeling refreshed and renewed.
While in Manila I learned that the Philippine church authorities issued some guidelines on church practices in light of COVID-19. The people in the Philippines are being very proactive and I think the guidelines would be useful and helpful to us.
During the Peace, people do not hug or shake hands, but simply acknowledge one another with a slight bow and the words, “Peace be with you.” It’s somber, reverent, and simple and is in alignment with my sermon on the topic that I gave right before I left.
Because the virus can be spread hand-to-hand with undetected body fluid residue on the hands, dipping the wafer into the wine is strongly, strongly ill-advised and discouraged. Our Bishop has admonished us to discontinue this practice effective immediately. People may sip wine from the chalice or simply acknowledge the chalice with a slight bow and arms crossed over the chest to recognize Christ’s presence in it and not take the wine at all. This is considered a valid communion.
I very, very respectfully ask that we follow these guidelines. The spread of the virus is likely. Times have changed. We’re called to be good stewards of creation and do our part to mitigate its effects. I thank you all for understanding.
I’d also like to report that on Saturday morning I attended the ordination of Fr. Andrew Arakawa at St. Alban’s Chapel at ‘Iolani School. It was a wonderful service and I was very happy for Fr. Andrew who started his journey to ordination at Holy Apostles Hilo when I was the rector there. Please take a couple of seconds out of your day sometime this week to say prayers of thanks for Fr. Andrew, his family, ‘Iolani School, and Fr. Andrew’s ministry there. There are some photos for you to enjoy here.
Finally, just a couple of reminders. First, we have funeral services for Uncle Richard Nagashima on Saturday, March 14th at 10:00AM with visitation beginning at 8:30AM and a reception to follow under the Diamond Head Tent. Also, we have Evensong on Sunday, March 22nd at 5:30 with the installation of The Rev. Naim Ateek as an Honorary Canon of the Cathedral.
I will be preaching and presiding at all services this weekend. I look forward to seeing you then.