While in Southern California for the annual Clergy Seminar of the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph visited two parishes in the area.
On Sunday, January 30, 2022, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph presided over the divine services at St. Michael Church of Whittier, California. (photo gallery)
Even as the Coronavirus pandemic continues, he told the congregation in his sermon to remain steadfast and avoid pointless divisions.
“We lost many people who were fighting over masks and vaccines. We create excuses to justify what we are doing and what we are thinking,” His Eminence said. “This is wrong – a big mistake.
“Persecutions, diseases, crime, depression, and suicide we will always endure. But think of your salvation and life with the Lord. That matters more than anything else.”
Metropolitan Joseph then joined the congregation for lunch and led a two-hour question-and-answer session, which he considered joyful and fruitful.
On the following Sunday, February 6, His Eminence celebrated the Hierarchal Divine Liturgy at St. George Church of Upland, California. (photo gallery)
During this joyful pastoral visit, Metropolitan Joseph blessed the boys of the parish during the Presentation of the Boys ceremony, done in honor of the Presentation (Meeting) of Christ in the temple. The Orthodox Church celebrates this feast on February 2 and observes the after-feast for a week.
Some of these boys had attentively served at the holy altar alongside His Eminence, fostering an atmosphere of prayer that the pastor, Fr. Mansour Azar, said could be felt throughout the entire church.
Following the liturgy, the parish council gathered with Metropolitan Joseph for a productive meeting.