March 18, 2020
Dear Parishioners,

We hope that you are safe, healthy, and well in these uncertain and changing times.  

Worldwide Day of Prayer

His Holiness Karekin II has proclaimed Wednesday, March 18, to be a worldwide Day of Prayer in the Armenian Church. At precisely 7 pm today, we are all asked to take a moment in our homes, and offer our personal prayers to Almighty God. Please join the Day of Prayer this Wednesday at 7 pm in your local time zone. Fr. Arakel will offer prayers in the St. James sanctuary (this will not be open to the public due to COVID-19 precautions). Since Armenians are spread across the globe, the effect will be for our people to be continuously offering prayers to God throughout the 24-hour period.Please note the following updates:

These updates are based on the directive of Bishop Daniel Findikyan, Primate of the Eastern Diocese (which can be read in its entirety here) as well as the specific situation and public health directives here in Massachusetts. Our focus is the safety and well-being of our parish family and community.

  • Divine Liturgy and Church Services: From now until, at a minimum, Holy Thursday (April 9), no one except clergy will be permitted to enter the church during services. Fr. Arakel will conduct the prescribed liturgical services and will pray and worship for our parish family. If you have specific prayer requests, please email or call 617-923-8990. If you have requested Requiem Services during this time, the church office will contact you.
  • Lighting Candles/Personal Prayer: Until further notice, the church sanctuary will not be open during the week.
  • Sacraments: Until further notice:
    • Baptisms will only be conducted in emergency cases (for example, where a child is seriously ill).
    • In the event of the passing of our loved ones, funeral services will not be conducted in the sanctuary or funeral home; only the graveside service will be conducted. Families must limit the number of people attending the graveside service, which should be kept to a minimum and may not exceed 25 people. All social distancing guidelines will be followed.
    • Marriage ceremonies will not be conducted.
  • Hospital and Nursing Home Visitations: Clergy have been directed to refrain from home and hospital visitations, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus to or from patients/residents. Please call Fr. Arakel at (617) 923-8990 or email anytime for personal support and prayer by phone.
  • Church Schools, Programs, and Events: All church schools, programs and events are canceled through and including April 11th.This includes the ACYOA Palm Sunday Banquet, Easter Communion Service and Breakfast, and Tuesday night BINGO.
  • Church Office: The Church Office is closed to visitors until further notice. The office staff will continue to operate on a limited schedule to support our church; however, visitors will not be permitted. Please call the office at 617-923-8860 or e-mail with any requests. If your call is not answered please leave a message and your call will be returned.
  • Caring for our Parish Family:
    • This is a time for us to fulfill Christ’s call to “Love one Another” (John 13:34). If you are able to volunteer your time to help fellow parishioners in need (adhering to social distancing with no physical interaction), for example by dropping supplies on the porch of our senior or high risk parishioners, please provide your information here.  We will be in touch as we reach out to and receive requests from our parishioners.
    • Our St. James parish is a wonderful, loving, and supportive family. Please call/text and check in on our fellow parishioners and offer help as you are able.  Please let us know by emailing or (617) 923-8990 if you are in need of help from our parish family.  
    • We will continue to reach out to our St. James parish family during this time – please look for our emails and social media updates. We are always here for you – please reach out.

Our Lord implores us hundreds of times in Scripture to not be afraid or anxious. While we are in a time of uncertainty and crisis, we are encouraged by the acts of kindness around us, which demonstrate the presence of our Lord and the beauty and generosity of the human spirit. 

Please remember that while we may need to be isolated, we are never alone, always loved by our Creator. We are praying for our entire St. James family, and our local and global communities. We also pray for all those who are not able to isolate, but continue to bravely work and serve in so many ways to ensure all of our well-being and safety. Through God’s grace, loving compassion, and mercy, we will overcome these difficult days.