Some two years ago, when the diocese embarked on an evangelization program to assist our faithful who moved from the security of their home parishes into new areas where no Orthodox parish was available. That they not be orphaned and their salvation
jeopardized was the concern of the Most Blessed Metropolitan.
Technically, the Freehold St. Paul Parish is a mission as well. A great portion of its problem is that some twenty three households live within its salutary geographical embrace, but choose to travel as far as New York City and other northern parishes. From a practical perspective we are aware they are not in their so-called home parishes every Sunday and holy day. They are social members at best.
In bringing these circumstances to the attention of the Most Blessed Metropolitan, he was elated about our concern for souls and asked me to write him an appropriate Pastoral Letter which would be officially issued. Having completed the task and forwarded its results to him, he called and expressed particular satisfaction with its spiritual content and pastoral purpose. He promised to publish it in the next diocesan newspaper issue and forward copies to all parishes to be read from the pulpit.
After waiting several months, all he could say was that it was to be published and mailed out. This never occurred.
Since the letter was written after much prayer and meditation, its message is pertinent. At the beginning of his episcopacy I wrote his messages for some two years. It is a joy to know I also wrote his last, even though it was never distributed, for whatever reason. The six times I visited with him prior to his departure from this vale of tears, he was not able to provide a reason except that he wanted it published and distributed.
I folded up the entire letter into a small square and when praying before his earthly remains in Perth Amboy, slipped it beneath his feet into his casket under the casket folds.
The evangelization message he liked so much and appreciated so much has been carried with him into eternity as a sign and signature of his evangelical heart and soul!-