Speaking of the prayer and social justice spirituality of our Chicago mission, our pastor in Chicago gave me a special gift. He printed out a photo he had taken when our beloved Patriarch Sviatoslav first visited his St Nicholas Eparchy of Chicago. Holding aloft the eparchial icon of the Protecting Mantle of the Mother of God covering St Nicholas Cathedral in her love, he blessed the people. In this way, being under his omophor ultimately means we are under hers as well.
I have put this photo on a wall in my home where I put pictures of clergy to remind myself to pray for them. Above these images I already had three reminders of what we are doing as a church: the Vibrant Parish prayer, the anti-racist flyer we handed out in protest of white supremacy in Richmond, and the Black Lives Matter image of Our Lady of Ferguson and All Killed by Gun Violence that is displayed at Trinity Wall Street. To that collection of reminders I now add this photo, a visual cue for my forgetful mind that ours is first a church of prayer and that our prayerful action for racial justice in a civilization of love is covered by the mantle of bishops whose faith joins that of the Immovable Wall, the Mother of God whose upraised arms guarantee that the city will not be taken.