Tomorrow, 19 September, the Coptic congregation in western Canada embarks on a three-day period of fasting and prayer.
Bishop Mina, Coptic Orthodox Bishop of Mississauga, Vancouver, and Western Canada, sent out a message to his congregants calling for three days of fasting and prayer in order to ask for the Lord’s help in countering non-Christian values and teachings imposed upon children in Canadian communities
The message reads as follows:
“Date: September 9, 2023
“My dear beloved in Christ,
“Peace and Grace from Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be with you all.
“In recent times, it has become increasingly evident that the world is undergoing significant transformations. These changes have raised concerns as they involve the normalisation of ideologies and behaviours that are contrary to Biblical morals and Christian ethical values. Particularly troubling is the fact that these changes have begun to impact even the most vulnerable among us, our children, both within educational institutions and beyond.
“Our Lord is clear about the importance of protecting children. In Matthew 18:6, Christ says: ‘If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”
“I want to begin by saying that we hear you; we are suffering with you and we will overcome this trying time through Christ Jesus.
“And whenever we are faced with challenges, the Lord always taught us to fast and pray. “For this reason, we have decided to offer up a special period of fasting from September 19 to 21, 2023 across our Diocese to first: renounce the Evil One and all the unclean works he is spreading around us and to our children; and second: to give us the wisdom to teach our children the truth and protect their innocence and purity.
“Whenever we fast, we also pray. Accordingly, we will hold special prayer meetings on September 19, 20 and 21 from 8:00 to 9:00 pm (each region on its local time). We will also dedicate the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, September 24, 2023, in particular to pray for the protection of our children and to pledge for their purity.
“We know that each and every one of us is precious in the sight of the Lord and He never leaves us alone. Through God’s grace, together, we will triumph over the snares of the devil and conquer these movements of darkness. The Bible promises that Christ is nearby throughout any trial. In 1 Peter 4:12- 13, St. Peter says: ‘Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.’
“Please share this with your family and friends and welcome anyone to join us in this time of fasting and prayer. Like the prayers of the people of Nineveh, we know that the Lord will shine His face on us and grant us the patience and wisdom to share the Gospel and spread the truth, speaking it in love (Ephesians 4:15).
“Remember always that our children are His, and He will always protect and safeguard them from harm. All of us, however, must also do our part to protect them.
“This period of dedicated prayer and fasting is only the first step in what we will all engage in. We ask the Lord to grant us all His Peace and surround us with His protective hands.
“You are all in my heart and my prayers always.
Signed: Bishop Mina, Bishop of the Diocese of
Mississauga, Vancouver and Western Canada
18 September 2023