Jesus said, “Let the children come to Me, do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

Mark 10:14-15

It is amazing how small the world really is. This past Saturday, I had the privilege to do a parish retreat in Ocean Township, New Jersey. Upon arriving at the church Saturday morning, I heard that there had been a tragic traffic accident involving a young woman, age 25, who was a member of one of the Greek Orthodox Churches in New Jersey. One of the priests at the retreat, I found out at lunch, was the priest of that parish where this young woman and her family are members. And when I got home Saturday night, I learned that this young woman was the niece of one of my parishioners and had in fact visited my parish last December.

The young woman’s name is Maria Passalaris. She was 25 years old, and suffered from Rett’s Syndrome her entire life. This is a significant neurological disease. Her story is chronicled in the attached three minute video which I humbly ask you to watch. Here is the link.

Meet the Jinglers: John and Maria Passalaris – YouTube

Please remember Maria in your prayers, along with her parents, John and Eleni, her uncle Dory and all of their family. And please remember also Fr. Anastasios, their priest, as he ministers to them.

O Lord, who guards the children in this life, because of the simplicity and innocence of their hearts, minds and souls, receive also the soul of Your handmaiden, Maria, in peace, for it was You who said that the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as her. For You are the Resurrection and the life and the repose of Your departed handmaiden, Maria, O Christ our God, and to You we send up glory, with Your Father who is from everlasting and Your all-holy, good and life-giving Spirit, now and forever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

May her memory be eternal!