Sunday, April 09, 2006

I may be getting ahead of myself...

but I am so excited for Pascha! Especially after reading this sermon online.

If any man be devout and loveth God,
Let him enjoy this fair and radiant triumphal feast!
If any man be a wise servant,
Let him rejoicing enter into the joy of his Lord.

If any have laboured long in fasting,
Let him how receive his recompense.
If any have wrought from the first hour,
Let him today receive his just reward.
If any have come at the third hour,
Let him with thankfulness keep the feast.
If any have arrived at the sixth hour,
Let him have no misgivings;
Because he shall in nowise be deprived therefore.
If any have delayed until the ninth hour,
Let him draw near, fearing nothing.
And if any have tarried even until the eleventh hour,
Let him, also, be not alarmed at his tardiness.

For the Lord, who is jealous of his honour,
Will accept the last even as the first.
He giveth rest unto him who cometh at the eleventh hour,
Even as unto him who hath wrought from the first hour.
And He showeth mercy upon the last,
And careth for the first;
And to the one He giveth,
And upon the other He bestoweth gifts.
And He both accepteth the deeds,
And welcometh the intention,
And honoureth the acts and praises the offering.

Wherefore, enter ye all into the joy of your Lord;
Receive your reward,
Both the first, and likewise the second.
You rich and poor together, hold high festival!
You sober and you heedless, honour the day!
Rejoice today, both you who have fasted
And you who have disregarded the fast.
The table is full-laden; feast ye all sumptuously.
The calf is fatted; let no one go hungry away.
Enjoy ye all the feast of faith:
Receive ye all the riches of loving-kindness.

Let no one bewail his poverty,
For the universal Kingdom has been revealed.
Let no one weep for his iniquities,
For pardon has shown forth from the grave.
Let no one fear death,
For the Saviour's death has set us free.
He that was held prisoner of it has annihilated it.

By descending into Hell, He made Hell captive.
He embittered it when it tasted of His flesh.
And Isaiah, foretelling this, did cry:
Hell, said he, was embittered
When it encountered Thee in the lower regions.

It was embittered, for it was abolished.
It was embittered, for it was mocked.
It was embittered, for it was slain.
It was embittered, for it was overthrown.
It was embittered, for it was fettered in chains.
It took a body, and met God face to face.
It took earth, and encountered Heaven.
It took that which was seen, and fell upon the unseen.

O Death, where is thy sting?
O Hell, where is thy victory?

Christ is risen, and thou art overthrown!
Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen!
Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is risen, and life reigns!
Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave.
For Christ, being risen from the dead,
Is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

To Him be glory and dominion
Unto ages of ages.


---The Paschal sermon of St John Chrysostom

Friday, April 07, 2006

Rebecca Righeimer

A while ago I blogged about a 4 year-old girl's death, a girl I baby-sat for and whose sisters I still baby-sit for a few times a week, a close family friend, we consider them almost cousins, who died suddenly from an undetected heart attack. Yesterday, April 6, there was an article about her in the Register under the page 2 of the Local section. (In case any of you want to check it out.) The article explained her parents response to her sudden death and what action they took about her unexplained death.

Quest for Cause, and Closure, in Child's Death
by Frank Mickadeit

A few days after I wrote about the heartbreaking sudden death of little Jake Robert of Yorba Linda, I was winding down the week at a certain Friday-afternoon hangout, when Rupublican operative, Jim Righeimer came up and started speaking in a fast, intense emotional tone.

It turned out to be a sobering issue -- the death of his 4 year-old daughter, Rebecca, in 2003 and how he empathized.

"People think you don't want to talk about the death of your child, like it's taboo," he said. "But you really do."

And talk he did as he laid out the saga of Rebecca's death and his wife Lene's two-year search to find the cause. ABC will run a segment about Rebecca on Primetime at 10 tonight.

Rebecca Righeimer was a little 4 year-old with blue eyes, rosy cheeks and light brown hair she sometimes wore in pigtails. The oldest of two girls, she had just started school at Fountain Valley Montessori. She was seemingly healthy.

On the night of December 27, 2003, Lene had just given Rebecca a bath with the girl dropped to the floor and, in, Jim's words "started growling and making animal sounds." Lene first thought she was playing, but when Rebecca didn't respond and then stopped breathing, her parents immediately called 911. Paramedics arrived within minutes and rushed her to the hospital.

Although doctors got her breathing again, she had been without oxygen or with inadequate amount, for 51 minutes. She was being kept alive by a machine, and showed no brain activity. After agonizing soul searching, her parents decided to take her off life support.

In the days that followed her death, there was some confusion about whether an autopsy might be desired, but by the time the decision had been made to do one, her body had been embalmed. The coroner blamed pneumonia.

The Righeimers beleived that even if she had developed pneumonia by the time she died, that wasn't the reason she had suddenly gone into seizures and stopped breathing. They agonized over whether it was something they had inadvertently done or something they had missed.

They couldn't put it behing them, particularly Lene. Besides the guilt and the not knowing, there was a deadly practical consideration: What if Jim or Lene carried a rare gene that created a condition that had caused Rebecca's death? What if their other daughter -- now daughters, actually, with the birth of a third after Rebecca died -- carried the gene?

"I Googled and Googled night and day to find (kids who had died in) similar situations," Lene says.

Her research led her to correspond with researchers in New Zealand, Minnesota, Salt Lake City, San Diego and at UCLA. They traveled to seminars and submitted to DNA testing spending, $20,000.

Increasingly, it looked like Rebecca may have died of Sudden Arrythmia Death Syndrome, or SADS, which is caused by a glitch in the heart's electrical system. It can be identified by an EKG or a DNA test for a specific marker. The problem was, there was no reliable EKG record for Rebecca and her blood was drained before the autopsy, so no proper DNA sample was available. Evidence of this type of marker can't be obtained from tissue.

During Lene's research, though, somebody noted that when a child is born, blood tests are run. Lene found out California keeps them and that Rebecca's was stored in Richmond in the form of 15 or 20 drops splattered on a card.

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic told her no one in the U.S. had ever been able to use a blood card to find the DNA marker. But they'd try.

On March 20, Mayo called. Rebecca's DNA had the marker.

Still to be determined is whether it was passed on genetically or occurred by random mutation, which is rare but what doctors believe happened. DNA testing has already eliminated Lene; Jim and the other girls will be tested. Knowing is critical because if they have it, SADS is treatable in most cases.

About 1,000 kids a year in the U.S. die of SADS. It's estimated as many as 1 in 5,000 kids has some form of it. Go to
for details.

The Righeimers have a fourth daughter due May 1.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Who Am I?

Test your knowledge of...

- Orthodox Saints

- Icons

- and Liturgical Calls

these are fun! Enjoy!