St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Weekly Newsletter for the week Friday, August 29, 2008 through Thursday, September 4, 2008

NEW ANNOUNCEMENTS

PARISH COUNCIL - The next  meeting of the Parish Council will be  Wednesday, September 10, at 7:30 in the small hall next to the kitchen.

ATTENTION COLLEGE & UNIVERSITY STUDENTS - If you are a new or returning college or university student, please fill out a yellow College Student Address Form on the Bengarri (the desk in the Narthex) so that we have your current addresses and information and you can receive announcements about activities at St. Mary's and on campus.  See Charlie Marge if you have questions.

REMINDERS

CHURCH SCHOOL - Registration for Church School will be held on Sunday, September 7, after Divine Liturgy. On September 14, the Feast of the Elevation of the Cross, there will be a music lesson downstairs for all students. Church School classes will begin on September 21.

FELLOWSHIP OF ST JOHN THE DIVINE (FSJD) FALL ORGANIZATIONAL MEETINGS:
Steering Committee Officers - Please meet in the Church Hall near the end of coffee hour on Sunday, September 14. All current committee officers and all people interested in active service on the FSJD steering committee are welcome to attend!  Questions? Contact Tiffany Conroy, FSJD Chair, at trattus1@gmail.com or 617-990-7162.


General Meeting - All officers and members and all people interested in helping the FSJD in any capacity are encouraged to come to an organizational meeting on Sunday, September 21. This meeting will also begin near the end of coffee hour in the Church Hall.

ADULT EDUCATION CLASS FOR INQUIRERS - The St. Ignatius of Antioch Catechetical Group adult inquirers' class at St. Mary Church is for non-Orthodox persons who are interested in exploring the Orthodox Faith.  This group is for those who would like to be considered for reception into the Church, or for those who would like simply to learn more about our faith.  We will explore the basic elements of Orthodox teaching and practice through reading, talks, discussion, and question & answer. The class begins September 21, 2008 and meets from 9:00 until 10:00 a.m. on Sundays in the Library (adjacent to Fr. Antony's office). For more information please see the brochure available at the bengarri or contact David Vermette, e-mail dgvermette@sysmatrix.net or phone: 617-776-5635.  Please spread the word to any inquirers you know of.

CARE PACKAGES FOR A MARINE IN IRAQ - Fr. Antony's "spiritual son" Scott is in the Marines and has been sent to Iraq , and the Fellowship is helping collect items for care packages for him. Scott will share what he receives with his fellow Marines, and has sent a list of things he would especially like to receive. The Fellowship has purchased some of those items, but would be happy to receive contributions of the following: 

Tuna, Beef jerky, Sunflower seeds, Sour skittles, Non perishable junk food, Paperback books (legal thrillers or murder mysteries),  Long white socks, and also, of course, prayers.

A box has been set up in the entry to the Church Offices for your donations, and we would also welcome monetary contributions to help with postage, shopping, etc.  - make checks payable to Fellowship of St. John the Divine or to St. Mary Church (earmarked FSJD), and give them to any member of the FSJD Steering Committee (Tiffany Conroy, Mike Decerbo, Melissa or Peter Nassiff, Socrates Deligeorges or Steve Walker), or mail them to the Church. Thank you for your caring concern and prayers for Scott and his fellow Marines!

MISSING -  Do you know the whereabouts of the two Bose speakers which were mounted near the ceiling on either side of the kitchen doors in the Church Hall? If so please call the church Office at 617-547-1234.

ST. MARY'S ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION:

Dinner & Dance - The 80th anniversary of our parish will be celebrated on Saturday, October 25, 2008 with vespers at 5:30 p.m., cocktails and hors d'oeuvres from 6:30 to 7:30 with dinner and dancing (American and Arabic music). Ticket price is $50.00 and includes hors d'oeuvres, wine and beer, shrimp cocktail, Caesar salad, roast tenderloin of beef, vegetables and dessert. Prepaid reservations only will be accepted. Only 200 tickets will be sold. For tickets and to reserve tables of eight call Mary Winstanley O'Connor (617) 523-1010, Marilyn Robbat (617) 547-1234 or Arlene Marge (781) 863-5015.

Sponsors Needed - The parish council is looking for ten  individuals to donate $500.00 each to sponsor the 80th anniversary celebration dinner. If you are interested in being a sponsor, please see or call Mary Winstanley O'Connor (617) 523-1010

Planning Meetings -  We will have planning meetings for the 80th Anniversary on Thursday, July 31; Thursday, August 21; Thursday, September 11; and Tuesday, October 14, 2008,  beginning at 7:30 p.m., at the home of Mary Winstanley O'Connor, 781 Concord Turnpike in Arlington.  If you plan to attend the meetings please let Mary know.  Also, all who want to be on the committee need to provide their telephone numbers and email addresses to Marilyn Robbat at 617-547-1234 or secretary@stmaryorthodoxchurch.org,  and/or Mary Winstanley O'Connor at 617-523-1010 (work) or moconnor@koilaw.com

WOMEN'S CLUB BOOK DISCUSSION:  This summer Women's Club members (and anyone else who'd like to join us) have been  reading The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs, a New York Times bestseller. Read the book and join us Monday, September 29, for an enjoyable evening of discussion,  refreshments and fellowship! Meeting at 7:00 pm, book discussion 7:30.

ONE MORE CHANDELIER  - New Chandeliers have been ordered for the Church, and we expect to have them installed by the end of the summer, in plenty of  time for our 80th Anniversary Celebration in October. There will be one large chandelier, which has been donated as a memorial, and six smaller chandeliers, all but one of which have been donated so far.  We are presently looking for someone to donate the one remaining chandelier, plus donations to cover the cost of the electrical work.   Donations can be made through the Bengarri or you can speak with Ray Sayeg or Mary Winstanley O'Connor. 

CELL PHONES FOR SERVICEMEN - The Lebanese-Syrian Ladies Aid Society is sending 150-minute international phone cards to our young people involved in the Iraq-Afghanistan War,  or stationed elsewhere.  If you know of any young people they can help, please provide names, parents' names, addresses and phone numbers.  Please contact Rose Dow 671-323-6883 or Emily Eknoian 617-323-7135.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR SERVICE

There are a number of ways you can help the Church, your fellow worshippers and those in need, many of them coordinated by the Fellowship of St. John the Divine.  Consider serving in one of these ways:

PARTICIPATION

Liturgical Service - Each Sunday, members of the congregation are needed to read the Epistle and assist during Communion by holding the Communion Cloths and Holy Bread Baskets.  All Orthodox Christians in the Parish are welcome and encouraged to participate. We usually need one Epistle reader and six people to hold cloths and baskets.  If you would like to read the Epistle or assist during the Communion, please contact Jeff Wasilko, 781-820-0882, jeffw@smoe.org

Coffee Hour - People are needed every week to provide coffee, juice and cookies, or more if desired, and set it up Sunday morning. To sign up for an available Sunday, please put your name on the signup sheet on the bulletin board outside the Hall or call Marilyn Robbat in the Parish Office and she will write your name in. If you need any help with figuring out what to bring or do, check the list below the signup sheet (also printed in the Bulletin), or ask Marilyn at secretary@stmaryorthodoxchurch.org or 617-547-1234.

VOLUNTEERING

Holy Resurrection Open Doors - The Holy Resurrection Open Door Meal Ministry in Allston needs volunteers every Monday evening (there is a special need in the summer).  The official hours of the project are 4:30pm-7:30pm, but it is fine to come anytime and leave any time.  Best times would be 5:30-5:45 to 7:15-7:30pm.  You can serve meals, coffee and tea to the people who arrive for dinner (6-7pm) or just stay behind the scenes doing set-up and clean-up.  It is a very rewarding, hands-on, face-to-face way to serve the community with (mostly) other Orthodox Christians-we even chant the Our Father together before the meal begins. Church info can be found at  http://hrocboston.org .  Questions? Please contact Liz (Tutella) Straghalis at liztutella@gmail.com  phone 617-974-5005,  or Tiffany Conroy at trattus1@gmail.com, 617-990-7162.

St Paul's Food Pantry - Two to four volunteers help each week in the food pantry at St Paul 's Roman Catholic Church in Harvard Square , Saturday mornings from 9:30-11:45.  If you are interested in helping, please contact Christian Alcala at cmalcala1989@yahoo.com, or (617) 876-5684.

DONATIONS

Food and Clothing - Holy Resurrection in Allston takes donations of non-perishable food items and clothing to distribute at the Open Door Ministry on Monday evenings.  You can bring your donations by on Monday nights between 4:30pm and 7:30pm or contact Tiffany Conroy, trattus1@gmail.com, 617-990-7162, for more information.

- St. Paul 's Food Pantry in Harvard Square , where volunteers from St. Mary help every Saturday,  depends upon regular donations of canned and packaged foods.  To help, contact Christian Alcala at cmalcala1989@yahoo.com, or (617) 876-5684.

Monetary Contributions - The Agape Canister Program is an Orthodox non-profit development program of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center .  It is dedicated to meeting the needs of children, families, and communities throughout the world, regardless of race, color, or creed. All funds collected by the Agape Canister Program are earmarked for medical care and clinics, water wells, agricultural development, food and clothing, support personnel (e.g. doctors, nurses, teachers), the construction of schools, and the education of indigenous people in their own communities.  Please contribute each Sunday-A clear plastic box  is on the Bengarri.

"As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me," says our Lord.

THIS WEEK'S VOLUNTEERS

FOOD PANTRY

August 30:  John Rodriguez and Sandra Kondratiuk

LITURGICAL SERVICE

August 31:   Ad-hoc volunteers needed

COFFEE HOUR

August 31:  Peter and Melissa Nassiff

LITURGICAL SCHEDULE FOR THIS WEEK

Saturday, August 30:  No Vespers at St. Mary's

Sunday, August 31Last Sunday of Summer hours - Orthros  8:15 am, Divine Liturgy 9:30 am

SCRIPTURE READINGS for August 31: 

Epistle:  St. Paul 's Letter to the Hebrews 9:1-7

Brethren, the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly sanctuary. ... These preparations having thus been made, the priests go continually into the outer tent, performing their ritual duties; but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood which he offers for himself and for the errors of the people.

Gospel: Matthew 18:23-35

... Then his lord summoned him and said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you besought me; and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?' And in anger his lord delivered him to the jailors, till he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to everyone of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart."

LOOKING AHEAD

Saturday, September 6:  Great Vespers 5:00 pm

Sunday, September 7:  Regular hours resume - Orthros  8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am; Blessing of the Church School teachers and students;

      Church School registration following Liturgy

Monday, September 8:  Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Theotokos (No Services at St. Mary)

Sunday, September 14:  Feast of the Elevation of the Cross, with procession

INSIGHT

Rightly did the Lord say, "My burden is light." For what sort of weight is it, what sort of toil is it to forgive one's brother his offences, which are light and of no importance, and to be pardoned for one's own, and immediately justified?  He did not say, "Bring me money, or calves, or goats, or fasting, or vigils," so that you could say, "I have none; I cannot," but he ordered you to bring what is light and easy and immediate, saying, "Pardon your brother his offences, and I will pardon yours. You pardon small faults, a few halfpennies, or three pennies, while I give you the ten thousand talents. You only pardon without giving anything, I nevertheless both grant you pardon and give you healing and the Kingdom.

   - St Ephrem the Syrian, Three Short Discourses

When our hearts are reluctant we often have to compel ourselves to pray for our enemies, to pour out prayer for those who are against us. Would that our hearts were filled with love! How frequently we offer a prayer for our enemies, but do it because we are commanded to, not out of love for them. We ask the gift of life for them even while we are afraid that our prayer may be heard. The judge of our soul considers our hearts rather than our words. Those who do not pray for their enemies out of love are not asking anything for their benefit.

     Jesus, our advocate, has composed a prayer for our case. And our advocate is also our judge. He has inserted a condition in the prayer that reads, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." Sometimes we say these words without carrying them out. Thus our words bind us more tightly.

   - St. Gregory the Great, Be Friends of God

Our God...is a consuming fire. And if we, by love, become transformed into Him and burn as He burns, His fire will be our everlasting joy. But if we refuse His love and remain in the coldness of sin and opposition to Him and to other men then will His fire (by our own choice rather than His) become our everlasting enemy, and Love, instead of being our joy, will become our torment and our destruction.

   - Thomas Merton

Do we forgive our neighbors their trespasses? God also forgives us in His mercy. Do we refuse to forgive? God, too, will refuse to forgive us. As we treat our neighbors, so also does God treat us. The forgiveness, then, of your sins or unforgiveness, and hence also your salvation or destruction, depend on you yourself. For without forgiveness of sins there is no salvation. You can see for yourself how terrible it is.

   -  St. Philotheos of Sinai

It is not God who is hostile, but we; for God is never hostile.

   - St. John Chrysostom