St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Weekly Newsletter for the week Friday, December 19, 2008 through Thursday, December 25, 2008

THIS WEEKEND

CHURCH SCHOOL CHRISTMAS FESTIVITIES - Join us this Sunday, December 21, 2008 for the  Church School Nativity Pageant and the Christmas Festivities Coffee Hour. 

Pizza, Salad, Dessert and Beverages will be served.  Cost for the food - Adults:  $5.00,  College Students:  $3.00, Church School Students:  FREE

NEW ANNOUNCEMENTS

BLESSED NATIVITY - Nativity services at St. Marys this Wednesday, December 24, will be as follows:
     
Royal Hours for the Nativity 9:00 am
      Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil  11:00 am
     
Orthros 6:30 pm (note time change)
      Divine Liturgy for the Nativity 8:00 pm

FR. ANTONY TO BE AWAY - Fr. Antony will be away at Antiochian Village from Friday, December 26 through Wednesday, December 31, 2008 for the College Conference.  In case of emergency, contact Fr. Timothy Ferguson of St. George Church, West Roxbury , MA at 617-323-0323.

ANNUAL PARISH MEETING - The Annual Meeting of St. Mary Parish will be held on  Sunday, January 25, 2007, immediately following Divine Liturgy.  It will be brief;  we will approve the Year 2009 budget, review expenses for 2008, and hear short committee reports and updates. All members of the parish are urged to attend.  In case of inclement weather, the snow date will be Sunday, February 1.

FOOD FOR HUNGRY PEOPLE - Canned Food Drive extends through the end of this month. Bring  in your canned goods to the Church and place them in the large, blue plastic container outside the Church Office.  They will be distributed to local food pantries in our area.

REMINDERS

OUR MARINE IN IRAQ - The Fellowship is still collecting items for care packages to send to Scott, a friend of Fr. Antony who is a Marine in Iraq . Thanks to all who have donated things, the Fellowship has been able to send five boxes to him so far.  Please continue to give more, so we can continue to send packages to him and his fellow Marines.  He has asked for junk food, dark blue gatorade powder, protein bars, tuna, beef jerky, sunflower seeds, sour skittles, and non-perishable food, and long white socks.  A box has been set up in the entry to the Church Offices for your donations.  Thank you!

2009 WEEKLY OFFERING ENVELOPES are ready for pick-up outside of the Church Office.  Look for your name alphabetically.  Remember:  if you have chosen to pay periodically, you have not been assigned weekly envelopes.  If you wish to change your payment arrangements, see or call Marilyn Robbat in the Church Office 617-547-1234.

2009 Church Calendars have not yet arrived.

NEW CHANDELIERS  - The new chandeliers are up, and new sconces are on order! The cost for the electrical work and installation of the new lighting is $48,000 - this price includes removal of the existing chandeliers, updating the electrical wiring to current code, new electric winches, new dimming panels, installation of the new chandeliers, and the electrical work for the new sconce lighting in the rear of the church under the balcony.  It's not too late to donate to this most worthy project.  We have started receiving donations on the wiring and installation phase; however we need the support of the entire parish.  We welcome any additional donations and once again, are thankful for your continued support and generosity.   Please see Mary Winstanley O'Connor  or  Ray Sayeg. 

CROSSROADS - High School Juniors and Seniors:  The Office of Vocation & Ministry at Hellenic College is now accepting applications for its summer CrossRoad program.  Two sessions are offered:  June 20 - 30 and July 7 - 17, 2009.  For more information and application see  www.crossroad.hchc.edu or call 617-850-1309.  Application deadline is  March 1, 2009 for first consideration.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR SERVICE

There are a number of ways you can help the Church, your fellow worshippers and those in need.  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 4:30 pm-7:30 pm, but it is fine to come anytime and leave any time.  Best times would be 5:30-5:45 to 7:15-7:30 pm.  You can serve meals, coffee and tea to the people who arrive for dinner (6-7 pm) 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  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 4:30 pm and 7:30 pm 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.

- Food For Hungry People Canned Food Drive - During October through December, 2008,  please bring  in your canned goods to the Church and place them in the large, blue plastic container outside the Church Office.  Our Teens will then weigh them and distribute them to local food pantries in our area.  Remember.....42 pounds of food will feed a family of four for three days!

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: 

Non perishable junk food,  Tuna, Beef jerky, Sunflower seeds, Sour skittles, Long white socks, and also, of course, prayers.

A box has been set up in the entry to the Church Offices for your donations. 

Monetary Contributions - The FSJD would also welcome monetary contributions to help with postage, shopping, etc. for the care packages (see above). 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!

- 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.

- The International Orthodox Christian Charities has issued an emergency appeal for its continuing response to the two tropical storms and two hurricanes which made landfall in the U.S. in just four weeks.  Cash funds will go towards immediate clean-up and recovery efforts.  Donations can be made by calling IOCC's donation hotline toll-free at 1-877-803-4622; by making a gift on-line at www.iocc.org ; or by mailing a check or money order payable to "IOCC" and writing "US Emergency Response" in the memo line to IOCC, P.O. Box 630225 , Baltimore , Md. 21263-0225 .

"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

December 20:   Nadine Rebovich, Lan Hu, Socrates Deligeorges

LITURGICAL SERVICE

December 21:     Epistle: Trish Orlovsky

COFFEE HOUR

December 21:   Church School Christmas Festivities pizza lunch

LITURGICAL SCHEDULE FOR THIS WEEK

Friday, December 19:  Akathist to our Sweetest Lord Jesus 7:00 pm

Saturday, December 20:  Vespers 5:00 pm

Sunday, December 21:  Orthros  8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am;

      Church School Pageant & Christmas Festivities

SCRIPTURE READINGS for December 21: 

Epistle:  St. Paul's Letter to the Hebrews 11:9-10; 32-40   Brethren, by faith Abraham sojourned in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he looked forward to the city which has foundation, whose builder and maker is God. ...     And all these, though well attested by their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had foreseen something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

Gospel: Matthew 1:1-25   Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit; and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel"(which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took his wife, but knew her not until she had borne a son; and he called his name Jesus.

Wednesday, December 24  Nativity Services:
     
Royal Hours for the Nativity 9:00 am
      Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil  11:00 am
     
Orthros 6:30 pm (note time change)
      Divine Liturgy for the Nativity 8:00 pm

Thursday, December 25, Feast of the Nativity of our Lord:  No Services at St. Marys

LOOKING AHEAD

Saturday, December 27:  No Vespers at St. Marys

Sunday, December 28:  Orthros  8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am;
      No Church School

INSIGHT

Think not, therefore, it is of small things thou art hearing, when thou hearest of this birth, but rouse up thy mind, and straightway tremble, being told that God hath come upon earth. For so marvelous was this, and beyond expectation, that because of these things the very angels formed a choir, and in behalf of the world offered up their praise for them, and the prophets from the first were amazed at this, that "He was seen upon earth, and conversed with men" (Baruch 3:37). Yea, for it is far beyond all thought to hear that God the Unspeakable,  the Unutterable, the Incomprehensible, and He that is equal to the Father, hath passed through a virgin's womb, and hath vouchsafed to be born of a woman, and to have Abraham and David for forefathers.

   - St John Chrysostom

This is the reason why the Word of God was made flesh, and the Son of God became Son of Man: so that we might enter into communion with the Word of God, and by receiving adoption might become Sons of God.

   - Irenaeus of Lyons , Against Heresies

Today the Lord is born, the life and salvation of mankind; today a reconciliation is made of Divinity to humanity, and of humanity to Divinity; today all creation has leapt for joy; those above sent toward those below; and those below towards those above; today occurred the death of darkness and the life of humanity; today a way was made toward God for man and a way for God into the soul.

   - St. Macarius the Great

Surely the birth of Jesus, his incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection supernaturally prepared the universe for its ultimate transfiguration outside of time. His long-awaited coming altered the normal sequence of life: a new salvific energy has been ushered into the cosmos, and through the holy sacraments and Mass, Christians have been graced with the means to directly access this rejuvenating, transformative Power.

   - S.T.Georgiou, Mystic Street (from the chapter entitled "Timelessness")

His love for me brought low his greatness.
He made himself like me so that I might receive him.
He made himself like me so that I might be clothed in him.
I had no fear when I saw him, for he is mercy for me.
He took my nature so that I might understand him,
my face so that I should not turn away from him. 

   - Odes of Solomon (2nd century, author unknown)