St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Weekly Newsletter for the week Friday, December 26, 2008 through Thursday, January 1, 2009


FR. ANTONY IS AWAY - Fr. Antony will be away at Antiochian Village from Friday, December 26 through Wednesday, December 31, 2008 for the College Conference.  Fr. Constantine Cambas of the Greek Metropolis of Boston will be celebrating the Divine Liturgy this Sunday.  In case of emergency during Fr. Antony's absence, contact Fr. Timothy Ferguson of St. George Church, West Roxbury , MA at 617-323-0323.

CHRISTMAS CARDS FOR ORPHANS - If you'd be interested in sponsoring Christmas cards to the orphans from Hogar Rafael Ayau Orphanage, please see Linda Arnold or Michelle Chin during coffee hour. The Christmas cards will be provided and donations will be voluntary.  Please feel free to take the Christmas cards home to sign or fill out at church and return them to either of us. There are approximately 80 orphans there and we would like for each one to receive a card. Thanks for your help. For more info on the orphanage, please see their website:


CHURCH SCHOOL PAGEANT AND CHRISTMAS FESTIVITIES - The Church School Nativity Pageant scheduled for last week, which was postponed because of the snowstorm,  will be presented next Sunday, January 4, 2009. 

After Liturgy will be a 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

NO FASTING - From Christmas Day until January 4th, inclusive,  there is a general  dispensation from all fasting.

2009 PLEDGE CARDS - Please take the time to fill out your 2009 pledge card, which was mailed out recently,  and return it to the Church Office as soon as possible in the self-addressed stamped envelope provided.  We especially need your pledge this year - not just a bare minimum, but a percentage of your income (10% is the biblical ideal). Everyone, including students and new arrivals, is encouraged to make a stewardship commitment to St. Mary's.  If you do not have a pledge card, please contact the Parish Office so that you may receive a New Member Packet.  Or you can take advantage of the new convenient electronic pledge card on the Stewardship page of our parish website:


ANNUAL PARISH MEETING - The Annual Meeting of St. Mary Parish will be held on  Sunday, January 25, 2009, immediately following Divine Liturgy.  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.

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 or call 617-850-1309.  Application deadline is  March 1, 2009 for first consideration.


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:


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,

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 or 617-547-1234.


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 .

 Questions? Please contact Liz  Straghalis at  phone 617-974-5005,  or Tiffany Conroy at, 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, or (617) 876-5684.


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,, 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, 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 ; 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.


FOOD PANTRY - December 27:   The Chin family and Bill Coyle
:     Epistle: Jeff Wasilko
COFFEE HOUR - January 4:
   Church School Christmas Festivities pizza lunch


Saturday, December 27:  No Vespers at St. Marys
Sunday, December 28:  Orthros  8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am;
No Church School

SCRIPTURE READINGS for December 28: 

Epistle:  St. Paul 's Letter to the Galatians 1:11-19  Brethren, I would have you know that the gospel which was preached by me is not man's gospel.  For I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ. 

Gospel: Matthew 2:13-23   When the wise men departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him."


Saturday, January 3:  Vespers 5:00 pm
Sunday, January 4:
   Orthros  8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am;
      Church School Pageant & Christmas Festivities (postponed from December 21)
Monday, January 5:
Evening Liturgy for  Theophany 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday, January 6,
Feast of Theophany:  No services at St. Marys


This week we present a meditative offering for Christmas Eve provided by Deacon Neal Hughes, Fr. Antony's brother.  Deacon Neal periodically issues   "Ancient Paths," a Bible study combining patristic passages and Scripture.  If  you would like to be added to his distribution list, you can contact him at .

On the Night of the Nativity:

Pure is the present night, in which the Pure One appeared, Who came to purify us! Let our hearing be pure, and the sight of our eyes chaste, and the feeling of the heart holy, and the speech of the mouth sincere!

The present night is the night of reconciliation; therefore, let no one be wroth against his brother and offend him!

This night gave peace to the whole world, and so, let no one threaten. This is the night of the Most Meek One; let no one be cruel!

This is the night of the Humble One; let no one be proud!

Now is the day of joy; let us not take revenge for offences! Now is the day of good will; let us not be harsh. On this day of tranquility, let us not become agitated by anger!

Today God came unto sinners; let not the righteous exalt himself over sinners!

Today the Most Rich One became poor for our sake; let the rich man invite the poor to his table!

Today we received a gift which we did not ask for; let us bestow alms to those who cry out to us and beg!

The present day has opened the door of heaven to our prayers; let us also open our door to those who ask of us forgiveness!

Today the Godhead placed upon Himself the seal of humanity, and humanity has been adorned with the seal of the Godhead!
   - St. Ephraim the Syrian