St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Update for the week Friday, January 1, through Thursday, January 7, 2010

Happy New Year!

THIS WEEKEND

FR. ANTONY OUT OF TOWN -  Fr. Antony is  away until  this Saturday, January 2, 2010. 

In case of emergency during Fr. Antony's absence, please call Fr. Timothy Ferguson at St. George Church, West Roxbury at 617-323-0323.

NO VESPERS - There will be no Great Vespers service at St. Mary this Saturday, January 2.

CHRISTMAS PAGEANT and FESTIVITIES - The Christmas Pageant and Festivities originally scheduled for Sunday, December 20, which were postponed because of snow, will be held this Sunday, January 3rd.  Join the Church School after Liturgy for the  Church School Nativity Pageant and Christmas Festivities Coffee Hour. Pizza,  salad, dessert, and  beverages will be served.  Adults:  $5.00,  College Students:  $3.00,  Church School Students:  FREE

NEW ANNOUNCEMENTS

THEOPHANY - The Feast of Theophany is this Wednesday, January 6.  As usual, the Church celebrates on the eve of the Feast - Divine Liturgy with Blessing of the Waters will be Tuesday, January 5, at 6:30 pm.

BLESSING OF HOMES - Fr. Antony will be blessing homes after Epiphany (January 6)  and between Pascha (April 4) and Pentecost (May 23).  We bless homes to reveal the home as what God created it to be, a way to heaven; to rid the home of every evil;  to show that the family is a small church unit in Christ; to consecrate the home and all activity in it to God; and to fill the home and all who live in it with the fullness of God.  To schedule the blessing of your home, please use the form in the weekly Bulletin or call the church office at 617 547-1234.

CHINESE NEW YEAR BREAKFAST - The annual Chinese New Year Missions Breakfast, sponsored by the Fellowship of St. John the Divine,  has been re-scheduled from January 31 to Sunday, February 14, 2010 (Cheesefare Sunday).  Watch for further details.

YOUTH DAY - The first ever Diocesan Youth Day is Saturday, January 23, at Saint George Cathedral in Worcester .  Discover what a difference YOU can make in the life of the Church.  There will be workshops, speakers (Archdeacon Seraphim and Deacon Nick), food, fun, basketball and more. It is for guys and gals from fourth grade through high school. The day begins at 9:30 AM and runs through 3:30 PM.  Check with your Teen SOYO advisor for details or contact Greg Abdalah at abdalah.g@gmail.com

CROSSROADS - CrossRoad Summer Institute is an exciting summer vocation exploration program designed to help students  (high school Juniors & Seniors) discern their life callings and match their God-given gifts with the needs of the world.  Applications are now being accepted for two sessions - due to space limitations, apply by March 1 for first consideration.  Download application and  view video clip at:  www.crossroad.hchc.edu

REMINDERS  

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

TEEN SOYO DANCE - The  Diocesan TEEN SOYO is sponsoring a Winter Wonderland Sock Hop (Dance) on Saturday, January 16, 2010 at St. Mary Church Hall, Cambridge.  Vespers at 5:00 pm with the Dance 6:00-9:00 pm.  Ages:  7th - 12th Grades.  Refreshments will be served.  Donation:  $3 per teen AND one pair of new, packaged socks to be donated to the City of Cambridge Sock Drive for the Homeless.  Bring your friends!  A special DJ will be on hand to mix some great tunes!  Parents should plan to arrive at 9:00 pm for pick-up.  Your Host:  St. Mary, Cambridge  Teen SOYO.

PRE-LENTEN RETREAT - The Antiochian Women of the Diocese of Worcester and New England will sponsor a pre-Lenten retreat on Saturday, January 30, at St. George Church, Norwood. Featured speaker will be  Mother Alexandra, Abbess of the Convent of Saint Thekla at Antiochian Village .  Topic:  "BACK TO THE FUTURE with St. Ignatius:  Then IS Now!"

Registration:  $15.00 per person.    Men, Women & Teens are welcome!

PARISH MEETING - The Annual Meeting of the Parish will be held Sunday, January 31, after Liturgy.  The meeting will be brief, and all members are urged to attend.  Snow date is Sunday, February 14.

ORDER OF ST. IGNATIUS - Save the date for the St. Ignatius Holiday Gathering Sunday, January 31, 2010. Mother Alexandra, Abbess of the Convent of St. Thekla at the Antiochian Village will be our special guest. Invitations to follow.

WELCOME TO  E-GIVING! - St. Mary's is pleased to announce that in 2010, parishioners will have the option to fulfill their pledge through electronic funds transfer (EFT).  No more envelopes, remembering to write checks, etc.   If you are interested in learning more about this program, please e-mail Charlie Marge (marge@alum.mit.edu).

ENVELOPES AND CALENDARS - 2010 Offering Envelopes are ready for pickup outside the Church Office.  Look for your names carefully in alphabetical order.  Remember:  if you have chosen to pay periodically, you have not been assigned weekly envelopes.  If you wish to change your payment arrangements, call Marilyn Robbat in the Church Office at 617-547-1234 Tuesday - Friday.   Church Calendars are also available for pickup - one per family, please.

CHURCH RESTORATION PROJECT - We are about to embark on another phase of restoration of the church.  This next phase, which will focus on the exterior of the church including work on the foundation,  roofing, siding, and exterior trim, will begin in Spring 2010.  More details to follow - please see Raymond Sayeg or Mary Winstanley O'Connor about contributing to this restoration project.

FIRST IN, LAST OUT - Please do not park in the small lot behind the church unless you intend to stay through the end of coffee hour. The only way out is the single lane driveway, which is sometimes blocked by other cars.  Please pull all the way in to the parking space, and please do not block the driveway - if the lot is full, please park on the street or in the lot at the corner of Prospect Street and Bishop Allen Drive.

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 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.

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 - The Food for Hungry People canned food drive continues through December 27, 2009 - see Reminders, above.  Bring  in canned goods to the Church and place them in the large, blue plastic containers outside the Church Office. 

- 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, 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

January 2:  Mitrophan and Michelle Chin and family

LITURGICAL SERVICE

Sunday, January 3:   If you would like assist during Communion, please contact Jeff Wasilko, 781-820-0882, jeffw@smoe.org

COFFEE HOUR

Sunday, December 3:  Church School Christmas Festivities - Pizza etc.

LITURGICAL SCHEDULE FOR THIS WEEK

Saturday, January 2:  No Vespers at St. Mary

Sunday, January 3:  Orthros 8:45 am; Divine Liturgy 10:00 am; Church School Christmas Pageant and Festivities (postponed from December 20)

SCRIPTURE READINGS for January 3:

Epistle:  St. Paul's Letter to Timothy 4:5-8)  

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. 

Gospel:  Mark 1:1-8

John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  And there went out to him all the country of Judea, and all the people of Jerusalem ; and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan , confessing their sins. 

Tuesday, January 5:  Evening Liturgy for  Feast of Theophany 6:30 pm, with Blessing of the Waters

Wednesday, January 6, Feast of Theophany:  No services at St. Mary

Saturday, January 9:  Great Vespers 5:00 pm

Sunday, January 10:  Orthros 8:45 am; Divine Liturgy 10:00 am with Blessing of the Waters;  No Church School - Church School children remain upstairs for the Blessing of the Water

LOOKING AHEAD

Saturday, January 16:

Sunday, January 17:  Orthros 8:45 am; Divine Liturgy 10:00 am; Church School lesson 10

INSIGHT

When thou, O Lord, wast baptized in the Jordan, the worship of the Trinity was made manifest.  For the voice of the Father bore witness to thee, and called thee his beloved Son.  And the Spirit, in the form of a dove, confirmed the truthfulness of his word.  O Christ, our God, who hast revealed thyself and hast enlightened the world, glory to thee!

   - Troparion for Epiphany, Tone 1

John did not say, "Wash your clothes, wash your body, and ye will be pure," but what? -- "bear ye fruits worthy of repentance" (Mt 3:8).

   - St. John Chrysostom

Since the Word of God though His descent to us has brought the kingdom of heaven close to us, let us not distance ourselves from it by leading an unrepentant life. Let us rather flee the wretchedness of those who sit "in darkness and the shadow of death" (Isa. 9:2). Let us acquire the fruits of repentance: a humble disposition, compunction and spiritual grief, a gentle and merciful heart that loves righteousness and pursues purity, peaceful, peace-making, patient in toil, glad to endure persecution, loss, outrage, slander and suffering for the sake of truth and righteousness. For the kingdom of heaven or, rather, the King of heaven - ineffable in His generosity - is within us (cf. Luke 17:21); and to Him we should cleave through acts of repentance and patient endurance, loving as much as we can Him Who so dearly has loved us.

   - St. Gregory Palamas

...repentance is the ever more acute awareness of the love of God and of our inadequate response. It is not an act that can be finished, but a constant state of the soul which deepens the nearer it approaches the end.

   - Paul Evdokimov

Abba Sarmatas said, "I prefer a sinful man who knows he has sinned and repents, to a man who has not sinned and considers himself to be righteous."

   - The Desert Fathers