St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Update for the week Thursday, December 3, through Thursday, December 9, 2010

THIS WEEKEND

PARISH CHRISTMAS CARD- Save yourself time, let us do the work and have all proceeds  benefit the Convent of St. Theklaat Antiochian Village.   Let the Women’s Club send a lovely Christmas Card on your behalf to our parishioners.  You will receive this card with the names of parishioners, like yourself, who are wishing  a Blessed Nativity and a Merry Christmas to all.  Please use the form in the Sunday Bulletin.  Deadline:  this Sunday, December 5, 2010.

FEAST OF ST. NICHOLAS – This Sunday the Church School will celebrate the Feast of St. Nicholas with a lesson in the Sanctuary and some St. Nicholas festivities.

CHRISTMAS PAGEANT REHEARSAL – There will be a rehearsal for the Church School’s Christmas pageant this Sunday immediately after Divine Liturgy.  Dress Rehearsal will be next Saturday at 2:30 pm, before Lessons and Carols,

SEE THE MESSIAH – Fifteen people from St. Mary’s will be attending the Handel and Haydn Society’s  annual performance of Handel’s Messiah, this Sunday, December 5, at 3:00 p.m.     You may still be able to order tickets online at http://www.handelandhaydn.org., and join us for lunch at Pho & I before the concert.  See Melissa Nassiff for questions and carpooling.

NEW ANNOUNCEMENTS

CHRISTMAS PAGEANT- The Church School Christmas Pageant will take place next Sunday, December 12, after Divine Liturgy (rain/snow date: December 19).  Following the Pageant a luncheon of pizza, salad and dessert will be served in the church hall.  All are welcome.  Registered Church School children are free.  A suggested $5.00 per adult freewill offering is suggested.

PRISON MINISTRY TO  CHILDREN- In coordination with our new Prison Ministry, we are providing Christmas presents to the children of some of the prisoners.  Thank you so much for those that volunteered for this Ministry.  We had a wonderful response to the call for helpers.  Thanks to Michelle Chin for organizing our pre-school in making the lovely ornaments with each Angel’s name that are decorating our Christmas tree in the church.  They will remain on the tree throughout the Nativity in remembrance of the Angel and his/her family.  The deadline for gift drop-off is next Sunday, December 12.  Please contact Amy Clay for further information at amyclay@amyclay.net or 617-909-9614.

ANOTHER MESSIAH– Our own  Brooke Wilcox will be one of the soloists in a performance of Messiah next Sunday, December 12, at Carter Memorial United Methodist Church, 800 Highland Ave in Needham, at 3:00 pm. They will be accompanied by a 14-piece orchestra and an inter-faith chorus. Admission is free, and a reception will follow.

REMINDERS

NATIVITY FAST– The Nativity Fast, also known as the season of Advent, began last Mondayand continues until December 24. This is the forty days of fasting and prayer in preparation for the Great Feast of the Nativity of Christ.  Each Wednesday during this period there is a Paraklesis service at 6:30 pm.

PARISH COUNCIL ELECTION– Ballots have been mailed out to all eligible parishioners, and are to be returned no later than Tuesday, December 9, 2010.

LESSONS AND CAROLS AND POTLUCK– The Fellowship of St. John the Divine cordially invites you to a service of prayers, scripture readings and Christmas Carols.  Western Rite Evensong with Lessons and Carols will be celebrated on  SaturdayDecember 11, 2010  (snow date: Sunday, December 12)  at 5:00 pm. 

A festive Lenten Pot Luck Supper will follow the service.  People whose last name begins with A–P:  please bring a main dish or salad;  people whose last name begins with Q–Z:  please bring dessert.  Drinks will be provided.   For more information, contact Tiffany Conroy at trattus1@gmail.com

VILLAGE (CAMP) AT HOME - The Diocese of Worcester and New England will be hosting a “Village at Home” on Saturday December 11, 2010 from 10:00 am - 8:00 pm at St. George Cathedral in Worcester.  The cost is $5.00 per camper for grades 2-12.  For more information see the notice on the St. Mary bulletin board or call Greg Abdalah at 508-752-9150. RSVP by December 3.  Come enjoy a day of camp, right in your own back yard.

CHRISTMAS CONCERT– The Choir of St. George Norwood will present a Christmas Concert of Hymns and Carols on Sunday, December 19, 2010 at 4:00 pm at the Church, 6 Atwood Ave. in South Norwood.  All are Welcome and admission is free. A reception will follow in the church hall.

RETREATS AT ANTIOCHIAN VILLAGE– Several retreats and conferences at the Village are coming up in the next couple of months:  St. Herman Middle School Retreat December 10-12, 2010;   OCF College Conference December 28-31;   Marriage Preparation Weekend January 14-17, 2011;  and Marriage Enrichment Retreat February 18-20.  For more information see http://antiochianvillage.org/center/special_events/upcoming.html

YOUTH EQUIPPED TO SERVE–  Middle school and high school students are invited on a service trip to Providence RI from Friday, December 17,  at 5:00 pm through Sunday, December 19th, at 3:00 pm.  Nadia is hoping a group of teens from St. Mary's will join her in a weekend of service, fellowship, and prayer.  To register visit yesnorthamerica.orgor for more information email Nadia at nabuelezam@gmail.com.

CANNED FOOD DRIVE– The annual FOOD FOR HUNGRY PEOPLE Canned Food Drive will be held  through December 26, 2010.  Bring  in your canned goods to the Church and place them in the large, blue plastic containers outside the Church Office – they will be distributed to local food pantries in our area. Since 1984 we have collected over 3,281,200 pounds of food.

CROSSROAD- Attention High School Juniors & Seniors:  CrossRoad is an exciting summer vocation exploration program designed to help students discern their life callings and match their God-given gifts with the needs of the world.  CrossRoad session dates for summer 2011 are June 18-28 (first session) and July 5-15 (second session). For more information and to download an application:  www.crossroad.hchc.edu

PRISON MINISTRY– If you would like to find out more about Prison Ministry at St. Mary Orthodox Church, please subscribe to the mailing list at http://groups.google.com/group/ocpm-concord

ON-LINE STEWARDSHIP SIGN-UP - Please e-mail Jamil Samara (jamil@jamilsamara.com) or Charlie Marge (marge@alum.mit.edu) if you have any questions about giving to the Church through eGive.

COFFEE HOUR VOLUNTEERS NEEDED – Please sign up to provide a coffee hour – it can be as simple as coffee, juice, and cookies.  Lots of Sundays are available in the Fall, and plenty of help is available! Signup sheets are on the bulletin board downstairs outside the Hall, or call Marilyn in the office at 617-547-1234 or secretary@stmaryorthodoxchurch.org

STREAMING VIDEO- Divine Liturgy at St. Mary is broadcast live every week!  Do come to church…  but if you can’t, then join us on your computer! To see live broadcasts go tohttp://stmaryorthodoxchurch.org/livestream. Divine Liturgy starts at 10:00 am every Sunday September through June, and at 9:30 am during the summer. 

If you are interested in helping, please contact Erick Straghalis (estraghalis@gmail.com). 

PROTECT YOUR VALUABLES  - Please do not leave valuables unattended in the Church Hall or Cloak Room.

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.  Please pull all the way in to the parking space, and please do not block the driveway – if the lot is full, you can 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 Communionby 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
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.orgor 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 atliztutella@gmail.com  phone 617-974-5005,  or Tiffany Conroy at trattus1@gmail.com.

St Paul’s Food Pantry - Volunteers are needed each week in the food pantry at St Paul's Roman Catholic Church in Harvard Square, Saturday mornings from 9:30-11:45. 

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, for more information.

Canned Goods-The annual Food For Hungry People canned food drive  is  held  October through  December each year.  Bring  in your canned goods to the Church and place them in the large, blue plastic containers outside the Church Office – they will be distributed to local food pantries in our area.

"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

LITURGICAL SERVICE –  To be determined

COFFEE HOUR – No one volunteered

LITURGICAL SCHEDULE FOR THIS WEEK

Saturday, December 4:  Great Vespers 5:00 pm         

Sunday, December 5, the Feast of St. Nicholas:  Orthros 8:45 am,  Divine Liturgy 10:00  am, with Church School Lesson and St. Nicholas Festivities in the Sanctuary, followed by Pageant rehearsal

SCRIPTURE READINGS for December 5:
Epistle:  St. Paul's Letter to the Galatians 5:22-26; 6:1-2
Brethren, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law. …  Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Gospel:  Luke 13:10-17
At that time, Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity for eighteen years; she was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. And when Jesus saw her, he called her and said to her, "Woman, you are freed from your infirmity." And he laid his hands upon her, and immediately she was made straight, and she praised God. But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the sabbath…

Wednesday, December 8:  Paraclesis service 6:30 pm

LOOKING AHEAD

Saturday, December 11:  Western Rite Evensong with Lessons and Carols 5:00 pm, followed by Potluck Supper

Sunday, December 12:  Orthros 8:45 am,  Divine Liturgy 10:00  am,  followed by Church School Christmas Pageant

Wednesday, December 15:  Paraclesis service 6:30 pm

Saturday, December 18:  Great Vespers 5:00 pm

Sunday, December 19:   Orthros 8:45 am,  Divine Liturgy 10:00  am;  Church School Lesson 10

Wednesday, December 22:  Paraclesis service 6:30 pm

Friday, December 24:  Royal Hours for the Nativity 9:00 am;  Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil  11:00 am
Orthros 6:30 pm; Divine Liturgy for the Nativity 8:00 pm

Saturday, December 25, Feast of the Nativity of our Lord (Christmas):  No Services

February 4-6: Midwinter Meetings of FSJD, Antiochian Women, and Teen SOYO at Antiochian Village

Saturday, February 12:  Pre-Lenten Retreat sponsored by Antiochian Women, at St. George, Norwood
Saturday, December 11:  Western Rite Evensong with Lessons and Carols 5:00 pm, followed by Potluck Supper

Sunday, December 12:  Orthros 8:45 am,  Divine Liturgy 10:00  am,  followed by Church School Christmas Pageant

Wednesday, December 15:  Paraclesis service 6:30 pm

Saturday, December 18:  Great Vespers 5:00 pm

Sunday, December 19:   Orthros 8:45 am,  Divine Liturgy 10:00  am;  Church School Lesson 10

Wednesday, December 22:  Paraclesis service 6:30 pm

Friday, December 24:  Royal Hours for the Nativity 9:00 am;  Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil  11:00 am
Orthros 6:30 pm; Divine Liturgy for the Nativity 8:00 pm

Saturday, December 25, Feast of the Nativity of our Lord (Christmas):  No Services

February 4-6: Midwinter Meetings of FSJD, Antiochian Women, and Teen SOYO at Antiochian Village

Saturday, February 12:  Pre-Lenten Retreat sponsored by Antiochian Women, at St. George, Norwood

INSIGHT

Love in its nature makes a human being like God, as far as is possible for a human being. The soul is intoxicated by the effects of it. Its characteristics are a fountain of faith, an abyss of patience, an ocean of humility. … Therefore the one who loves God also loves his brother or sister. Indeed, the second love is the proof of the first.
   - St. John of the Ladder

The source of false religion is the inability to rejoice, or, rather, the refusal of joy, whereas joy is absolutely essential because it is without any doubt the fruit of God's presence. One cannot know that God exists and not rejoice.
Fr. Alexander Schmemann,  The Journals

Surely [peace] is nothing else but a loving disposition towards one's neighbor. Now what is held to be the opposite of love? It is hate and wrath, anger and envy, harboring resentment as well as hypocrisy and the calamity of war. Do you see for how many different diseases this single word is an antidote? For peace is equally opposed to every one of the things mentioned, and wipes out these evils by its own presence. Just as illness vanishes when health supervenes, and as no darkness is left when light begins to shine, so also when peace appears, all the passions connected with its opposite are eliminated.
- St. Gregory of Nyssa 

We actively manifest love in forbearance and patience towards our neighbor, in genuinely desiring his good, and in the right use of material things.
   - St. Maximos the Confessor

Zeal is not reckoned among men to be a form of wisdom, but one of the illnesses of the soul, namely narrow-mindedness and deep ignorance. The beginning of divine wisdom is clemency and gentleness, which arise from greatness of soul and the bearing of infirmities of men.
   - St. Isaac of Nineveh

Rejoice at every opportunity of showing kindness to your neighbor as a true Christian who strives to store up as many good works as possible, especially the treasures of love. Do not rejoice when others show you kindness and love - consider yourself unworthy of it; but rejoice when an occasion presents itself for you to show love.
   - Saint John of Kronstadt, My Life in Christ 

O, how often people perish from a false assurance of their honesty and righteousness! They perish because they trust in their own goodness, and do not think about the spirit of Christianity at all or the help of the Holy Spirit, just when they are win extreme need of His help. And as the Holy Spirit is given only to those who ask and seek, and such people not only fail to ask and seek Him but do not even consider it necessary, therefore He is not given them and consequently they remain in error and perish.
   - St. Innocent of Alaska, Indication of the Way into the Kingdom of Heaven

Faith, like active prayer, is a grace. For prayer, when activated by love through the power of the Spirit, renders true faith manifest - the faith that reveals the life of Jesus.
   - St. Gregory of Sinai, The Philokalia

It is for this reason that the Savior says, "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God": for He is hidden in the hearts of those who believe in Him. They shall see Him and the riches that are in Him when they have purified themselves through love and self-control; and the greater the purity the more they will see.
   - St. Maximus the Confessor, Fourth Century on Love