St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Update for the week Thursday, December 17, through Thursday, December 23, 2010

THIS WEEKEND

YOUTH EQUIPPED TO SERVE–  Middle school and high school students are participating in a service trip to Providence RI from Friday, December 17,  at 5:00 pm through Sunday, December 19th, at 3:00 pm.   A group of teens from St. Mary's will join Nadia in a weekend of service, fellowship, and prayer.  For more information email Nadia at nabuelezam@gmail.com.

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.

NEW ANNOUNCEMENTS

PLEDGE YOUR  SUPPORT FOR ST. MARY- Pledge Cards have been mailed out this week.  You may make your pledge for 2011 either by returning the Pledge Card to the church or by filling out the ePledge card on our web site (www.stmaryorthodoxchurch.org) as soon as possible, but no later than December 31, 2010. 

PARISH MEETING – The Annual Meeting of the Parish will be held Sunday, January 30, after Liturgy.  The meeting is expected to be brief, and all members are urged to attend.  Snow date is Sunday, February 13.

REMINDERS

NATIVITY FAST– The Nativity Fast, also known as the season of Advent, 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.

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

CANNED FOOD DRIVE– The annual FOOD FOR HUNGRY PEOPLE Canned Food Drive is being 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.

RETREATS AT ANTIOCHIAN VILLAGE– Several retreats and conferences at the Village are coming up in the next couple of months:  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

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 –  Epistle: Dan McCabe;  Bread and Communion Cloth: Michelle Chin and others

COFFEE HOUR

LITURGICAL SCHEDULE FOR THIS WEEK

Saturday, December 18:  Great Vespers 5:00 pm

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

SCRIPTURE READINGS for December 19:
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 what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets - who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, received promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. …  Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, that they might rise again to a better life. …  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:  Luke 14:16-24; Matthew 1:1-25
The book of the Genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.   Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers… and Jesse the father of David the king.  And David was the father of Solomon … and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.  Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way…

Wednesday, December 22:  Paraclesis service 6:30 pm

LOOKING AHEAD

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

Sunday, December 26:  Orthros 8:45 am,  Divine Liturgy 10:00  am;  no Church School

Sunday, January 2:  Orthros 8:45 am,  Divine Liturgy 10:00  am;  no Church School

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

Let us also imitate and trust in God's promises, not allowing time to undermine our resolve, nor any obstacles to intervene in the meantime to weaken our determination. Trusting instead in God's power as if we already had before our eyes the revelation of the promises, let us give evidence of unalloyed faith. Extraordinarily great, you see, are the promises the Lord has made to us, too, surpassing our imagination - I mean enjoyment of the kingdom, a share in those ineffable goods, life with angels, escape from hell. On the other hand, let us never lose confidence because these things are not visible to bodily eyes; rather, let us consider the fidelity of the One promising and the greatness of His power, and thus view them with the eyes of faith and on the basis of what has already been given let us maintain sound hope in what is to come.
   - St. John Chrysostom

If it were possible to describe all the different tortures which were devised for their affliction, everything that the enemy, the devil, has inflicted upon the martyrs and ascetics who loved God, it would be seen how much they endured and how they have wrestled, triumphing over the weakness of the flesh by the courage of the soul. They attained to those good things for which they hoped by counting them more worthy than the trials of this earthly life. This provides a demonstration of the solid quality of their faith in two ways. On the one hand, that having endured a little, they now enjoy great benefits in eternity. On the other hand, that they so cheerfully endured the physical torments with which the adversary the devil afflicted them. If therefore we endure affliction and persevere, with the help of God. we shall be found to be friends of God indeed. And God will be with us, fighting shoulder to shoulder with us in the battle, greatly alleviating that which we must endure.
   - Abba Palladios in The Spiritual Meadow of John Moschos

To have faith in Christ means more than simply despising the delights of this life. It means we should bear all our daily trials that may bring us sorrow, distress, or unhappiness, and bear them patiently for as long as God wishes and until He comes to visit us. For it is said:  'I waited on the Lord and He came to me.'
   - St. Symeon the New Theologian, The Practical and Theological Chapters

As a congregation meets to worship God, it comes into God’s presence – where the multitudes of angels unceasingly praise God, in concert with the fullness of the church of all times and places, the faithful Christians of past ages who have departed this life and live in God’s presence. … Any congregation – no matter how humble its building, how sophisticated its people or how gifted its leaders – partakes of this privilege as it worships God. …  It is part of, joined to and in harmony with the entirety of the worshippers of God in all times and places – not just in ideal or thought, but in actuality.
   - James R. Payton Jr., Light from the Christian East