St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Update for the week Thursday, November 30, through Thursday, December 6, 2012

THIS WEEK

DIOCESAN CHRISTMAS CONCERT – Come hear sacred hymns of the Nativity and Christmas Carols sung by our Chanters and Choir Members from throughout our Diocese of Worcester and New England.  The concert will be held this Saturday, December 1, at 7:00 pm at the Church of St. John of Damascus, 300 West St, Dedham, MA.  Suggested Donation: $10/person – proceeds will go to IOCC US Emergency Response Fund to provide relief to the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

ST. MARY PARISH  CHRISTMAS CARD – Save yourself time, and let us do the work - 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.  Use the form in the Sunday bulletin or send a note, with your check in any amount, to St. Mary Church - Women’s Club, Attn: MaryEllen Mabardy, 8 Inman St., Cambridge, MA  02139.  All proceeds  benefit Antiochian Women  Project 2012-2013:  The Antiochian Village –Tornado Relief Fund.   Deadline is this Sunday, December 2, 2012.

PAGEANT REHEARSAL – The first rehearsal for the Christmas Pageant will be immediately after Sunday School, upstairs in the church proper during Coffee Hour.  See Charlie Marge if you are interested.

FELLOWSHIP MEETING – There will be a brief meeting of the Fellowship of St. John the Divine in the Hall after liturgy this Sunday, December 2. New members are always welcome.

MESSIAH – If you have ordered tickets for the December 2 Messiah concert and not yet received them, please see Melissa Nassiff this Sunday. Also, if you would like to join the group for lunch before the concert, please contact her at mnassiff@gmail.com by Friday, November 30.

PARAKLESIS – This coming Wednesday, and every Wednesday during Advent, there will be a Paraklesis service at 6:30 pm.


NEW ANNOUNCEMENTS

ST. NICHOLAS – The Church School’s annual St. Nicholas Festivities will be held next Sunday, December 9; there will be no Church School classes on that date.

CHRISTMAS PAGEANT –  The second rehearsal of the Church School’s Christmas Pageant  will be next Sunday, December 9. Dress Rehearsal will be Saturday, December 15 at 2:30pm. The pageant will be presented on Sunday, December 16 (snow date: December 23).

2013 CALENDARS AND ENVELOPES – New Church Calendars and 2013 Offering Envelopes are available for pick-up starting this Sunday, December 2.  They are in the Hallway outside of the Church Office.  If you would like to be issued envelopes, please call Marilyn Robbat in the Church Office during the week 617-547-1234.

PARKING –  If you park in the Church parking lot, you need to plan on remaining until after the Coffee Hour or other church function.  Do not park in the Church parking lot if you need to leave immediately after church. 
   Additionally, do not park beyond the sign that prohibits parking at the corner of Inman Street and Bishop Allen Drive.  It is difficult for large vehicles to turn the corner if cars are parked there.  Failure to heed this warning may result in the City preventing parishioners from parking on Inman Street.  Your cooperation is appreciated.


REMINDERS

NATIVITY FAST - The Nativity Fast continues, from November 15 until Christmas.

CONFESSIONS –  Confessions are heard each Saturday evening before and after Vespers, which start at 5:00 pm,  or by appointment.

BISHOP JOHN’S ANNIVERSARY – There will be a Divine Liturgy celebrating the 1-Year Anniversary of Bishop JOHN’s elevation to the Episcopacy on Monday, December 10, at 6:00 pm at St. George Cathedral, Worcester.  Reception to follow.

LESSONS AND CAROLS with POTLUCK - The Fellowship of St. John the Divine cordially invites you to Western Rite Evensong with Lessons and Carols - a service of prayers, scripture readings and Christmas Carols - on Saturday,  December 15, 2012, at 5:00 pm.  The service will be followed by a festive Lenten Pot Luck Supper.  People whose last name begins with A – P please bring a Main Dish or Salad; people whose last name begin with Q – Z  please bring Dessert. Drinks will be provided. For more information, contact Natasha Smith at nasmith05@rcn.com.

YOUTH EQUIPPED TO SERVE – YES, a program of FOCUS North America, will be coming to Providence, RI,  Friday-Sunday, December 14-16.  See the flyer in this week’s Sunday bulletin. For more information and to register go to  www.yesnorthamerica.org.  If you have any questions you can contact Katrina Bitar, Program Director, at Katrina@focusna.org

OCF COLLEGE CONFERENCE – Each year during Christmas Break, the Orthodox Christian Fellowship’s College Conferences host hundreds of college students from across North America for 4 days of fellowship, prayer, and some of the best Orthodox Speakers around! This year’s conference, at the Antiochian Village in Bolivar, PA, will be held Friday-Monday, December 28-31. For more information see http://www.ocf.net/wikis/programs/college-conference.aspx

SPECIAL COLLECTIONS – CONTRIBUTE ONLINE – We have recently held special collections at St. Mary for some important and worthwhile causes:  Teen SOYO’s help for Special Olympics on October 23; Seminarians on October 30; and Hurricane Sandy on November 4. If you missed the opportunity to contribute on those dates you can still do so online – Special Categories have been set up in eGive for these one-time donations.  Parishioners can also use their credit cards to make these one-time donations on our website:  http://www.stmaryorthodoxchurch.org/contact/donate.php    Just type the donation target (e.g. Hurricane Sandy) in the Additional Notes area.

CANNED FOOD DRIVE – The annual FOOD FOR HUNGRY PEOPLE food drive will be held October through December, 2012. 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. 42 pounds of food will feed a family of four for 3 days - since 1984 we have collected over 3,281,200 pounds of food!


REGULAR REMINDERS

DONATE VIA eGIVE– Did you know that you can make your donations to St. Mary through eGive, and have no more envelopes or checks to worry about?   If you have not yet set up an account, you can do it at www.egive-usa.com, or contact Charlie Marge (marge@alum.mit.edu) for help. The Recipient Organization is “St. Mary’s Orthodox Church.”

STREAMING VIDEO – St. Mary’s Church services are broadcast live each week through an internet video stream.  If you can't attend a service in person or want to share this ministry with a friend or loved one, the live stream can be viewed at www.stmaryorthodoxchurch.org/live  during regularly scheduled service times (see the schedule of services below or online).  If you have questions or comments about this ministry please contact us at live@stmaryorthodoxchurch.org.

VIDEO STREAMING FOR EVENTS – Now you can video stream your wedding or baptism live from St. Mary’s to friends and family who can't attend your event in person.  The cost for Event Video Streaming is $150 for members, $300 for non-members, and includes a password- protected viewing page and setup and breakdown of the streaming service for your event by a trained staff member.   You can also get a copy of your streamed event on CD: $50 for members, $100 for non-members. Fees are payable to the church. Streaming is subject to staff availability. For general questions on the video streaming ministry or event streaming, please contact live@stmaryorthodoxchurch.org.  To schedule your event and/or request Event Video Streaming, please contact the Church Office.

PROTECT YOUR VALUABLES – Please do not leave valuables unattended in the Church Hall or Coat 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.

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:

BECOME A GREETER – If you do not sing in the choir, or chant, serve in the Altar or at the Bengarri, and  are not a Church School teacher,  please consider serving the Church as a GREETER!  Greeters arrive at 9:45 am., get a Greeter Name Tag  from the Bengarri, pin it on and greet visitors/parishioners at the Church Entrance and direct them upstairs to the Church, or to the CloakRoom or RestRooms.  Greeting time ends when Communion starts.  Send your name and e-mail address to Buddy Mabardy: buddymabardy@cjmabardy.com or phone him 781-729-6303. 

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  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 new 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.

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

"As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me," says our Lord.

THIS SUNDAY'S VOLUNTEERS

GREETER:  Raymond Sayeg

COFFEE HOUR:   Priscilla Goss and family

LITURGICAL SCHEDULE FOR THIS WEEK

Saturday, December 1:  No Vespers at St. Mary – Diocesan Choir Concert at St. John of Damascus, Dedham 7:00 pm

Sunday, December 2:  Orthros 8:45 am; Enquirers’ Class 9:00 am;  Divine Liturgy 10:00 am; Church School lesson 9, Pageant rehearsal in the Sanctuary during coffee hour

SCRIPTURE READINGS for Sunday, December 2:
   Epistle: St. Paul's Letter to the Ephesians 5:8-19
Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. … Therefore it is said, "Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light."

   Gospel: Luke 18:35-43
At that time, as Jesus drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging; and hearing a multitude going by, he inquired what this meant. They told him, "Jesus of Nazareth is passing by." And he cried, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent; but he cried out all the more … And Jesus said to him, "Receive your sight; your faith has made you well."

Wednesday, December 5: Paraclesis Service 6:30 pm


LOOKING AHEAD

Saturday, December 8:  Great Vespers 5:00 pm

Sunday, December 9:  Orthros 8:45 am; Enquirers’ Class 9:00 am;  Divine Liturgy 10:00 am; Church School St. Nicholas Festivities, Pageant rehearsal in the Sanctuary during coffee hour

Wednesday, December 12:  Paraclesis Service 6:30 pm

Saturday, December 15:  Nativity Pageant dress rehearsal 2:30 pm; Lessons and Carols 5:00 pm, followed by Potluck Supper

Sunday, December 16:  Orthros 8:45 am; Enquirers’ Class 9:00 am;  Divine Liturgy 10:00 am; Church School Nativity Pageant following Liturgy, followed by Christmas Festivities in the Church Hall

Wednesday, December 19:  Paraclesis Service 6:30 pm

Saturday, December 22:  Great Vespers 5:00 pm

Sunday, December 23:  Orthros 8:45 am; Enquirers’ Class 9:00 am;  Divine Liturgy 10:00 am; Church School lesson 10

Monday, December 24:  Royal Hours for the Nativity 9:00 am; Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil 11:00 am; Orthros 6:45 pm.

Tuesday, December 25, Feast of the Nativity of our Lord, Christmas Day: No Services at St. Mary.


REFLECTION

Since then the only-begotten Son of God has been sent from the Father as propitiation for the world, may we, the blind, see again, we captives be freed, we oppressed be forgiven. Who is blind? One short-sighted through attachment to the passions. Who is captive? One led away by unseemly thoughts. Who is oppressed? One broken by sins. The Lord heals them; for he is a physician of souls as well as bodies. . . Let no one then remain unenlightened and unhealed, but let them draw near with faith and they will receive blessing from the Lord, and mercy from God their Saviour [Ps. 23:5].
   - St. Theodore the Studite

Natural endowment does not suffice unless God's light guides reason, enabling it to enter into the spirit of the Law and to see in a clearer light what it enjoins."
   - St. John Cassian

Salvation is not gained when we speak idly or when we pass through our days without consideration. Be attentive to your tongue and to your mind, for the guarding of these fills the soul with the light of God. But that one whose mouth is unbridled stores up various impurities in his soul.
   - Elder Ephraim of Philotheou Mount Athos

What was the purpose of His descent to earth except to save sinners, to bring light to those in darkness and life to the dead?'
   - St. Symeon Metaphrastis

In all your works, either at home or at the place of your service, do not forget that all your strength, your light and your success are in Christ and His Cross; therefore, do not fail to call upon the Lord before beginning any work, saying: Jesus, help me! Jesus, enlighten me! Thus your heart will be supported and warmed by lively faith and hope in Christ, for His is the power and glory unto ages of ages.
   - St. John of Kronstadt