St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Update for the week Thursday, December 14, through Thursday, December 20, 2012

THIS WEEK

YOUTH EQUIPPED TO SERVE – YES, a program of FOCUS North America, will be coming to Providence, RI this weekend, Friday-Sunday, December 14-16.  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

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

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 - this 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.

ICON NEEDED – Do you have an icon of St. Susannah the Deaconess, Peter the Aleut, or Herman of Alaska? The Church School needs one of these to carry in procession this Sunday. If you can bring one in please contact Teva Regule (teva@mit.edu), and give it to her at the beginning of Liturgy.

PARAKLESIS – Next Wednesday, December 19, will be the final Paraklesis service during Advent, at 6:30 pm.

NEW ANNOUNCEMENTS

CHRISTMAS COFFEEHOUSE – Join the Boston area OCF chapters at Resurrection Orthodox Church in Allston on Friday, December 14, for a night of live music, food, and fellowship.  Featuring guest artist Annelise Emerick and others!  Doors open at 9:00 pm. Suggested Donation: $2. Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church, 62 Harvard Avenue,  Allston,  MA 02134.

PARISH COUNCIL – The next meeting of the Parish Council will be held on Wednesday, December 19, at 7:30.

DIOCESAN CELEBRATION –  His Grace, Bishop John and the clergy of the Diocese invite you to celebrate the pre-feast of our Lord’s baptism, along with the blessing of the waters, on Saturday, January 5 at St. John Church, Dedham. The Hierarchical Divine Liturgy begins at 10:00 am, with light refreshments to follow.

PARISH MEETING – The Annual Meeting of the Parish will be held Sunday, January 20, after Liturgy.  All members are urged to attend.

ORTHODOXY IN CHINA – Our own Mitrophan Chin recently took part in the Hong Kong celebration of 300 Years of Russian Mission in China. See an article about this event: http://www.pravmir.com/second-day-hong-kong-celebration-of-300-years-of-russian-mission-in-china-2

WINTER CAMP – We are invited to participate in camps for Youth (February 15-18) and for Families (March 1-3) at the St. Methodios Faith and Heritage Center in Contoocook, NH, sponsored by the Metropolis of Boston. For information and registration see http://www.boston.goarch.org/youth_ministries/mbc/winter_camps.html

REAL BREAK – Each year hundreds of thousands of college students in North America travel during their spring break for oftentimes, empty experiences.  Entering its 12th year, OCF Real Break continues to offer the transformative, priest-led trips both domestically and internationally.  To find detailed information regarding the 2013 Real Break trips and to register, please visit www.ocf.net/realbreak. . Be a part of this year's life-changing week-long Real Break experience.

REMINDERS

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

INTERESTED IN BIBLE STUDY? – Dr. Jeannie Constantinou's Search the Scriptures (http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/searchthescriptures) is a free, downloadable Orthodox Bible study designed for busy people. You can listen to the lessons at any time on your own, but the Fellowship of St. John the Divine would like to know if you'd be interested in listening to pre-recorded talks and discussing them as a group.  In Search the Scriptures, we'd start off by learning about the origin of the Bible (where it actually came from, who chose the books and when, how we should understand words like "inspiration" and "inerrancy," etc.). Next, we'd examine each book of the Bible - starting in Genesis - through the lens of the Church Fathers. Start date has not yet been determined, but if you think you might be interested, please send an email to the FSJD secretary, Melissa Nassiff, at mnassiff@gmail.com. Please respond by Wednesday, December 19.

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

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!

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.

FAMILY MISSION TO ALBANIA – All Orthodox Christians from North America who have experience with children are invited to prayerfully consider helping with a family retreat program in Albania this coming July, sponsored jointly by the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Center for Family Care. Families with children, couples, and individuals are encouraged to apply. The mission will be led by our own Panayiotis and Shannon Sakellariou. For more information see http://www.ocmc.org/resources/view_article.aspx?ArticleId=899

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.”
     If you missed the opportunity to contribute to some of the special collections held recently,  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.

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.

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

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

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.

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:  Deno Takles

COFFEE HOUR:   Church School Parents & Teachers

LITURGICAL SCHEDULE FOR THIS WEEK

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

SCRIPTURE READINGS for Sunday, December 16:
   Epistle: St. Paul's Letter to the Colossians 3:4-11
Brethren, when Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. … Here there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, but Christ is all, and in all.

   Gospel: Luke 14:16-24; Matthew 22:14
The Lord said this parable: "A man once gave a great banquet, and invited many; and at the time of the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, 'Come; for all is now ready.' But they all alike began to make excuses. …Then the householder in anger said to his servant, 'Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and maimed and blind and lame.' … And the master said to the servant, 'Go out to the highways and hedges, and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet. For many are called, but few are chosen.'"

Wednesday, December 19: Paraclesis Service 6:30 pm

LOOKING AHEAD

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 6:30 pm  (note revised time)

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

REFLECTION

It will be shown that God's holy Church, an image conforming to its Archetype, does God's work in us. The men, women, and children coming into the Church, reborn and recreated by her in the Spirit, are just about infinite in number. They are very different from each other in race and appearance; they are of all languages, life styles, and ages; there are great differences in their mentalities, customs, and interests, their social station, their skills and their professions; their fortunes, their characters and their abilities are all very different; but the Church confers one and the same divine character and title equally on all: that they be, and be called, Christians. The Church bestows unity in that simple, indivisible relationship which comes from faith, and does not allow the many untold differences to stand out, even though they exist in every one.
   - St. Maximus the Confessor, The Mystagogia

[Jesus prayed] "that they may be one, as We are." In this perfect unity, not only the all-conquering power of the faithful but also the glory of God will be seen; yes, and God's very being. As the Father and the Son are one in essence, differing only in Person, so let it be among the faithful, many and varied in person, but essentially one in love, will and mind.
   - St. (Bp.) Nikolai Velimirovic, Homilies

God is a consuming fire. He alone can refine us like gold, and separate us from the slag and dross of our selfish individualities to fuse us into this wholeness of perfect unity that will reflect His own Triune Life forever.  As long as we do not permit His love to consume us entirely and to unite us in Himself, the gold that is in us will be hidden by the rock and dirt which keep us separate from one another.  As long as we are not purified by the love of God and transformed into Him in the union of pure sanctity, we will remain apart from one another, opposed to one another, and union among us will be a precarious and painful thing, full of labor and sorrow and without lasting cohesion.
   - Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation

… unless you fix in your thought that you have already passed over from this life and consider that this world and its glory are as a tent that has been struck, you cannot conquer the earthly passions and worldly desires which overwhelm people to the ruin and destruction of the flesh; for he is without deception who said, If any one wishes to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For he who wishes to find his soul will lose it; but he who loses it for my sake will find it. For what advantage will someone have if he gain the whole world but pay the price of his life?
   - St Ephrem the Syrian

Let none "seek what is his own, but what is another's," as the Apostle says, "Let each one of you please his neighbor for his good unto edifying." For the cementing of our unity cannot be firm unless we be bound by the bond of love into an inseparable solidity, because "as in one body we have many members, but all the members have not the same office; so we being many are one body in Christ, and all of us members one of another. " The connection of the whole body makes all alike healthy, all alike beautiful; and this connection requires the unanimity indeed of the whole body.
   - St. Leo the Great,  Letters