St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Update for the week Thursday, December 21 through Thursday, December 27, 2012

THIS WEEK

ICONS NEEDED – Do you have an icon of the Nativity? The Church School needs one to carry in procession this Sunday and for the next two weeks. If you can bring one in please contact Teva Regule (teva@mit.edu).  Also, if anyone has an icon of Theophany, we would like to use that in January.

NATIVITY SERVICES – On Monday, Christmas Eve day, our Nativity celebration will include the following services: Royal Hours for the Nativity 9:00 am; Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil 11:00 am; Orthros 6:30 pm; Festal Divine Liturgy of St. Basil for the Nativity 8:00 pm.  On Tuesday, the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord (Christmas Day), there will be no services at St. Mary.

NEW ANNOUNCEMENTS

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

PLEDGE CARDS – 2013 pledge cards have been mailed.  Please return the signed cards by
December 31, 2012.

VILLAGE (CAMP) AT HOME - The Diocese of Worcester and New England will be hosting a “Village at Home” on Saturday, January 19, 2012 from 9:30 am – 5:15 pm at St. Mary  Church in Pawtucket.  All youth ages 8 and up are invited. The cost is $15.00 per person.  For more information see the notice in this week’s Sunday bulletin or contact Greg Abdalah at 508-752-9150 or 724-518-6811, or abdalah.g@gmail.com. RSVP by January 11.  Come enjoy a day of camp, right in your own back yard.

SIGN UP FOR COFFEE HOUR – A new  2013 coffee  hour  sign-up sheet has been posted. A whole year of Sundays is available! Please sign up to provide a coffee hour – it can be as simple as coffee, juice, and cookies, and plenty of help is available. Signup sheets are on the bulletin board downstairs outside the Hall, or call the Church Office at 617-547-1234 or email:  secretary@stmaryorthodoxchurch.org.  Remember,  no volunteers = no coffee hour! 

NEW PATRIARCH ELECTED - His Eminence the Metropolitan Archbishop of Western and Central Europe has been elected Patriarch of the Great City-of-God Antioch and all the East. The Patriarch-elect Youhanna X (Yaziji) was elected by the members of the Holy Synod on December 17. More information can be found on the Archdiocesan website at http://www.antiochian.org.

REMINDERS

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

GIVE A GIFT OF FOOD You have just two Sundays left to contribute to the annual Food For Hungry People food drive,  which goes through the end of 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.

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.

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.

WINTER CAMP – We are invited to participate in camps for Youth ages 12-18 (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 Registration is open now.

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.

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:  Andrew Bargoot

COFFEE HOUR:   The Arnold family

LITURGICAL SCHEDULE FOR THIS WEEK

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

SCRIPTURE READINGS for Sunday, December 23:
   Epistle: St. Paul's Letter to the Hebrews 11:9-10; 17-23; 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 … 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: 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 Jesse the father of David the king. And David was the father of Solomon … and Matthan the father of Jacob, 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. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit; and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel" (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took his wife, but knew her not until she had borne a son; and he called his name Jesus.

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

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

LOOKING AHEAD

Saturday, December 29:  No Vespers at St. Mary

Sunday, December 30:  Orthros 8:45 am; Enquirers’ Class 9:00 am;  Divine Liturgy 10:00 am, with Bishop JOHN celebrating; no Church School

Friday, January 4:  Royal Hours for the Feast of Theophany 9:00 am

Saturday, January 5:  Diocesan Pre-feast of Theophany with Bishop JOHN at St. John Church, Dedham.  Hierarchical Divine Liturgy with the Blessing of the Waters 10:00 am, with light refreshments following; Great Vespers at St. Mary 5:00 pm

Sunday, January 6:  Festal Liturgy for Theophany followed by Blessing of the Waters

Saturday, January 12:  No Vespers at St. Mary

Sunday, January 20:  Annual Parish Meeting following Liturgy

REFLECTION

Today the Virgin cometh to the cave to give birth to the Pre-Eternal Word, in a manner indescribable.  Rejoice, therefore, O Universe and glorify with the angels and shepherds Him who chose to appear as a young child, the Pre-Eternal God.
   - Kontakion Preparatory for the Nativity

Today the Virgin gives birth to Him, the Transcendent in essence, and the earth offers a cave to Him whom no man can approach.  Angels with shepherds give glory and Magi journey with a star, for unto us is born a young child, the pre-eternal God.
   - Kontakion of the Nativity

All join to praise this holy feast, beholding the Godhead here on earth, and man in heaven. He who is above, now for our redemption dwells here below; and we, who were lowly, are exalted by divine mercy!   Today Bethlehem resembles heaven, hearing from the stars the singing of angelic voices;  and, in place of the sun, witnessing the rising of the Sun of Justice!
   - St. John Chrysostom, excerpt from Nativity Sermon

Thy Nativity, O Christ our God, hath shown to the world the light of knowledge.  For thereby those who worshipped the stars were taught by a star to adore Thee, the Sun of Righteousness, and to know Thee, the Orient from on high.  O Lord,  glory to Thee.
   - Troparion of the Nativity

We can see the Nativity as a secret re-creation, by which human nature was assumed and restored to its original state. … Christ reveals to us, and we see in Christ, that perfect "image of God" after which we are fashioned, and which attracts us like a magnet. It is now up to us to transform "image" into "likeness."
    - Olivier Clément

This Christmas night bestowed peace on the whole world, So let no one threaten;
This is the night of the Most Gentle One - Let no one be cruel;
This is the night of the Humble One - Let no one be proud.
Now is the day of joy - Let us not seek revenge;
Now is the day of good will - Let us not be mean.
In this Day of Peace - Let us not be conquered by anger.
   - St. Isaac the Syrian, excerpt from Nativity Homily