St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Update for the week Thursday, January 7 through Thursday, January 14, 2016

THIS WEEK AT ST. MARY'S

THURSDAY, 1/7 - The Bible Study group will meet again next Thursday, January 7, at 7:00 pm in the church library. We will continue our discussion of Isaiah, using the podcasts at http://orthodoxbiblestudy.info/isaiah-5-and-6 and http://orthodoxbiblestudy.info/isaiah-6-part-1.
   The Bible Study at St. Mary meets every other Thursday, and is based on a very interesting course originally broadcast on Ancient Faith Radio, entitled Search the Scriptures. For more information contact Marianna Sayeg (mksayeg@gmail.com) or Fr. Antony (frawhj@gmail.com). New members are always welcome.

SATURDAY, 1/9 -  There will be no Vespers at St. Mary until further notice.

SUNDAY, 1/10 – Adult catechism 9:00; Orthros 8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00, followed by Second Blessing of the Water
   + Church School children go downstairs after Communion for a short music lesson, and return upstairs for the Second Blessing of the Water following Liturgy.

MONDAY, 1/11 - The Women's Club will meet Monday at 7:30, at the church.

WEDNESDAY, 1/13 - The next Parish Council meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday at 7:30 pm at the church. 

NEW ANNOUNCEMENTS

CHURCH SCHOOL – There will be no Church School classes next Sunday, January 14, because Monday is a school holiday.

FEAST OF THE PRESENTATION – We will have Evening Liturgy on Monday, February 1, at 6:30 pm, for the Feast of the Presentation of our Lord

CHINESE NEW YEAR – Plan to join the Hospitality Group on Sunday, February 21 after Liturgy, for the annual Chinese New Year Missions Breakfast, to benefit the Chinese Translation Project via the Orthodox Fellowship of All Saints of China (OFASC). Watch for more details.

PRE-LENTEN RETREAT - The Antiochian Women of the Diocese of Worcester & New England invite you to a Pre-Lenten Retreat on Saturday, February 27.  The Retreat, entitled “The Light at the End of the Tunnel,”  will be from 9:00 - 2:30 at St. John of Damascus Church, Dedham.  See the flyer insert in this week’s Sunday Bulletin for reservation and payment form.

REMINDERS

TEEN SOYO PROJECT: Health and Hygiene Kits for Syrian Refugees - The teens of St. Mary's are looking for your support. Throughout the month of December and into early January, our teens will be collecting items and putting together hygiene and health kits to send to refugees in Syria.  We are in need of the following donations:
   - Individual hand towels & washcloths 
   - Combs 
   - Metal nail files and/or nail clippers 
   - Bars of soap
   - Toothbrushes
   - Band-Aids
Basic items like this may seem small, but putting them together can have a major impact to those in need. Please bring and place donations in the  marked bins located in the room next to the church kitchen. If you have any questions, please ask a member of Teen SOYO.

PLEASE HELP THE WOMEN’S CLUB - The Women’s Club provides the Cambridge YWCA Family Shelter with baskets filled with household goods, to help residents ready to move to their own apartments.  We ask for your help by providing monetary donations to offset the cost of the items. Please give your donation to Marilyn Robbat or Barbara Shoop or mail it to the Church office c/o the Woman’s Club.  

PLEDGE - Pledge cards for 2016 have been mailed. Please return Pledge Cards to the church, or ePledge on St. Mary’s website, immediately.

HOUSE BLESSING - Fr. Antony will be blessing homes after Theophany (January 5), and between Pascha and Pentecost.  We bless homes to reveal the home as what God created it to be, a way to heaven; to rid the home of every evil;  to show that the family is a small church unit in Christ; to consecrate the home and all activity in it to God; and to fill the home and all who live in it with the fullness of God.  To schedule the blessing of your home, please use the form in the weekly Bulletin or call the church office at 617-547-1234.
 
2016 CHURCH CALENDARS & OFFERING ENVELOPES - New church calendars and 2016 offering envelopes are available for pick-up. Please only one calendar per family. We wish to thank Lou Kfoury of Kfoury Keefe Funeral Home for once again sponsoring the calendar. The calendar’s iconography is by our own Kh. Erin Kimmett of St. George Norwood.

ANNUAL PARISH MEETING – The Annual Meeting of St. Mary's Parish will be held on Sunday, January 24, 2016 (snow date: January 31.)  At this time we will vote on the budget for 2016, among other things. The proposed budget will be available on the previous Sunday, January 17.  It is important that all members of St. Mary’s Church attend this meeting.

CROSS+ROAD - CrossRoad is a ten-day academic summer institute that prepares high school juniors and seniors to make big life decisions and connect with the Orthodox Christian theological and spiritual tradition.  Hosted on the Hellenic College Holy Cross campus, participants experience daily worship, visit local parishes, tour Boston, and spend a day at the beach.  CrossRoad is now accepting applications for their summer 2016 sessions.  Session one: June 18-28. Session 2:  July 5-July 15 Complete your application by February 1, 2016. Applications received after that date will be reviewed on a rolling basis depending on availability.  For more information or to apply online go to www.crossroadinstitute.org.

ST. IGNATIUS GET-TOGETHER -  The Order of St. Ignatius Winter Get Together will be February 14 at Kens Steak House in Framingham.  Cocktails at 4:00 pm and dinner at 5:00 pm.  Invitation to follow.  Any questions contact Debbie Laham at debbielaham@aol.com.

ANTIOCHIAN VILLAGE SUMMER CAMP -  Registration for Summer Camp at Antiochian Village has begun.  St. Mary’s Children attend 3rd session.  The camper fee is $750 for the two-week camp session. Camper fees paid in full by March 1 receive a $50 discount.  Register on line at https://avcamp.org/summer-camp.

COFFEE HOUR MADE EASY! - To make sponsoring a Coffee Hour a little bit easier, St. Mary’s will be offering a delivery service through “Instacart”, for the basic foods necessary to host a Coffee hour.  Simply select a date, mail a check to the office and we will order the food and have it delivered to the church on that Sunday between 9:00 and 10:00 am.  You will need to be at the church to accept the order and you will be required to set up for the coffee hour and clean up both the kitchen and hall at the end of the coffee hour.  Two menus will be offered.  Menu one will include: bagels, mini muffins, fruit, hummus/Syrian bread, juice and coffee for $160.  Menu two will include: bagels, juice and coffee for $70. Prices DO NOT include a 20% tip for delivery and are subject to change based on current market pricing of items.  Cream cheese, peanut butter, jam and coffee creamer are included with each menu.  As usual, St. Mary’s will provide the plates, cups, napkins, utensils, serving platters, and sweetener for coffee.  If you are interested in taking advantage of this service and signing up for a coffee hour please contact the office at 617-547-1234 or e-mail secretary@stmaryorthodoxchurch.org.

THIS SUNDAY'S VOLUNTEERS

Greeter:  Jeanne Brickman and Jan Randolph

Liturgical Service:
Epistle:  Melissa Nassiff

Procession Thaanasis Flessas, Gabi Popa, Alia Flessas, Voula Flessas, Alex Moldovean, and Gabi Mazzoni

Communion:   Michelle Chin, Teva Regule, and others TBD

Coffee Hour:    Linda Arnold and family

SCRIPTURE READINGS FOR THIS SUNDAY
   Epistle:
Brethren, grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ's gift. …  And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
   - Ephesians 4:7-13

   Gospel:
When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, He withdrew into Galilee; and leaving Nazareth He went and dwelt in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: "The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, toward the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles, the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned." From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
   - Matthew 4:12-17

REFLECTION 
Christ manifested Himself to the world; He filled it with light and joy; He sanctified the waters and diffused His light in the souls of men.
    - St. Proclus

...we carry as in earthen vessels - that is to say, in our bodies - the Father's Light in the Person of Jesus Christ, and so can experience the glory of the Holy Spirit...
   - St. Gregory Palamas, Those Who Practice a Life of Stillness

As a magnifying glass concentrates the rays of the sun into a little burning knot of heat that can set fire to a dry leaf or a piece of paper, so the mystery of Christ in the Gospel concentrates the rays of God’s light and fire to a point that sets fire to the spirit of man. … Through the glass of His Incarnation He concentrates the rays of His Divine Truth and Love upon us so that we feel the burn, and all mystical experience is communicated to men through the Man Christ.
   - Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation

Since the Word of God though His descent to us has brought the kingdom of heaven close to us, let us not distance ourselves from it by leading an unrepentant life. Let us rather flee the wretchedness of those who sit "in darkness and the shadow of death" (Isa. 9:2). Let us acquire the fruits of repentance: a humble disposition, compunction and spiritual grief, a gentle and merciful heart that loves righteousness and pursues purity, peaceful, peace-making, patient in toil, glad to endure persecution, loss, outrage, slander and suffering for the sake of truth and righteousness. For the kingdom of heaven or, rather, the King of heaven - ineffable in His generosity - is within us (cf. Luke 17:21); and to Him we should cleave through acts of repentance and patient endurance, loving as much as we can Him Who so dearly has loved us.
   - St. Gregory Palamas

Many, unable to endure the self-constraint needed for acquiring the virtue of prayer, do not attain a plenitude of divine gifts; but those who do persist are rewarded with greater manifestations of divine aid, which sustain, support and joyfully carry them forward. Then what is difficult to accomplish is easily achieved, for they are invested with what one might call an angelic capacity, which empowers our human nature to commune with what lies beyond it.
   - St. Gregory Palamas