St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Update for the week Friday, March 25 - Friday, April 1, 2016

THIS WEEK AT ST. MARY'S

FRIDAY, 3/25, Feast of the Annunciation of the Theotokos - 6:30 pm Vesperal Divine Liturgy (No speaker)

SUNDAY, 3/27– Adult catechism 9:00; Orthros 8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am; Church School Creative Arts preparation.

   + March is Antiochian Women’s month. Each Sunday in March women of our parish will read the Epistle, take the collection, assist during Communion, and give the homily. They will also carry candles for the Gospel and the Great Entrance, carry the icon of the day for the Great Entrance, and carry and present the bread baskets.

   + This Sunday the homily is on Marian Hymns for the Annunciation. Homilist is Natasha Smith.

WEDNESDAY, 3/30 – Presanctified Liturgy 6:30, followed by Potluck Supper.

   + Do stay for the Potluck and bring something to share, and please help with cleanup after the meal (The hall and kitchen must be cleaned, and all dishes washed, dried, and put away.)  Any Lenten fare is welcome: main courses, sides, salads, desserts, as well as beverages and snacks.  This is a wonderful opportunity for fellowship during Lent, plus we get to sample each other's Lenten recipes.

THURSDAY, 3/31 - The next meeting of Bible Study group will be on Thursday, March 31. We will continue our discussion of the Trials and Crucifixion of Christ, using the podcasts found at http://orthodoxbiblestudy.info/the-jewish-trial-part-1/ and http://orthodoxbiblestudy.info/the-jewish-trial-part-2/

   The Bible Study at St. Mary 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.

   + Deadline to apply for Syrian-Lebanese Women’s club scholarships – see Reminders, below.

FRIDAY, 4/1 - Join us this Friday for a beautiful, joyous divine service and an interesting, inspiring speaker sponsored by the Young Adult Ministry, with refreshments.  Our speaker will be Dr. Albert Raboteau, Ph.D., whose talk will be "On Contemplative and Silent Prayer."

THIS WEEK ELSEWHERE

FRIDAY-SUNDAY, 3/25-27 – This weekend we join teens from all over New England for one of the best events of the year -- the annual teen Lenten retreat at the Saint Methodios Faith & Heritage Center. All teens, grades 7-12, are welcome. Antiochian Village’s Marek Simon will lead the retreat.  You must have registered by March 18. The cost for the weekend is $95 per teen. If the cost is prohibitive, please see Hannah or Greg.

NEW ANNOUNCEMENTS

YOUNG ADULT FELLOWSHIP NIGHT - Come to Young Adult Fellowship Night at St. Mary’s on Saturday, April 2 beginning at 5:00 pm. Great Vespers is open to all, followed by a Young Adult (18-40) Potluck Dinner & Fellowship. Bring your favorite lenten dish, dessert, or drink to share! Local College OCF groups and parishioners from all nearby parishes are welcome!  Questions? Text/Call Chris (301-807-8378) or Jamil (617-501-4427).

CHURCH SCHOOL TEACHERS NEEDED – New teachers will be needed next fall for Kindergarten/Grade 1 (2 teachers) and the Teen Discussion Group, grades 9-12 (1 or 2 teachers). Please contact Barbara Shoop at barbara@dsaarchitects.com to volunteer or to learn more.

REMINDERS

FRIDAYS OF GREAT LENT - Join us on Fridays of Great Lent for beautiful, joyous divine services and interesting, inspiring speakers sponsored by the Young Adult Ministry, with refreshments. The remaining schedule is as follows.

   April 8:  Akathist/Madayeh 7:00 pm, followed by "Watchfulness and the Seven Deadly Sins" - Dr. Anthony Bashir, Ph.D.

   April 15: Full Akathist Hymn 7:00 pm, no speaker

WOMEN’S CLUB - The next Women’s Club meeting will be Monday, April 4, 7:30 at the church.

HOMESCHOOLING CONFERENCE – There will be a St. Emmelia Homeschooling Conference at the Antiochian Village and Retreat Center Thursday–Sunday, April 7-10.  Fr. Noah Bushelli, Director of the Department. of Homeschooling for the Antiochian Archdiocese will present topics of homeschooling and the marriage relationship.  For more information visit www.saintemmeliaconference.com

WOMEN’S LENTEN RETREAT – You are invited to a retreat at Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church, 62 Harvard Ave, Allston, on Saturday, April 9, from 9:00-4:00, sponsored by the Saints Mary and Martha Sisterhood. The retreat, entitled “If we die with Him, we shall rise with Him,” will be led by Mother Gabriella, Abbess of Holy Dormition Monastery. Register at http://tinyurl.com/lkh5ash. $35 fee ($20 for students) includes lunch and afternoon tea. See the schedule at http://hrocboston.org/assets/files/2016-Womens-Retreat-Schedule.pdf

BIBLE BOWL - Any teen interested in being on St. Mary's Bible Bowl Team please see Violet Robbat or call her at 781-862-4388.  We will be studying the Gospel of John.  Participants must be present for all sessions.  The Bible Bowl will be held at our Diocesan Parish Life Conference. Study sessions will begin on Sunday, April 10 after Liturgy, in the Library.

PASCHA BAKE SALE – The St. Mary Women’s Club will be offering its annual Pascha Bake Sale on Sunday, April 17 during coffee hour. Plan on purchasing all your Pascha/Easter desserts, pastries and goodies. If you can help bake please call Marilyn Robbat at 781-729-3033

RELIC ON DISPLAY - A Relic of St. Charbel is touring the US and will be displayed for veneration at Our Lady of the Cedars Church, Rockwood Ave., Jamaica Plain, on Saturday and Sunday, April 16 and 17.  Everyone is welcome.

PARISH COUNCIL – The next meeting of the Parish Council will be Tuesday, April 19 at 7:30 at the church

FOOD FOR HUNGRY PEOPLE –You are urged during this season of prayer, self-discipline and fasting, to be very generous in your contribution to the Food for Hungry People program of our Archdiocese. Collection Boxes for collecting alms at home will be on the Bengarri; please pick one or two up and place them throughout your home, fill them up, and return them on Palm Sunday, April 24. Please be generous! “Whoever gives a hand to help his neighbor is helped by God’s own hand” - St. Isaac the Syrian

SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE:

   Syrian-Lebanese Women’s club - Scholarships ($1,000) are available from the Syrian-Lebanese Women’s club of Greater Boston to young women of Syrian and Lebanese origin, residing in Massachusetts within 50-mile radius of Boston, who plan to pursue a four-year college education.  Scholarships are based on outstanding academic achievement, extra-curricular activities, charitable and civic involvement and good character; and applicants must be in good academic standing in her school and possess those personal attributes, which best serve the community.  Applications are available through the Church Office and must be postmarked by March 31, 2016.  If you have any questions, contact Mary Winstanley O’Connor at 617-523-1010 or email at moconnor@koilaw.com

Francis Maria Scholarship - Several $2500 scholarships will be awarded to students attending an accredited 4-year college. See the Archdiocese Scholarship page, www.antiochian.org/scholarships. Applications must be postmarked by May 15, 2016.

Antiochian Women’s Scholarship - Scholarships are available to females 25 years of age and older in good standing of the Antiochian Archdiocese, actively involved in their parish and who demonstrate need.  The application deadline is June 1, 2016.  Applications are available in the Church Office.  E-mail cindy@cnyhondas.com with any questions.

RIDES TO CHURCH FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS - Do you live near a college or university? Are you able to offer a ride to and from St. Mary Church for a student? Are you a college student in need of a ride? Contact St. Mary’s Young Adult Ministry at 617-564-3344 or rides@stmaryorthodoxchurch.org to sign up or to learn more!

ST. MARY T-SHIRTS - The Teens have a few T-shirts remaining from their sale last spring, and will be selling them during coffee hour until they are gone.  Get your St. Mary T-shirt while they last!

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:  Deno Takles

Collection:  Iuliana Paraschiv, Klorela Alcala

Liturgical Service:

Epistle: Marilyn Robbat

Procession:  Michele Chin, Cindy Mazzoni, Ioana Popa, Shannon Sakellariou & Klorela Alcala

Communion:  Kh. Carol Hughes, Ioana Popa, Aura Brosnan, Melissa Nassiff, Larisa Patacchiola, Jeanne Brickman, Elana Jabbour

Coffee Hour:  The Catechumens - Jeff, Teresa, Elias and Marina 

SCRIPTURE READINGS FOR THIS SUNDAY, The Sunday of St. Gregory Palamas

   Epistle: 

… to what angel has he ever said, "Sit at my right hand, till I make thy enemies a stool for thy feet?"  Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation?  Therefore we must pay closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.  For if the message declared by angels was valid and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?

   - Hebrews 1:10-2:3

   Gospel:

When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home.  And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room for them, not even about the door; and he was preaching the word to them.  And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men.  And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and when they had made an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic lay.  And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "My son, your sins are forgiven."  Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, "Why does this man speak thus?  It is blasphemy!  Who can forgive sins but God alone?"  And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, "Why do you question thus in your hearts?  Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Rise, take up your pallet and walk?'  But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins"--he said to the paralytic--"I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go home."  And he rose, and immediately took up the pallet and went out before them all; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, "We never saw anything like this!"

   - Mark 2:1-12

REFLECTION

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 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

   - St. Gregory Palamas

If we practice true fasting we shall trample here and now on the fire in our flesh and quench it, and in the time to come we shall pass unharmed through the furnace when each one's work will be tried by fire.

   - St. Gregory Palamas, Homily Thirteen.

Unless we bear with patience the afflictions that come to us unsought, God will not bless those that we embrace deliberately. For our love for God is demonstrated above all by the way we endure trials and temptations. First the soul has to surmount afflictions embraced willingly, thereby learning to spurn sensual pleasure and self-glory; and this in its turn will permit us readily to bear the afflictions that come unsought.

   - St. Gregory Palamas

Being delivered from bodily sins is not enough; we must also cleanse the inner energy which dwells in our soul. For out of our hearts 'proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness' (Mk. 7:21) and so on. These are what motivate people.

   - St. Gregory Palamas:

When you fast and are nourished with abstinence, do not store the leftovers for tomorrow, but, as the Lord became poor and enriched us, feed someone who does not want to be hungry, you who hunger willingly. Then your fast will be like the dove who brings and joyfully proclaims salvation to your soul from the flood.

   - St. Gregory Palamas

The Son of God, who in His compassion became man, died so far as His body was concerned when His soul was separated from His body; but this body was not separated from His divinity, and so He raised up His body once more and took it with Him to heaven in glory. Similarly, when those who have lived here in a godly manner are separated from their bodies, they are not separated from God, and in the resurrection they will take their bodies with them to God, and in their bodies they will enter with inexpressible joy there where Jesus has preceded us (cf. Heb. 6:20) and in their bodies they will enjoy the glory that will be revealed in Christ (cf. 1 Pet. 5:1). Indeed, they will share not only in resurrection, but also in the Lord's ascension and in all divine life.

   - St. Gregory Palamas