St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Update for the week Thursday, April 7 - Friday, April 15, 2016

THIS WEEK AT ST. MARY'S

THURSDAY, 4/7 - The Bible Study group will meet again tonight, Thursday, April 7, at 7:00 pm. We will continue our discussion of the Trials and Crucifixion of Christ, using the podcasts found at http://orthodoxbiblestudy.info/the-roman-trial-part-1/ and http://orthodoxbiblestudy.info/the-roman-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. The next meeting will be Thursday, April 21.

FRIDAY, 4/8 – Akathist (Madayeh) Service 7:00 pm, followed by an interesting, inspiring speaker sponsored by the Young Adult Ministry, with refreshments.  Our speaker will be Dr. Anthony Bashir, Ph.D., whose talk will be "Watchfulness and the Seven Deadly Sins"

SUNDAY, 4/10 – Adult catechism 9:00; Orthros 8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am; Church School Creative Arts preparation.

   + Bible Bowl study sessions will begin on Sunday, April 10 after Liturgy, in the Library. 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, and participants must be present for all sessions. The Bible Bowl will be held at our Diocesan Parish Life Conference.

WEDNESDAY, 4/13 – 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. Contact Melissa Nassiff (mnassiff@gmail.com) with any questions.

FRIDAY, 4/15 – Final Akathist (Madayeh) Service 7:00 pm

THIS WEEK ELSEWHERE

Saturday 4/9 - You are invited to a Women’s Lenten 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

NEW ANNOUNCEMENTS

LAZARUS SATURDAY – On Saturday, April 23, we will celebrate Matins at 8:00 am and Divine Liturgy at 9:00 am. Please come and bring your friends and family to celebrate the Divine Liturgy on Lazarus Saturday and enjoy a Communion Breakfast at 10:15 am, presented by the Women’s Club and offered by Selma Winstanley in loving memory of brother, Mitchell Mabardi.

   Following the Communion Breakfast, there will be a Church Clean-Up in preparation for Pascha.  Everyone is encouraged to bring some rags, cleaning supplies, small buckets, brown paper bags and irons for wax removal, etc.  Please come and lend a hand in preparing God’s House for the Feast of Feasts. John Rodriguez and Steve Walker are our clean-up leads - please see one of them to know where/what you can help clean. Thank you - many hands make light work!

PALM SUNDAY FISH DINNER – The Hospitality Group invites you to St. Mary’s annual Palm Sunday Fish Dinner hosted by Ed & Lisa Brylczyk, on Sunday, April 24, after Liturgy. Spend Palm Sunday with your family and friends at Church and let us do the cooking! Cost is $8 per person, $16 per family.

   Please also help us with setup, cleanup, or serving the food. We always need more help with clean-up.

HOLY FRIDAY RETREAT - Spend the morning in fellowship and activities with friends and families at the St. Mary’s Holy Friday Retreat on Friday, April 29, from 9:30 to 12:30.  A variety of activities will be provided and luncheon will be served.  Recommended for ages 5 – adult.  Younger children welcome but must be accompanied by an adult. 

   We welcome your energy and talent if you are able to provide a craft, read stories, or spend time coloring with the children as part of the morning’s activities.  Teens and adults are welcome to assist with egg dying and pysanky decorating, crafts with the children, or decoration of the tomb upstairs.   Please let Trish know how you can assist or an activity you can provide for the morning.

   Fr. Antony will be available to hear the children’s and teens’ confessions before lunch.   Lunch will be provided for everyone - $5 donation per person donation requested. (Checks Payable to St. Mary Orthodox Church)

   Please contact Trish Orlovsky at t_orlovsky@hotmail.com or call 781-641-0182, if you plan to attend or can help with activities that day. RSVP by Palm Sunday, April 24.

HOLY FRIDAY VIGIL - Following the Lamentations Service on Holy Friday evening, St. Mary's Teen Soyo will hold an All-Night Vigil at the Church.  All youth, ages 12-18 (grades 7-12), are encouraged to participate in reading Psalms, keeping watch at the tomb. The Vigil culminates Saturday morning with Vesperal Liturgy at 9:00 am.  Teens across the Diocese will participate in similar vigils at their respective churches.  The Church will be locked and several chaperones will remain with the Teens throughout the night, into the morning.

HOLY SATURDAY VESPERAL LITURGY – Join us on the morning of Holy Saturday, April 30 at 9:00 am, for the Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil, followed by a Coffee Hour/Reception offered by Richard & Violet Robbat. Be among the first, along with the Myrrh-Bearing Women, to share in and witness Christ’s triumph over evil and death, commemorated through the scattering of bay leaves and flowers. Be there to hear the readings from the Old Testament. Be there to welcome the catechumens into the Faith.

REMINDERS

ANTIOCHIAN WOMEN SPRING MEETING – The Spring delegates’ meeting of the Antiochian Women will be Saturday, April 16, at St. Mary’s Church in Pawtucket. Discussions will include the Parish Life Conference hosted this year by St. George of Lawrence/Methuen, the success of our project, “Hungry Children,” humanitarian projects, and the NAB summer meeting at the Antiochian Village. Plus Olga Hawwa, an esthetician and make-up artist, will be speaking at 1:30 on skincare and aging gracefully

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 pm at the church

PRE-SANCTIFIED LITURGY CHANGE – The Pre-Sanctified Liturgy on Wednesday, April 20, will begin at 5:00 instead of 6:30, in order to accommodate families with young children. The service will be followed by a pot-luck supper as usual.

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

THEOPHANY SCHOOL BENEFIT EVENING – Theophany School invites you to its 16th annual Benefit Evening, with special recognition of our Co-founders, on Sunday, May 22 at 4:00pm, at St. Demetrios Orthodox Church, 57 Brown St., Weston. To learn more visit http://theophanyschool.org/news/events/16th-annual-benefit-evening

SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE:

Diocese of Worcester and New England Scholarship - Our Diocese is awarding scholarships to high school seniors who are a member of any of the Antiochian Orthodox Churches in the Diocese of Worcester and New England, are faithful and active Orthodox Christians whose high school records indicate a potential for being successful in an accredited college, and who are in need of financial assistance. Applications are available through the Church Office and must be received by the Scholarship Committee Chairperson by May 1, 2016.  Any questions should be directed to Mary Winstanley O’Connor at 617-523-1010.

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.

Nicholas G. Beram 50th Scholastic Achievement Awards - Awards are available for high school seniors of our Arab American Community planning to attend a 4 year college full time.   Applications are available in the Church office or on-line at www.stjohn.org/ngberam.  Application deadline is June 1, 2016.

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!

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.

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.

ABBA VILLAGE - Applications are available for Market Value, Tax Credit and Section 8 apartments in AABA Village in West Roxbury. Please have them call Vivian Haidar at 617-325-1913 and an application will be mailed.  AABA Village is a multi-cultural community with many residents of Syrian/Lebanese descent. Amenities include on-site Resident Service Coordinators, accessible laundry rooms, sun room, game room, and library/computer labs. There are weekly and monthly activities including yoga, massage, The Ride and the Boston senior shuttle.

SCRIPTURE READINGS FOR THIS SUNDAY, the Sunday of St. John Climacus

   Epistle: 

When God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore to himself, saying, "Surely I will bless you and multiply you." And thus Abraham, having patiently endured, obtained the promise. … we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to seize the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner shrine behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek

   - Hebrews 6:13-20

   Gospel:

At that time, a man came to Jesus kneeling and saying: "Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a dumb spirit; and wherever it seizes him it dashes him down; and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid; and I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able. … but if you can do anything, have pity on us and help us." And Jesus said to him, "If you can! All things are possible to him who believes." Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, "I believe; help my unbelief!" And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, "You dumb and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again." And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse; so that most of them said, "He is dead." But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, "Why could we not cast it out?" And he said to them, "This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting."

   - Mark 9:17-31

REFLECTION

Remember that while you pray, God expects from you a positive answer to His question: "Do you believe that I can fulfill your prayer?" You must be able to answer from the bottom of your heart: "Yes, I believe, O God," and then you will be answered according to your faith.

   - St. John of Kronstadt

To believe something because you are "supposed to believe it" and not because it is true, seems to me to be not only immoral, but actual treachery.

   - Vladika Lazar

If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don't like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself.

   - St Augustine

The real and true life then is the Father, who through the Son in the Holy Spirit pours forth as from a fountain His heavenly gifts to all; and through His love to man, the blessings of life eternal are promised without fail to us men also. We must not disbelieve the possibility of this, but having an eye not to our own weakness but to His power, we must believe; for with God all things are possible.

   - St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures

We are agreed that a dead person can do nothing: yet the Savior works mightily every day, drawing men to religion, persuading them to virtue, teaching them about immortality, quickening their thirst for heavenly things, revealing the knowledge of the Father, inspiring strength in face of death, manifesting Himself to each, and displacing the irreligion of idols; while the gods and evil spirits of the unbelievers can do none of these things, but rather become dead at Christ’s presence, all their ostentation barren and void.

   - St. Athanasius, On the Incarnation