Update for the week Thursday, January 5 - Thursday, January 12, 2017

THIS WEEK AT ST. MARY'S

THURSDAY, 1/5, Theophany Eve (this evening) - Joint Diocesan Celebration of Theophany at St. John of Damascus, Dedham.  Orthros 5:00 pm; Hierarchical Divine Liturgy with the Blessing of the Waters 6:00pm

SATURDAY, 1/7 – No Vespers service at St. Mary (Vespers will be held at the Cathedral; see below)

SUNDAY, 1/8 - Orthros 8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am, followed by Second Blessing of the Waters

   + Church School children will go downstairs after Communion for a short music lesson and return upstairs for the Second Blessing of the Water following Liturgy.

WEDNESDAY, 1/11 - The next Parish Council meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, January 11 at 7:30.

THURSDAY, 1/12 - The Bible Study group will meet Thursday, January 12, at 7:00 pm in the church library. For more information contact Fr. Antony (frawhj@gmail.com). New members are always welcome.

THIS WEEK ELSEWHERE

SATURDAY, 1/7 – The Young Adult Ministry of the Diocese of Worcester and New England would like to invite all young adults (ages 19-35) to a Potluck Christmas Party this Saturday, January 7, following Vespers. Vespers will be at St. George Orthodox Cathedral, 30 Anna St. in Worcester, MA at 5:00 pm; the party will be held at 6:30 pm at the Diocese Chancery, 2 Lydia’s Path in Westborough MA.

NEW ANNOUNCEMENTS

PARISH COUNCIL MEMBERS – Congratulations to the newly elected members of the Parish Council: Paul Demerjian, Gregory Hakim, Buddy Mabardy, Erick Straghalis, and Deno Takles.

FOOD FOR HUNGRY PEOPLE – The canned food drive, originally scheduled to run through December 31, has been extended to January 29 due to the low number of donations. Please bring in canned goods and place them in the plastic bins in the room outside the kitchen. (Canned goods only, please.) They will be distributed to food pantries in our area.

BLESSING OF HOMES – Fr. Antony will be blessing homes after Epiphany (January 6) and between Pascha (April 16) and Pentecost (June 4).  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.

METROPOLITAN JOSEPH TO VISIT - His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH will be visiting the area on the weekend of Saturday and Sunday, January 28 and 29. On January 28 there will be a Grand Hafli in his honor, featuring Mitchell Kaltsunas and Band, at St. John of Damascus Church, Dedham.  Cost: $20/adult, $20/children 21 and under.  Mazza, pastry and coffee included.  For tickets e-mail churchoffice@stjohnd.org or call 781-326-3046.

   + On Sunday, January 29 there will be a St. Ignatius Holiday Party with His Eminence, along with His Grace Bishop JOHN, at 5:00pm at Byblos Restaurant, 678 Washington St., Norwood.  Cost is $70 per person. Checks payable to Saint Ignatius can be mailed to Debbie Laham, 16 Kilronan Rd. Westwood, MA  02090.

FEAST OF THE PRESENTATION – There will be an Evening Liturgy for the Feast of the Presentation of our Lord on Wednesday, February 1, at 6:30pm

DIOCESAN DELEGATES MEETING – The General Assembly Meeting of delegates from  Antiochian Women and Teen SOYO will be held at St. George, West Roxbury, on Saturday, February 4. Morning prayers start at 9:30am, meetings at 10:00am followed by lunch.

PRE-LENTEN RETREAT – A Pre-Lenten Retreat, sponsored by the Antiochian Women of the Diocese of Worcester and New England, will be held on Saturday, February 11, at St. John of Damascus, Dedham.  The day begins with Divine Liturgy at 9:00 am.  The featured speaker this year is the V. Rev. Michael Elias, pastor of St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church, Brooklyn, NY.  The topic will be “We are all Prodigal Sons and Daughters: Coming to Ourselves in Repentance and Spiritual Direction”.  This year there will also be Youth Day programs for ages 2.9 to 18.  RSVP deadline is February 1. Mail $20 check to Kh. Erin Kimmett, 17 Austin St. Norwood, MA  02062. Lunch is included.

LENT BEGINS – This year Great Lent begins on Monday, February 27

REMINDERS

PLEDGE CARDS - 2017 pledge cards were mailed last week.  Please return yours to the church office immediately, or fill out an ePledge on our website, http://www.stmaryorthodoxchurch.org

UNITE BOSTON - UniteBoston nurtures Christian unity, and seeks to pursue reconciliation among all Christians in Boston through shared experiences. The experiences we have together lead to relationships, mutual understanding, and agape love among brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore breaking down the walls that currently divide the Christian community.  The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is an international initiative where Christians worldwide are reminded of Jesus’ prayer for his disciples that “they may be one so that the world may believe” (John 17:21). 

   Locally, UniteBoston is coordinating seven consecutive evening collaborative gatherings of prayer and worship, from January 18 through 25, 2017.  On Thursday, January 19 at 7:00pm, Orthodox Churches, including the Coptic Orthodox Church of Boston, will hold vespers here at St. Mary’s Orthodox Church followed by a reception in the church hall.  For a full schedule of services go to http://www.uniteboston.com/wpcu/

ANNUAL PARISH MEETING – The Annual Meeting of St. Mary’s parish will be held Sunday, January 22, immediately after Liturgy (snow date: Sunday, February 5). At this meeting the members of the parish will approve the Year 2017 budget. The proposed budget will be available on the previous Sunday, January 15. It is important that all members of St. Mary’s Church attend this meeting.

MEMBER vs. PARISHIONER – Do you know if you are a Member of St. Mary’s parish? While all parishioners are welcome to attend the Annual Meeting, only members are permitted to vote. Our new membership brochure is available at the Bengarri - if you are not yet a member, please consider becoming one in 2017. If you would like to become a member, please see Fr. Antony or Barbara Shoop for a new member packet. Member packets are also available on the wall to the right of the Bengarri.

OFFERING ENVELOPES - Offering Envelopes are available for pick-up in the Hall.

WOMEN’S CLUB - The next meeting of the Women’s Club will be Monday, February 6, 2017 at the church. Call Marilyn (781-729-3033) or the church office (617-547-1234) if you have any questions or want to be a part of this wonderful group of Women.

CAMP REGISTRATION - Registration for Summer Camp at Antiochian Village has begun for children ages 9-17.  St. Mary’s children attend the third session.  The camper fee is $750 for the two-week session; camper fees paid in full by March 1 receive a $50 discount.  Register on line at https://avcamp.org/summer-camp. 

REFLECTION

The Holy Spirit gives true humility. Even the most intelligent person, if he has not the Holy Spirit, cannot know himself properly. Without God's help he cannot see the inner state of his soul. If he does good to others and acts honestly, he thinks that he is a righteous man and even perfect in comparison with others; and therefore he does not feel that he needs anything. O, how often people perish from a false assurance of their honesty and righteousness! They perish because they trust in their own goodness, and do not think about the spirit of Christianity at all or the help of the Holy Spirit, just when they are in extreme need of His help. And as the Holy Spirit is given only to those who ask and seek, and such people not only fail to ask and seek Him but do not even consider it necessary, therefore He is not given them and consequently they remain in error and perish.

   - St. Innocent of Alaska, Indication of the Way into the Kingdom of Heaven

Why isn't the day on which the Lord was born considered Theophany, but rather this day on which He was baptized? Christ made Himself known to all, not when He was born, but when He was baptized. … When John said "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?"  He answered thus: "Let it be so now; for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." (Mt 3:14-15). … By righteousness is meant the fulfillment of all the commandments … Since fulfilling this righteousness was necessary for all people – but no one of them kept it or fulfilled it – Christ came then and fulfilled this righteousness. … As Christ was circumcised, offered sacrifice, kept the Sabbath and observed the Jewish feasts, so also He added this remaining thing, that He was obedient to having been baptized by a prophet. … Thus, if obedience to God constitutes righteousness, and God sent John to baptize the nation, then Christ has also fulfilled this along with all the other commandments.

   - St. John Chrysostom

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