St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Update for the week of November 16 - 24, 2017


SUNDAY 11/19 The Cambridge Half Marathon road race will begin at 7:30 am, with many roads remaining closed until 11:00 am. For information and a map of the course see 
   + Enquirers’ Class 9:00 am, Orthros 8:45, Divine Liturgy 10:00; Church School lesson 9

MONDAY 11/20 – Divine Liturgy for the Feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Templewill be celebrated on Monday, November 20 at 6:30pm

WEDNESDAY 11/22  New: Thanksgiving Vespers will be held at 5:30pm on Wednesday, the eve of Thanksgiving.


THANK YOU - We want to thank all the parents and friends who came to help with and participate in our Fall Liturgy Retreat this year – "Liturgy as Healing - the Power of Reconciliation in Christ."  We had a full house with many church school students, family members, and friends attending the day.  We were able to learn about the healing ministry of Christ and how that healing power is still accessible to us today through the life of the Church.  We focused on healing ourselves—body, mind, and soul, both personally and within our community.  In addition, we extended ourselves to others to assist in healing them as well, delivering household supplies for the women and families at the YWCA and decorating greeting cards for our parish shut-ins.  As is traditional, we also baked approximately 50 loaves of prosphora (Holy Bread) for the church.  We want to thank the many parents and friends who pitched in where and when needed that helped to make this event a success.  It "takes a village" to put this event together.  We are grateful for all who contributed, in any way.  Your help is always appreciated!  Mark your calendars for next year: MONDAY, November 12, 2018. (The observed day for Veterans' Day in 2018.)  --Retreat Planning Committee

CHANT CLASS, VESPERS, and YOUNG ADULTS – Chant Class will meet at 3:30pm on Saturday, December 2.
   + Great Vespers will be at 5:00pm Saturday 12/2, followed by Young Adult Fellowship Night: crafts and carols (see below)

NATIVITY FAST - The Nativity Fast, also known as the season of Advent, began last Wednesday, November 15. This is the forty days of fasting and prayer in preparation for the Great Feast of the Nativity of Christ.

AWARDS BANQUET – The Nicholas G. Beram Veterans Association will be holding its 71stanniversary celebration and 51st Scholastic Achievement Awards Banquet on Saturday, November 25, 2017 from Noon to 4:00 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Dedham.  This year our own Father Antony will be honored and receive the distinguished service award.  Lukas Nahass and Jessica Winstanley will also be receiving scholastic achievement awards.  Tickets for the luncheon are $30.00 and tables of eight may be reserved.  You may also honor Father by placing an ad in the program book.  Luncheon reservation and ad book forms are available in the narthex.

PARISH COUNCIL BALLOTS - The 2018 Parish Council Ballot has been mailed to all pledging members of St. Mary’s.  Please vote for no more than 5 people and return to the church in the self-addressed stamped envelope by November 27, 2017.

BIBLE STUDY – The next meeting of Bible Study/Adult Education will be on Wednesday, November 29 at 7:00 pm, and every other Wednesday most months from now on. We study the word of God, pray, and have fellowship together. Everyone is welcome to attend. For questions, study materials, or to be added to the email list, contact Ioana Popa at or Steve Walker at .
   + PARISH COUNCIL – The next meeting of the Parish Council will be Wednesday, November 29, at 7:30.

YOUNG ADULTS – The Young Adult Fellowship invites you to join them on Saturday, December 2 for Vespers at 5:00pm followed by a lenten potluck dinner and Christmas carols and fun crafts - gingerbread houses, wreaths and more. To learn more or to get involved contact Jamil (617-501-4427) or Adam (315-719-2101).

HOLIDAY POPS CONCERT – The Metropolitan Wind Symphony will present a Holiday Pops Concert at St. John’s Dedham, on Saturday, December 2. Cocktail hour and Mazza 6:00pm; Concert 7:00pm, Coffee and Pastry 8:00pm. $15 adults; $5 children. To reserve tickets call 781-326-3046, online at .

PARISH CHRISTMAS CARD – Let the Women’s Club send a lovely Christmas card on your behalf to our parishioners. Save yourself time, let us do the work, and have all proceeds benefit the Antiochian Women’s Project 2016-2017: Strengthening the Ministries of our Church. You will receive this card with the names of parishioners, like yourself, who are wishing a Blessed Nativity and a Merry Christmas to all. Please use the order form in the Sunday bulletin, or mail to: St. Mary Church, 8 Inman St., Cambridge, MA  02139-2407, and donate whatever amount you choose.  Deadline: Sunday, December 3.

 - If your Child is interested in participating in the Christmas Pageant this year, please see Sarah Byrne-Martelli.  We also need parents to assist at all rehearsals. Rehearsal #1 will be Sunday, December 3 during coffee hour. Rehearsal #2: Sunday, December 10 during coffee hour. The Pageant will be Sunday, December 17, after liturgy.

SEE THE MESSIAH – Join friends from St. Mary’s for the Handel and Haydn Society’s annual performance of Handel’s Messiah, on Sunday afternoon, December 3, at 3:00 p.m.  Group tickets are just $28. For information or tickets (a few seats are still available) please contact Melissa Nassiff at 

DONATIONS FOR HOLY NATIVITY – If you would like to donate toward the poinsettias and other Nativity decorations please use the form printed in the Sunday bulletin, or mail your check to: St. Mary Church, 8 Inman St., Cambridge, MA  02139-2407.  Deadline is Sunday, December 10.

FOOD FOR HUNGRY PEOPLE – Help support our Canned Food Drive! From October through December 31, 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.

SCHOLARSHIP - Students graduating in 2018 from high school who are children of members of St. Mary’s may apply for the Diocese of Worcester and New England Scholarship.  Deadline is March 31, 2018. Contact Mary Winstanley O’Connor at 617-523-1010 or email at for more information, including what it means to be a member.
   + 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, 2018.  If you have any questions, contact Mary Winstanley O’Connor at 617-523-1010 or email at .

COFFEE HOUR MADE EASY! - To make sponsoring a Coffee Hour a little bit easier, St. Mary’s offers 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

If we have a deep, rich spiritual practice the reservoirs of our hearts will be filled to overflowing with compassion and love. We will store up patience to share when it is most needed and tolerance for the despised and rejected when we encounter them.  The stronger our daily practice, the more we have to give.
   - Very Rev. Fr. Antony Hughes (sermon from 9/30/2007)

Strength to pray lies in the deliberate privation of food, and strength to go without food lies in not seeing or hearing about worldly things except when strictly necessary. He who is negligent in this fails to build his fasting on a firm foundation, and so he brings about the collapse of the whole edifice of prayer, which itself is based on fasting.
   - Ilias the Presbyter   

The first renunciation is that of material things, the second that of the passions, the third that of ignorance.
   - St. Thalassios the Libyan

Fasting then is good, because it tames the passions and subjects the flesh to the spirit
   - St. Theodore the Studite