St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Update for the week Thursday, February 14 - Wednesday, February 20, 2019


SATURDAY 2/16 - The Orthodox Christian Witness Program: Spiritual Pilgrimage will hold a retreat at St. Mary's on the topic of "Christian Hospitality - True Self and the Inner Kingdom" on Saturday, February 16from 9:00am-3:30pm. The retreat is an opportunity to reflect on your personal journey with God, expand your inner awareness, and deepen your faith and your contemplative and/or prayer practices. 
   The retreat will use small presentations, personal reflections, and small and large group discussions. .Although a donation of $35 per retreat is suggested (or any other amount), the donation is not a requirement for participation. Coffee, tea and a light breakfast will be provided (lunch is not provided). To register, or for questions, please email or call 617-274-8336.

SUNDAY 2/17 - Orthros 8:45am, Enquirers’ Class 9:00am, Divine Liturgy 10:00am, No Church School

SUNDAY 2/17 - There will be a Special Needs Service and Music Therapy at St. Demetrios, Weston on Sunday, February 17 at 12:30pm. Join them for a brief, sensory-friendly special needs service with Fr. Vinnie followed by a music therapy session and coffee/fellowship.  RSVP to Peter at .


CHOIR CONCERT – On Saturday, March 2, the Choir of St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Cathedral, 41 Alewife Brook Parkway, Cambridge, will hold its First Annual Concert at 7:00 pm,.  Guest performers: will be St. Nikolai Velimirovic Choir of Lake Forest, IL, and our own Boston Byzantine Choir.  Dinner and dancing with live tambura music to follow. $25.00 admission. For more info contact
PRE-SANCTIFIED POTLUCK SUPPERS – Every Wednesday during Lent ((Mar. 13, 20, 27, April 3, 10, 17), we need a lead to coordinate a potluck supper after pre-Sanctified Liturgy. Being the lead means a) providing a main dish, b) coordinating what others bring if asked, and c) coordinating setup and cleanup. Contact Tiffany Conroy ( for the potluck lead instruction sheet, or to sign up as a potluck lead. 

HIERARCHICAL VISIT - His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH will be at St. Mary’s Friday-Sunday, May 3-5 for a Hierarchical visit to celebrate Divine Liturgy and our 90th year anniversary. On May 18, 2019 we will celebrate our 90th Anniversary at the Crowne Plaza in Woburn.  See Reminders, below.


WOMEN’S MONTH - March is Antiochian women’s month. Our women will be reading the Epistle, taking the collection each Sunday, and assisting during Communion. We are inviting all women of St. Mary Church to be included. This is your opportunity to participate in the Liturgical Ministry of the Church. You can sign up for multiple tasks and dates. If you wish to participate please e-mail Barbara Shoop at,  sign up on the sheet at the Bengarri, or contact Barbara in the church office (617-547-1234). We look forward to your help with Women’s Month.  

CHURCH SCHOOL HELP NEEDED - At the end of this Church School year our current Superintendent, Barbara Shoop, will be retiring.  Therefore we are looking for someone willing to take over the position.  The Church School ministry is extremely important to our children in helping them understand the faith, learn church doctrine and how to use their faith in their everyday lives.  Barbara is willing to stay on as Assistant Superintendent for the first year to assist with the weekly responsibilities.  If you are interested in taking on this role, please see Fr. Antony or Barbara Shoop.

NO VESPERS – There will not be a Great Vespers service at St. Mary’s on Saturday, March 2. However, the parish is invited to St. Sava’s in Cambridge for Vespers at 5:00pm (note new time), where our Boston Byzantine Choir will be chanting and our Young Adult Ministry will be attending.

PARISH COUNCIL – The next meeting of the Parish Council is scheduled for Wednesday, March 6 at 7:30.

GREAT LENT – This year Great Lent begins on Monday, March 11. Pascha will be on April 28.

LENTEN FOOD SALE – The St. Mary Women’s Club is once again having a Lenten Food Sale, featuring Spinach Triangles, Hoomos, and Mjadara. Please use the order form in the Sunday bulletin. Order deadline is Sunday, March 10; pickup will be Sunday, March 17.
   + Baking of spinach triangles will be Saturday, March 16.  Please come and help, starting at 9:30 am. Lunch will be provided.

FORGIVENESS VESPERS – The last thing we do before beginning the Lenten fast is forgive each other, and ask everyone to forgive us.  Join us Sunday evening, March 10, at 6:00 pm for the very moving service of Forgiveness Vespers. 

DIOCESE LENTEN RETREAT – The Antiochian Women invite you to a Lenten retreat at St. George West Roxbury on Saturday, March 30.  We welcome back His Grace Bishop ANTHONY.  This event will begin with Divine Liturgy at 9:00am and conclude with Great Vespers at 3:00pm.  Lunch is included. Registration $20, teens (12-18) and Children (3-11) free.

SCHOLARSHIPS - Students graduating in 2019 from high school who are children of membersof St. Mary’s may apply for the Diocese of Worcester and New England Scholarship.  Deadline is March 31, 2019. 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, 2019.  If you have any questions, contact Mary Winstanley O’Connor at 617-523-1010 or email at .

ST. MARY’S ANNIVERSARY – Save the date: On Saturday, May 18 we will celebrate our 90thAnniversary at the Crown Plaza in Woburn.  Plan to join us for dinner, dancing and other festivities.  More details to follow.
   + WE WANT YOUR PHOTOS! - The Young Adult Ministry is collecting photos of St. Mary's from past and present for the 90th Anniversary Celebration in May. If you have photos of family, relatives and friends from events at St. Mary's, please email to or share them through GoogleDrive. Suggestions are photos of Holy Days, sacraments or other milestones; however all photos are welcome!

FAMILY CAMP - Register now for Family camp at Antiochian Village, Friday-Monday, May 24-27.  The theme is “Fostering a Healthy Family” with Speaker Fr. Nicholas Louh.  Visit for more information.

CROSSROAD SUMMER INSTITUTE - CrossRoad Summer Institute, a 10-day academic summer institute for Orthodox high school juniors and seniors to help them grow closer to Christ, will be held June 15-25 and July 2-12 at Hellenic College Holy Cross.  Apply today at  

ANTIOCHIAN ORTHODOX CONVENTION – This year’s Convention will be in Grand Rapids, MI, July 21-28, 2019. Hundreds of Antiochian Orthodox have already registered and purchased tickets. 60% of hotel rooms are already booked. See 

2019 COFFEE HOURS - The 2019 Sign-Up Sheet for Coffee Hour has been posted! Please sign up to provide a coffee hour – it can be as simple as coffee, juice, and cookies.   Plenty of help is available! Signup sheets are on the bulletin board outside the Hall, or contact Linda Arnold ( or the Church Office (617-547-1234 or ).  Remember, when no volunteers, there is no coffee hour!

PRISON MINISTRY- Please continue to bring or mail all your Orthodox books, icon cards, magazines and/or icons to the church office so they can be taken to the prison for use by our prison ministry team.  Thank you!

JOIN US ONLINE - St. Mary’s Church services are broadcast live each week through an internet video stream. If you can't attend a service in person, or want to share this ministry with a friend or loved one, the live stream can be viewed at during regularly scheduled service times (see the schedule of services or online). If you have questions or comments about this ministry please contact us at

   Long before the actual beginning of Lent, the Church announces its approach and invites us to enter into the period of pre-lenten preparation. … This preparation includes five consecutive Sundays preceding Lent, each one of them – through its particular Gospel lesson – dedicated to some fundamental aspect of repentance.
   The very first announcement of Lent is made the Sunday on which the Gospel lesson about Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10) is read. It is the story of a man who was too short to see Jesus but who desired so much to see Him that he climbed up a tree. Jesus responded to his desire and went to his house. Thus the theme of this first announcement is desire. … Zacchaeus desired the "right thing"; he wanted to see and approach Christ. He is the first symbol of repentance, for repentance begins as the rediscovery of the deep nature of all desire: the desire for God and His righteousness, for the true life. …
The next Sunday is called the "Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee." On the eve of this day, on Saturday at Vespers, the liturgical book of the Lenten season – the Triodion – makes its first appearance and texts from it are added to the usual hymns and prayers of the weekly Resurrection service. They develop the next major theme of repentance: humility.  … As for the Publican, he humbles himself and his humility justifies him before God. …
   But what is humility? The answer to this question may seem a paradoxical one for it is rooted in a strange affirmation: God himself is humble! …  It is almost impossible to put across to the modern man, fed on publicity, self-affirmation, and endless self-praise, that all that which is genuinely perfect, beautiful, and good is at the same time naturally humble; for precisely because of its perfection, it does not need "publicity," external glory, or "showing off" of any kind.
   The Lenten season begins then by a quest, a prayer for humility which is the beginning of true repentance. For repentance, above everything else, is a return to the genuine order of things, the restoration of the right vision.
   - Alexander Schmemann, Great Lent