St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Update for the week Thursday, February 21 – Wednesday, February 27, 2019


SUNDAY 2/24 - Orthros 8:45am, Divine Liturgy 10:00am, Church School following Liturgy 


HOSPITALITY GROUP – The Donald DiFiore Memorial Hospitality Group welcomes its new President, Tiffany Conroy!
   The group needs more volunteers to help it work to build community among the larger St. Mary’s Congregation, so that we can come together in service, celebration and fellowship outside of liturgy and coffee hour.  We need members to join us, and help with planning fellowship events such as Lenten Potluck Suppers, the Dormition Feast, our annual Picnic, etc. Even if you could commit to just one event per year, this would help strengthen the sense of community and family in our parish. We also welcome new ideas for fellowship gatherings. If interested, please email Tiffany Conroy at
BIBLE BOWL - All Teens (13 – 19) and Pre-Teens (ages 10 – 12) interested in competing in this year's Bible Bowl, please contact Violet Robbat at 781-862-4388 or by e-mail at for further instruction.  This year we will be studying St. Paul's Letters to the Ephesians, Philippians and Collosians as found in the New Testament of the Orthodox Study Bible.  The Orthodox Study Bible is available from Ancient Faith Bookstore, Barnes and Noble, Holy Cross Bookstore and Amazon if you do not have one.  Our first meeting/practice will begin on Sunday, March 17. immediately after Church School ends, and every Sunday thereafter.  We will meet in the small area right outside Barbara's office.  Be sure to bring a chair in with you.  We look forward to having two great teams again this year!   

DIOCESAN COMPLINE- Diocesan Compline services will be offered at 7:00pm every Monday evening in Lent in a different church of the Diocese.  The schedule is: 3/11- Norwood, 3/18- Dedham, 3/25-Pawtucket, 4/1-West Roxbury, 4/8-Cotuit and 4/15- Worcester.


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.  

CONCERT & MEATFARE DINNER/DANCE – On Saturday, March 2, our sister parish of St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Cathedral, 41 Alewife Brook Parkway, Cambridge, will be hosting a Concert and Meatfare Dinner/Dance with live Tambura music.  Vespers, chanted by our own Boston Byzantine Choir, will start at 5:00pm (no Vespers at St. Mary’s), followed by the concert at 6:00pm and the dinner/dance at 7:00pm.  Guest performers will be St. Nikolai Velimirovic Choir of Lake Forest, IL and the Boston Byzantine Choir.  $25.00 admission. For more info contact

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

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.

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

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. 
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. 

THE ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN WITNESS PROGRAM: SPIRITUAL PILGRIMAGE will hold its final retreat at St. Mary's on the topic of  "Christian Hospitality - True Self and the Inner Kingdom"  on Saturday, March 23from 9:00am-3:30pm. The retreats are 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. Attendance to all three retreats is not required, although it could be beneficial. 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.

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 .
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. 

ST. MARY’S ANNIVERSARY – Save the date: On Saturday, May 18 we will celebrate our 90th Anniversary 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 stmarys90thphotos@gmail.comor 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 

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.

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


On the third Sunday of preparation for Lent, we hear the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32). Together with the hymns of this day, the parable reveals to us the time of repentance as man's return from exile. The prodigal son, we are told, went to a far country and there spent all that he had. A far country! It is this unique definition of our human condition that we must assume and make ours as we begin our approach to God. A man who has never had that experience, be it only very briefly, who has never felt that he is exiled from God and from real life, will never understand what Christianity is all about. And the one who is perfectly "at home" in this world and its life, who has never been wounded by the nostalgic desire for another Reality, will not understand what is repentance.
   … It is very easy indeed to confess that I have not fasted on prescribed days, or missed my prayers, or become angry. It is quite a different thing, however, to realize suddenly that I have defiled and lost my spiritual beauty, that I am far away from my real home, my real life, and that something precious and pure and beautiful has been hopelessly broken in the very texture of my existence. Yet this, and only this, is repentance, and therefore it is also a deep desire to return, to go back, to recover that lost home.
   -Alexander Schmemann, Great Lent

I have recklessly forgotten Your glory, O Father; And among sinners I have scattered the riches which You gave to me.  And now I cry to You as the Prodigal: I have sinned before You, O merciful Father; Receive me as a penitent and make me as one of Your hired servants.
   - Kontakion of the Prodigal Son