St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Update for the week Friday, January 29, through Thursday, February 4, 2010



PRE-LENTEN RETREAT – The Antiochian Women of the Diocese of Worcester and New England are sponsoring a pre-Lenten retreat this  Saturday, January 30, at St. George Church, Norwood. Featured speaker is  Mother Alexandra, Abbess of the Convent of Saint Thekla at Antiochian Village.  Topic:  “BACK TO THE FUTURE with St. Ignatius:  Then IS Now!”

Registration:  $15.00 per person.    Men, Women & Teens are welcome!


PARISH MEETING – The Annual Meeting of the Parish will be held this Sunday, January 31, after Liturgy.  We will approve the Year 2010 Budget, review expenses for 2009 and hear committee reports and updates.  The meeting is expected to be brief, and it is important that all members  attend.  Snow date is Sunday, February 14.

New - MEET AN ICONOGRAPHER - Parishioners at St. Mary's are invited today after Coffee Hour and Parish Meeting (at around 1:30 pm) to visit St. Sava's Serbian Orthodox Church at 41 Alewife Brook Parkway in Cambridge.  Iconographer George Bilak will be there to discuss his work of the last three years: a hand carved iconostasis and hand written icons. This iconostasis is unique and quite beautiful, given that very few iconostases are carved today by hand. This is a wonderful opportunity to meet the artist and hear more about his work in person before he heads back to Serbia next week. Fr. Alex, the priest of St. Sava's, also invites any visitors to come down to the Reception Hall afterwards to join their parishioners in their annual celebration of St. Sava.  Please see Kate Jellinghaus for directions to the church. It's in Cambridge, not far from us.

ORDER OF ST. IGNATIUS - St. Ignatius Holiday Gathering is this Sunday, January 31, 2010  from 2:00 to 6:00 pm at Four Points Sheraton Hotel, Norwood. 


ORTHODOXY IN CHINA -  Our own Mitrophan Chin will be the featured speaker at a presentation next Thursday, February 4 at Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church, 62 Harvard Ave., Allston, MA.  His talk, entitled   "Orthodoxy in China: Past, Present and Future, "  is co-sponsored by Holy Resurrection (  and the Orthodox Fellowship of All Saints in China (   Note:  this is the group we support with the proceeds from our Chinese New Year breakfast;  see below). Vespers at 6:00 pm will be followed by the talk at 7:00 pm. 

FR. ANTONY AWAY - Fr. Antony is out of town from Friday through Sunday, February 5 – 7, 2010.  In case of emergency, please contact Fr. Timothy Ferguson at St. George Church, West Roxbury 617-323-0323.

OFFICE CLOSED - Marilyn will be out of the office on Thursday and Friday, February 4 & 5, 2010.  Anything to be published in the Sunday Bulletin for February 7  must be received by Wednesday, February 3 at Noon. 

LENTEN RETREAT AT NEW SKETE – New Skete Monastery is offering a one-day Lenten retreat on Saturday, March 6, entitled, "Lent as Healing."  The day will consist of presentations on the healing potential of the lenten period and include time for discussions, meditation, and reflection.  An opportunity for spiritual direction and sacramental confession will also be available.  A donation of $15 is asked to help cover the expenses for the day.  The number of retreatants is limited and available on a first come, first served basis.  To register for the retreat, contact Robin Hetko at  In addition, the monastery will celebrate the Liturgy of St. James (the ancient rite of Jerusalem) on  that Sunday (March 7).  Those wishing to visit the monastery for the weekend (to take advantage of both opportunities), please contact Teva Regule ( for housing arrangements.


OFFICE CLOSED – Marilyn is out of the office Friday through Friday, January 22 - 29.  The office will reopen Tuesday, February 2.

MEATFARE SUNDAY BREAKFAST - The annual Meatfare Sunday Breakfast sponsored by  the Fellowship of St. John the Divine will be  next Sunday, February 7. Suggested Donation:  $7 per person, $14 per family. Proceeds will help support the many activities of the Fellowship at St. Mary's, including the annual Lessons and Carols and potluck supper; Learning in Lent lecture series; Wednesday evening potluck suppers after Pre-Sanctified Liturgies during Lent; the annual Father John vonHolzhausen lecture; Coffee House ministry; coffee hours and special meals;  this weekly St. Mary Update e-mail newsletter; and much more.

LENTEN FOOD SALE - The Women's Club is now taking orders for Hoomos (hummus), Mjadara (lentils with rice), and Spinach Triangles.  Please use the order form in the Sunday bulletin. Order deadline is next Sunday, February 7.   Hoomos and Mjadara will be ready for pickup on Sunday, February 14.  Spinach Triangles will be ready on Sunday, February 21.  If you would like to help cook, join us on Saturday, February 20,  at 9:30 a.m.

TEEN SOYO PARTY - St. George Teen SOYO is hosting a Souper Bowl Party on February 7th at 6:00 pm. The teens at St. John's Church in Dedham as well as St. Mary's in Cambridge are welcome!  Please bring  a canned good to donate to IOCC's Souper Bowl of Caring and a snack to share, we will provide sandwiches, drinks and the football game!  Once all the canned goods are collected, the teens of St. George will deliver them to a local food bank.

CHINESE NEW YEAR BREAKFAST – The annual Chinese New Year Missions Breakfast, sponsored by the Fellowship of St. John the Divine,  will be Sunday, February 14, 2010 (Cheesefare Sunday).  If you can help with any food donations or if you can help serving, contact Mitrophan.   RSVP to Nelson Mitrophan Chin at by Wednesday, February  10.

FSJD RETREAT - The Diocese of Worcester Fellowship of St. John the Divine announces a one-day retreat featuring Fr. Michael Nasser, on Saturday, February 20, at St. Mary’s Church, 1 St. Mary Way,  Pawtucket, RI. The schedule will include worship, lunch and fellowship:  9:00 am Matins, 9:45 coffee, 10:00 Session 1, 11:45 lunch, 12:45 Session 2, 2:30 closing. A donation of $10 is requested for attendance.  For further information contact Joe Samra at

SUMMER CAMP AT ANTIOCHIAN VILLAGE - Registration has begun. Camp serves young people ages 9 – 17.  Take advantage of Early-Bird Registration by paying in full before March 1.   Camp Dates :  Session 1: June 20 – July 2 or June 20 – 27 (one week);  Session 2: July 4 – 16; Session 3: July 18 – 30; and Session 4: Aug. 1 – 13.  See for details.

CROSSROADS - CrossRoad Summer Institute is an exciting summer vocation exploration program designed to help students  (high school Juniors & Seniors) discern their life callings and match their God-given gifts with the needs of the world.  Applications are now being accepted for two sessions – due to space limitations, apply by March 1 for first consideration.  Download application and  view video clip at:

BLESSING OF HOMES – Fr. Antony will be blessing homes after Epiphany (January 6)  and between Pascha (April 4) and Pentecost (May 23).  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.

OCF REAL BREAK – This spring break, change lives! Orthodox Christian Fellowship sponsors projects in many countries during college spring break – see

PRAY FOR JAMIL  SAMARA- To keep up with the progress of Jamil’s recovery from Necrotizing Fasciitis, you can visit the Facebook page that has been created for this purpose and is being updated regularly. You do not need to have a Facebook account to view it:

WELCOME TO  E-GIVING! - St. Mary’s is pleased to announce that in 2010, parishioners have the option to fulfill their pledge through electronic funds transfer (EFT).  No more envelopes, remembering to write checks, etc.   If you are interested in learning more about this program, please e-mail Charlie Marge ( If you are signing up for e-Giving, please return your unused 2010 envelopes. 

ENVELOPES AND CALENDARS – Please pick up your 2010  Offering Envelopes, which are  in alphabetical order  on a table outside the Church Office.  Remember:  if you have chosen to pay periodically, you have not been assigned weekly envelopes.  If you wish to change your payment arrangements, call Marilyn Robbat in the Church Office at 617-547-1234 Tuesday - Friday.   Church Calendars are also available for pickup – one per family, please.

CHURCH RESTORATION PROJECT - We are about to embark on another phase of restoration of the church.  This next phase, which will focus on the exterior of the church including work on the foundation,  roofing, siding, and exterior trim, will begin in Spring 2010.  More details to follow – please see Raymond Sayeg or Mary Winstanley O’Connor about contributing to this restoration project.

FIRST IN, LAST OUT – Please do not park in the small lot behind the church unless you intend to stay through the end of coffee hour. The only way out is the single lane driveway, which is sometimes blocked by other cars.  Please pull all the way in to the parking space, and please do not block the driveway – if the lot is full, please park on the street or in the lot at the corner of Prospect Street and Bishop Allen Drive.


There are a number of ways you can help the Church, your fellow worshippers and those in need.  Consider serving in one of these ways:


Liturgical Service - Each Sunday, members of the congregation are needed to read the Epistle and assist during Communion by holding the Communion Cloths and Holy Bread Baskets.  All Orthodox Christians in the Parish are welcome and encouraged to participate. We usually need one Epistle reader and six people to hold cloths and baskets.  If you would like to read the Epistle or assist during Communion, please contact Jeff Wasilko, 781-820-0882,

Coffee Hour – People are needed every week to provide coffee, juice and cookies, or more if desired, and set it up Sunday morning. To sign up for an available Sunday, please put your name on the signup sheet on the bulletin board outside the Hall or call Marilyn Robbat in the Parish Office and she will write your name in. If you need any help with figuring out what to bring or do, check the list below the signup sheet (also printed in the Bulletin), or ask Marilyn at or 617-547-1234.


Holy Resurrection Open Doors - The Holy Resurrection Open Door Meal Ministry in Allston needs volunteers every Monday evening (there is a special need in the summer).  The official hours of the project are 4:30 pm-7:30 pm, but it is fine to come anytime and leave any time.  Best times would be 5:30-5:45 to 7:15-7:30 pm.  You can serve meals, coffee and tea to the people who arrive for dinner (6-7 pm) or just stay behind the scenes doing set-up and clean-up.  It is a very rewarding, hands-on, face-to-face way to serve the community with (mostly) other Orthodox Christians—we even chant the Our Father together before the meal begins. Church info can be found at    Questions? Please contact Liz Straghalis at  phone 617-974-5005,  or Tiffany Conroy at

St Paul’s Food Pantry - Two to four volunteers help each week in the food pantry at St Paul 's Roman Catholic Church in Harvard Square , Saturday mornings from 9:30-11:45.  If you are interested in helping, please contact Christian Alcala at, or (617) 876-5684.


Food and Clothing – The Food for Hungry People canned food drive continues through December 27, 2009 – see Reminders, above.  Bring  in canned goods to the Church and place them in the large, blue plastic containers outside the Church Office. 

- Holy Resurrection in Allston takes donations of non-perishable food items and clothing to distribute at the Open Door Ministry on Monday evenings.  You can bring your donations by on Monday nights between 4:30 pm and 7:30 pm or contact Tiffany Conroy,, for more information.

- St. Paul ’s Food Pantry in Harvard Square , where volunteers from St. Mary help every Saturday, depends upon regular donations of canned and packaged foods.  To help, contact Christian Alcala at, or (617) 876-5684.

Monetary Contributions – The Agape Canister Program is an Orthodox non-profit development program of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center .  It is dedicated to meeting the needs of children, families, and communities throughout the world, regardless of race, color, or creed. All funds collected by the Agape Canister Program are earmarked for medical care and clinics, water wells, agricultural development, food and clothing, support personnel (e.g. doctors, nurses, teachers), the construction of schools, and the education of indigenous people in their own communities.  Please contribute each Sunday — A clear plastic box is on the Bengarri.

"As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me," says our Lord.



January 30


Sunday, January 31:   Epistle: Rose Njuguna;  Left Cloth: Teva Regule and     ; Center Cloth: Tatiana Kish and   ;  Right Cloth: Maggie Arnold and Linda Arnold;  Left Bread: Jeanne Brickman;  Right Bread: Melissa Nassiff


Sunday, January 31:  The Richtmyer family


Saturday, January 30:  Great Vespers 5:00 pm

Sunday, January 31, Sunday of the Prodigal SonOrthros 8:45 am; Divine Liturgy 10:00 am;  Church School Lesson 12; annual Parish Meeting


Epistle:  St. Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians 6:12-20

Brethren, "all things are lawful for me," but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful for me," but I will not be enslaved by anything. "Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food" -- and God will destroy both one and the other. … Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body and in your spirit which belong to God.

Gospel:  Luke 15:11-32

… But while he was yet at a distance, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him,  "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son."  But the father said to his servants, "Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet; and bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry; for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found."


Saturday, February 6:  NO Vespers

Sunday, February 7,  Meatfare Sunday:   Orthros 8:45 am; Divine Liturgy 10:00 am; Church School lesson 13;  FSJD Meatfare Breakfast

Sunday, February 14,  Cheesefare Sunday:   Chinese New Year Breakfast;  no Church School; Forgiveness Vespers

Monday, February 15:  Great Lent begins;  Great Canon of St. Andrew 7:00 pm

Tuesday, February 16:  Great Canon of St. Andrew 7:00 pm

Wednesday, February 17:  Presanctified Liturgy 6:30 pm,  followed by Potluck Supper

Thursday, February 18:  Great Canon of St. Andrew 7:00 pm

Friday, February 19:  Akathist (Madayeh) Service 7:00 pm,  followed by Learning in Lent: "Orthodoxy 102" with David Vermette

Sunday, April 4:  Pascha


Do not call God just, for His justice is not manifest in the things concerning you. And if David calls Him just and upright (Ps. 24:8, 144:17), His Son revealed to us that He is good and kind. "He is good," He says, "to the evil and to the impious" (Luke 6:35). How can you call God just when you come across the Scriptural passage on the wage given to the workers? "Friend, I do thee no wrong. I will give unto this last even as unto thee. Is thine eye evil because I am good?" (Matt. 20:12-15). How can a man call God just when he comes across the passage on the prodigal son who wasted his wealth with riotous living, how for the compunction alone which he showed, the father ran and fell upon his neck and gave him authority over all his wealth? (Luke 15:11 ff.). None other but His very Son said these things concerning Him, lest we doubt it; and thus He bore witness concerning Him. Where, then, is God’s justice, for whilst we are sinners Christ died for us! (cf. Rom. 5:8). But if here He is merciful, we may believe that He will not change.

   - St. Isaac the Syrian, Homily 60

Even if you are not what you should be, you should not despair. It is bad enough that you have sinned, why in addition do you wrong God by regarding Him as powerless? Is He, who for your sake created the great universe that you behold, incapable of saving your soul? And if you say that this fact, as well as His incarnation, only makes your condemnation worse, then repent and He will receive your repentance as He accepted that of the prodigal son and the prostitute.

   - St. Peter of Damascus, from A Treasury of Divine Knowledge, “That We Should Not Despair Even if We Sin Many Times”

Faith comes not through pondering but through action. Not words and speculation but experience teaches us what God is. To let in fresh air we have to open a window; to get tanned we must go out into the sunshine. Achieving faith is no different; we never reach a goal by just sitting in comfort and waiting, say the Holy Fathers. Let the Prodigal Son be our example. He "arose and came" (Luke 15:20).
   - Tito Colliander, The Way of the Ascetics

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.

   - Kontakian of the Prodigal Son

Let your prayers be simple, for both the Publican and the Prodigal Son were reconciled to God by a single phrase.

   - St. John Climacus