St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Update for the week Thursday, March 1 - Wednesday, March 7, 2018


FRIDAY 3/2 – Akathist 7:00 pm, followed by a simple meal
   + Learning in Lent 8:00 pm - Dr. Ioana Popa will speak on "Towards Oneness with God:  Watchfulness and Contemplation during Lent"

SATURDAY 3/3 -– Please come to the church this Saturday morning, March 3, starting at 9:30 am to help make Spinach Triangles with the Women's Club.   Lots of help will be needed – young and old, women and men are all welcome - and it's always lots of fun.  Lunch will be provided.  Pickup of orders will be Sunday, March 4.
   + Vespers service at 5:00 pm, will be followed by Young Adult Potluck and Trivia Night.

SUNDAY 3/4 – Orthros 8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am; Church School lesson 17

WEDNESDAY, 3/7 - Pre-Sanctified Liturgy at 6:30 pm (every Wednesday through March 28), followed by Potluck Supper sponsored by the Hospitality Group.
   + Do come to the Potluck Supper and bring something to share.  Any Lenten fare is welcome:  main courses, sides, salads, desserts, as well as beverages and snacks.  This is a wonderful opportunity for fellowship during Lent, plus we get to sample each other's Lenten recipes.  This week’s potluck lead is Andrea Gabriel-Jabbour


MONDAY 3/5 – Diocesan Compline will be offered at 7:00 pm on Monday at St. George, West Roxbury


WOMEN’S MONTH – March is Antiochian Women’s Month. Our women will be reading the Epistle, taking the Collection each Sunday, taking part in the Procession, and assisting during Communion.  We still need more women of St. Mary Church to be included – if you are able to participate, please sign up on the sheet at the Bengarri or contact the church office at 617-547-1234 or

WOMEN’S MONTH HOMILIES – This month a number of women from the parish will be sharing their thoughts on The Iconography of the Feasts of Mary – her Nativity, Presentation, Annunciation, and Dormition. Upcoming sermons will be:
3/4  – The Icon of the Feast of the Nativity of Mary  (Homilist:  Melissa Nassiff)
3/11 – The Icon of the Feast of the Presentation of Mary  (Homilist: Claire Koen)
3/18 – The Icon of the Feast of the Dormition of Mary  (Homilist: Sarah Byrne-Martelli)
3/25 – The Icon of the Feast of the Annunciation  (Homilist: Anna Higgins)

SCHOLARSHIP – Antiochian Women’s Scholarships are available to females 26 years of age and older in good standing of the Antiochian Archdiocese, actively involved in their parish and who demonstrate need.  The application deadline is June 1, 2018.  Applications are available in the Church Office.  E-mail with any questions.

LEARNING IN LENT TALK – This Friday, March 2, Dr. Ioana Popa will discuss the prominent focus on Jesus Prayer, watchfulness, contemplation, and on descending our minds into our hearts towards the process of Theosis or becoming one with God, in the tradition of our church Fathers. This presentation will focus on the intersection between our Orthodox Christian tradition with Psychology, towards deepening the prayerful and contemplative practices during Lent, as we prepare for Pascha.

CD’s AVAILABLE – Span the liturgical cycle from Lent to Pascha with the triad of recordings from the Boston Byzantine Choir: Lenten Journey, Thy Passion, and Thy Resurrection. The CDs are $15 each, or all three for $40. Available from the Church Office or from Charlie Marge.


LEARNING IN LENT – Please join us after the Akathist Service on Fridays, March 9 and 16 for our "Learning in Lent" series exploring various aspects of our faith.
Akathist is at 7:00 pm; speaker at 8:00. A simple meal will be provided.  The upcoming dates, topics and speakers are as follows:
   - Friday, March 9 - "The Rites of Initiation - Baptism, Chrismation, and Eucharist - in the Fourth century and Today" (Teva Regule, MDiv, PhD)
   - Friday, March 16 - "Why do people choose to become Orthodox?" (Bob Kowalik, MTS and St. Mary's Catechist)
   - On Friday, March 23 we will pray the full Akathist hymn; there will be no speaker on that date

DIOCESAN COMPLINE - Diocesan Compline services will be offered every Monday evening during Lent at 7:00pm in a different church of the Diocese.  The remaining schedule is: 3/12 Cotuit, 3/19 Dedham and 3/26 Worcester.

TEEN RETREAT – St. John of Damascus is having a Teen Lenten Lock-in Retreat on Friday-Saturday, March 9-10. Open to all teens grades 7-12.  Time: Friday 6:30- Saturday morning.  Cost: $10 includes Dinner, Breakfast and Snacks. Registration forms available in our church office.  Any questions e-mail St. John’s at

PARISH COUNCIL – The next meeting of the Parish Council will be Wednesday, March 14, at 8:00pm

WOMEN’S RETREAT – Sts. Martha and Mary Sisterhood of Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church, 62 Harvard Ave., Allston, invites you to a Lenten Women’s Retreat on Saturday, March 17, 9am-4pm.  Fr. Maximos will speak on “Prayer without Distraction”. Cost: $35, $20 for students, includes lunch. To register go to

PASCHA BAKE SALE – The Women’s Club Annual Pascha Bake Sale will be held on Sunday, March 25. Plan on purchasing all your Pascha/Easter desserts, pastries and goodies! If you can help bake please call Renay DiFiore at 617-327-6361or e-mail the church office

SCHOLARSHIPS - Students graduating in 2018 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, 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 .

FOOD FOR HUNGRY PEOPLE – During this season of prayer, self-discipline and fasting, please be very generous in your contribution to the Food for Hungry People program of our Archdiocese. Collection Boxes for collecting alms at home will be on the Bengarri; please pick up one or two and place them throughout your home, fill them up, and return them on Palm Sunday, April 1“Whoever gives a hand to help his neighbor is helped by God’s own hand” - St. Isaac the Syrian

PASCHA - The date of Pascha this year is April 8, 2018.

BIBLE STUDY – During Lent, the Bible Study/Adult Education group will come together as a community for the PreSanctified liturgies (instead of our usual meetings) on Wednesdays, followed by the Pot-luck supper. Those experiences are truly rich and we invite everyone to join us. After Pascha the bi-weekly meetings of the Bible Study group will resume on Wednesday, April 11.

YOUNG ADULT MINISTRY - The Young Adult Ministry is an active, dynamic group that hosts monthly social, spiritual, and outreach events and programs. We have lots of great plans for 2018, and we hope you'll join us! To learn more or to get involved contact Jamil (617-501-4427) or Adam (315-719-2101), or go to

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

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
REFLECTION on fasting
It is necessary most of all for one who is fasting to curb anger, to accustom himself to meekness and condescension, to have a contrite heart, to repulse impure thoughts and desires, to examine his conscience, to put his mind to the test and to verify what good has been done by us in this or any other week, and which deficiency we have corrected in ourselves in the present week. This is true fasting.
   - Saint John Chrysostom

Be wise and sensible in undertaking tasks for the body: fasts, vigils, physical work and so on.  They are necessary and essential, and do not imagine you can progress in the spiritual life without them, but you must be wise in knowing your measure and keeping to it.  This measure is the mean between self-pandering indulgence to the flesh and its merciless chastisement, exhausting it utterly without urgent need.  Find this mean by experience and in actual deed, instead of by theory, and make gradual progress your rule, moving from below upwards.
   - Lorenzo Supoli, Unseen Warfare