St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Update for the week Thursday, March 8 - Wednesday, March 14, 2018


FRIDAY 3/9 – Akathist 7:00 pm, followed by a simple meal
   + Learning in Lent 8:00 pm Teva Regule, MDiv, PhD will speak on "The Rites of Initiation in the Fourth Century and Today"

SATURDAY 3/10 – Please come to the church this Saturday morning (instead of March 3 as originally scheduled), starting at 9:00 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 11 (new date).

SUNDAY 3/11Daylight Savings Time begins - don’t forget to set your clocks forward one hour.
   + Orthros 8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am; Church School lesson 18.
   + Women’s month sermon by Claire Koen on The Icon of the Feast of the Presentation of Mary

WEDNESDAY, 3/14 - 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 Peter Nassiff.

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


FRIDAY-SATURDAY, 3/9-10 – St. John of Damascus is sponsoring a Teen Lenten Lock-in Retreat this weekend. 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

MONDAY 3/12 – Diocesan Compline will be offered at 7:00 pm on Monday at St. Michael, Cotuit


LEARNING IN LENT TALKS – This Friday, March 9, Teva Regule will talk about the formative value of the rites of initiation as presented by Cyril of Jerusalem, and their similarity to and import for the rites celebrated in the Orthodox Church today.  For Cyril and for us, by imitating Christ and participating in His life, both personally and communally, we learn what it means to follow Christ—to become a Christian.
   - On Wednesday, March 28 (rescheduled from 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.

RSVP, ASAP! PYSANKY (UKRAINIAN EGG) WORKSHOP: The Hospitality Group is tentatively offering a session on either March 17 or 18 to learn the beautiful art of Ukrainian Easter egg coloring, taught by  Seraphim Davis. If you are interested, please respond ASAP to Diana Yousef (yousefd@post.harvard.eduwith the following information: (1) which afternoon(s) would you attend? (2) Will you need a kit with the materials? (3) Will you need childcare? Please respond as soon as possible so we can make arrangements!

LAZARUS SATURDAY – Please come and bring your friends and family on Saturday, March 31, to celebrate the Divine Liturgy (Matins 8:00 am; Liturgy 9:00 am), and enjoy a Communion Breakfast at 10:15 presented by the Women’s Club and offered by Selma Winstanley in loving memory of brother, Mitchell Mabardi.  Following the Communion Breakfast, there will be a Church Clean-Up in preparation for Pascha.  Please bring rags, cleaning supplies, small buckets, brown paper bags, irons and extension cords for wax removal, etc. 

PALM SUNDAY FISH DINNER - The annual Palm Sunday Fish Dinner, sponsored by the Hospitality Group and donated by Ed and Lisa Brylczyk, will be held on Sunday, April 1. Cost is $9.00 per person; $18 per family. Volunteers will be needed to help with setup, serving, and cleanup. Please plan to help.

HOLY FRIDAY RETREAT - Spend the morning in fellowship and activities with friends and families at the St. Mary’s Holy Friday Retreat on Friday, April 6, 9:30-12:30. A variety of activities will be provided and luncheon served ($5 donation per person requested).  Recommended for ages 5 – adult.  Younger children welcome but must be accompanied by an adult. Fr. Antony will be available to hear the children’s and teen’s confessions before lunch. RSVP by Palm Sunday, April 1, to Trish O: 781-641- 0182 or, if you plan to attend or can help with activities that day.

DONATIONS FOR HOLY WEEK – For the special services of Holy Week, the Church needs donations of olive oil for the Unction Service (Wednesday), flowers for the tomb of Christ (Friday), flowers to distribute on Great and Holy Friday, rose water to anoint the faithful (Friday), incense, Paschal lilies and other flowers,  and candles. Deadline is Palm Sunday, April 1. Please use the donation form in the Bulletin.

METROPOLITAN JOSEPH VISIT POSTPONED - His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH has been called to the Holy Synod in April, so he can not be at St. Mary’s April 27-29. The Metropolitan will visit St. Mary’s at a future date.


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:
3/18 – 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)

LEARNING IN LENT – Please join us on Friday, March 16 after the Akathist Service and on Wednesday, March 28 after the Presanctified Potluck, 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. Presanctified Liturgy is at 6:30 pm, followed by a potluck supper; the talk is at 8:00.  The upcoming dates, topics and speakers are as follows:
   - 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
   - Wednesday, March 28 (rescheduled from March 2) – “Towards Oneness with God: Watchfulness and Contemplation during Lent” (Dr. Ioana Popa, Psychiatrist, individual and couples therapist and Life Coach, and Adjunct Professor at Hellenic College Holy Cross)

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: 3/19 Dedham and 3/26 Worcester.

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.

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 .
   + 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.

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

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
However limited our fasting, if it is true fasting it will lead to temptation, weakness, doubt, and irritation. In other terms, it will be a real fight and probably we shall fail many times. But the very discovery of Christian life as fight and effort is the essential aspect of fasting. A faith which has not overcome doubts and temptation is seldom a real faith. No progress in Christian life is possible, alas, without the bitter experience of failures. Too many people start fasting with enthusiasm and give up after the first failure. I would say that it is at this first failure that the real test comes. If after having failed and surrendered to our appetites and passions we start all over again and do not give up no matter how many times we fail, sooner or later our fasting will bear its spiritual fruits. Between holiness and disenchanted cynicism lies the great and divine virtue of patience – patience, first of all with ourselves. There is no shortcut to holiness; for every step we have to pay the full price. Thus it is better and safer to begin at a minimum – just slightly above our natural possibilities – and to increase our effort little by little, than to try jumping too high at the beginning and to break a few bones when falling back to earth.
   - Alexander Schmemann, Great Lent