Weekly Newsletter for the week Friday, March 9, 2007 through Thursday, March 15, 2007


FR. ANTONY WILL BE AWAY- Fr. Antony will be in El Salvador from March 10 through 17 with college students on Real Break. He is taking specific items needed for the orphans and teachers there, and would appreciate donations toward the cost of those supplies.

While he is gone there will be no weekday services at  St. Mary's. Liturgy on Sunday will take place as usual, with Rev. Fr. Joachim Cotsonis as guest priest. In case of emergency while Fr. Antony is away, please call Fr. John Teebagy at St. John Church , Dedham , at 781-326-3046.

DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME - DST begins this Sunday, March 11. Remember to set your clocks ahead; don't be an hour late for church!

SERVICE BOOKS FOR HOLY WEEK - The Antiochian Archdiocese has issued a beautiful new, complete, corrected and updated edition of The Services of Great and Holy Week and Pascha - see http://www.antiochian.org/assets/pdfs/New-Holy-Week-Book.pdf.  Fr. Antony will be using it this year at St. Mary's, and there will be a small supply of books available  to parishioners for their use in church,  but many people will want to have their own copy.  If you would like to order one through the church, and save the cost of postage, please fill out an order form at the Bengarri accompanied by $25 cash or check (made payable to St. Mary Church),  this Sunday, March 11.   If you will not be in church on Sunday, please e-mail secretary@stmaryorthodoxchurch.org indicating your commitment to purchase one from the parish.  Deadline to be included in this order is Wednesday, March 14.

ELEVATION OF THE CROSS - This Sunday, March 11, is the Feast of the Elevation of the Cross, the mid-point of Lent . There will be a short lesson for the Church School and then students will return to the sanctuary for the Procession of the Holy Cross following Liturgy.

WOMEN'S CLUB - The next meeting of the Women's Club will be Wednesday, March 15, in the Library.  Please join us.

BAPTISM - Jeff and Kari Keiser, who moved to Montreal not long ago, are bringing their new baby  back to St. Mary's to be baptized. The entire parish is invited to the baptism of Mariana Renée Keiser on Sunday, March 18th, following the Liturgy.

ILLUSTRATED TALK - A special slide presentation on "Romanian Churches, Monasteries and Frescoes from the 16th and 17th  Century" will be offered by Simona Caia on Wednesday, March 21, following the Presanctified Liturgy. Simona says, "Years ago I was moved by the presence of a group of unique Romanian monasteries. Their entire outside surface as well as the inside one is covered in icons.  When I think about the unceasing liturgical life of these churches I also have in mind the celebration they are rendering in iconic language. Now I would like to share with you the beauty of these monastic settlements through a slide presentation." 

AKATHIST SERVICE AND SPEAKER - Every Friday during Lent, with the exception of March 16, there is an Akathist service at 7:00 p.m.  On Friday, March 23, this service will be followed by a special talk entitled "What is the Aim of the Christian Life?  An Answer from Saint Seraphim of Sarov." Our speaker will be David Vermette.

COOKBOOKS - A small number of Lenten cookbooks is still available. See Melissa Nassiff or Marilyn Robbat for a copy of Food for the Fast, compiled by the St. Mary Women's Club. Cost is $10.  Also, you can still purchase a copy of Sacred Meals, by Fr. John Finley - see Marilyn Robbat. Cost is $18.95


JOINT DIOCESAN COMPLINE - Each Monday in Lent there will be a service of Compline at a different church in the Diocese. On Monday, March 12, Compline will be held at All Saints Mission, South Weymouth , at 7:00 p.m.

CONFESSIONS - It is preferred that you make your confession before Holy Week; Fr. Antony is available for Confession before and after weekday services.  During Holy Week he is available for Confession before and after services from Monday to Wednesday evenings only,  or by appointment. Please note that no confessions will be heard on Great and Holy Saturday before the Rush Procession. 

HELP DURING LITURGY - During the month of March (Antiochian Women's Month), women of the parish will be reading the Epistle, taking the collection, and helping during Communion by holding the Communion Cloths and Holy Bread Baskets.  If any woman in the parish would like to participate during March, as we are all Antiochian Women, please call or see Marilyn Robbat 617-547-1234. 

HELP THOSE IN NEED - Three or four St. Mary's volunteers are needed to help each week at the Open Doors Meal Ministry soup kitchen at Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church in Allston, Mondays any time between 4:00 p.m. and 7:30. Contact Liz Tutella at 610-507-0488 or ETutella@sovereignbank.com.

Also, two to four St. Mary's volunteers are needed to help each week in the food pantry at St. Paul 's RC Church in Harvard Square , Saturday mornings from 9:30-11:45.  Please contact Christian Alcala, at cmalcala1989@yahoo.com or 617-876-5684, if you can help. 


The Third Sunday of Lent is called "The Veneration of the Cross."  ... We are at Mid-Lent. On the one hand, the physical and spiritual effort, if it is serious and consistent, begins to be felt, its burden becomes more burdensome, our fatigue more evident. On the other hand, having endured this fatigue, having climbed the mountain up to this point, we begin to see the end of our pilgrimage and the rays of Easter grow in their intensity.  ...This is explained to us in the Synaxarion of the Sunday of the Cross:

"On this Sunday, the third Sunday of Lent, we celebrate the veneration of the honorable and Life-Giving Cross, and for this reason: inasmuch as in the forty days of fasting we in a way crucify ourselves ... and become bitter and despondent and failing, the Life-Giving Cross is presented to us for refreshment and assurance, for remembrance of our Lord's Passion, and for comfort. ...  We are like those following a long and cruel path, who become tired, see a beautiful tree with many leaves, sit in its shadow and rest for a while and then, as if rejuvenated, continue in their journey; likewise today, in the time of fasting and difficult journey and effort, the Life-Giving Cross was planted in our midst by the holy fathers to give us rest and refreshment, to make us light and courageous for the remaining task. ..."

Thus, refreshed and reassured, we begin the second part of Lent. ... The emphasis now shifts from us, from our repentance and effort, to the event which took place "for our sake and for our salvation."

   -Alexander Schmemann, Great Lent

It is impossible to represent and to think of the cross without love. Where the cross is, there is love. In church you see crosses everywhere and on everything, in order that everything should remind you that you are in the temple of the God of love, the temple of love crucified for us.

   - St. John of Kronstadt

The one who knows God will follow the Lord's footsteps, bearing the cross of the Savior. It is said, "The world is crucified to him and he to the world." The Lord says, "He who loses his life will save it." We can "lose our lives" in one of two ways. First, we can risk our lives just as the Lord did for us. Secondly, we can separate our lives from the customary things of this world. Bearing the cross means to separate our souls from the delights and pleasures of this life. If you do this, you will find your life again - resting in the hope of what is to come. Dying to ourselves means being content with the necessities of life. When we want more that these necessities it is easy to sin.

   - St. Clement of Alexandria

The Most High planted in the middle of Paradise The thrice blessed wood, the gift of life for us, In order that, in approaching it, Adam might find eternal and immortal life, But he did not strive earnestly to know this life, And he failed to attain it, and revealed death. However, the robber, seeing how the plant in Eden Had been beautifully transplanted in Golgotha , Recognized the life in it and said to himself: "This is what my father lost formerly In Paradise."

   - St Romanos the Melodist - On the Adoration at the Cross

Hail! life-giving Cross, the fair Paradise of the Church, Tree of incorruption that brings us the enjoyment of eternal glory: through thee the hosts of demons have been driven back; and the hierarchies of angels rejoice with one accord, as the congregations of the faithful keep the feast. Thou art an invincible weapon, an unbroken stronghold; thou art the victory of kings and the glory of priests.

   - Great Vespers on Saturday Evening before the Third Sunday of Lent