Weekly Newsletter for the week of Friday, December 14, 2007 through Thursday, December 20, 2007

Weekly Newsletter

for the week

Friday, December 14, 2007 through Thursday, December 20, 2007


HELP DECORATE THE TREE - The Christmas tree, which couldn't be found when we were decorating last weekend, has been located and moved to the sacristy. We need volunteers this Sunday to help put it up and quietly decorate it after Liturgy (during the Pageant Dress Rehearsal).

2008 PLEDGE CARDS - Pledge cards for 2008 have been mailed out. Please take the time to fill out your orange 2008 pledge card, and return it to the Church Office as soon as possible in the self-addressed stamped envelope provided.  Your annual pledge is a vital part of support for the paris h.  Everyone, including students and new arrivals, is encouraged to make a stewardship commitment to St. Mary's.  If you do not have a pledge card, please contact the Paris h Office so that you may receive a New Member Packet.

CHRISTMAS BASKET DONATIONS - Once again, the Women's Club is requesting your support with monetary donations toward the purchase of items for our annual Christmas Baskets for the Battered Women's Family Shelter.  Each year, gifts baskets are made up of household items and given to the families to facilitate their moves into new homes and apartments.  Please see Louise Homsy or Shirley Bezreh at the Bengarri.  Make checks payable to St. Mary Women's Club and earmark:  Battered Women.  Thank you.



NATIVITY PAGEANT REHEARSAL - The fourth Nativity Pageant rehearsal will be held this Sunday, December 16 in the church proper during Coffee Hour.  Needed:  Sunday School parents to help with the children during dress rehearsal this Sunday, and during the pageant next Sunday (December 23).  Please see Charlie Marge (marge@alum.mit.edu) or Paul Nahass (pnahass@comcast.net).

SPONSOR A CHILD DURING COFFEE HOUR - The Fellowship of St John the Divine presents the Sponsor-a-Child Christmas Card for the Hogar Rafael Ayau, an orphanage run by Orthodox nuns in Guatemala . During this Nativity season, a signup table will be set up during Coffee Hours. You can sponsor a child from among a list of 43 boys and 33 girls, ranging from one-month-old infants to 19-year-old teenagers.  Write your sponsored child a personal Nativity greeting with Christmas cards which will be provided, and send along your generous tax-deductible donation (make checks payable to "St. Mary Orthodox Church - Fellowship", and earmarked to Hogar) in honor of your sponsored child.  Cards will be delivered to Hogar, and the funds collected will go towards the ongoing construction of Hogar San Miguel, a new orphanage in a safer environment. The last appeal collected $57,304.00 for construction up to September and October. For more info, visit http://hogarafaelayau.org/proyect.htm

PARISH COUNCIL BALLOTS - The Parish Council ballots have been mailed out.  Please return them, in the self-addressed stamped envelope provided, so they reach the church no later than Tuesday, December 18, 2007.    

PARISH COUNCIL MEETING - There will be a special Parish Council meting on Wednesday, December 19, at 7:30 p.m. to count ballots. 

OFFERING ENVELOPES - Envelopes for 2008 are ready for pickup outside of the Church Office.  If you have requested envelopes, you should find your box there. (If you pay less often than weekly, you will not be assigned envelopes.)

DONATE FOOD - As we enter the season that focuses on giving thanks and giving gifts, don't forget those who have too little.   Please bring cans, jars, and boxes of food and place them in the container outside the Church Office.

>   From now through December, our Teens will weigh the canned goods  and give them to the CEOC Food Pantry at 11 Inman St. for distribution, as part of the World Food Day project sponsored by the Archdiocese. 

>   Other packaged food (pasta and rice, boxes of macaroni and cheese, peanut butter, jelly, boxes of cereal, parmalat milk, etc.) will be given to St. Paul 's Food Pantry in Harvard Square , where volunteers from St. Mary help every Saturday. 

Please be generous - it takes 42 pounds of food to feed a family of four for 3 days.

HIGH SCHOOL CHRISTMAS RETREAT - St. Vladimir's Seminary, in cooperation with Orthodox Youth Outreach, invites high school students to a retreat entitled Who Is My Neighbor - The Challenge of the Good Samaritan,  December 26 - 29, 2007.  Registration Fee is $100.   Registration Deadline:  December 17.  For more information  call 914-961-8313  Ex. 328 or dbethanc@svots.edu or www.svots.edu. Call the Church Office for required consent forms.

SOUP KITCHEN - Three or four St. Mary's volunteers are needed to help each week at the Open Doors Meal Ministry at Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church in Allston, Mondays any time between 4:00 p.m. and 7:30. Contact Liz Tutella at 617-974-5005 or ETutella@sovereignbank.com.          

FOOD PANTRY - 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 . Contact Christian Alcala  at cmalcala1989@yahoo.com or 617-876-5684.


I have heard Holy Scripture somewhere condemn those who are guilty of blaspheming God. "Woe to those," it says, "through whom my Name is blasphemed among the Gentiles." Now the meaning of these words is something like this: Those who have not yet believed the word of truth closely examine the lives of those who have received the mystery of the faith. If, therefore, people are "faithful" only in name, but contradict this name by their life, whether by committing idolatry for the sake of gain or by disgracing themselves by drunkenness and revelry, being immersed in profligacy like swine in the mud - then the pagans immediately attribute this not to the free choice of these evil-living men, but to the mystery which is supposed to teach these things. For, they say, such and such a man who has been initiated into the Divine mysteries would not be such a slanderer, or so avaricious and grasping, or anything equally evil, unless sinning was lawful for them. "Woe to those through whom my Name is blasphemed among the Gentiles."

   - St. Gregory of Nyssa, The Lord's Prayer

Through genuine love for God we can drive out the passions. Love for God is this: to choose Him rather than the world.

   - St. Maximos the Confessor, On Love

From the fact of our praying it so happens that we are with God; and whoever is with God is well away from the Enemy. Prayer thus preserves chastity, it beats down anger, it drowns pride, it gets rid of resentment, it destroys envy, it causes evil to vanish, it reforms wicked ways. Prayer, then, is the seal of virginity, the firm basis of marriage, the armor of those who travel, the protection of those who are asleep, the source of confidence for those who are awake. In brief, prayer is talking to and encountering God.

   - Anonymous (6th Century) from The Syriac Fathers on Prayer and the Spiritual Life

As with the appearance of light, darkness retreats; so, at the fragrance of humility, all anger and bitterness vanishes.

   - St. John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent


Friday, December 14:  Akathist to Our Sweetest Lord Jesus 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, December 15:  Great Vespers 5:00 p.m.

Sunday, December 16:  Orthros  8:45 a.m., Divine Liturgy 10 a.m.; Church School pageant dress rehearsal following Liturgy


Epistle:  St. Paul 's Letter to the Colossians 3:4-11  Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. ...  But now put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and foul talk from your mouth.  Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old nature with its practices and have put on the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

Gospel: Luke 14:16-24; Matthew 22:14  The Lord said this parable: "A man once gave a great banquet, and invited many; and at the time of the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, 'Come; for all is now ready.' But they all alike began to make excuses. ... Then the householder in anger said to his servant, 'Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and maimed and blind and lame.'"


Tuesday, December 18:  Paraclesis 6:30 p.m.


Friday, December 21:  Akathist to Our Sweetest Lord Jesus 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, December 22:  Great Vespers 5:00 p.m.

Sunday, December 23:  Orthros  8:45 a.m., Divine Liturgy 10 a.m.; Nativity Pageant and festivities

Monday, December 24:  

Royal Hours for the Nativity 9:00 a.m.

Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil  11:00 a.m.

Orthros 6:45 p.m.

Divine Liturgy for the Nativity 8:00 p.m.

Tuesday, December 25:   Feast of the Nativity of our Lord - No Services at St. Mary



Two to four volunteers help each week in the food pantry at St. Paul 's RC Church in Harvard Square , Saturday mornings from 9:30-11:45.  If you are willing to help, contact Christian Alcala at cmalcala1989@yahoo.com or (617) 876-5684.

December 15: David Vermette and Nadine Rebovich


The Epistle each Sunday is read by a member of the congregation, and six members of the congregation hold the cloth and Holy Bread baskets during Communion.  If you would like to help with these services,  please contact Jeff Wasilko at jeffw@smoe.org or 781-820-0882.

December 16:    Epistle - Melissa Nassiff

Communion Assistance - Martin Scrivener, Margarit Butler, Trish Orlovsky, Nika Orlovsky, Mitrophan Chin, Lan Hu


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 in the Office 617-547-1234 and she'll write your name in.

December 16: The Shoop and Mabbet families, in memory of Louis N. Arbeene (40 Days), Arthur E. and Mary N. Mabbett and Marilyn Mabbett Seifert

December 23:   Church School Pageant and Christmas Festivities

December 30:  Jeanne  Brickman