Weekly Newsletter for the week of Friday, December 21, 2007 through Thursday, December 27, 2007


Weekly Newsletter

for the week

Friday, December 21, 2007 through Thursday, December 27, 2007

Blessed Nativity!


CHRISTMAS PAGEANT & DRESS REHEARSAL -- Because of last Sunday's storm, the dress rehearsal for the Church School Christmas Pageant has been rescheduled for this Saturday, December 22 at 3:30 p.m. at St. Mary's.  Please be on time so we can get started right away.  The Pageant itself will be held this Sunday, December 23rd, immediately after Divine Liturgy.  Church School children should go downstairs after communion to put on their costumes.  NEEDED:   Church School  teachers and parents to help with the children.  If you have any questions, please contact Charlie Marge (marge@alum.mit.edu) or Paul Nahass (pnahass@comcast.net).

SPONSOR-A-CHILD EXTENDED - For one more week, the Fellowship of St John the Divine asks you to Sponsor a Child with a Christmas Card for the Hogar Rafael Ayau, an orphanage run by Orthodox nuns in Guatemala . One-third of the children have been sponsored so far; please help us make sure every child receives a card. You'll just write your sponsored child a personal Nativity greeting with Christmas cards which will be provided, and we'll 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. For more info, visit http://hogarafaelayau.org/proyect.htm

NATIVITY SERVICES - St. Mary will celebrate the Nativity with the following services on Monday, December 24. Come and celebrate!

Royal Hours for the Nativity 9:00 a.m.
Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil  11:00 a.m.
Orthros 6:30 p.m. (not 6:45 as previously scheduled)
Divine Liturgy for the Nativity 8:00 p.m.

Note that there are no services on Tuesday, December 25.

DISPENSATION FROM FASTING - From Christmas Day until January 4th, inclusive, there is a general dispensation from all fasting.

FATHER ANTONY WILL BE AWAY - Fr. Antony will be at Antiochian Village attending the College Conference from Wednesday, December 26 through Saturday, December 29, 2007.  In case of emergency please call Fr. Timothy Ferguson at St. George Church, West Roxbury at 617-323-0323.

2007 OFFERINGS -- If you have any contributions remaining towards your 2007 pledge, please remember to turn them in to the church -  via the collection plate, Bengarri or mail - by Sunday, December 30.


2008 PLEDGE CARDS - Please take the time to fill out your 2008 pledge card, which was mailed out recently, 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.

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

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.

FOOD DONATIONS - 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.

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.


Think not, therefore, it is of small things you are hearing, when you hear of this birth, but rouse up your mind, and straightway tremble, being told that God has come upon earth. For so marvellous was this, and beyond expectation, that because of these things the very angels formed a choir, and on behalf of the world offered up their praise for them, and the prophets from the first were amazed at this, that "He was seen upon earth, and conversed with men" (Baruch 3:37). Yea, for it is far beyond all thought to hear that God the Unspeakable,  the Unutterable, the Incomprehensible, and He that is equal to the Father, has passed through a virgin's womb, and has vouchsafed to be born of a woman, and to have Abraham and David for forefathers.

   - St John Chrysostom

He who sits at the right hand of the Father goes without shelter at the inn, that he may for us prepare many mansions in the house of his heavenly Father ... He was born, not in the house of his parents, but at the inn, by the wayside, because through the mystery of the Incarnation he is become the Way, by which he guides us to our home.

   - Venerable Bede

Joseph was amazed as he saw what was supernatural. He understood, O Virgin, the rain upon the fleece in thy conception without seed.  And he understood the bush that burned without fire and was unconsumed, and Aaron's rod, which blossomed. Indeed, thy betrothed and guardian cried out to the priests: "A virgin gives birth, and after the birth remains a virgin."

   - The Kontakia of Romanos

Thou hast visited [humanity] in many ways, in the loving-kindness of thy heart: thou hast sent the prophets, thou hast worked mighty wonders through the saints who, from generation to generation, were close to thee. ... Thou hast given us the help of the Law. Thou has charged angels to watch over us.  And when the fullness of time was come, thou didst speak to us by thy own Son.

   -  St. Basil Liturgy


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 10:00 a.m.; Nativity Pageant and festivities 


Epistle:  St. Paul's Letter to the Hebrews 11:9-10; 32-40  Brethren, by faith Abraham sojourned in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he looked forward to the city which has foundation, whose builder and maker is God.

Gospel: Matthew 1:1-25  Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit; ... behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."

Monday, December 24:  

Royal Hours for the Nativity 9:00 a.m.
Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil  11:00 a.m.
Orthros 6:30 p.m. (not 6:45 as previously scheduled)
Divine Liturgy for the Nativity 8:00 p.m. 

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


Saturday, December 29:  NO  Vespers at St. Mary
Sunday, December 30:  Orthros  8:45 a.m., Divine Liturgy 10:00 a.m. 



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 22: Paul Joseph and Steve Walker 


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 23:    Epistle - Melissa Nassiff 


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 23:   Church School Pageant and Christmas Festivities
December 30:  Jeanne  Brickman