Weekly Newsletter for the week of Friday, December 28, 2007 through Thursday, January 3, 2008

Weekly Newsletter for the week Friday, December 28, 2007 through Thursday, January 3, 2008

Christ is Born!  Glorify Him!


SPONSOR-A-CHILD RESULTS - The Sponsor-a-Child Christmas Card project raised $300. The Fellowship of St John the Divine wishes to thank all those who participated in the Sponsor-a-Child with a Christmas Card for the Hogar Rafael Ayau, an orphanage run by Orthodox nuns in Guatemala . Cards will be delivered to Hogar, along with the funds collected  towards the ongoing construction of Hogar San Miguel, a new orphanage in a safer environment. For more info,  visit http://hogarafaelayau.org/proyect.htm

PARISH COUNCIL - The next meeting of the Parish Council will be Thursday, January 17, at 7:30 p.m., in the small Hall next to the kitchen.

PARISH MEETING - The Annual Meeting of St. Mary parish will be held on  Sunday, January 20, 2007, immediately following Divine Liturgy.  It will be brief;   all members of the parish are urged to attend.  In case of inclement weather, the snow date will be Sunday, January 27.

CANNED FOOD DRIVE- LAST CHANCE! - Each Parish in the Antiochian Archdiocese is asked to sponsor a Canned Food Drive and distribute the goods to the needy in their local community.  Our Teens are collecting canned goods through December 30, which will be weighed and given to the CEOC Food Pantry at 11 Inman St. for distribution, as part of the World Food Day project sponsored by the Archdiocese. 

COFFEE HOUR VOLUNTEERS NEEDED - Several upcoming Sundays are available,  so please sign up to sponsor a coffee hour, individually or with friends.  Some do this to celebrate a special event or anniversary, others simply as an act of hospitality. It can be as simple as coffee, juice, and cookies.   Signup sheets are on the bulletin board downstairs outside the Hall. Isn't it your turn by now?



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

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

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.

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 this 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.)  Note:  2008 Church calendars have not yet arrived.

FOOD DONATIONS CONTINUE - Even after the Teens' World Food Day project ends, please continue to bring cans, jars, and boxes of food and place them in the container outside the Church Office. All types of  canned and packaged food will be given to St. Paul 's Food Pantry in Harvard Square , where volunteers from St. Mary help every Saturday. 

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.


When the Magi from the east did not return to Jerusalem from Bethlehem to inform Herod about the newborn King but rather, at the angel's command, returned to their homeland another way, Herod became as enraged as a wild beast and ordered all the children two years old and under in Bethlehem and its surroundings to be killed. This frightening command of the king was carried out to the letter. His soldiers beheaded some of the children with swords, smashed others against stones, trampled others underfoot, and strangled others with their hands. And the cries and wails of the mothers rose to heaven, Lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children (Jeremiah 31:15, Matthew 2:18), as had been prophesied. This crime against the multitude of innocent children was carried out a year after the birth of Christ, at the time when Herod was seeking to find the Divine Child. He asked Zacharias about his son John, so that he might kill him, since he naturally thought that John was the new king. As Zacharias did not turn John over, he was slain in the Temple by order of Herod. St. Simeon the God-receiver would also have been murdered soon after the Presentation in the Temple , had he not already reposed in God. After murdering the children of Bethlehem , Herod turned against the Jewish elders who had revealed to him where the Messiah would be born. He then killed Hyrcanes, the high priest, and the seventy elders of the Sanhedrin. Thus, they who had agreed with Herod that the new Child-king must be killed came to an evil end.

   - Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic, The Prologue from Ochrid

A story of the Divine Christ-child: Both great prophets, Isaiah and Jeremiah, prophesied that the Lord would come to Egypt and that His presence would shake the pagan temples and destroy the idols. Isaiah wrote: Behold, the Lord rideth upon a swift cloud and shall come into Egypt : and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at His presence (Isaiah 19:1, cf. Jeremiah 43:12-13). When the divine refugees came to the city of Hermopolis ( Cairo ), they approached a pagan temple, and all the idols in that temple suddenly fell down and were shattered. St. Palladius writes of this in his Lausiac History: "We saw the pagan temple there, in which all the carved idols fell to the ground at the coming of the Savior."  In a certain place called Sirin there were 365 idols. When the Most-holy Virgin entered that temple with the Divine Child in her arms, all these idols fell down and were shattered. All the idols throughout Egypt fell in the same manner. The Holy Prophet Jeremiah, living in Egypt in old age, had prophesied to the pagan priests of Egypt that all the idols would fall and all the graven images would be destroyed at the time when a Virgin Mother with a Child, born in a manger, would come to Egypt . The pagan priests remembered well this prophecy. In accordance with it, they carved out a representation of a Virgin as she lay on a bed and, next to her in a manger, her young Child wrapped in swaddling clothes; and they venerated this representation. King Ptolemy asked the pagan priests what this representation meant, and they replied that it was a mystery, foretold by a prophet to their fathers, and that they were awaiting the fulfillment of this mystery. And, indeed, this mystery was fulfilled, and revealed not only in Egypt but also in the entire world.

   - Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic, The Prologue from Ochrid


Saturday, December 29:  NO  Vespers at St. Mary

Sunday, December 30:  Orthros  8:45 a.m., Divine Liturgy 10:00 a.m.; no Church School classes


Epistle:  St. Paul 's Letter to the Galatians 1:11-19

Brethren, I would have you know that the gospel which was preached by me is not man's gospel. For I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

Gospel: Matthew 2:13-23

When the wise men departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt , and remain there till I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him."


Saturday, January 5:  Great Vespers 5:00 p.m.

Sunday, January 6:  Epiphany -  Orthros  8:45 a.m., Festal Liturgy of St. Basil and Blessing of the Waters 10:00 a.m.; Church School lesson in the Sanctuary

Wednesday, January 16:   Evening Liturgy for Feast of St. Anthony the Great 6:30 p.m.

Sunday, January 20:  Parish Meeting immediately following Liturgy



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 29: The Chin Family and Bill Coyle


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 30:    Epistle - 

Communion Assistance -


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 30:  Jeanne  Brickman