Update for the week Thursday, January 19 through Thursday, January 26, 2012

Update for the week Thursday, January 19 through Thursday, January 26, 2012 


BIBLE STUDY POSTPONED – The Bible Study class originally scheduled for this evening (Thursday, 1/19) has been postponed because of the possibility of snow.  Instead it will be held next Wednesday, January 25, at 7:30 pm,  at the home of Arthur and Beverly Mabbett, 37 Powder House Rd. Ext., in Medford.

HOLY MYRRH-STREAMING ICON–  St. Michael Orthodox Christian Church and St. Tikhon Monastery invite you to come and venerate the Holy Myrrh-Streaming Icon of St. Anna, at St. Michael Orthodox Christian Church, Romanian Avenue, Southbridge, Massachusetts. Come for Great Vespers on Saturday, January 21 at 6:00 pm, or Divine Liturgy on Sunday, January 22 at 10:00 am.  More information about the icon can be found at

PARISH COUNCIL – This Sunday the 2012 Parish Council will be sworn in. The newly elected members are Diane Mabardi, Charlie Marge, Melissa Nassiff, Marc Patacchiola and Raymond Sayeg.

PARISH MEETING – The Annual Meeting of the Parish will be held this Sunday,January 22, immediately after Liturgy.  It is important that all members of St. Mary Church attend this meeting. Snow date is Sunday, January 29.


CONGRATULATIONS  -  The Archdiocese has just announced the appointment of our own Charlie Marge to be the new Diocesan Coordinator of Sacred Music for the Diocese of Worcester and New England.  We wish him well in this new ministry.

SCOUT SUNDAY OBSERVANCE – Scout Sunday is the primary date to recognize the contributions of young people and adults to Scouting.  This year, St. Mary’s will observe Scout Sunday on February 26, which falls in between the anniversaries of The Boy Scouts of America (February 8) and the Girl Scouts of the USA (March 12).  In fact, the Girl Scouts of the USA are celebrating their 100th anniversary this year.  Look for the scouts in our parish to be involved in liturgical service that day.  If your child is a Boy Scout or Girl Scout (all ages) and would like to participate in Scout Sunday, please send an e-mail to Charlie Marge:  marge@alum.mit.edu


VISIT FROM OUR NEW BISHOPNextSunday, January 29, 2012, His Grace, Bishop John Abdalah will visit St. Mary Church, for the first time since his consecration as our Bishop. Hierarchical Divine Liturgy will be at 10:00 am (Orthros at 8:45), followed by January Memorials, and a coffee hour to welcome him hosted by the Parish Council.

CHINESE NEW YEAR BREAKFAST– Join the FSJD for the 2012 Chinese New Year Missions Breakfast, to benefit the Chinese Translation Project via the Orthodox Fellowship of All Saints of China (OFASC), on Sunday, February 5, (note new date).  Suggested minimum donation is $5.00 per adult.  RSVP to Nelson Mitrophan Chin at mitrophan@orthodox.cn

BLESSING OF HOMES – Fr. Antony will be blessing homes after Epiphany (January 6)  and between Pascha (April 15) and Pentecost (June 3).  We bless homes to reveal the home as what God created it to be, a way to heaven; to rid the home of every evil;  to show that the family is a small church unit in Christ; to consecrate the home and all activity in it to God; and to fill the home and all who live in it with the fullness of God.  To schedule the blessing of your home, please use the form in the weekly Bulletin or call the church office at 617-547-1234.

PRE-LENTEN RETREAT – The Antiochian Women of the Diocese invite you to a Pre-Lenten Retreat on Saturday, February 11, 2011, at St. George Church in Norwood. Featured speaker will be His Grace, Bishop John. His topic will be “Relationships: Discovering Myself in God and in My Neighbor.” To register, call Erin Kimmett at 781-775-0789. $15 registration fee includes lunch.  All (men as well as women) are welcome.

TEEN SOYO –  “What Do You Want To Do When You Grow Up?” Come to St. Mary Church on Saturday, February 11 for Teen Vespers at 5:00 pm, Pizza dinner at 5:45 pm, Discussion about life before, during and after college and a presentation about the CrossRoad Summer Institute by CrossRoad Director, Mike Tishel from 6:00-6:45 pm, and Games and fun activities from 7:00-8:30 pm.  Please RSVP to Nadia (nabuelezam@gmail.com ) no later than February 9th.

PLEDGE ENVELOPES and CALENDARS - Pledge envelopes and church calendars are available for pickup on the table downstairs outside the hall.  Look for your name in alphabetical order.  If you have chosen to pay periodically or through eGive, you have not been assigned a weekly envelope. (Calendars are also available on the Bengarri.)

PLEDGE CARDS - If you have not already returned your Pledge Card, please do so as soon as possible, or fill out the electronic pledge card on our web site: www.stmaryorthodoxchurch.org.

COFFEE HOUR SIGNUP – A new signup sheet for coffee hours has been posted on the bulletin board outside the coat room.  There are plenty of dates to choose from – sign up now for the date you will sponsor the coffee hour!

MIDWINTER MEETINGS – The North American Board of Antiochian Women and the North American Council of the Fellowship of St. John the Divine will hold their midwinter meeting February 17-19, at the Best Western Hotel in Naples, FL, in conjunction with the Consecration of St. Paul Church there.  Teen SOYO’s meeting will be the same weekend, at Antiochian Village.

PARISH LIFE CONFERENCE – Next year’s Parish Life Conference will be held at The Cliff House, Ogunquit, Maine, June 21-24, 2012. Amazing Room Rate:  $149 (Regularly $310)  Call 207-361-1000 or visit their website www.CliffHouseMaine.com/attendees  User Name:  PARISH  Password: pa986B


DONATE VIA eGIVE– Did you know that you can make your donations to St. Mary through eGive, and have no more envelopes or checks to worry about?   If you have not yet set up an account, you can do it at www.egive-usa.com, or contact Charlie Marge (marge@alum.mit.edu) for help. The Recipient Organization is “St. Mary’s Orthodox Church.”

STREAMING VIDEO – 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 www.stmaryorthodoxchurch.org/live  during regularly scheduled service times (see the schedule of services below or online).  If you have questions or comments about this ministry please contact us at live@stmaryorthodoxchurch.org.

PROTECT YOUR VALUABLES – Please do not leave valuables unattended in the Church Hall or Coat Room.

FIRST IN, LAST OUT – Please do not park in the small lot behind the church unless you intend to stay through the end of coffee hour. The only way out is the single lane driveway.  Please pull all the way in to the parking space, and please do notblock the driveway – if the lot is full, you can park on the street or in the lot at the corner of Prospect Street and Bishop Allen Drive.

FELLOWSHIP OF ST. JOHN THE DIVINE – Join the Fellowship!  It’s a great way to meet new people and be an integral part of our Parish life. We do not hold regular meetings, but we work together on a variety of projects and events. For example, after coffee hour every Sunday we all pitch in to put away tables and chairs. You can join our members’ email news list by contacting Melissa Nassiff at mnassiff@gmail.com.  Also, check us out on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/FSJD1


There are a number of ways you can help the Church, your fellow worshippers and those in need.  Consider serving in one of these ways:

BE A GREETER - The Parish Council is continuing the Greeter Program, similar to other churches, to greet and aid parishioners, guests and visitors into the Church each Sunday.  As a Greeter, you will welcome people into the Church and help to direct visitors upstairs to the Liturgy, as well as keeping an eye on the Vestibule, hallways and entrance ways during church, arriving at Church at 9:45 am.  Greeting time ends when Communion starts.  We need volunteers.  If you would like to be a Greeter, a Sign-Up Sheet is posted on the Church Bulletin Board.  If you have any questions, please contact Buddy by e-mail buddy@cjmabardy.comor call him at 781-729-6303. “I was a stranger, and you invited me in………”   (Matthew 25:35)

LITURGICAL SERVICE - Each Sunday, members of the congregation are needed to read the Epistle and assist during Communion by holding the Communion Cloths and Holy Bread Baskets.  All Orthodox Christians in the Parish are welcome and encouraged to participate. We usually need one Epistle  and six people to hold cloths and baskets.  If you would like to read the Epistle or assist during Communion, please contact Jeff Wasilko, 781-820-0882, jeffw@smoe.org

COFFEE HOUR – People are needed every week to provide coffee, juice and cookies, or more if desired, and set it up Sunday morning. To sign up for an available Sunday, please put your name on the new signup sheet on the bulletin board outside the Hall or call Marilyn Robbat in the Parish Office and she will write your name in. If you need any help with figuring out what to bring or do, check the list below the signup sheet (also printed in the Bulletin), or ask Marilyn at secretary@stmaryorthodoxchurch.orgor 617-547-1234.

PRISON MINISTRY – If you would like to find out more about Prison Ministry at St. Mary’s Church, please subscribe to our mailing list at http://groups.google.com/group/ocpm-concord

"As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me," says our Lord.


GREETER:   Paul Nahass

LITURGICAL SERVICE:  Sarah Byrne,Melissa Nassiff, and others to be determined. Contact Jeff Wasilko,  781-820-0882, jeffw@smoe.org, to volunteer.

COFFEE HOUR:  None; Parish Meeting instead


Saturday, January 21:  Great Vespers 5:00 pm

Sunday, January 22:  Orthros 8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am  followed by  Annual Parish Meeting;  Church School Lesson 12

Epistle: St. Paul's First Letter to Timothy 4:9-15
… For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.

Gospel: Luke 19:1-10
At that time, Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. And there was a man named Zacchaeus; he was a chief collector, and rich. … And when they saw it they all murmured, "He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner." And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, "Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have defrauded any one of anything, I restore it fourfold." And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man came to seek and to save the lost."


Saturday, January 28:  Great Vespers 5:00 pm

Sunday, January 29: Orthros 8:45 am, Hierarchical Divine Liturgy 10:00 am;  followed by coffee hour welcoming His Grace, Bishop John

Wednesday, February 1:  Evening Liturgy for the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple 6:30 pm

Saturday, February 4:  Church School Family Vespers and Confession 5:00 pm with pizza dinner and a craft project

Sunday, February 5:  Orthros 8:45 am, Hierarchical Divine Liturgy 10:00 am;  followed by Chinese New Year Missions Breakfast


When Jesus is attacked for mixing with sinners, and taking as his disciple a despised tax collector, one might ask: What could he possibly gain by doing so? Only the salvation of sinners.  To blame Jesus for mingling with sinners would be like blaming a physician for stooping down over suffering and putting up with vile smells in order to heal the sick.
   - St. Gregory Nazianzen,Oration 45

The stand of the Lord towards Zacchaeus should serve as a lesson for Christians. Through His stand the Lord showed that we ought to embrace sinners with our love and not to avoid them. It shows us that we ought to seek the power of God to bring them to the regeneration which is effected by our Savior Jesus Christ.  So let us approach sinners with love. And if in the end we do not succeed in bringing them close and fully to the path of God, let us even then not cease praying for them. Perhaps our fervent prayer will be listened to by our compassionate God and He will grant to them the regeneration of their soul.
   - St. Raphael, Spiritual Counsels

Long before the actual beginning of Lent, the Church announces its approach and invites us to enter into the period of pre-lenten preparation. … This preparation includes five consecutive Sundays preceding Lent, each one of them – through its particular Gospel lesson – dedicated to some fundamental aspect of repentance.  The very first announcement of Lent is made the Sunday on which the Gospel lesson about Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10)  is read. It is the story of a man who was too short to see Jesus but who desired so much to see Him that  he climbed up a tree. Jesus responded to his desire and went to his house. Thus the theme of this first announcement is desire. … Zacchaeus desired the "right thing"; he wanted to see and approach Christ. He is the first symbol of repentance, for repentance begins as the rediscovery of the deep nature of all desire: the desire for God and His righteousness, for the true life. …
    - Alexander Schmemann, Great Lent

Therefore, casting out of our souls all faithlessness, sloth, and hesitation, let us draw near with all our heart, with unhesitating faith and burning desire, like slaves who have been newly purchased with precious blood. Indeed, with reverence for the price paid on our behalf, and with love for our Master who paid it, and as having accepted his love for us, let us recognize that, if he had not wished to save by means of himself us who have been purchased, he would not have come down to earth, nor would he have been slain for our sake. But, as it is written, he has done this because he wills that all should be saved. Listen to him say it himself: "I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world" (John 12:17).
   - St. Symeon the New Theologian, On the Mystical Life