Update for the week Friday, February 10 through Thursday, February 16, 2012


PRE-LENTEN RETREAT – The Antiochian Women of the Diocese invite you to a Pre-Lenten Retreat on Saturday,February 11, at St. George Church in Norwood. Featured speaker will be His Grace, Bishop John, whose topic will be “Relationships: Discovering Myself in God and in My Neighbor.” Liturgy begins at 9:00 am,  Retreat 10:30 am. 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 today, February 9th.


THANK YOU- Thanks very much to everyone who helped make our annual Chinese New Year brunch a success last week.  Thanks to everyone's generosity, a total of $877 was collected for the Chinese Translation Project.

WOMEN’S CLUB – The next meeting of the Women’s Club will be Monday, February 13, at 7:30 pm.

OFFICES CLOSED  – The Church Offices will be closed Thursday, February 16, through Tuesday, February 21.  Please note:  Early deadline for the February 19th Sunday Bulletin will be Tuesday, February 14, at Noon.

PARISH COUNCIL – The next meeting of the Parish Council will be Wednesday, February 15, at 7:30 pm.

CHOIR DIRECTORS MEETING –  Diocesan Choir Directors will meet with His Grace, Bishop John, here on Sunday, February 26, at 4:00 pm.

DIOCESAN YOUTH DAY – A Diocesan Youth Day hosted by His Grace, Bishop John, is scheduled for Saturday, March 3, from 1:00 to 3:00 pm, at the new Chancery in Westborough.

BOOK DISPLAY AND SALE – A sales representative from Holy Cross Bookstore will be at St Mary's on Sunday, March 4, with a selection of Lenten and children's books and gifts for Pascha. Please come prepared to take advantage of this opportunity to buy books for yourself and your family.

REAL BREAK – Each year hundreds of thousands of college students in North America travel during their spring break for oftentimes, empty experiences.  Entering its 11th year, OCF Real Break continues to offer the transformative, priest-led trips both domestically and internationally.  To find detailed information regarding the 2012 Real Break trips and to register, please visit www.ocf.net/realbreak. . Be a part of this year's life-changing week-long Real Break experience.


NO FASTING – There is NO fasting or abstinence from meats and dairy products this week, February 6-11 (the week after reading of the Pharisee and the Publican).

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.

MEATFARE SUNDAY BREAKFAST – Join us for the annual Meatfare Sunday Breakfast, sponsored by the Fellowship of St. John the Divine, on Sunday, February 19, after Liturgy.  Your donation will help support the many activities of the Fellowship at St. Mary's. Suggested donation: $7 per person, $14 per family

WINTER DELEGATES MEETING – The Fellowship of St. John the Divine, Teen SOYO and Antiochian Women will hold their Diocesan General Assembly on Saturday, February 25, at St John of Damascus Church in Dedham.  The day begins with Divine Liturgy at 9:00 am; Antiochian Women Executive Board will meet at 9:45 and after “coffee and…” the General Assembly Meetings will begin at 10:30. 

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

LENTEN FOOD SALE – The Women's Club is now taking orders for Hoomos (hummus), Mjadara (lentils with rice), and Spinach Triangles.  Please use the order form in the Sunday bulletin.  Order deadline is Sunday, March 4;  pickup date is Sunday, March 18.  Also, please plan to come help make the Spinach Triangles on Saturday, March 17,  at 9:00 am.

SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE –The Syrian-Lebanese Women’s Club of Greater Boston will make available a number of scholarship awards in the amount of $1000.00 each to young women of Syrian and Lebanese origin, residing in Massachusetts within a 50 mile radius of Boston, who plan to pursue a four-year college education.  Applications are available in the Church Office or by calling or e-mailing Mary Winstanley O’Connor (617-523-1010 or moconnor@koilaw.com).  Completed applications must be postmarked by March 31, 2012.

UPDATED CHURCH SCHOOL CALENDAR – The Church School calendar has been updated for the spring to account for a couple changes. The updated calendar can be found on-line at https://www.stmaryorthodoxchurch.org/assets/files/2011-2012-ChurchSchoolCalendar.pdf

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.

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


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!

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:   Richard Robbat

LITURGICAL SERVICE:  Epistle: Walt Porr; Communion assistance: Teva Regule, Todd Garvin, Sarah Byrne, and others to be determined.  If you would like to assist during Communion, please contact Jeff Wasilko, 781-820-0882, jeffw@smoe.org.

COFFEE HOUR:  The Nebiye and Mazzoni families


Saturday, February 11:  Pre-Lenten Retreat at St. George Norwood 10:30 am;
Teen Vespers at St. Mary with pizza, activities and discussion 5:00 pm

Sunday, February 12:  Orthros 8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am;  Church School lesson 14 

SCRIPTURE READINGS for February 12, The Sunday of the Prodigal Son:
Epistle: St. Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians 6:12-20
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body and in your spirit which belong to God.

Gospel: Luke 15:11-32
The Lord said this parable: "There was a man who had two sons; and the younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me the share of the property that falls to me.' And he divided his living between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took his journey into a far country, … But when he came to himself he said, 'How many of my father's hired servants have bread enough and to spare, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired servants.'And he arose and came to his father. But while he was yet at a distance, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.  …


Sunday, February 19, Meatfare Sunday; Judgment Sunday:  Orthros 8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am;  no Church School

Sunday, February 26, Cheesefare Sunday; Forgiveness Sunday:  Orthros 8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am;  Church School Lesson 15;   Forgiveness Vespers 6:00 pm

Monday, February 27: Great Lent begins;  Great Canon of St. Andrew 7:00 pm

Tuesday, February 28:  Great Canon of St. Andrew 7:00 pm

Wednesday, February 29:  Presanctified Liturgy 6:30 pm, followed by Pot Luck Supper

Thursday, March 1:  Great Canon of St. Andrew 7:00 pm

Friday, March 2:  Akathist 7:00 pm

Sunday, April 15:  Great and Holy Pascha


On the third Sunday of preparation for Lent, we hear the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32). Together with the hymns of this day, the parable reveals to us the time of repentance as man's return from exile. The prodigal son, we are told, went to a far country and there spent all that he had. A far country! It is this unique definition of our human condition that we must assume and make ours as we begin our approach to God. A man who has never had that experience, be it only very briefly, who has never felt that he is exiled from God and from real life, will never understand what Christianity is all about. And the one who is perfectly "at home" in this world and its life, who has never been wounded by the nostalgic desire for another Reality, will not understand what is repentance.
   … It is very easy indeed to confess that I have not fasted on prescribed days, or missed my prayers, or become angry. It is quite a different thing, however, to realize suddenly that I have defiled and lost my spiritual beauty, that I am far away from my real home, my real life, and that something precious and pure and beautiful has been hopelessly broken in the very texture of my existence. Yet this, and only this, is repentance, and therefore it is also a deep desire to return, to go back, to recover that lost home.
   - Alexander Schmemann, Great Lent

I have recklessly forgotten your glory, O Father, and among sinners I have scattered the riches which you gave to me.  And now I cry to you as the Prodigal: I have sinned before you, O merciful Father; receive me as a penitent and make me as one of your hired servants.
   - Kontakian of the Prodigal Son

Remember, O my soul, the terrible and frightful wonder: that your Creator for your sake became Man, and deigned to suffer for the sake of your salvation. His angels tremble, the Cherubim are terrified, the Seraphim are in fear, and all the heavenly powers ceaselessly give praise; and you, unfortunate soul, remain in laziness. At least from this time forth arise and do not put off, my beloved soul, holy repentance, contrition of heart and penance for your sins.
   - St. Paisius Velichkovsky

Even if you are not what you should be, you should not despair. It is bad enough that you have sinned, why in addition do you wrong God by regarding Him as powerless? Is He, who for your sake created the great universe that you behold, incapable of saving your soul? And if you say that this fact, as well as His incarnation, only makes your condemnation worse, then repent and He will receive your repentance as He accepted that of the prodigal son and the prostitute. But if repentance is too much for you and you sin out of habit even when you do not want to, show humility like the publican, this is enough…For he who sins without repenting, yet does not despair, must of necessity regard himself as the lowest of creatures, and will not dare to judge or censure anyone. Rather he will marvel at God’s compassion.
   - St. Peter of Damascus, from A Treasury of Divine Knowledge, “That We Should Not Despair Even if We Sin Many Times”