Update for the week Friday, February 24 through Thursday, March 1, 2012


WINTER DELEGATES MEETING – The Fellowship of St. John the Divine, Teen SOYO and Antiochian Women will hold their Diocesan General Assembly this Saturday, February 25, at St John of Damascus Church in Dedham.  The day begins with Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at 9:00 am, 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

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

FORGIVENESSVESPERS – The last thing we do before beginning the Lenten fast is forgive each other, and ask everyone to forgive us.  Join us Sunday evening,  at 6:00 pm for Forgiveness Vespers.  Lent begins Monday, February 27.


PRESANCTIFIED LITURGY and LENTEN POTLUCKS – Every Wednesday during Lent, beginning Wednesday, February 29,  there will be a Presanctified Liturgy at 6:30 pm, followed by a Potluck Supper sponsored by the FSJD.  Do plan to come and bring something to share.  Any Lenten fare is welcome:  main courses, sides, salads, desserts, as well as beverages and snacks.  This is a wonderful opportunity for fellowship during Lent, plus we get to sample each other's Lenten recipes.  Please stay for supper even if you can't bring food--there's room at the table for everyone.

LEADERS NEEDED– People are needed to lead the following upcoming projects--feel free to volunteer singly, in pairs or in small groups. Leaders will be in charge of recruiting and organizing volunteers for the events...FSJD can give you plenty of information about how each event usually unfolds!  Please contact Tiffany ASAP to volunteer, at trattus1@gmail.com
     1. Lenten Pot-luck Suppers after Pre-Sanctified Liturgies on Wednesday evenings in Lent: involves getting people to bring stuff, setting up the Hall, then cleaning up the Hall and Kitchen.
     2. Learning in Lent Lectures: we need a few assistants for Fr. Antony and Bob Kowalik, who are the official leaders of this series—First four Fridays in March following Akathist.
     3. Von Holzhausen Lecture: involves setting up the Hall, preparing food, serving and cleaning up the Hall and Kitchen.  Saturday, March 24th: Vespers at 5:00 pm, Dinner at 6:00  pm, Lecture begins at 6:45 pm.
     4. Palm Sunday Fish Dinner: we need people to set-up/decorate the Hall, prepare food, serve, clean-up Hall and Kitchen.     

AKATHIST and LEARNING IN LENT – On the first four Frdays in Lent, after the Akathist (Madayeh) service, which starts at 7:00 pm, the Fellowship of St John the Divine will offer its annual lecture series.  This year’s series is tentatively titled “Orthodox Backtalk: 4 questions or assertions about religion we often hear and may be uncomfortable/unsure about how to respond.”  The first talk, beginning Friday, March 2, is scheduled to address the question “Are you saved?”

LENTEN RETREAT - St. Demetrios Church, 57 Brown St., Weston, MA invites you to an adult Lenten retreat on Saturday, March 3, from 9:30 am to 3:00 pm, led by Fr. Maximos, a monk at the Holy Monastery of Simonopetra on Mt. Athos, who formerly taught at Holy Cross and Harvard Divinity School, and who took part in a 60 Minutes report on Mt. Athos originally broadcast April 24, 2011 (http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18560_162-57345246/mount-athos-a-visit-to-the-holy-mountain/?tag=contentMain;contentBody). Donation: $25. Please register by Wednesday, February 22 - Call Cindi Dabrowski at 508-88-6598; or email Fr. Alex Chetsas: fralex@stdemetriosweston.org  

TRIUMPH OF ORTHODOXY CONCERT – Several local choirs, including our own Boston Byzantine Choir, will present a concert of sacred music to celebrate The Triumph of Orthodoxy on Saturday, March 3, at St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church, 41 Alewife Brook Parkway, Cambridge. Vespers at 6:00 pm, Concert at 7:00 pm, refreshments to follow. Admission: free.

BIBLE STUDY GROUP- The next meeting of the Bible study group will be held at the home of Nadia and Bahig Kaldas on Thursday, March 8th at 7:30 pm. Please reply to Nadia if you plan to attend - bkaldas@rcn.com. She will provide directions.


ANTIOCHIAN WOMEN’S MONTH –  March is Antiochian Women’s Month throughout the archdiocese.  During the month, the women of this parish will be reading the Epistle, taking the collection, giving homilies, and helping with Communion.  If you would like to participate, there is a sign-up sheet on the Bengarri.  Please become a part of this wonderful opportunity for all  women of the Parish.

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.

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.

SUNDAY OF ORTHODOXY VESPERS – His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios and The Metropolis of Boston Federation of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians invite you to Vespers of the Sunday of Orthodoxy on Sunday, March 4, at 5:00 pm, at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 457 Oak Street, Brockton, MA.  Metropolitan Methodios has asked our own Fr. Antony to preach.

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.

DIOCESAN TEEN SOYO LENTEN RETREAT – There will be a retreat for teens in grades 7-12 held the weekend of  March 23-25  at St. Methodios Faith & Heritage Center, Contoocook, NH.  Leader will be Katrina Bitar, with the topic:  “Heroes of the Old Testament”

vonHOLZHAUSEN LECTURE - We are pleased to announce that Bishop Seraphim Sigrist will be  giving the annual Father John vonHolzhausen lecture, sponsored by the Fellowship of St. John the Divine, on Saturday, March 24, 2012. Vespers will begin at 5:00 pm, dinner at 6:00, and the lecture at 6:45.  Bp. Seraphim is the author of four books, and will talk about his newest book, A Life Together: Wisdom of Community from the Christian East. More information about him can be found at http://orthodoxwiki.org/Seraphim_%28Sigrist%29_of_Sendai

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 (617-523-1010or moconnor@koilaw.com).  Completed applications must be postmarked by March 31, 2012.

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.

CROSSROAD - CrossRoad is a summer institute for high school juniors and seniors on the campus of Hellenic College/Holy Cross.  Participants take part in daily classes, visit neighboring Orthodox parishes and participate in service activities.  CrossRoad now offers two sessions.  Download an application and view a video clip at www.crossroad.hchc.edu

PLEDGE ENVELOPES and CALENDARS - Pleasepick up your Pledge envelopes, if you have not yet done so – they are on the table downstairs outside the Hall.

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 207-361-1000or 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!

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

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 not block the driveway – if the lot is full, you can park on the street.

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:     Mike Decerbo

LITURGICAL SERVICE:   Scout Sunday – Young people in our parish involved in Scouting



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

SCRIPTURE READINGS for February 26, Forgiveness Sunday:
Epistle: St. Paul's Letter to the Romans 13:11-14; 14:1-4
…But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. As for the man who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not for disputes over opinions. One believes he may eat anything, while the weak man eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who abstains, and let not him who abstains pass judgment on him who eats; for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for God is able to make him stand.

Gospel: Matthew 6:14-21
The Lord said, "If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
   "And when you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by men but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

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 – every Wednesday  in Lent

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

Friday, March 2:  Akathist 7:00 pm, followed by “Learning in Lent” Lecture Series – every Friday in March


Sunday, March 4, Sunday of Orthodoxy:  Orthros 8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am; with procession of Icons (no Church School)

Wednesday, March 7:  Presanctified Liturgy 6:30 pm, followed by Pot Luck Supper – every Wednesday  in Lent

Friday, March 9:  Akathist 7:00 pm, followed by “Learning in Lent” Lecture Series – every Friday in March

Sunday, March 11:  Orthros 8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am; Church School Lesson 16

Sunday, April 8:  Palm Sunday

Sunday, April 15:  Great and Holy Pascha


      Finally comes the last day [before Lent], usually called "Forgiveness Sunday," but whose other liturgical name must also be remembered: the "Expulsion of Adam from the Paradise of Bliss." This name summarizes indeed the entire preparation for Lent. By now we know that man was created for paradise, for knowledge of God and communion with Him.  Man's sin has deprived him of that blessed life and his existence on earth is exile. Christ, the Savior of the world, opens the door of paradise to everyone who follows Him, and the Church, by revealing to us the beauty of the Kingdom, makes our life a pilgrimage toward our heavenly fatherland. …
      Lent is the liberation of our enslavement to sin, from the prison of "this world." And the Gospel lesson of this last Sunday (Matt. 6:14-21) sets the conditions for that liberation. The first one is fasting – the refusal to accept the desires and urges of our fallen nature as normal, the effort to free ourselves from the dictatorship of flesh and matter over spirit. … The second condition is forgiveness – "If you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you."  The triumph of sin, the main sign of its rule over the world, is division, opposition, separation, hatred. Therefore, the first break through this fortress of sin is forgiveness: the return to unity, solidarity, love.
Lent actually begins at Vespers of that Sunday. … Nothing reveals better the "tonality" of Great Lent in the Orthodox Church; nowhere is better manifested its profound appeal to man [than Forgiveness Vespers]. … The hymns (stichera) which follow the psalm "Lord I have cried…" announce the coming of Lent and, beyond Lent, the approach of Pascha! … All preparation has now come to an end. I stand before God, before the glory and the beauty His Kingdom. I realize that I belong to it, that I have no other home , no other joy, no other goal; I also realize that I am exiled from it into the darkness and sadness of sin, "for I am afflicted." And finally, I realize that only God can help that affliction, that only He can "attend to my soul." Repentance is, above everything else, a desperate call for that divine help.
   -Alexander Schmemann, Great Lent

Let us not render evil for evil, and we shall not receive our due for our sins. For we find the forgiveness of our trespasses in the forgiving of our brothers; and the mercy of God is hidden in mercifulness to our neighbor. Therefore the Lord said, “Forgive, and you shall be forgiven,” and, “With what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again.” See how the Lord bestowed on us the method of salvation and has given us eternal power to become sons of God!
   - St. Maximus the Confessor

O Word supreme in love, who with the Father and the Spirit has created all things visible and invisible in Thy wisdom past speech, grant in Thy compassion that we may spend the season of the joyful Fast in profound peace. Destroy the beguilement of bitter sin, granting us contrition, tears of healing, and forgiveness of our trespasses, that, fasting with a fervent spirit and undoubting soul, we may join the angels to sing the praises of Thy power.
   - Matins Sessional Hymn for Tuesday in Cheese Week