Update for the week Friday, March 23, through Thursday, March 29, 2012


AKATHIST and LEARNING IN LENT – On the first four Fridays 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 titled “Common questions about Christianity and their uncommon Orthodox answers.”  For the fourth and final talk, this Friday, March 23, our speakers will be Bob Kowalik and Fr. Antony.

DIOCESAN TEEN SOYO LENTEN RETREAT – There will be a retreat for teens in grades 7-12 held this weekend, 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 memorial lecture, sponsored by the Fellowship of St. John the Divine, on Saturday, March 24, 2012.
     Vespers for the Feast of the Annunciation to the Theotokos will begin at 5:00 pm,
     Spaghetti supper (meatless) at 6:00, and
     Lecture at 6:45, upstairs in the sanctuary.
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

LENTEN RETREAT FOR WOMEN - The Sts. Mary and Martha Sisterhood of Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church (62 Harvard Ave. Allston, MA) presents a Lenten retreat for women: Finding Your Spiritual Path, with guest speaker Fr. Maximos Monachos, on Saturday, March 24, 2012, from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm. Registration begins at 8:30 am.  To preregister please contact P. Paula Tishel via e-mail at ptishel@yahoo.com $35 adult fee / $20 student fee includes lunch and afternoon tea. Pay at the door, check or cash.

LENTEN RETREAT AT NEW SKETE – New Skete Communities (in Cambridge, NY) presents a Lenten retreat: Journey Through Holy Week, on Saturday, March 24, from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm. Full day fee of $35 includes breakfast, lunch, and snacks; other options available.  Pre-registration is required – please contact Karen Gladstone, New Skete Communities Director of Advancement and Stewardship, karengladstone@newskete.orgor 518-677-3928 x220.

ANTIOCHIAN WOMEN’S MONTH – March is Antiochian Women’s Month throughout the archdiocese.  Every Sunday this month, the women here will be giving the homily (each looking at a different aspect of Healing Through the Sacramental Life of the Church), reading the Epistle, taking the collection, and helping with Communion.  If you would like to participate, please put your name on the sign-up sheet on the Bengarri, or contact Priscilla Goss at 781-762-1527.   This week’s homily, by Arlene Marge, will be about Healing through Confession and Spiritual Direction.


CHOIR CONCERT – Our own Boston Byzantine Choir will be offering Lenten Journey:  A Concert of Orthodox Sacred Chant  onSaturday March 31, at St. Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church, 35 Lake Pkwy, Webster, MA. Vespers 5:30, Concert 6:30.  All are welcome, admission is free. (Freewill donations are welcomed, to support the local Webster/Dudley Food Share.) A reception will follow the concert.

COLOR EGGS FOR PASCHA – Ten volunteers are needed to hardboil and dye 3 dozen brown eggs. Khourieh Carol will provide the dye and instructions.  Names of volunteers are needed by Sunday April 1, 2012.  See Khourieh Carol or call Fr. Antony at 781-507-5938.

LAZARUS SATURDAY CHURCH CLEAN-UP – Please come and bring your friends and family to celebrate the Divine Liturgy on Lazarus Saturday, April 7, (Matins 8:00  am, Liturgy 9:00 am) and enjoy a Communion Breakfast at 10:15 am. After the breakfast there will be a Church Clean-U pin preparation for Pascha, coordinated by the Fellowship of St. John the Divine.  Everyone is encouraged to  bring some rags, cleaning supplies, small buckets, brown paper bags and irons for wax removal, etc.  Please come and lend a hand in preparing God’s House for the Feast of Feasts. 

CHOIR REHEARSAL – Choir Rehearsal for Palm Sunday/Good Friday/ Pascha will be held after Liturgy and Breakfast on Lazarus Saturday, April 7, at approximately 10:45am. St Mary Church Choir is very open to individuals interested in making a commitment to sing each Sunday at Divine Liturgy.  Please feel free to join us and/or introduce yourself to the director, Michelle Mabardy, on any Sunday after Liturgy.

PALM SUNDAY FISH DINNER– On Palm Sunday, April 8, the Fellowship of St. John the Divine will host its annual Palm Sunday Fish Dinner. Spend Palm Sunday with your family and friends at Church  after Liturgy and let us do the cooking! 

HOLY FRIDAY RETREAT – There will be a half-day retreat for children on Holy Friday morning, April 13, from 9:00-12:30, with fellowship, prayer, song, and quiet projects, ending with a simple luncheon.  Children’s confessions will be heard between 11:00 and noon.  Children should be picked up by 12:30, or you may join them for the Service of the Royal Hours at 1:00 pm.   The assistance of older teens and adults is welcome during the morning’s activities, or with luncheon, or in the decoration of the bier.  Lunch will be provided for everyone - $5 donation per person donation requested. RSVP to Trish O. at 781-641-0182  or  t_orlovsky@hotmail.com

HOLY FRIDAY VIGIL – Following the Lamentations Service on Holy Friday evening, April 13, St. Mary's Teen SOYO will hold an All-Night Vigil at the Church.  All youth, ages 12-18 (grades 7-12), are encouraged to participate in reading Psalms, keeping watch at the tomb, and joining a discussion led by a special guest.  The Vigil culminates Saturday morning with Vesperal Liturgy at 9:00 am.  Teens across the Diocese will participate in similar vigils at their respective churches.  The Church will be locked and several chaperones will remain with the Teens throughout the night, into the morning.


PRESANCTIFIED LITURGY and LENTEN POTLUCKS – Every Wednesday during Lent 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.

THEOPHANY SCHOOL OPEN HOUSE - Interested in learning more about Theophany School for your child? ComeMarch 27th-29th, between 9:30 and 11:30 am, and see what programs Theophany School has to offer. They have added new classes for fall 2012 and will now include a 1st grade class, in addition to the full-day kindergarten and preschool classes. Meet the teachers, see the classrooms, and experience the difference that Theophany School can make in your child's education.  Call 781-444-3058 or email the School (theophanyschool@gmail.com) if you need more information.

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.

BAKE SALE – The Women’s Club’s Pascha Bake Sale is scheduled for Sunday, April 1, the Sunday before Palm Sunday. Plan on purchasing all your Pascha/Easter desserts, pastries and goodies!  If you can help bake or bring something for us to sell, please call Priscilla Goss at 781-762-1527.

FOOD FOR HUNGRY PEOPLE – You are urged during this season of prayer, self-discipline and fasting, to be very generous in your contribution to the Food for Hungry People program of our Archdiocese. Money Boxes for collecting alms at home will be on the Bengarri; please pick one or two up and place them throughout your home, fill them up, and return them on Palm Sunday, April 8. Remember:  He that feeds the hungry also feeds God.

NEW ENGLAND’S GOT TASTE and TALENT –  St. George Norwood, sponsor of this year’s Parish Life Conference, is sponsoring a talent competition and an appetizer cooking competition for talented competitors and chefs from throughout the diocese. Preliminary competition will be Sunday, May 6, at 5:00 pm, at St. John of Damascus in Dedham (final competition at the Conference). To purchase tickets ($15 adults / $10 12 & under) and/or submit talent, call David Franciosi at 617-347-1007.  “Church Chefs” call Erin Kimmett at 781-775-0789.  Or, download applications for “Taste” & “Talent” at www.http://stgeorgenorwood.org/PLC2012See the flyer in this Sunday’s Bulletin for more information.

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

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 signup sheet for coffee hours is 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 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.

LITURGICAL SERVICE:  Women of the parish

COFFEE HOUR:  Almaz Abebe and Family

Friday,  March 23:  Akathist 7:00 pm, followed by final “Learning in Lent” lecture

Saturday, March 24:  Vespers for Feast of the Annunciation to the Theotokos 5:00 pm; Dinner 6:00 pm, followed by Fr. John vonHolzhausen Memorial Lecture

Sunday, March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation to the Theotokos:  Orthros 8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am; Church School Lesson 18

Epistle: St. Paul's Letter to the Hebrews 2:11-18
… Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, He himself likewise partook of the same nature, that through death he might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage. … Therefore he had to be made like his brethren in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make expiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered and been tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted.

Gospel: Luke 1:24-38
… And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. … For with God nothing will be impossible." And Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.

Wednesday, March 28:  Presanctified Liturgy 6:30 pm, followed by Pot Luck Supper
Friday, March 30:  Akathist 7:00 pm (no lecture)

Sunday, April 1:  Orthros 8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am; Church School Lesson 19

Wednesday, April 4:  Presanctified Liturgy 6:30 pm, followed by final Pot Luck Supper

Saturday, April 7, Lazarus Saturday: Matins 8:00 am, Divine Liturgy 9:00 am, Communion Breakfast 10:15 am, followed by church cleanup and choir rehearsal; Great Vespers 5:00 pm.

Sunday, April 8, Palm Sunday:  Matins 8:45 am;  Divine Liturgy 10:00 am with Procession; followed by FSJD annual Fish Dinner.  Bridegroom Matins 7:00 pm

Holy Monday, April 9:  Presanctified Liturgy 7 :00 am; Bridegroom Matins 7:00 pm

Holy Tuesday, April 10:  Presanctified Liturgy 7 :00 am; Bridegroom Matins 7:00 pm

Holy Wednesday, April 11:  Presanctified Liturgy 7 :00 am; Holy Unction 7:00 pm

Holy Thursday, April 12:  Vesperal Liturgy 7 :00 am; Washing of the Feet 6:45 pm and Twelve Gospels 7:00 pm

Holy Friday, April 13:  Children’s Retreat 9:30 am;  Royal Hours 1:00 pm;  Unnailing Vespers 3:00 pm; Lamentations 7:15 pm with Procession to Central Square

Holy Saturday, April 14:  Vesperal Liturgy 9:00 am

Saturday-Sunday, April 14-15:  Vigil/Rush Service 10:00 pm; Resurrection Matins 11:00 pm; Great and Holy Pascha Divine Liturgy 12 midnight;  Paschal Festivities in the Church Hall following


God rests in holy places; that is (in) the Theotokos and all the Saints. These are they who have become likenesses of God as far as it is possible, since they have chosen to cooperate with divine election. Therefore, God dwells in them.
   - St. John of Damascus

The censer, with coal and incense, is a strong weapon in my hands. It is a symbol of blessing, strength and power, … it is a symbol of the ardent, fragrant grace of the Holy Spirit, breathing on all believers ... it also stands for an image of the Holy Mother carrying in her womb the live coal of Divinity.
   - St. John of Kronstadt

 Come, let us wonder at the virgin most pure; wondrous in herself, unique in creation, she gave birth, yet knew no man; her pure soul with wonder was filled, daily her mind gave praise in joy at the twofold wonder: her virginity preserved, her child most dear. Blessed is He who shone forth from her!
   - St. Ephraim the Syrian

 Blessed is she; she has received the Spirit who made her immaculate. She has become the temple in which dwells the Son of the heights of heaven …
Blessed is she: within the bounds of her body was contained the Boundless One who fills the heavens, which cannot contain him. …
Blessed is she: for to her Son the saints all owe their happiness.
Blessed be the Holy One of God who has sprung from her.
   - James of Sarug (c. 449-521)

 Today marks the crowning of our salvation and the revelation of the mystery before all ages. For the Son of God becomes the son of the Virgin, and Gabriel proclaims the grace. Wherefore, we also cry out with him, "Hail, O full of grace, the Lord is with you."
   - Troparion of the Annunciation of the Theotokos