Update for the week Thursday, January 5 through Thursday, January 12, 2012


HIERARCHICAL DIVINE LITURGY WITH OUR NEW BISHOP – Everyone is invited to St. George Cathedral, 30 Anna Street, Worcester this evening (Thursday, January 5), at 6:00 pm to celebrate the Feast of Holy Theophany with the Blessing of the Waters  (Orthros: 4:45 pm) with His Grace, Bishop John.  A Welcoming Reception will follow, with food and refreshments, and gifts will be presented from all the churches.  All are welcome.  For more information, contact the Cathedral Office 508-752-9150 or e-mail StGeoWorc@aol.com


VESPERS – CelebrateGreat Vespers with us at 5:00 pm on Saturday

BLESSING OF WATERS- A second Great Blessing of the Waters will take place this Sunday, January 8; Church School students will remain upstairs.


MEET OUR NEW BISHOP– On Sunday, January 29, 2012, His Grace, Bishop John Abdalah will visit St. Mary Church, for the first time as our Bishop.

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.


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.

BIBLE STUDY – Fr. Antony’s Bible study will continue meeting monthly, with the next  meeting on Thursday, January 19, at 7:00 pm, at the home of Arthur & Beverly Mabbett, 37 Powder House Rd. Ext, Medford (phone 781-391-6530).  We will begin studying the Gospel of Mark.
If you would like to attend, please RSVP to the Church Office, 617-547-1234.

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

PARISH COUNCIL - Newly elected members of the Parish Council are  Diane Mabardi, Charlie Marge, Melissa Nassiff, Marc Patacchiola and Raymond Sayeg.

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, January 29, 2012.  Suggested minimum donation is $5.00 per adult.  RSVP to Nelson Mitrophan Chin at mitrophan@orthodox.cnor sign up on the sheet at the Bengarri by Wednesday, January 25.

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!

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.

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, 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


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.

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.”

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:  Deno Takles

LITURGICAL SERVICE: Bob Kowalik, Sarah Byrne, Sarah Byrne and others to be determined

COFFEE HOUR:  Mary Woldemichael


Saturday, January 7:  Great Vespers 5:00 pm

Sunday, January 8:  Orthros 8:45 am, Divine Liturgy with second Blessing of the Waters 10:00 am; Church School  students remain upstairs for second Blessing of the Water

Epistle: St. Paul's Letter to the Ephesians 4:7-13
Brethren, grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ's gift…  And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

Gospel: Matthew 4:12-17
“… the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned." From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."


Saturday, January 14:  No Vespers

Sunday, January 15:  Orthros 8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am; Church School lesson 11

Sunday, January 22:  Annual Parish Meeting


When you, O Lord, were baptized in the Jordan, the worship of the Trinity was made manifest!  For the voice of the Father bore witness to you, and called you his beloved Son!  And the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the truthfulness of His word.  O Christ our God, who has revealed yourself and has enlightened the world, glory to Thee!
   - Troparion of Theophany

He is the Life, we are the living; He is the Resurrection, we are the resurrected; He is the Light, we are the illumined....
   - St. John Chrysostom, Patrologia Graeca 55,199

When St. Paul said that Love was the fulfillment of the Law and that Love had delivered man from the Law, he meant that by the Spirit of Christ we were incorporated into Christ, Himself the “power and wisdom of God,” so that Christ Himself thenceforth became our own life, and light and love and wisdom. Our full spiritual life is life in wisdom, life in Christ. The darkness of faith bears fruit in the light of wisdom.
   - Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation

Apophatic theology does not deny the truth of the revelation God has given, but it emphasizes that even this revelation can only speak of God via human concepts and experience. Because this is so, even the concepts used in divine revelation are inadequate to “contain” God. Unable therefore to “capture” him fully, even these concepts must be transcended. While they speak truly of God, they could not possibly present him exhaustively. Therefore even they must be negated in the sense that we recognize they cannot present God discursively. Who he is remains beyond human expression at its most eloquent and human thought at its loftiest; this is expressed in Eastern Orthodoxy through negative theology.
   - James R. Payton Jr., Light from the Christian East

A healthy spiritual practice is a gift we can give. Every effort we make to increase in virtue, enlightenment and deification touches everyone and everything.  The fruit of our spiritual labors will help bring salvation to all.
   - V. Rev. Antony Hughes, sermon 9/30/2007