Update for the week Thursday, December 7, through Thursday, December 13, 2012


ST. NICHOLAS – Do you have an icon of St. Nicholas? The Church School needs one to carry in procession this Sunday. If you can bring it in please contact Teva Regule (teva@mit.edu), and give it to her at the beginning of Liturgy.
     The Church School’s annual St. Nicholas Festivities will be held this Sunday, December 9; there will be no Church School classes.

PAGEANT REHEARSAL –  The second rehearsal for the Christmas Pageant will be this Sunday, immediately after Sunday School, upstairs in the church proper during Coffee Hour. 

BISHOP JOHN’S ANNIVERSARY – There will be a Divine Liturgy celebrating the 1-Year Anniversary of Bishop JOHN’s elevation to the Episcopacy on Monday, December 10, at 6:00 pm at St. George Cathedral, Worcester.  Reception to follow.

PARAKLESIS – This coming Wednesday, and every Wednesday during Advent, there will be a Paraklesis service at 6:30 pm.


INTERESTED IN BIBLE STUDY? – Dr. Jeannie Constantinou's Search the Scriptures is a free, downloadable Orthodox Bible study designed for busy people. You can listen to the lessons at any time on your own, but the Fellowship of St. John the Divine would like to know if you'd be interested in going through them with us as a group.  In Search the Scriptures, we'd start off by learning about the origin of the Bible (where it actually came from, who chose the books and when, how we should understand words like "inspiration" and "inerrancy," etc.). Next, we'd examine each book of the Bible - starting in Genesis - through the lens of the Church Fathers. Start date has not yet been determined, but if you think you might be interested, please send an email to the FSJD secretary, Melissa Nassiff, at mnassiff@gmail.com.

FAMILY MISSION TO ALBANIA – All Orthodox Christians from North America who have experience with children are invited to prayerfully consider helping with a family retreat program in Albania this coming July, sponsored jointly by the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Center for Family Care. Families with children, couples, and individuals are encouraged to apply. The mission will be led by our own Panayiotis and Shannon Sakellariou. For more information see http://www.ocmc.org/resources/view_article.aspx?ArticleId=899

MEMORY ETERNAL – It is with great sadness that we report that His Beatitude Ignatius IV (1920-2012), Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, fell asleep in the Lord on Wednesday, December 5th, 2012, at St. George Orthodox Hospital in Beirut Lebanon, after having suffered a stroke earlier this week.  Go to the Antiochian Archdiocese website (http://www.antiochian.org/content/his-beatitude-ignatius-iv-1920-2012-memory-eternal) to see funeral arrangements, and also to read a biography of His Beatitude's remarkable life of service and leadership, to listen to Ancient Faith Radio interview Fr. Thomas Zain on the passing of His Beatitude, and to read about His Beatitude's October 2012 visit to the United States.
     We ask the Lord to grant rest to the soul of His servant Patriarch Ignatius IV – May His Memory be Eternal!

MEMORY ETERNAL – Pamela (Manikas) Washek fell asleep in the Lord on Sunday, December 2, 2012. She was the  beloved daughter of Fr. Nicholas & Kh. Effie Manikas of St. Michael the Archangels Church, Cotuit, MA, wife of Kevin Washek of Wayland and mother of Ainsley Washek, Kathryn Washek and Jessica Washek,  all of Wayland.  Visitations will be held on Thursday, December 6, from 4:00 – 8:00 pm at the Greek Orthodox Church of St. Demetrious, 56 Brown St., Weston, with Funeral Services  planned for Friday, December 7 at 10:00 am  at St. Demetrious Church. An article about her and the Neighbor Brigade she founded can be found at http://bostonglobe.com/metro/2012/12/05/pam-washek-wayland-diagnosed-with-cancer-she-founded-neighbor-brigade/wWhCl8bKN1qPQnC7ucuc1K/story.html
Memorial gifts may be sent to the Neighbor Brigade, 18 Willard St., Wayland, MA  01778 or the St. Demetrious Church Building Fund. May her Memory be eternal.

CHURCH FIRE – St. Michael Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Woonsocket, RI was heavily damaged by fire on the day before Thanksgiving. If you would like to help them, see http://www.stmichaeluoc.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=157&Itemid=53


NATIVITY FAST - The Nativity Fast continues, from November 15 until Christmas.

CHRISTMAS PAGEANT –  Dress Rehearsal for the Church School’s Christmas Pageant  will be Saturday, December 15 at 2:30 pm. The pageant will be presented on Sunday, December 16 (snow date: December 23).

LESSONS AND CAROLS with POTLUCK - The Fellowship of St. John the Divine cordially invites you to Western Rite Evensong with Lessons and Carols - a service of prayers, scripture readings and Christmas Carols - next Saturday,  December 15, 2012, at 5:00 pm.  The service will be followed by a festive Lenten Pot Luck Supper.  People whose last name begins with A – P please bring a Main Dish or Salad; people whose last name begin with Q – Z  please bring Dessert. Drinks will be provided. For more information, contact Natasha Smith at nasmith05@rcn.com.

YOUTH EQUIPPED TO SERVE – YES, a program of FOCUS North America, will be coming to Providence, RI,  Friday-Sunday, December 14-16.  For more information and to register go to  www.yesnorthamerica.org.  If you have any questions you can contact Katrina Bitar, Program Director, at Katrina@focusna.org

2013 CALENDARS AND ENVELOPES – New Church Calendars and 2013 Offering Envelopes are available for pick-up starting this Sunday, December 2.  They are in the Hallway outside of the Church Office.  If you would like to be issued envelopes, please call Marilyn Robbat in the Church Office during the week 617-547-1234.

CONFESSIONS –  Confessions are heard each Saturday evening before and after Vespers, which start at 5:00 pm,  or by appointment.

PARKING –  If you park in the Church parking lot, you need to plan on remaining until after the Coffee Hour or other church function.  Do not park in the Church parking lot if you need to leave immediately after church. 
   Additionally, do not park beyond the sign that prohibits parking at the corner of Inman Street and Bishop Allen Drive.  It is difficult for large vehicles to turn the corner if cars are parked there.  Failure to heed this warning may result in the City preventing parishioners from parking on Inman Street.  Your cooperation is appreciated.

OCF COLLEGE CONFERENCE – Each year during Christmas Break, the Orthodox Christian Fellowship’s College Conferences host hundreds of college students from across North America for 4 days of fellowship, prayer, and some of the best Orthodox Speakers around! This year’s conference, at the Antiochian Village in Bolivar, PA, will be held Friday-Monday, December 28-31. For more information see http://www.ocf.net/wikis/programs/college-conference.aspx

CANNED FOOD DRIVE The annual FOOD FOR HUNGRY PEOPLE food drive will be held October through December, 2012. Bring in your canned goods to the Church and place them in the large, blue plastic containers outside the Church Office – they will be distributed to local food pantries in our area. 42 pounds of food will feed a family of four for 3 days - since 1984 we have collected over 3,281,200 pounds of food!

SPECIAL COLLECTIONS – CONTRIBUTE ONLINE – We have recently held special collections at St. Mary for some important and worthwhile causes:  Teen SOYO’s help for Special Olympics on October 23; Seminarians on October 30; and Hurricane Sandy on November 4. If you missed the opportunity to contribute on those dates you can still do so online – Special Categories have been set up in eGive for these one-time donations.  Parishioners can also use their credit cards to make these one-time donations on our website:  https://www.stmaryorthodoxchurch.org/contact/donate.php    Just type the donation target (e.g. Hurricane Sandy) in the Additional Notes area.


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.

VIDEO STREAMING FOR EVENTS – Now you can video stream your wedding or baptism live from St. Mary’s to friends and family who can't attend your event in person.  The cost for Event Video Streaming is $150 for members, $300 for non-members, and includes a password- protected viewing page and setup and breakdown of the streaming service for your event by a trained staff member.   You can also get a copy of your streamed event on CD: $50 for members, $100 for non-members. Fees are payable to the church. Streaming is subject to staff availability. For general questions on the video streaming ministry or event streaming, please contact live@stmaryorthodoxchurch.org.  To schedule your event and/or request Event Video Streaming, please contact the Church Office.

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.


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:

BECOME A GREETER – If you do not sing in the choir, or chant, serve in the Altar or at the Bengarri, and  are not a Church School teacher,  please consider serving the Church as a GREETER!  Greeters arrive at 9:45 am., get a Greeter Name Tag  from the Bengarri, pin it on and greet visitors/parishioners at the Church Entrance and direct them upstairs to the Church, or to the CloakRoom or RestRooms.  Greeting time ends when Communion starts.  Send your name and e-mail address to Buddy Mabardy: buddymabardy@cjmabardy.com or phone him 781-729-6303. 

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.org or 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

COFFEE HOUR:   Mary Woldemichael


Saturday, December 8:  Great Vespers 5:00 pm

Sunday, December 9:  Orthros 8:45 am; Enquirers’ Class 9:00 am;  Divine Liturgy 10:00 am; Church School St. Nicholas Festivities, Pageant rehearsal in the Sanctuary during coffee hour

SCRIPTURE READINGS for Sunday, December 9:
   Epistle: St. Paul's Letter to the Galatians 4:22-27
Brethren, Abraham had two sons, one by a slave and one by a free woman. But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, the son of the free woman through promise. Now this is an allegory: these women are two covenants...

   Gospel: Luke 13:10-17
…the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, "There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day." Then the Lord answered him, "You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to water it? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?" As he said this, all his adversaries were put to shame; and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.

Wednesday, December 12: Paraclesis Service 6:30 pm


Saturday, December 15:  Nativity Pageant dress rehearsal 2:30 pm; Lessons and Carols 5:00 pm, followed by Potluck Supper

Sunday, December 16:  Orthros 8:45 am; Enquirers’ Class 9:00 am;  Divine Liturgy 10:00 am; Church School Nativity Pageant following Liturgy, followed by Christmas Festivities in the Church Hall

Wednesday, December 19:  Paraclesis Service 6:30 pm

Saturday, December 22:  Great Vespers 5:00 pm

Sunday, December 23:  Orthros 8:45 am; Enquirers’ Class 9:00 am;  Divine Liturgy 10:00 am; Church School lesson 10

Monday, December 24:  Royal Hours for the Nativity 9:00 am; Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil 11:00 am; Orthros 6:45 pm.

Tuesday, December 25, Feast of the Nativity of our Lord, Christmas Day: No Services at St. Mary


Christ Himself accuses us of hypocrisy: "This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. In vain do they worship Me" (Mt. 15:8-9). Precisely these words that the Lord was speaking to reprove the Pharisees I feel He is speaking to us, the hypocrites of today who have been enriched with so much grace and yet have remained in a worse state than the hypocrites of yesterday. …  Have not we too, perhaps, thrown away the key of true knowledge and shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in the face of other people, so that we neither enter it ourselves nor allow others to enter (cf. Mt. 23:13)?
   - St. Maximus the Confessor

Zeal is not reckoned among men to be a form of wisdom, but one of the illnesses of the soul, namely narrow-mindedness and deep ignorance. The beginning of divine wisdom is clemency and gentleness, which arise from greatness of soul and the bearing of infirmities of men.
   - St. Isaac of Nineveh

In the souls of the Pharisees and sectarians, the law and mercy do not stand together, i.e., they are unable to fulfill the regulations of the law and to show mercy, but they argue about which is more important of these two; one they omit, and the other they adhere to. The Pharisees literally observed the letter of the Law, but they completely abandoned mercy and love for men.
   - Prolog of Ochrid - reflection for Jan 31

But God said, "I require mercy, and not sacrifice; and the acknowledgement of God, and not whole burnt offerings" (Hosea 6:6).  What is meant by mercy? and what by sacrifice? By mercy then is signified justification and grace in Christ; even that which is by faith. For we have been justified, not by the works of the law that we have done, but by His great mercy. And sacrifice means the law of Moses.
   - St. Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on the Gospel of St. Luke

Ever let mercy outweigh all else in you. Let our compassion be a mirror where we may see in ourselves that likeness and that true image which belong to the Divine nature and Divine essence. A heart hard and unmerciful will never be pure.
   - St. Isaac of Syria