Update for the week Friday, December 28, 2012 through Thursday, January 3, 2013


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

FR. ANTONY AWAY – Fr. Antony will be out of town this Sunday, but we are pleased to welcome back Rt. Rev. Bishop JOHN Abdalah, who will be celebrating Orthros and the Divine Liturgy in Fr. Antony’s absence.

LAST CHANCE:  GIVE A GIFT OF FOOD This Sunday is your last chance to contribute to the annual Food For Hungry People food drive,  which goes through the end of 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.

PLEDGE CARDS – 2013 pledge cards have been mailed.  Please return the signed cards by Monday, December 31, 2012. Or you can make your pledge online at  https://www.stmaryorthodoxchurch.org/ministries/stewardship.php


THEOPHANY SERVICES – Next week’s Feast of Holy Theophany, which corresponds to Epiphany in the western churches,  reveals the Most Holy Trinity to the world through the Baptism of our Lord. This year the entire cycle of Theophany services will be offered locally:
   On Friday, January 4, Royal Hours will be celebrated at St. Mary at 9:00 am.
   On Saturday, January 5, His Grace, Bishop John and the clergy of the Diocese invite you to celebrate the pre-feast of our Lord’s baptism, along with the blessing of the waters, at St. John Church, Dedham. The Hierarchical Divine Liturgy begins at 10:00 am;  light refreshments will follow.
   On Sunday, January 6, we will celebrate Divine Liturgy at 10:00 am here at St. Mary, followed by a second Blessing of the Waters


NO FASTING – From Christmas Day until January 4th, inclusive, there is a general dispensation from all fasting.

VILLAGE (CAMP) AT HOME - The Diocese of Worcester and New England will be hosting a “Village at Home” on Saturday, January 19, 2012 from 9:30 am – 5:15 pm at St. Mary  Church in Pawtucket.  All youth ages 8 and up are invited. The cost is $15.00 per person.  For more information see the notice in this week’s Sunday bulletin or contact Greg Abdalah at 508-752-9150 or 724-518-6811, or abdalah.g@gmail.com. RSVP by January 11.  Come enjoy a day of camp, right in your own back yard.

PARISH MEETING – The Annual Meeting of the Parish will be held Sunday, January 20, after Liturgy.  All members are urged to attend.

SIGN UP FOR COFFEE HOUR – A new  2013 coffee  hour  sign-up sheet has been posted. A whole year of Sundays is available! Please sign up to provide a coffee hour – it can be as simple as coffee, juice, and cookies, and plenty of help is available. Signup sheets are on the bulletin board downstairs outside the Hall, or call the Church Office at 617-547-1234 or email:  secretary@stmaryorthodoxchurch.org.  Remember,  no volunteers = no coffee hour! 

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.

WINTER CAMP – We are invited to participate in camps for Youth ages 12-18 (February 15-18) and for Families (March 1-3) at the St. Methodios Faith and Heritage Center in Contoocook, NH, sponsored by the Metropolis of Boston. For information and registration see http://www.boston.goarch.org/youth_ministries/mbc/winter_camps.html Registration is open now.

REAL BREAK – Each year hundreds of thousands of college students in North America travel during their spring break for oftentimes, empty experiences.  Entering its 12th year, OCF Real Break continues to offer the transformative, priest-led trips both domestically and internationally.  To find detailed information regarding the 2013 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.

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


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.”
     If you missed the opportunity to contribute to some of the special collections held recently,  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 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.

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.

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.


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:  Barbara Shoop



Saturday, December 29:  No Vespers at St. Mary

Sunday, December 30:  Orthros 8:45 am; Enquirers’ Class 9:00 am;  Divine Liturgy 10:00 am, with Bishop JOHN celebrating; no Church School

SCRIPTURE READINGS for Sunday, December 30:
   Epistle: St. Paul's Letter to the Galatians 1:11-19
… For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it; and I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers.

   Gospel: Matthew 2:13-23
When the wise men departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him." And he rose and took the child and his mother by night, and departed to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, "Out of Egypt have I called my son."  … But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, "Rise, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child's life are dead." … And he went and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, "He shall be called a Nazarene."


Friday, January 4:  Royal Hours for the Feast of Theophany at St. Mary Church  9:00 am

Saturday, January 5:  Diocesan Pre-feast of Theophany with Bishop JOHN at St. John Church, Dedham.  Hierarchical Divine Liturgy with the Blessing of the Waters 10:00 am, with light refreshments following; Great Vespers at St. Mary 5:00 pm

Sunday, January 6:  Orthros 8:45 am; Enquirers’ Class 9:00 am;  Festal Liturgy for Holy Theophany followed by Blessing of the Waters; Church School children remain upstairs

Saturday, January 12:  No Vespers at St. Mary

Sunday, January 13:  Orthros 8:45 am; Enquirers’ Class 9:00 am;  Divine Liturgy 10:00 am; Church School Lesson 11

Sunday, January 20:  Annual Parish Meeting following Liturgy (snow date: January 27)

Sunday, February 10:  Chinese New Year Missions Breakfast, sponsored by FSJD


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. For, he [the Apostle Paul] says, "let the strong bear the infirmities of the weak," and "Restore him that has fallen in the spirit of meekness." The Apostle numbers peace and patience among the fruits of the Spirit.
   - St. Isaac of Nineveh

Be persecuted, rather than be a persecutor.  Be crucified, rather than be a crucifier.  Be treated unjustly, rather than treat anyone unjustly.  Be oppressed, rather than be an oppressor.  Be gentle rather than zealous.   Lay hold of goodness, rather than justice.
   - St. Isaac the Syrian, The Ascetical Homilies

Someone who has tasted the truth is not contentious for truth. Someone who is considered among men to be zealous for truth has not yet learnt what truth is really like: once he has learnt it he will cease from zealousness on its behalf. … The gift of God and of knowledge of him is not a cause for turmoil and clamor; rather this gift is entirely filled with a peace in which the Spirit, love and humility reside. … The person whose mind has become aware of God does not even possess a tongue with which to speak, but God resides in his heart in great serenity. He experiences no stirring of zeal or argumentativeness, nor is he stirred by anger. He cannot even be aroused concerning the faith.
   - St Isaac of Syria

The demons that wage war on us through our shortcomings in virtue are those that teach unchastity, drunkenness, avarice and envy. Those that wage war on us through our excessive zeal for virtue teach conceit, self-esteem and pride; they secretly pervert what is commendable into what is reprehensible.
   - St. Maximos the Confessor, Philokalia, Vol. II

Why are ye so hasty, He says, ye servants full of zeal? Ye see tares among the wheat, ye see evil Christians among the good; and ye wish to root up the evil ones; be quiet, it is not the time of harvest. That time will come, may it only find you wheat! Why do ye vex yourselves? Why bear impatiently the mixture of the evil with the good? In the field they may be with you, but they will not be so in the barn.
   - St Augustine, On The Words Of The Gospel, Matt. 13:19

Let this always be the aim of your conduct: to be courteous and respectful to all. And do not provoke any man or vie zealously with him, either for the sake of the Faith, or on account of his evil deeds; but watch over yourself not to blame or accuse any man in any matter. For we have a Judge in the heavens Who is impartial. But if you would have that man return to the truth, be grieved over him and, with tears and love, say a word or two unto him; but do not be inflamed with anger against him, lest he see within you signs of hostility. For love does not know how to be angry, or provoked, or passionately to reproach anyone. The proof of love and knowledge is profound humility, which is born of a good conscience in Jesus Christ our Lord, to Whom be glory and dominion, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and ever, even unto the ages of ages. Amen.
    - St. Isaac the Syrian