Update for the week Thursday, December 5, through Thursday, December 12, 2013


BIBLE STUDY – The Bible Study at St. Mary, sponsored by the Fellowship of St. John the Divine, meets every other Thursday in the church library, and is based on a series of talks originally broadcast on Ancient Faith Radio. Join us at 7:00 pm this Thursday, December 5, as we continue our discussion of Genesis (http://orthodoxbiblestudy.info/genesis-part-10/ and http://orthodoxbiblestudy.info/genesis-part-11/ ) For more information contact Marianna Sayeg (mksayeg@gmail.com) or Fr. Antony (frawhj@gmail.com). New members are always welcome. Note: this will be our last meeting until after Christmas. We will resume again on January 16, 2014.

CONCERT AND SING-ALONG – The Metropolitan Wind Symphony Orchestra presents “Holiday Pops and Christmas Sing Along”, to benefit St. John of Damascus Church, on Saturday, December 7, 6:00 - 9:00pm at the Church. Tickets are $15/Adult, $5/child. Call the Church office to see if tickets are still available: 781-326-3046.

ST. MARY PARISH CHRISTMAS CARD - Save yourself time, let us do the work, and all proceeds will benefit the Antiochian Women Project 2013-2014: Help the Orphans of War in Syria. Let the Women’s Club send a lovely Christmas card on your behalf to our parishioners. You will receive this card with the names of parishioners, like yourself, who are wishing a Blessed Nativity and a Merry Christmas to all. Please use the request form in the Sunday bulletin, or write to St. Mary Church - Women’s Club, 8 Inman St., Cambridge, MA 02139. Make checks payable in any amount to St. Mary Women’s Club. Deadline: Sunday, December 8, 2013 (extended from December 1).

CHRISTMAS CD – We are happy to announce the release of the 2012 Christmas Concert recording by the Choir and Chanters of our Diocese: Christ is Born.. The CDs are just $10, and will be available Sunday, December 8. They make great Christmas gifts! See Charlie Marge for a copy.

CHURCH SCHOOL CHRISTMAS PAGEANT -  If you are interested in participating in the Christmas Pageant, please see Sarah Byrne-Martelli or Charlie Marge.  We also need parents to assist at all rehearsals. Rehearsals will be Sunday, December 8 and 15 during coffee hour, and Saturday, December 21, 2:30-4:30 pm. The pageant will be presented on Sunday, December 22, after Liturgy.

FREE MESSIAH CONCERT – The Tremont Temple Baptist Church, 88 Tremont St. in Boston, will be presenting a performance of Handel's Messiah on Sunday, December 8, at 4:00 pm. The concert is free and open to the public. St. Mary’s own Susan Porr will be playing clarinet in the orchestra.

WOMEN'S CLUB DINNER - The Women’s Club does not meet again until February. However, we are planning to go out to dinner for the Christmas Holiday on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 7:30pm to The Cheesecake Factory, 199 Boylston St. (Route 9) Chestnut Hill. Everyone is welcome! Any woman interested in going please call Mary Ellen Mabardy at 781-729-6303.


ANGEL TREE - St. Mary's is participating in the Angel Tree Prison Fellowship - a program that connects parents in prison with their children through the delivery of Christmas gifts. Many of these children live in poverty and would not otherwise receive anything at all for Christmas. St. Mary's has sponsored 20 children from 13 households, and we are looking for parishioners who will support this ministry by purchasing a gift ($20 and under) and return it to St. Mary's (wrapped) by Sunday, December 15. We also need several volunteers to help deliver the gifts before Christmas. Please see Kate Arnold after church to choose a child to sponsor or sign up to make deliveries (or email her at katherine.arnold@gordon.edu).

CHRISTMAS TREE - We want to thank all those who helped decorate the Christmas tree. It looks beautiful!

PRAY FOR THE NUNS OF MA'ALOULA – We were recently informed that the Monastery of St. Thekla in Ma'aloula, Syria, was invaded, and that twelve (now thought to be only five) nuns were abducted. Our Paraklesis service on Wednesday of this week was dedicated to Mother Pelagia and the nuns of St. Thekla. More recently it has been reported that Islamist rebels have started setting fire to all the houses owned by Christians in the town. Updated information can be found here: http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Maaloula-sisters-in-Yabrud,-Greek-Orthodox-Patriarchate-reports-29720.html Please continue to pray for the nuns and for all the Christians of Ma'aloula.


APARTMENT WANTED - Our own Subdeacon Steve Walker needs a new place to live, as his apartment building is undergoing renovation. It must be near public transportation, with or without a roommate (grad student or older). If you have such a place or know of one, please contact Steve at smwalk@gmail.com.

YOUTH EQUIPPED TO SERVE – YES, a program of FOCUS North America, will be coming to Bridgeport, CT Friday-Sunday, December 13-15. YES (Youth Equipped to Serve) is a ministry designed to encourage teens to get involved in outreach. For more information and to register go to www.yesnorthamerica.org. Registration fee is $150; scholarships are available.

DONATIONS FOR HOLY NATIVITY - If you would like to donate toward the Poinsettias and Nativity decorations please use the form in the Sunday bulletin. Donations will be printed in the December 22, 2013 Bulletin. Deadline is December 15, 2013.

CHRISTMAS CONCERT - This year our Diocesan Choir will participate in the first “Orthodox Christmas around the World” concert at the Malliotis Center in Brookline on Sunday, December 15 at 4:00pm.  This is a pan-Orthodox effort organized by Holy Cross Seminary, featuring choirs from different jurisdictions.  For more information see Charlie Marge.
Rehearsals will be at St. John of Damascus in Dedham on Sunday, November 24, from 4:00-6:00 pm, Friday, December 6, 7:00-9:00 pm, and dress rehearsal Thursday, December 12, from 7:00-9:00 pm.

PARISH COUNCIL – The next meeting of the Parish Council will be Tuesday, December 17, at 7:30 pm.

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 - on Saturday,  December 21, 2013, 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 Julie Wasilko at julie31415pi@gmail.com .

VIBRATION MONITORING - Please be advised that vibration monitoring equipment has been placed in a large orange metal Knaack Storage Chest up against the back of the church. Please DO NOT PARK in front of the chest.

COFFEE HOUR VOLUNTEERS – The Jabbour and Gabriel families have kindly volunteered to host the coffee hour on the day of the Christmas Pageant, Sunday, December 22.

CANNED FOOD DRIVE – The annual FOOD FOR HUNGRY PEOPLE Canned Food Drive continues through December, 2013. 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 million pounds of food!


There are a number of ways you can help the Church, your fellow worshipers, and those in need. Consider serving in one of these ways:
- Be a Greeter
- Participate in Liturgical Service*
- Provide a Coffee Hour
- Join the Prison Ministry
- Help with Video Editing
- Share your talent as Photographer Or Graphic Designer

For information about these opportunities, and who to contact, see http://www.stmaryorthodoxchurch.org/ministries/volunteering

*Also, during the school year, the Church School students participate in our liturgical celebration by holding candles at the Gospel reading; processing with candles, a festal icon, and the baskets of Antidoron (i.e. extra bread) at the Great Entrance; and then presenting the Antidoron for a blessing during the Hymn to the Theotokos.


Greeters: Martin & Meg Scrivener

Church School Liturgical Service - Candle Bearers: Gabi Popa & Malek Abdellas; Icon Bearer: Amanuel Kassa; Bread Baskets: Saron Nebiya & Anthony Teebagy; Team Leader: Robel Mahari

Coffee Hour: The Dalton family


Saturday, December 7: Great Vespers 5:00

Sunday, December 8: Orthros 8:45 am, Enquirers' class 9:00 am, Divine Liturgy with St. Nicholas Children's Sermon 10:00 am; Church School short lesson #10; Pageant rehearsal during Coffee Hour

SCRIPTURE READINGS for Sunday, December 8:
Epistle: St. Paul's letter to the Ephesians 2:14-22
Brethren, Christ is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law of commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby bringing the hostility to an end.

Gospel: Luke 13:10-17
...But 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 11: Paraclesis Service 6:30 pm


Saturday, December 14: Great Vespers 5:00

Sunday, December 15: Orthros 8:45 am, Enquirers' class 9:00 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am; Church School lesson 11; Pageant rehearsal during Coffee Hour

Wednesday, Decermber 18: Paraclesis Service 6:30 pm

Saturday, December 21: Church School Pageant dress rehearsal 2:30-4:30 pm; Western Rite Evensong with Lessons and Carols 5:00 pm, followed by Potluck Supper

Sunday, December 22: Orthros 8:45 am, Enquirers' class 9:00 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am, followed by Church School Nativity Pageant

Tuesday, December 24: Royal Hours for the Nativity 9:00am; Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil 11:00 am;
Orthros 6:30 pm (note time change); Festal Divine Liturgy of St. Basil 8:00pm

Saturday, December 28: No Vespers at St. Mary


All condemnation is from the devil. Never condemn each other. We condemn others only because we shun knowing ourselves. When we gaze at our own failings, we see such a swamp that nothing in another can equal it. That is why we turn away, and make much of the faults of others. Instead of condemning others, strive to reach inner peace. Keep silent, refrain from judgment. This will raise you above the deadly arrows of slander, insult and outrage and will shield your glowing hearts against all evil. - St Seraphim of Sarov

It is only the infinite mercy and love of God that has prevented us from tearing ourselves to pieces and destroying His entire creation long ago. People seem to think that it is in some way a proof that no merciful God exists, if we have so many wars. On the contrary, consider how in spite of centuries of sin and greed and lust and cruelty and hatred and avarice and oppression and injustice, spawned and bred by the free wills of men, the human race can still recover, each time, and can still produce men and women who overcome evil with good, hatred with love, greed with charity, lust and cruelty with sanctity. How could all this be possible without the merciful love of God, pouring out His grace upon us? Can there be any doubt where wars come from and where peace comes from, when the children of this world, excluding God from their peace conferences, only manage to bring about greater and greater wars the more they talk about peace?- Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain

Let go of a small part of your righteousness and in a few days you will be at peace- St. Poemen

One must by every means strive to preserve peace of soul and not be disturbed by offenses from others; for this one must in every way strive to restrain anger and by means of attentiveness to keep the mind and heart from improper feelings. And therefore we must bear offenses from others with equanimity and accustom ourselves to such a disposition of spirit that these offenses seem to concern not us, but others. Such a practice can give quietness to the human heart and make it as dwelling for God Himself. - St. Seraphim of Sarov, Spiritual Instructions, Little Russian Philokalia, V. I

We know that the Lord, while in the flesh, was kind to all people, even those who persecuted Him --- Him, the Almighty God. He showed us how to avoid evil and not oppose it. He said so Himself [cf. Matt. 5:39]. Not opposing evil means preserving one’s inner peace. Opposing evil is evil; it involves a desire to return evil for evil, on which the fallen spirits thrive. However, when they attack us and find that we do not oppose them, then our peacefulness disarms them; and they are defeated. Therefore, we must try to always pray like this: “Lord, help me to preserve my inner peace, teach me to be calm and peaceful and kind, just like Thine angels.” - Wisdom from Elder Thaddeus