Update for the week Thursday, December 12, through Thursday, December 19, 2013
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 this Sunday, December 15, 2013.
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. Second rehearsal will be Sunday, December 15 during coffee hour; dress rehearsal is Saturday, December 21, 2:30-4:30 pm (dress rehearsal). The pageant will be presented on Sunday, December 22, after Liturgy.
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. Included are sacred Christmas hymns, Western Christmas carols, and Orthodox Christmas carols. The CDs are just $10, and will be available this Sunday, December 15. They make great Christmas gifts! See Charlie Marge for a copy.
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 have parishioners who will support this ministry by purchasing a gift ($20 and under) and returing 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 sign up to make deliveries (or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org).
CHRISTMAS CONCERT - This Sunday, December 15 at 4:00pm, our Diocesan Choir will participate in the first “Orthodox Christmas around the World ” concert at the Malliotis Center in Brookline. This pan-Orthodox effort, organized by Holy Cross Seminary, features choirs from St. Sava’s in Cambridge, Holy Resurrection in Allston, and men’s, women’s, and mixed choirs from Holy Cross. For more information see Charlie Marge.
PARISH COUNCIL – The next meeting of the Parish Council will be Tuesday, December 17, at 7:30 pm.
PARACLESIS – Every Wednesday during this season of the Nativity fast, we have a Paraclesis service at 6:30 pm. Please join us!
MESSAGE FROM FR. ANTONY - Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Many of you have attended St. Mary's for years and have contributed much to the community and now we are asking those of you who have not signed pledge cards to please step up to the plate and do so. Since we have lost our major hall renters, the parish is particularly in need of your help to keep the parish strong financially.
The rental of the church hall has been a major factor in our financial health, but this is not a truly healthy situation. We should be able to do all we can and then some throught he contributions of our people.
Please don't neglect this responsibility. If you love your parish, pledge today!
PARKING RESTRICTION – Parishioners must not park in the City Hall Electric Car Charging Station across from the Church. This spot must be available at all times to Cambridge residents who have electric cars.
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 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 email@example.com
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!
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. For more information contact Marianna Sayeg (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Fr. Antony (email@example.com ). New members are always welcome. Note: Bible Study is taking a break until after Christmas. We will resume again on at 7:00 pm January 16, 2014.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR SERVICE
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 https://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.
THIS WEEK'S VOLUNTEERS
Greeter: Paul Demerjian
Church School Liturgical Service - Candle Bearers: Saimon Teclezghi & Yoel Yohannes ; Icon Bearer: Malek Abdellas; Bread Baskets: Rahel Mahari & Meley Ephrem; Team Leader: Danait Teclezghi
Coffee Hour: Mary Woldemichael
LITURGICAL SCHEDULE FOR THIS WEEK
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
SCRIPTURE READINGS for Sunday, December 15:
Epistle: St. Paul's Letter to the Colossians 3:4-11
Brethren, when Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry ... But now put them all away; anger, wrath, malice, slander, and foul talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old nature with its practices and have put on the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, but Christ is all, and in all.
Gospel: Luke 14:16-24
The Lord said this parable: "A man once gave a great banquet, and invited many; and at the time of the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, 'Come; for all is now ready.' But they all alike began to make excuses...Then the householder in anger said to his servant, 'Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and maimed and blind and lame.' And the servant said, 'Sir, what you commanded has been done, and there is still room.' And the master said to the servant, 'Go out to the highways and hedges, and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those who were invited shall taste my banquet. For many are called, but few are chosen.'"
Wednesday, December 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
Wednesday, December 25: Christmas Day; no services at St. Mary
Saturday, December 28: No Vespers at St. Mary
Sunday, January 5, Feast of Holy Theophany: Orthros 8:45 am, Enquirers' class 9:00 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am, followed by Blessing of the Water; Church School lesson 12
...And if by grace, it will be said, how did we not all come to be saved? Because you refused. For grace, even though it be grace, saves the willing, not those who will not have it, and turn away from it, those who persist in fighting against it, and opposing themselves to it.
- St. John Chrysostom, Homily on Romans
The Lord greatly loves the repenting sinner and mercifully presses him to His bosom: “Where were you, My child? I was waiting a long time for you.” The Lord calls all to Himself with the voice of the Gospel, and his voice is heard in all the world: “Come to me, my sheep. I created you, and I love you. My love for you brought Me to earth, and I suffered all things for the sake of your salvation, and I want you all to know my love, and to say, like the apostles on Tabor: Lord, it is good for us to be with You.”
- St. Silouan the Athonite, Writings, IX.27
Come now, my brethren - all who have received the name of faith, who have been deemed worthy to be called people of Christ - do not put aside our calling; let us not violate our faith through improper works. It is not enough for someone merely to be known as a believer, so let us show our faith through works.
- St. John of Damascus, Homily on the Withered Fig Tree and the Parable of the Vineyard
We have often become deaf, unable to know when God calls us and unable to understand in which direction He calls us. Thus our lives have become absurd. In the word absurd we find the Latin word surdus, which means “deaf”…When, however, we learn to listen, our lives become obedient lives. The word obedient comes from the Latin word audire, which means “listening.” A spiritual discipline is necessary in order to move slowly from an absurd to an obedient life, from a life filled with noisy worries to a life in which there is some free inner space where we can listen to our God and follow His guidance.
- Henri J. M. Nouwen, Devotional Classics