Update for the TWO weeks Thursday, December 19, 2013 through Thursday, January 2, 2014

Update for the TWO weeks Thursday, December 19, 2013 through Thursday, January 2, 2014



CHURCH SCHOOL CHRISTMAS PAGEANT -  Thanks to Sarah Byrne-Martelli and Charlie Marge who are leading this year's Christmas Pageant, and to all the parents who are helping. Dress rehearsal is Saturday, December 21, 2:30-4:30 pm. The pageant will be presented on Sunday, December 22, after Liturgy.

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 - this 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

PARISH COUNCIL MEETING – The Parish Council meeting originally scheduled for Tuesday, December 17, has been rescheduled to Monday, December 30, at the church.

PLEDGE CARDS – 2014 pledge cards have been mailed.  Please return the signed cards by Tuesday, December 31, 2013. Or you can make your pledge online at  https://www.stmaryorthodoxchurch.org/ministries/stewardship.php

LAST CHANCE:  GIVE A GIFT OF FOOD – The next two Sundays are your last chance to contribute to the annual Food For Hungry People food drive, which goes through the end of 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.


PARISH COUNCIL ELECTION – Parish Council ballots have been mailed out to parishioners eligible to vote; please vote for up to five individuals and return them ASAP.

CHURCH CALENDARS & OFFERING ENVELOPES - New Church Calendars and 2014 Offering Envelopes are now available. They are on the desk in the Church Hall.

ANTIOCHIAN WOMEN – There will be a Diocesan Meeting of the Antiochian Women with Bishop JOHN on Saturday, January 25, at 10:30am at the Chancery, 2 Lydia’s Path, Westborough, MA. Luncheon will follow the meeting.

DIOCESAN FAMILY DAY – There will be a celebration of Diocesan Family Day at Saint John of Damascus in Dedham on Saturday, February 1. The day begins at noon with a luncheon for everyone; followed by various events and concluding with Great Vespers at 5:00 pm. Family Day is coordinated by the Diocesan Mission Council.  For information contact Father Joseph Kimmett (stgeorgenorwood@gmail.com) or Greg Abdalah (abdalah.g@gmail.com)

REAL BREAK – OCF Real Break aims to prepare college students to be socially informed Orthodox Christian citizens of this world, while directing their focus on the world to come, the kingdom of heaven. Built on a foundation of fellowship, education, worship, and service, Real Break provides students the opportunity to understand the true meaning of seeing Christ in the other – traveling to all parts of the world deepening their faith, serving those in need, and cultivating relationships with like-minded peers.   To find detailed information regarding the 2014 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.


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 (mksayeg@gmail.com) or Fr. Antony (frawhj@gmail.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.

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.

PARKING RESTRICTIONS – 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.
Also, there is no parishioner parking in the Church parking lot Mondays through Fridays until after 6:00 pm.


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.


Greeter: Marc Patacchiola

Church School Liturgical Service - Candle Bearers: Rahel Mahari & Meley Ephrem ; Icon Bearer: Saron Nebiye ; Bread Baskets: Malek Abdellas & Gabi Popa ; Team Leader: Tycho Traumann-Davis and Robel Mahari

Coffee Hour: Helen Gabriel, Gail Kaiser, Andrea Jabbour, Jane Gabriel and Helen Woodward


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

SCRIPTURE READINGS for Sunday, December 22, Sunday before Nativity:
Epistle: St. Paul's Letter to the Hebrews 11:9-10; 17-23; 32-40
… And all these, though well attested by their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had foreseen something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

Gospel: Matthew 1:1-25
The book of the Genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. … and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ. Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way...

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

SCRIPTURE READINGS for the Feast of the Nativity:
Epistle: Galatians 4:4-7
Brethren, when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son then also an heir of God through Christ.

Gospel: Matthew 2:1-12
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came...

Wednesday, December 25: Christmas Day; no services at St. Mary

Saturday, December 28: No Vespers at St. Mary

Sunday, December 29: Orthros 8:45 am, Enquirers' class 9:00 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am; No Church School

SCRIPTURE READINGS for Sunday, December 29:
Epistle: St. Paul's Letter to the Galatians 1:11-19
Brethren, I would have you know that the gospel which was preached by me is not man's gospel. For I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ. ...

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...” Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, was in a furious rage, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time which he had ascertained from the wise men. ...


Saturday, January 4, 2014: Great Vespers 5:00 pm

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 Waters; Church School lesson 12

Saturday, January 11: Great Vespers 5:00 pm

Sunday, January 12: Orthros 8:45 am, Enquirers' class 9:00 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am; Church School students remain upstairs for Blessing of the Waters


Today the Virgin cometh to the cave to give birth to the Word, who was born before all ages - begotten in a manner that defies description. Rejoice therefore, oh universe, if thou shouldst hear, and glorify with the angels and the shepherds. Glorify Him, who by His will shall become a new born Babe and who is our God before all ages.
- Kontakion Preparatory for the Nativity

The shepherds also came laden with the best gifts of their flock: They brought and presented a suckling lamb to the Paschal Lamb, a first-born to the First-born, a sacrifice to the Sacrifice, a lamb of time to the Lamb of Truth.  Fair sight, [to see] the lamb offered to The Lamb!
- St. Ephraim the Syrian

Christ is born: glorify him. Christ comes from heaven: go out to meet him. Christ descends to earth: let the heavens rejoice and let the earth be glad, for his sake who was first in heaven and then on earth. Christ is here in the flesh: let us exult with fear and joy - with fear, because of our sins; with joy because of the hope that he brings us. ... Light from light, the Word of the Father comes to his own image, in the human race. For the sake of my flesh he takes flesh; for the sake of my soul he is united to a rational soul, purifying like by like. In every way he becomes human, except for sin. O strange conjunction! The Self-existent comes into being; the Uncreated is created. He shares in the poverty of my flesh, that I may share in the riches of his Godhead.
- St. Gregory Nazianzus (St. Gregory the Theologian), from a sermon on the Nativity

Hold him in your arms like Mary his mother. Enter with the Magi and offer your gifts. Proclaim his birth with the shepherds. Proclaim his praise with the angels. Carry him in your arms like Simeon the Elder. Take him with Joseph down to Egypt. When he goes to play with little children steal up to him and kiss him. Inhale the sweet savor of his body, the body that gives life to every body. Follow the early years of his childhood in all its stages, for this infuses his love into your soul.
St. John of Dalyatha, Homily on the Meditation on the Economy of the Lord

The Magi exalted from afar; the scribes murmured near at hand. The prophet showed his message, and Herod his wrath. The scribes showed their doctrine; the Magi showed their offerings. It is a marvel that to Him, the Babe, they of His own house hastened with their swords, and they that were strangers [hastened] with their offerings.
- St. Ephraim the Syrian