Update for the week Thursday, February 27, through Thursday, March 6, 2014


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. Join us today, Thursday, February 27, at 7:00 pm as we conclude the pre-history portion of Genesis, and start part 1 of an overview of the Old Testament Listen to the podcasts at http://orthodoxbiblestudy.info/genesis-part-16/ and http://orthodoxbiblestudy.info/genesis-part-17/ . (This lesson was postponed from February 13 because of the snowstorm.)

CROSSROADS - CrossRoads is a summer institute for high school juniors and seniors on the campus of Hellenic College in Brookline. Participants take part in daily classes, visit neighboring Orthodox parishes, and participate in service activities. CrossRoads offers two sessions. Download an application and view a video clip at www.crossroad.hchc.edu. Application priority deadline is Saturday, March 1.

LENTEN FOOD SALE – The Women's Club is now taking orders for Spinach Triangles, Hoomos (hummus), and Mjadara (lentils with rice).  Please use the order form in the Sunday bulletin.  Order deadline is Sunday, March 2;  pickup date is Sunday, March 16.  Also, please plan to come help make the Spinach Triangles on Saturday, March 15, at 9:30 am. 

FORGIVENESS SUNDAY – This Sunday is Forgiveness Sunday, also known as Cheesefare Sunday, the last day to eat dairy products before beginning the Lenten fast. His Grace Bishop JOHN will join us for Hierarchical Divine Liturgy. 

TEEN DISCUSSION GROUP – Teens should stay upstairs for Bishop John's homily thisSunday; there will be no teen discussion group.

SCOUT SUNDAY - Scout Sunday is the primary date to recognize the contributions of young people and adults to Scouting. This year St. Mary’s is observing Scout Sunday thisSunday, March 2, which falls between the anniversaries of The Boy Scouts of America (February 8) and the Girl Scouts of the USA (March 12). The scouts and scout leaders in our parish will assist in liturgical service. In addition, Bishop JOHN will present religious emblems to those who have met the requirements outlined by the programs of the Eastern Orthodox Committee on Scouting (www.eocs.org), chartered by the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America (formerly SCOBA). If your child is a Boy Scout or Girl Scout (all ages) and would like to participate in Scout Sunday, please send an e-mail to Charlie Marge:  marge@alum.mit.edu.

FORGIVENESS VESPERS – The last thing we do before beginning the Lenten fast is forgive each other, and ask everyone to forgive us. Join us Sunday evening, March 2, at6:00 pm for the very moving service of Forgiveness Vespers. Lent begins Monday, March 3.

GREAT CANON – On Tuesday and Thursday, March 4 and 6, we will pray the penitential Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete beginning at 7:00 pm. Note that there will be no Great Canon of St. Andrew on Monday, March 3. 

CONVENTION PLANNING – In our ongoing preparation to host the 2015 National Convention, Ray Sayeg’s committees will meet at the home of Mary Winstanley O’Connor on Tuesday, March 4 at 7:00 pm (not 2/5 as previously announced). Mary Winstanley O’Connor’s committees will meet at her home on Wednesday, March 5 at 7:00 pm (not 2/12 as previously announced).

PRESANCTIFIED LITURGY and LENTEN POTLUCKS – Every Wednesday during Lent there will be a Presanctified Liturgy at 6:30 p.m., followed by a Potluck Supper sponsored by the Fellowship of St. John. Do plan to come and bring something to share.  Any Lenten fare is welcome:  main courses, sides, salads, desserts, as well as beverages and snacks.  This is a wonderful opportunity for fellowship during Lent, plus we get to sample each other's Lenten recipes.  Please stay for supper even if you can't bring food – there's room at the table for everyone. 

We still need leads for the March 26, April 2, and April 9 potlucks. (Note that being the leadmeans simply providing a main dish and coordinating what others bring if they ask. Also, please recruit someone to coordinate cleanup.) Please contact Julie Wasilko (julie31415pi@gmail.com ) to sign up to lead a potluck. 

AKATHIST – On the first five Fridays of Lent, beginning Friday, March 7, we will pray the Akathist to the Theotokos at 7:00 pm.


DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME – This year we set our clocks forward for Daylight Savings Time on Sunday, March 9. Please plan accordingly!

BREAKFAST SEARCH – Next Sunday, March 9 our teens will be heading out after Liturgy to Harvard Square to hand out coffee and breakfast to those in need. All teens are welcome to join them.

TEEN SOYO COFFEE HOUR – The teens will be hosting the Coffee Hour on Sunday,March 16. Please let Greg or Hannah know if you can help out/or contribute.

TEEN RETREAT – The New England Diocese Annual Teen Lenten Retreat will be held Friday through Sunday, March 28-30, at St. Methodios in New Hampshire. Teens from all over New England will be in attendance. The cost is $95 per teen, which covers food, lodging and everything you need for the weekend.

IOCC HEALTH/BABY CARE KITS - As the Lenten Season is upon us, the Women’s Club asks you to participate in our project to send HEALTH and BABY CARE KITS to the displaced families and orphans of the Syrian Conflict. The IOCC (International Orthodox Christian Charities) will handle the mailing and distribution. Our job is simply to buy and assemble the kits. This is a great way for our families and St. Mary’s parish to begin our Lenten journey, and show our children the true meaning of Christian charity. Shop with yourchildren to make a kit, or more than one. If that’s not feasible, make a donation to the Women’s Club and we will do the shopping for you. Instructions for Kits can be found in the Sunday bulletin.

FOOD FOR HUNGRY PEOPLE – The 40th Anniversary Food for Hungry People program of our Archdiocese will begin this week with the start of Great Lent. Money Boxes for collecting alms at home will be on the Bengarri; please pick one or two up and place them throughout your home, fill them up, and return them on Palm Sunday, April 13. Please be generous! 


Syrian and Lebanese Women - Scholarships ($1,000) are available to young women of Syrian and Lebanese origin, residing in Massachusetts within 50-mile radius of Boston, who plan to pursue a four-year college education. Scholarships are based on outstanding academic achievement, extra-curricular activities, charitable and civic involvement and good character; and applicants must be in good academic standing in her school and possess those personal attributes, which best serve the community. Applications are available through the Church Office and must be postmarked by Monday, March 31, 2014. If you have any questions, contact Mary Winstanley O’Connor at 617-523-1010 or email atmoconnor@koilaw.com.

New England Region Fellowship of St. John the Divine Scholarships: The Fellowship is awarding scholarships to students who are faithful and active Orthodox Christians whose high school records indicate a potential for being successful in an accredited college and who are in need of financial assistance. Applications are available through the Church Office and must be received by the Scholarship Committee Chairperson by Thursday, May 1, 2014.

Antiochian Women’s Scholarship: Scholarships are available to females 25 years of age and older in good standing of the Antiochian Archdiocese, actively involved in their parish and who demonstrate need. The application deadline is Sunday, June 1, 2014. Applications are available in the Church Office. E-mail cindy@cnyhondas.com with any questions.


MARCH IS ANTIOCHIAN WOMEN’S MONTH. Our women will be reading the Epistle, taking the Collection each Sunday, and assisting during Communion. We are inviting all Women of St. Mary Church to be included: If you wish to participate, sign up on the sheet at the Bengarri or contact Mary Ellen Mabardy (781-729-6303) or the church office (617-547-1234). 

WOMEN'S CLUB – The next Women’s Club meeting will be Tuesday, March 11, at 7:30 at the church. We welcome all women of the parish to join us in the Women’s Club. Everyone is welcome! Any woman interested in joining may call Mary Ellen Mabardy at 781-729-6303 for more information.

NATIONAL CONVENTION – Letters have been mailed to all parishioners outlining the many opportunities for you to contribute to the 2015 Antiochian Archdiocesan National Convention. Please consider participating: volunteer your time and talent and/or financially support the event by sponsoring one of the many activities or placing an ad in the souvenir journal/ad book. Please complete the Volunteer Sign-up Sheet that was mailed to you and return it to Shirley Bezreh at the Bengarri/Narthex. Extra Sign-up Sheets are available on the table outside the hall.

MARRIAGE SEMINAR FOR COUPLES - The Diocese of Worcester and New England is sponsoring a seminar for couples preparing for marriage at St. John of Damascus church onFriday and Saturday, March 14 and 15. His Grace Bishop JOHN is the featured speaker. Cost is $30 per couple. See registration form in the Sunday bulletin - make check payable to NER Deanery and mail along with the registration form to St. John of Damascus Church, 300 West St., Dedham, MA 02026. 

PARISH COUNCIL – The next meeting of the Parish Council will be Wednesday, March 19, at 8:00 pm, at the church.

vonHOLZHAUSEN LECTURE – The Fellowship of St. John the Divine invites you to its annual Fr. John vonHolzhausen lecture on Sunday, March 30, at 1:00 pm (following Divine Liturgy at 10am and Coffee Hour at 12pm). Our speaker, Jan N. H. Perkins, MDiv, will speak on the topic, “If you Come to a Fork in the Road, Take It:” How Christ Transcends Good and Bad.

CHILDCARE DURING vonHOLZHAUSEN LECTURE – If you would be interested in onsite childcare while you attend the vonHolzhausen Lecture, please email Diana Yousef, Fellowship VP (yousefd@post.harvard.edu ) ASAP. Indicate how many children and their ages. FSJD and Teen SOYO are considering the possibility of offering childcare for FSJD-sponsored events. Once we have a headcount, we can determine how many teens and what a shared cost might be.

ANTIOCHIAN VILLAGE - For important announcements about Summer Camp registration, check out their FaceBook page (https://www.facebook.com/AntiochianVillage ) because the 2014 Summer Camp registration is now open.  You may register online or the old-fashioned way with paper applications.  Please note that you are not registered until theyreceive a deposit and you receive a confirmation email.  Please visit their Registration Page for instructions on how to register.  We look forward to summer 2014 and can't wait for our campers to return. For more information go to http://www.antiochianvillage.org/camp.html


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: Azeb Mitiku

Church School Liturgical Service: Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of St. Mary Church

Coffee Hour: Sue Dooley & Family


Saturday, March 1: Great Vespers 5:00 pm

Sunday, March 2, Forgiveness Sunday: Orthros 8:45 am, Enquirers' class 9:00 am,Hierarchical Divine Liturgy with Bishop JOHN 10:00 am; Church School lesson 17 (teens stay upstairs); Forgiveness Vespers 6:00 pm

SCRIPTURE READINGS for Sunday, March 2, Forgiveness Sunday (Cheesefare Sunday):
Epistle: St. Paul's Letter to the Romans 13:11-14:4 
Brethren, salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed; the night is far gone, the day is at hand. Let us then cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; ...Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for God is able to make him stand. 

Gospel: Matthew 6:14-21 
The Lord said, "If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Monday, March 3: Great Lent begins; NO Great Canon of St. Andrew (note change)

Tuesday, March 4: Great Canon of St. Andrew 7:00 pm

Wednesday, March 5: Pre-Sanctified Liturgy 6:30 pm, followed by Pot Luck Supper

Thursday, March 6: Great Canon of St. Andrew 7:00 pm


Friday, March 7: Akathist (Madayeh) 7:00 pm

Sunday, March 9: Sunday of Orthodoxy with Procession of Icons (Daylight Savings Time begins)

Thursday, March 13: Bible Study 7:00 pm

Monday, March 24: Feast of the Annunciation to the Holy Theotokos – Evening Divine Liturgy 6:30 pm

Saturday, April 12: Lazarus Saturday

Sunday, April 20: Pascha

Thursday-Sunday, June 19-22: Parish Life Conference, Plymouth, MA


To forgive another person from the heart is an act of liberation. We set that person free from the negative bonds that exist between us. We say, “I no longer hold your offense against you.” But there is more. We also free ourselves from the burden of being the “offended one.” As long as we do not forgive those who have wounded us, we carry them with us or, worse, pull them as a heavy load. The great temptation is to cling in anger to our enemies and then define ourselves as being offended and wounded by them. Forgiveness, therefore, liberates not only the other but also ourselves. It is the way to the freedom of the children of God.
- Henri Nouwen

The triumph of sin, the main sign of its rule over the world, is division, opposition, separation, hatred. Therefore, the first break through this fortress of sin is forgiveness: the return to unity, solidarity, love.
   -Alexander Schmemann, Great Lent 

Imagine a libertarian Christianity, which urged individuals to give away as much of their property as possible to the poor, to forget about the sex lives of their neighbors and focus on their own, to pray more than politic and to forgive more than to judge. Imagine, in other words, Christianity, and remind yourself how alien Christianism is to it.
Andrew Sullivan, blog 

The forgiveness of insults is a sign of true love, free from hypocrisy. For thus the Lord also loved this world.
St. Mark the Ascetic

Understand two thoughts, and fear them. One says, "You are a saint," the other, "You won't be saved." Both of these thoughts are from the enemy, and there is no truth in them. But think this way: I am a great sinner, but the Lord is merciful. He loves people very much, and He will forgive my sins.
St. Silouan the Athonite, Writings, XVII.1