Update for the week Thursday, January 23 - Wednesday, January 29, 2020


SUNDAY 1/26 - Orthros 8:45am; St. Ignatius Catechetical Group, 9:00am, Orthodoxy 102 9:00am; Divine Liturgy 10:00am followed by Church School 
   + Trisagion Prayers for Rev. Fr. Michael “Rick” Vanderhoef
   + Proposed 2020 Budget will be available at the Bengari. We will vote on it at the Parish Meeting 2/2.
   + Winter Get-Together at the Bamboo Restaurant in the Holiday Inn Dedham, 55 Ariadne Rd, Dedham, sponsored by the Women’s Club. All women of St. Mary’s are welcome to join us there for supper at 5:30pm. E-mail Melissa Nassiff (mnassiff@gmail.com) if you have any questions or would like to join us.

THURSDAY 1/23 - ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN WITNESS PROGRAM: Spiritual Pilgrimage - Round Table discussion. One of ten Thursday evening discussions on "Courage to Live - Fruits of the Holy Spirit", 7:00pm-9:00pm. Location: Diocese Chancellery: 2 Lydias Path, Westborough MA 01581. Anyone can register - to register or for questions, please email IP.AlongTheJourney@gmail.com or call at 617-274-8336


PLC MEETING – The next meeting of the Parish Life Conference planning committee will be Wednesday, February 26, at 7:00pm in the church hall.

TEEN SOYO MEETING and SKATING – Teens from the Diocese will hold their Winter Meeting and go ice-skating on Saturday February 1, at St. George Church, West Roxbury, at 12:00 noon. Registration link and event info can be found here: https://forms.gle/95bqa78f2psm9NS49
DIOCESE COUNCIL – The Diocese Council is made up of lay leaders from throughout the Diocese who assist His Grace Bishop John with programming and administration of the Diocese. The Council meets every other month, and will meet next on Tuesday, February 4 at the Diocese Chancery beginning with potluck dinner at 6:30 pm followed by the meeting from 7-9 pm. All are invited to attend. If you would like more information, please contact Bishop John or Richard Robbat (robbatr@gmail.com)
RETREAT and YOUTH DAY – The Lenten Retreat and Youth Day of the Diocese will be held on Saturday, March 28 from 9:00-3:30, at St. John of Damascus, Dedham. The theme of the retreat will be “Don’t Stop Believin’” Fr. Gregory Abdallah will be the guest speaker.

THE ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN WITNESS PROGRAM: Spiritual Pilgrimage resumed in January 2020. This program and journey is an opportunity for anyone interested to learn, to reflect, and to be transformed through the Orthodox Christian Faith in preparation for various ministries. This spiritual pilgrimage is an interdisciplinary approach to create a cadre of leaders in the church. It is aimed to empower and equip Orthodox Christians to nourish and share the faith in the 21st century. This semester the program has a Round Table discussion unit and a Retreat unit. Anyone can join at any point in the program. We welcome you on behalf of the Program Interdisciplinary Leadership Team: Bishop John of Worcester and New England, Archpriest Antony Hughes, Ioana Popa MD, BCC, Richard J. Robbat Ph.D., Sebastien Falardeau, MA, PhDc.
   ROUND TABLE: "Courage to Live - Fruits of the Holy Spirit". Ten Thursday evening discussions – anyone can register. Dates and Time: Thursdays 7:00pm-9:00pm. January 30, Feb 6, 20, 27, March 12, 19, 26, April 2, 9, 23 (snow date alternative). Location: Antiochian Orthodox Christian Diocese of Worcester and New England Chancellery: 2 Lydias Path, Westborough MA 01581
    RETREATS: "Free will and Christian Choice". Two Saturday daylong retreats – anyone can register for one retreat or for both. Dates and Time: Saturdays 9:00am-4:00pm. Feb 22, March 21, 2020. Location: Emmaus House, New Ipswich NH, 03071
   To register or for questions, please email at IP.AlongTheJourney@gmail.com or call at 617-274-8336
PRESENTATION OF CHRIST IN THE TEMPLE – On Saturday, February 1, Chanters rehearsal will be 4:00pm, Vespers for the Presentation 5:00pm, followed by Young Adult Ministry dinner and activity

ANNUAL PARISH MEETING – On Sunday, February 2, our Annual Meeting will be held immediately after Liturgy to approve the Year 2020 budget. (Snow date: February 9.) The Proposed Budget will be available the Sunday before the meeting, on January 26. It is important that all members of St. Mary’s Church attend this brief meeting.
COFFEE HOUR SPONSORS NEEDED – Please sign up to provide a coffee hour. What you provide can be as simple as coffee, juice, and cookies!  When no one volunteers, there is no coffee hour.  Sign up on the bulletin board downstairs outside the coat room or contact the Church Office: 617-547-1234 or Secretary @stmaryorthodoxchurch.org 
SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE - Scholarships ($1,000) are available from the Syrian-Lebanese Women’s club of Greater Boston 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 March 31.  If you have any questions, contact Mary Winstanley O’Connor at 617-523-1010 or email at moconnor@koilaw.com.
   + Diocese of Worcester and New England Scholarship: Students graduating in 2019 from high school who are children of members of St. Mary’s may apply.  Deadline is March 31.  Contact Mary Winstanley O’Connor at 617-523-1010 or email at moconnor@koilaw.com for more information.
PARISH LIFE CONFERENCE – St. Mary’s is hosting the 2020 Parish Life Conference at the Cape Codder Resort & Spa in Hyannis, June 19-21.  Hotel registration is now open - special conference rate is $189/night + tax for the evenings of June 19 and 20; Pre-Conference Rate is $109/night + tax for up to 3 days before (Tuesday-Thursday nights) the conference; Post-Conference Rate is $139/night + tax (Sunday - Tuesday nights). To register for the hotel call 1-888-297-2200 and mention the “Parish Life Conference hosted by St. Mary’s” or book online by visiting www.stmaryorthodoxchurch.org/plc/hotel-reservation.  To learn more, visit www.stmaryorthodoxchurch.org/plc  
AV SUMMER CAMP – Antiochian Village summer camp registration has opened. Be sure to register early as sessions fill up quickly. St. Mary’s children attend 3rd Session, July 13-25.
JOIN US ONLINE - 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 or online). If you have questions or comments about this ministry please contact us at live@stmaryorthodoxchurch.org

Long before the actual beginning of Lent, the Church announces its approach and invites us to enter into the period of pre-lenten preparation…This preparation includes five consecutive Sundays preceding Lent, each one of them - through its particular Gospel lesson - dedicated to some fundamental aspect of repentance. The very first announcement of Lent is made the Sunday on which the Gospel lesson about Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10) is read. It is the story of a man who was too short to see Jesus but who desired so much to see Him that he climbed up a tree. Jesus responded to his desire and went to his house. Thus the theme of this first announcement is desire… Zacchaeus desired the "right thing;” he wanted to see and approach Christ. He is the first symbol of repentance, for repentance begins as the rediscovery of the deep nature of all desire: the desire for God and His righteousness, for the true life.
   - Alexander Schmemann, Great Lent
The humbler our opinion of ourselves, the more swiftly our prayer rises to God. So soon as we lose humility, each and every ascetic effort is nullified. If pride is active in us, or fault-finding, or unfriendliness, the Lord stands remote from us.
   - Archimandrite Sophrony,  His Life is Mine
The stand of the Lord towards Zacchaeus should serve as a lesson for Christians. Through His stand the Lord showed that we ought to embrace sinners with our love and not to avoid them. It shows us that we ought to seek the power of God to bring them to the regeneration which is effected by our Savior Jesus Christ. So let us approach sinners with love. And if in the end we do not succeed in bringing them close and fully to the path of God, let us even then not cease praying for them. Perhaps our fervent prayer will be listened to by our compassionate God and He will grant to them the regeneration of their soul.
   - St. Raphael, Spiritual Counsels