St. Mary e-Newsletter for Friday, September 11, 2020

     Every Sunday Orthros is at 8:45am, followed by Divine Liturgy at 10:00am. Members of St. Mary’s laity may attend Sunday services in rotation, with appropriate physical distancing throughout the nave.  The list of voting members is subdivided into three or four parts, and members in each part will receive an invitation on a Tuesday afternoon, by telephone or by email, to attend on the following Sunday.   Your response is requested by noon the following Friday.
     All the Divine Services held in St. Mary’s Church can also be seen live-streamed at   or    or
     Monday–Saturday you can join Morning Prayers on Zoom with James & Brooke Wilcox, who write: “Morning Prayer has now become part of our daily routine, where we are joyfully able to participate with others in the St Mary’s community. Along the way, Brooke and I have learned to include liturgical material which honors the saints for each day, in addition to incorporating festal hymns proper to each liturgical season. We’ve even come to adopt Patron Saints for our newly formed house chapel – Sts. Antony and Anastasia. And thanks to the power of the internet, and the influence of other participants, we now have people joining us each morning from Arizona, Pennsylvania, Florida, New York City and other portions of Massachusetts as well. And we are always happy to add more!”
     We run morning prayers for 15 minutes each morning, Mon – Sat, beginning at 8:45am:   password: 28052020

Elevation of the Cross
     This Sunday, September 13, we celebrate the Feast of the Elevation of the Holy Cross, known also as the Exaltation of the Cross, which commemorates the finding of the true Cross by the Empress Helen (the mother of St. Constantine the Great) in the year 326 in Jerusalem, where Christ was crucified. When it was identified, it was lifted on high (elevated) for all the people to see.
Memory Eternal: Helen R. Gabriel.  We regret to inform you that long-time parishioner Helen Gabriel fell asleep in the Lord on Wednesday morning, September 9. Due to COVID limitations, a private visiting hour and Funeral Service will be held in St. Mary Orthodox Church at 10:30 on Monday, September 14, 2020. Graveside funeral prayers will take place at Mt. Auburn Cemetery, 580 Mt. Auburn St., Cambridge, MA. Relatives and friends are invited to gather at the gate of Mt. Auburn Cemetery to join the funeral procession to the graveside at approximately 12:45. In addition to the option of joining the family at the graveside, you are invited to pray with them at the funeral service via Zoom:   password:  HelenRG
Please see the complete obituary, details, and guest book at
Orthodox Witness to Christ Program - A Spiritual Journey 
     After a successful completion of our first two year cycle, the program reopens its doors as an online program in the fall of 2020 and we would like to invite you to join us!
     We started on Thursday, September 10, with ten all-online Round Table sessions on Thursday evenings (from 7-9pm) and a Retreat on Saturday October 17  (from 10am - 4pm) - please see all information in the flier. 
     The Online Registration is now open and is limited to the first 30 people to register. For all questions and registration information, please email
     Although the program has 4 semesters, participants can join at the beginning of ANY semester, either in the fall or spring. The Witness to Christ Program Certificate will be awarded at completion of the 4 semesters, even if not taken in order. 
     The purpose of the 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. It is aimed to empower and equip Orthodox Christians to nourish and share the faith in the 21st century.
     This program is sponsored by the Diocese of Worcester and New England, offered to laity, Christian educators, parents, chaplains, counselors, therapists, physicians and clergy. The program has 8 units over 4 semesters led by His Grace Bishop John, D.Min.; Archpriest Antony Hughes, M.Div.; Ioana Popa, MD, BCC; Mary Lou Catelli, M.Ed.; Sebastien Falardeau, PhD candidate in Theology; and Tenbit Mitiku, MS. 
     To register for the upcoming semester please fill out the Registration Form.
To receive general program updates please Sign Up.
Church School Registration
     This year our Church School classes will be conducted over Zoom. Our virtual Sunday School will begin this Sunday, September 13. Our teachers have been reaching out to parents to set up the students for class.
     Please e-mail Deno Takles at if you would like to register your child for church school. This request is for new participants only. Children registered for last year will have their registration rolled over to this year.
     Our church school includes a Pre-K class that works with children 3 years old and up. And we need 2 teachers for 2nd and 3rd grades. All our classes will be conducted over Zoom. We recognize that not all children will understand how a Zoom meeting works. That’s why we are asking all our parents to be with their child during the Zoom class to help out with the technology or in how to be part of the class. You will be the judge of when your child is able to negotiate a Zoom meeting and then you can step away.

Enquirers Class
     The St. Ignatius Catechetical Group – Enquirers’ Class  will begin meeting virtually on Monday, September 28 at 7:00pm, over the church’s Zoom account. Enrollment will be open until October 26. The group is for non-Orthodox adults who are interested in exploring the Christian Faith as it has been – and continues to be – understood, preached, and lived by members of the Holy Orthodox Church. Bob Kowalik will be teaching the group. If you would like to participate, please get in touch with Bob: phone 617-889-3436 or  For those seeking to be received into the Orthodox Church, participation in the group and Fr. Antony’s blessing are required.
Parish Council Elections
     If you are interested in serving on the Parish Council please speak to Mary Winstanley O’Connor or Fr. Antony by November 1.  To be eligible to serve you must be a member of St. Mary’s for two years and in good financial standing.
People Helping People
     A number of parishioners have made known their desire to help people who need assistance. The church office is keeping a list of volunteers. Call the office if you would like your name added to the list of volunteers. There can’t be too many.
     If you know of anyone who needs any sort of help call the church office (617) 547-1234 to make the connection.  Remember, many people are ashamed/afraid to ask for help. Keep your eyes and ears open and ask about needs with kind concern. 
The cross is the door to mysteries. Through this door the intellect makes entrance into the knowledge of heavenly mysteries. The knowledge of the cross is concealed in the sufferings of the cross. And the more our participation in its sufferings, the greater the perception we gain through the cross. For, as the Apostle says, 'As the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds by Christ.'
   - The Ascetical Homilies of St. Isaac of Syria
If you want to cure your soul, you need four things. The first is to forgive your enemies. The second is to confess thoroughly. The third is to blame yourself. The fourth is to resolve to sin no more. If we wish to be saved, we must always blame ourselves and not attribute our wrong acts to others. And God, who is most compassionate, will forgive us.
   - Saint Kosmas Aitolos
The one who knows God will follow the Lord's footsteps, bearing the cross of the Savior. It is said, "The world is crucified to him and he to the world." The Lord says, "He who loses his life will save it." We can "lose our lives" in one of two ways. First, we can risk our lives just as the Lord did for us. Secondly, we can separate our lives from the customary things of this world. Bearing the cross means to separate our souls from the delights and pleasures of this life. If you do this, you will find your life again - resting in the hope of what is to come. Dying to ourselves means being content with the necessities of life. When we want more than these necessities it is easy to sin.
   --  St. Clement of Alexandria