Weekly Update for January 29, 2021


SUNDAY 1/31, Zacchaeus Sunday – Orthros 8:45am; Divine Liturgy 10:00am;  St. Mary’s Annual Parish Meeting 2:00pm, via Zoom  -  all are welcome to attend. To register go to https://bit.ly/3r0orOy (note that the first 0 is a zero and the third O is an uppercase letter O). 

SATURDAY 2/6 - Great Vespers 5:00 pm 


SUNDAY 2/14 - Sunday of the Canaanite Woman
SUNDAY 2/21 - Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee 
SUNDAY 2/28 - Sunday of the Prodigal Son 
SUNDAY 3/7- Judgement (Meatfare) Sunday 
SUNDAY 3/14 - Forgiveness (Cheesefare) Sunday 
MONDAY 3/15 - Lent begins 


PARISH COUNCIL – The new officers of the Parish Council are: President Ray Sayeg, Vice President Deno Takles, Secretary Madeline Homsy, and Treasurer Marc Patacchiola.  

HOUSE BLESSINGS – Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Fr. Antony will not be visiting homes for house blessings this year. However, you are encouraged to bless your own homes with your family using your Holy Water bottle from Theophany and the Service for the Blessing of Homes (which you can print as a two-sided booklet) found at this link: www.stmaryorthodoxchurch.org/houseblessing. You may pick up a Holy Water bottle the next time you are in church. 

REGISTRATION FOR LITURGY (New Procedure) - Signups are now available to attend Sunday services in person for February 2021.  Due to the governor's updated order, we are at a further reduced capacity in our efforts to keep everyone safe and healthy.  All other requirements (mask wearing, distancing, etc.) remain in effect. Reserve a spot at the following link: https://www.stmaryorthodoxchurch.org/signup. Sign up for ONE Sunday per month.  
    Parishioners who are members of the church may sign up ahead of time for any convenient Sunday.  If additional spots are still available after 6:00 p.m. on the Friday prior to liturgy, both members and non-members may sign up to fill the remaining spots.  When we are in that 48-hour window prior to the service, it also does not matter if you've attended a Sunday service already during the month. 
     Weekday services are open ahead of time to all, members and non-members alike. 
     Services for the following month will be made available at the end of each month, at the same link as above. 

LIVE-STREAMED SERVICES - All the Divine Services held in St. Mary’s Church can also be seen live-streamed at  www.stmaryorthodoxchurch.org/live  or  https://www.facebook.com/stmarycambridge  or www.youtube.com/stmarycambridge   For the safety of all during the pandemic, please pray with us from home if you have a cough or cold. 

DAILY – The daily morning prayer group on Zoom, led by Subdeacon James Wilcox and his wife Brooke and open to anyone who wants to take part, has resumed.  Note change: Prayers now run Monday through Friday (no longer Saturday), beginning at 8:30am (no longer 8:45): https://us02web.zoom.us/j/377381275  password: 28052020   

ORTHODOXY 102 - The adult education class led by Subdeacon James (drjamesis@gmail.com) on Zoom, has resumed.  Orthodoxy 102 is an adult education class designed for Christians who have spent many years in the Orthodox church, but have never had any formal teaching on the theology and liturgical structure of Eastern Christianity. This is the second year the class is being offered. It will meet weekly to journey through the structure of the Divine Liturgy, while taking an in-depth look at Scripture, the Ecumenical Councils, our iconography, and the meaning and application of Orthodox theology. If you would like more information or want to join, please email drjamesis@gmail.com (or introduce yourself to Subdeacon James on any Sunday following the liturgy, if you’re there in person). The class begins at 7:00pm every Monday on Zoom. 

ORTHODOX WITNESS TO CHRIST - Registration for the Orthodox Witness to Christ Program: A spiritual Journey is now open for the spring 2021 semester, and we would like to invite you to join us! Registration is limited to the first 30 people who register. For all questions, please email admin@witnesstochrist.org . 
     We began on Thursday, January 14, with ten all-online Round Table sessions on Thursday evenings from 6:30-8:00pm, and a Retreat on Saturday, February 20 from 10:00am-3:30pm. Please see program details on the flyer here.  
     The program covers four semesters, and participants can join at the beginning of ANY semester, in either the fall or the spring. The Witness to Christ Program Certificate will be awarded at the completion of the four semesters, even if not taken in order.  
     The purpose of the program is to offer an opportunity for a spiritual journey for anyone interested to learn, reflect, and be transformed through the Orthodox Christian Faith in preparation for various ministries. It aims 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 the laity, Christian educators, parents, chaplains, counselors, therapists, physicians, and clergy. The program has eight units over four 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, a Ph.D. 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. 

DIOCESE UPDATE - Each month, the Diocese Missions Council will send out a monthly email to update the faithful of our Diocese with upcoming events and other relevant information for our Diocese with the goal of increasing communication within our Diocese. Events & Announcements will also be posted on the Diocese Website, Facebook Page, and Google Calendar.  

    Note that Antiochian Village Virtual Winter Camp for grades 7-12 will be held via Zoom on Saturday, February 13, 2021 at 2:00 pm.  

CROSSROAD SUMMER INSTITUTE - CrossRoad is a ten-day academic summer institute that prepares high school juniors and seniors to make big life decisions and invites them to connect with the Orthodox Christian theological and spiritual tradition in a deep and meaningful way. CrossRoad offers a space for young people to form authentic and lifelong friendships, ask hard questions, and explore their calling as an Orthodox Christian in the 21st century. Session 1 is June 12-22, Session 2 is June 29-July 9. Both are in Boston; a third (July 19-29) will be in Chicago. High school juniors and seniors between the ages of 16-18 years old can apply; application deadline is February 16, 2021. Go to www.crossroadinstitute.org 

DONATIONS TO THE CHURCH - One-time donations to the church (For the Good Health of, In Memory of, etc.) can be made on our website using this form:  https://www.stmaryorthodoxchurch.org/donate/donate-now 
      In addition to bank ACH transfers, we now accept credit cards for these donations, but kindly ask that you check the box to cover the 2.6% fee incurred by the church for this convenience.  For pledge contributions, please sign up for eGive to make ACH transfers. 

STEWARDSHIP – Our 2021 Stewardship Pledge Drive is 100% on-line this year and we are asking every member to make a pledge for 2021. If you haven’t yet, you can still make a pledge by going to: https://www.stmaryorthodoxchurch.org/donate/stewardship-2021-pledge-card  

For more information on our Pledge Drive, including frequently asked questions, see: https://www.stmaryorthodoxchurch.org/donate/stewardship-2021-pledge-drive  
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 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.   
     - Spiritual counsels of St. Raphael, Modern Orthodox Saints    

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 [usually 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.  

...The Lenten season begins then by a quest, a prayer for humility which is the beginning of true repentance. For repentance, above everything else, is a return to the genuine order of things, the restoration of the right vision. 
     - Alexander Schmemann, Great Lent