Weekly Update for February 25, 2021


SUNDAY 2/28 - Scout Sunday Observance - This year St. Mary’s is observing Scout Sunday on February 28. Look for the Scouts and Scout leaders in our parish to be involved in liturgical service. Scout Sunday is an annual event among all faiths which recognizes the good work that is done by Scouts and Scout leaders in our religious communities. The observance of Scout Sunday tradition was started years ago to make people in the church aware of Scouting, and to allow Scouts to live out of what is pledged each week. The Scout Law says that “A Scout is Reverent,” and the Scouts of all ages promise to “serve God”. These values strengthen youth character in their family, community and faith. In 1960, the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas [SCOBA] endorsed Scouting as a viable part of their youth ministry and created the Eastern Orthodox Committee on Scouting [EOCS]. This was the first agency created by SCOBA and presently is an agency under The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas.


YOUNG ADULT MINISTRY – The Young Adults at St. Mary's have two great virtual opportunities for you to participate in. We have our weekly book club on Wednesdays at 7:00pm. On February 24th, March 3rd, and March 10th we will be reading Beginning to Pray by Metropolitan Anthony Bloom which you can open here: https://ss.stgeorge.ca/download/attachments/26116178/Beginning%20To%20Pray%20_%20Anthony%20Bloom.pdf. To join us, please use this zoom link. Also, we will be hosting another virtual Trivia Night on Saturday, March 6 at 7:00pm. More information on our Facebook page and in our newsletter. If you have any questions, please email Cali Touloumes at cpantazis91@gmail.com .

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 
SUNDAY 5/2 - Pascha 

CAPACITY INCREASED FOR SERVICES - In full consideration of the governor's updated orders as well as the health and safety of our clergy and laity, our total capacity has been increased to 46 people for each service.  11 slots will be set aside in advance for Fr. Antony, Dn. Jeff, and other members who are serving behind the altar.  In addition, slots for the choir and people managing the live stream will also be reserved.  This will leave room for 35 individuals and families to reserve seats.
     To Register for Liturgy at the beginning of each month click the following link: https://www.stmaryorthodoxchurch.org/signup . You can sign up for one Sunday per month. If additional spots are still available after 6:00 pm on the Friday prior to a Sunday liturgy, non-members as well as members may sign up to fill the remaining spots, even if you've already attended a Sunday service that 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.
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. 
A FEW MORE WOMEN NEEDED - March is Antiochian Women’s Month in the Archdiocese, where women particularly are invited to participate in our liturgical services.  We need women to read the Epistle and help with Communion service, holding the cloths (3 more needed) and bread basket (2 more) at Communion.   Women are also invited to carry the icons at the Gospel and in the Great Entrance Procession (1 more needed), and one man to carry the bread basket for the Great Entrance and present the bread for the blessing towards the end of the Anaphora.  Please email Teva Regule (teva@mit.edu) to volunteer, as soon as possible. (Please specify date and service.)   
     Once you have volunteered for a date for service, you will need to then sign up for liturgy (see Registration for Liturgy, below) for that date as well.  
     We are blessed to have many opportunities for service at St. Mary’s! 

        During Antiochian Women’s Month last year, we explored the Liturgy of the Word, in particular focusing on “the words of the Word of God.”  We looked at the various ways that the words of God are used, especially through the Word of God, Jesus Christ—to create, forgive, teach, heal, and ultimately, give us hope.  This year, we will turn our attention to the Liturgy of the Faithful particularly, focusing on the themes of our communal gathering.  Did you ever notice how many times we say “thanks” or “praise” or “love” or “peace” in the service?  We will explore these themes in our series this year so that we may appreciate more fully our celebration as the Body of Christ.
        • March 7: Thanksgiving – Teva Regule, M.Div., Ph.D.
        • March 14: Sacrifice/Praise – Christina Palis, M.Div., MSW
        • March 21: Love – Shannon Sakellariou
        • March 28: Peace – Andrea Popa
        • April 18:  St. Mary of Egypt (rescheduled from last year) - Micaela Mazzoni
VACCINATION ASSISTANCE - Members of St Mary's are offering assistance to anyone who needs help registering for a Covid vaccine.  If you or anyone you know wants help, call 617-997-6740 (Theo Smith) to get over-the-phone support.  If we cannot answer at the time of your call, leave your name and number and we will call you back.  We can assist with technical issues, searching for available vaccine appointments, and general questions about the process.
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. 

MORNING PRAYER - The daily morning prayer group on Zoom, led by Subdeacon James Wilcox and his wife Brooke is open to anyone who wants to take part.  Prayers now run Monday through Friday, beginning at 8:30am: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/377381275  password: 28052020   
ORTHODOXY 102 - This adult education class is led by Subdeacon James (drjamesis@gmail.com) on Zoom.  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. 

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. 

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. 


Do not call God just, for His justice is not manifest in the things concerning you. And if David calls Him just and upright (cf. Ps. 24:8, 144:17), His Son revealed to us that He is good and kind. … How can a man call God just when he comes across the passage on the prodigal son who wasted his wealth with riotous living, how for the compunction alone which he showed, the father ran and fell upon his neck and gave him authority over all his wealth? (Luke 15:11 ff.). None other but His very Son said these things concerning Him, lest we doubt it; and thus He bore witness concerning Him. Where, then, is God’s justice, for while we are sinners Christ died for us! (cf. Rom. 5:8). But if here He is merciful, we may believe that He will not change.
   - St. Isaac the Syrian, Homily 60
Even if you are not what you should be, you should not despair. It is bad enough that you have sinned, why in addition do you wrong God by regarding Him as powerless? Is He, who for your sake created the great universe that you behold, incapable of saving your soul? And if you say that this fact, as well as His incarnation, only makes your condemnation worse, then repent and He will receive your repentance as He accepted that of the prodigal son and the prostitute.
   - St. Peter of Damascus, From A Treasury of Divine Knowledge, “That We Should Not Despair Even if We Sin Many Times”
Faith comes not through pondering but through action. Not words and speculation but experience teaches us what God is. To let in fresh air we have to open a window; to get tanned we must go out into the sunshine. Achieving faith is no different; we never reach a goal by just sitting in comfort and waiting, say the Holy Fathers. Let the Prodigal Son be our example. He "arose and came" (Luke 15:20).
   - Tito Colliander, The Way of the Ascetics