Weekly Update for March 19, 2021


FRIDAY 3/19 – Akathist 7:00pm
SUNDAY 3/21, Sunday of Orthodoxy – This is the Sunday when we celebrate the restoration of icons in the Church.  Bring your favorite icons with you.  Though only the altar servers will be processing this year, you can still display your icons as the procession passes by.
WEDNESDAY 3/24 – No Presanctified Liturgy
THURSDAY 3/25 - VESPERAL LITURGY for the Feast of the Annunciation 6:30pm
FRIDAY 3/26 – Akathist 7:00pm

REGISTERING FOR SERVICES – You can now register at https://stmaryorthodoxchurch.org/signup  to attend the Lenten services (primarily the Presanctified Liturgies on Wednesdays starting 3/17, and the Akathist services on Friday evenings starting 3/19).  If you're not a member of the parish, you can sign up to attend one of these services at 10:00am on the previous day.  
     Holy Week services will be available for registration around the middle of April.  These will be restricted to members of St. Mary only and will be limited to one service that week.
     For regular Sunday services 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 they've already attended a Sunday service that month.
     If you find that you can’t make it on a date you’ve signed up for, please cancel your reservation so someone else can use it.
WOMEN’S MONTH - March is Antiochian Women’s Month throughout the Archdiocese. Each Sunday our women will be reading the Epistle, taking the Collection, taking part in the Procession, assisting during Communion, and giving the Homily.   This Sunday 3/21, Natasha Smith will read the Epistle, Ariana Krinos and Cindy Mazzoni will carry the Icons, and Luke Krinos will present the Bread basket.   Shannon Sakellariou + Cindy Mazzoni will hold the cloths during Communion, and Micaela Mazzoni will distribute the bread. The Homily will be given by Shannon Sakellariou.  Thanks to everyone who has volunteered.
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. 
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 ask that you kindly 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. 
      Please submit your donations for Holy Week either by mail to the church office or by E-give, designating to what you are donating, i.e. Good Friday flowers for the Tomb, Easter Lilies, Holy Oil, and how you would like your donation listed in the bulletin.
LENTEN RETREAT - The Diocese of Worcester & New England Antiochian Women and the Diocese Council invite you to a Lenten Retreat on Saturday, 3/27, at 1:00pm. You can attend either in-person, at Saint George Orthodox Church, 6 Atwood Avenue, Norwood, MA,  or  from the comfort of your home via YouTube.
     The subject of this year’s retreat is “Don’t Stop Believin’ – a Journey to the Kingdom of Heaven,” presented by Dr. Gregory Abdalah, pastoral assistant from Phoenix, Arizona. Session 1 will begin at 1:00pm, followed by a break, then Session 2 + Q&A. It will conclude with Great Vespers
     Everyone is required to pre-register – both online and in-person attendees. In-person attendance, if allowable at the time of the retreat (per Archdiocesan and State directives) will be “first come first served” based on the date of your registration. You will be notified the week of the retreat regarding (1) if you have made the in-person cut-off number and (2) the up-to-date protocols required for attendance. Everyone will receive an email with instructions as to how to view online. 
     RSVP online again this year at https://downe2021.eventbrite.comRSVP by 3/20, 2021.  If you have any questions contact Erin at 781.775.0789 OR ErinMaryK@aol.com   
PASCHA this year will be Sunday 5/2
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 church office (617) 547-1234) if you would like your name added to the list of volunteers. There can’t be too many! 
   - 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. 

GOOD BOOKS TO READ DURING LENT - Thirty Steps to Heaven: The Ladder of Divine Ascent for All Walks of Life  by Vassilios Papavassiliou can be found at Ancient Faith Publishing and Amazon.  This book is divided into seven parts and each part is further divided into steps.  There are a total of thirty steps that can be read a step a day, or more if you would like.  Each step will take approximately 10 - 15 minutes a day to read.  You will find that this book is written in laymen's terms making it easy for us to read and understand.  The beauty of having a book like this is that it can be reread every Lent leading up to Pascha. (Recommended by our own Violet Robbat, Diocesan Religious Coordinator for the Antiochian Women of North America)
     Another good book is Beginning to Pray by Metropolitan Anthony Bloom. You can access a free pdf at: https://ss.stgeorge.ca/download/attachments/26116178/BeginningToPray_AnthonyBloom.pdf.  The Young Adult Ministry is currently using this for its book discussion, which will be will be moving to Thursday nights at 7:00pm..   

This man selected and chose twelve men, gave them power to preach about that defeat and that victory, and sent them to the whole world saying preach and baptize, build up the Church, announce the Kingdom of God. And you know, my brothers and sisters, how those twelve men — very simple men indeed, simple fishermen — went out and preached. The world hated them, the Roman Empire persecuted them, and they were covered with blood. But that blood was another victory. The Church grew, the Church covered the universe with the true faith. After 300 years of the most unequal conflict between the powerful Roman Empire and the powerless Christian Church, the Roman Empire accepted Christ as Lord and Master. That was the second triumph of Orthodoxy. The Roman Empire recognized the one whom it crucified and those whom it persecuted as the bearers of truth, and their teaching as the teaching of life eternal. The Church triumphed. But then the second period of troubles began. 
     The following centuries saw many attempts to distort the faith, to adjust it to human needs, to fill it with human content. In each generation there were those who could not accept that message of the cross and resurrection and life eternal. They tried to change it, and those changes we call heresies. Again there were persecutions. Again, Orthodox bishops, monks and laymen defended their faith and were condemned and went into exile and were covered with blood. And after five centuries of those conflicts and persecutions and discussions, the day came which we commemorate today, the day of the final victory of Orthodoxy as the true faith over all the heresies. It happened on the first Sunday of Lent in the year 843 in Constantinople. After almost 100 years of persecution directed against the worship of the holy icons, the Church finally proclaimed that the truth had been defined, that the truth was fully in the possession of the Church. And since then all Orthodox people, wherever they live, have gathered on this Sunday to proclaim before the world their faith in that truth, their belief that their Church is truly apostolic, truly Orthodox, truly universal. This is the event of the past that we commemorate today. 
   - Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann, Sunday of Orthodoxy (from http://www.schmemann.org/byhim/orthodoxy1985.html
O Lord and Master of my life!  Take from me the spirit of sloth, faint-heartedness, lust of power, and idle talk. But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to thy servant. 
Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own errors and not to judge my brother; 
For Thou art blessed unto ages of ages. Amen. 
   - St. Ephrem the Syrian