October 2008

Fr. Antony Portrait

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Christ is in our midst!

October 2008 is going to be historic for St. Mary's and for the Diocese of Worcester and New England as we prepare to participate in two blessed events.

This month we celebrate a milestone in the life of our beloved parish, her 80th Anniversary.  The hard work and devotion of our founding families and of the remarkable community we call St. Mary's is truly worthy of commemoration and we plan to make note of it in a festive celebration to take place on Saturday and Sunday, Oct 24-25.  Great Vespers with the Artoklasia (blessing of the five loaves for the Feast of St. Demetrios) will be held at 5:30 followed by a dinner dance in the Church Hall with live Arabic music and a DJ for dancing.  We are already assured of a full house on Saturday night so I hope you have arranged for your tickets.  The Divine Liturgy on Sunday and the Celebratory Coffee Hour following the service will cap off our weekend festivities. 

We will soon welcome His Beatitude Patriarch IGNATIUS IV of Antioch to our Diocese (Oct. 31-Nov. 1).  This is a rare and blessed event.  The reason for his coming is to mark the 20th Anniversary of the Balamand University in Lebanon which is an Orthodox institution of higher learning in the hills overlooking the city of Tripoli in the northern part of the country.  The Balamand has over 3,200 students, mostly from Lebanon and the Middle East, including a ratio of approximately 70-80% Orthodox Christians and 20-30% from other religious backgrounds.  It houses nine Faculties and a dozen research centers.  Its influence through excellence in education and community service extends not only throughout the Middle East, but also in the United States where some of its most stellar graduates are contributing enormously in such fields as engineering and medicine.  A fundraiser will be held on Saturday evening, Oct. 31, at the Westin Hotel in Copley Square.  Ticket is $200.00 per person.  The monies collected will go towards establishing the Metropolitan PHILIP Educational Scholarship Fund to help worthy and needy students pay for their education. 

The Divine Liturgy with His Beatitude presiding will be held on Sunday, November 1 at the Westin Hotel.  Orthodox Christians from across North America will be gathering for this historic event.  Matins will begin at 9:00am with the Divine Liturgy at 10:00am.  All Antiochian churches in the Diocese of Worcester will be closed that day to allow as many of our people as possible to receive the blessings of our Father in Christ Patriarch IGNATIUS IV.  I want to encourage all of you to plan to attend the Divine Liturgy and the dinner if at all possible.  Such opportunities in life are rare.  If you would like any further information, please call the church office.

We are grateful to God for the leadership of our enlightened Patriarch who is a man of incomparable gifts and wisdom, a true light in the Orthodox world.  Let us all join together on Sunday, November 1, and worship with our Father in Christ IGNATIUS IV, the successor of Ss. Peter and Paul in the city where the believers in Christ were first called Christians.

Yours in Christ,
Fr. Antony