May 2012

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Christ is Risen!

We enjoyed a truly wondrous Holy Week again this year at St. Mary's. There were several significant "firsts" to mention.

It was Bishop JOHN'S first Holy Week in his Diocese and the blessing of having such a kind and compassionate hierarch among us became apparent as he joined us for the entirety of Great and Holy Friday. At the same time His Eminence Metropolitan METHODIOS of the Greek Metropolis of Boston paid a visit to our sister parish, Ss. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church in Central Square. This made it possible for the two hierarchs to meet as our procession culminated in the Square with mutual prayers and blessings amidst hundreds of worshippers. The Ecumenical spirit extended into Bright Week as Metropolitan METHODIOS invited Bishop JOHN and the Antiochian clergy and families to join him and his clergy at the Metropolis for a Paschal meal. This was an unprecedented show of Christian fellowship and love for the City of Boston.

Another first: all of the Holy Week services were lived streamed including the Epitaphios procession down Massachusetts Avenue on Great and Holy Friday. The response from our national audience has been tremendous and our international viewership has continued to increase. It is particularly touching to note that many who are unable to go to church due to disease and disability have contacted us with many thanks. In this way we were able to visit the sick around the nation and world in the spirit of our Lord's command.

By God's grace we welcomed two catechumens into the communion of the Church on Holy Saturday: Emanuel Gardiner and Bill Dalton. It is always a joy to welcome new members from among those who attend our catechism class every year. The incredibly joyous Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil that marks the Holy Saturday morning service was made all the more beautiful when Bill and Emanuel were chrismated surrounded by a nearly full house of worshippers. We welcome and congratulate them and their families.

And one more. Our mission to the prisoners at MCI in Concord has grown and expanded as we have now been joined by the Roman Catholic group and their chaplain Deacon Thomas. With the help of Fr. Stephen Matthewes we were able to do Agape Vespers at the prison with prisoners reading the Gospel in Greek, Spanish, and Russian and Deacon Thomas in Latin. The expression of joy in their faces when we visit drives us to continue this ministry to the church at the prison. It is honestly addictive and immensely rewarding.

This is only a sampler of memorable moments we enjoyed together this Holy Week and beyond into the Paschal season. There were many others, but the "firsts" appeared to me significant enough to list for all our blessed community. We have so much to be thankful for! Thanks be to God!

Christ is Risen!

Fr. Antony