St. Mary's Antiochian Orthodox Church
1317 Florida Mango Road, West Palm Beach Florida 33406
Sunday, November 27, 2022

files/Bulletin-November-27-2022.pdf (18471kb)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

As we draw near to the great American Feast of Thanksgiving, I offer to you words of our father in Christ, Saint Basil the Great, on our need to continually give thanks to God Who is the Giver of all blessings.

“As you take your seat at the table, pray. As you lift the loaf, offer thanks to the Giver. When you sustain your bodily weakness with wine, remember Him Who supplies you with this gift, to make your heart glad and to comfort your infirmity. Has your need for taking food passed away? Let not the thought of your Benefactor pass away too. As you put on your clothes, thank the Giver for them. As you wrap thy coat about yourself, feel yet greater love to God, Who alike in summer and in winter has given us coverings convenient for us, at once to preserve our life, and to cover what is unseemly.

Is the day done? Give thanks to Him Who has given us the sun for our daily work, and has provided for us the means to light up the night, and to serve the rest of the needs of life. Let night give the other occasion of prayer. When you look up to heaven and gazes at the beauty of the stars, pray to the Lord the Creator of all; Who in wisdom hath made them all. When you see all nature sunk in sleep, then again worship Him Who gives us even against our wills release from the continuous strain of toil, and by a short refreshment restores us once again to the vigor of our strength.”

+Saint Basil the Great  from the ‘Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers’ Series

May your Thanksgiving be blessed.

NOTES:

  1. Attached to this email is The Weekly Bulletin. Please take a few minutes to read through it.
  2. Our Fall Bible Study is winding down (only 2 more sessions!). Join us on Tuesday, November 29th and December 6th, at 6:45 PM, as we study the 'Acts of the Apostles.'
  3. Join us in prayer this coming week:
  • Sunday, November 27th: Matins at 8:50 PM, followed by the Divine Liturgy at 10:00 AM.
  • Wednesday, November 30th: The Service of the Akathist Hymn for the Nativity at 6:30 PM.

 "O give thanks unto the Lord for He is good..." (Psalm 136)

Faithfully in Christ,

Fr. Peter

Sunday, November 20, 2022

files/Bulletin-November-20-2022.pdf (2027kb)

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Why do we say “Most Holy Theotokos save us?” When we commemorate the name of the Theotokos during the Divine Liturgy, Akathist Hymn, Paraklesis, etc, the choir or chanters will quite often invoke this phrase. As Orthodox Christians, when we speak of eternal salvation, we understand that only God can save us.

But this prayerful phrase comes out of piety, love, respect and honor for the Mother and Birthgiver of God for her role in our salvation. When we ask her to “save us”, we are not asking her to save us eternally, but because of her close and unique relationship to Christ, we ask her to save us from the things that distance ourselves from our Lord. In the prayer, we fervently entreat her to intercede to her Son and our God, as we do in the Divine Liturgy in the first antiphon, “Through the intercessions of the Theotokos, Savior, save us.”

The bond between mother and child is mysteriously close. The bond between the Theotokos and Christ is unprecedented. It is a one-time miraculous event in God’s plan of Salvation for all humanity. Therefore, the Theotokos is the only one who has this unique connection to our Savior through her unwavering faith, willingness and obedience providing humanity to our Lord in His incarnation. It is for this reason that we can ask her to speak to her Son to save us from eternal sin and death.

On November 21st, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Theotokos Entrance into the Temple (we will transfer the celebration of the feast to this coming Sunday).  This feast celebrates the end of the physical temple in Jerusalem as the dwelling place of God. When the child Mary enters the temple, the time of the temple comes to an end and the “preview of the good will of God” is shown forth.

“Most Holy Theotokos save us!”

NOTES:

  1. Attached to this email is The Weekly Bulletin. Please take a few minutes to read through it for all our parish news.
  2. The Annual 'Angel Tree Drive' begins this coming Sunday. The tree will be placed in the Church Narthex with 40 "angels" that are in need of adoption this Christmas. For more information, please speak to Kelly Pasley.
  3. 'Sip and Paint' hosted by our Ladies Society is this Sunday afternoon from 4:00 to 6:00 PM. Please speak to Carol Sara to RSVP.
  4. Bible Study continues this Tuesday from 6:45 to 8:00 PM in the Conference Room. All are welcome to attend.
  5. Join us in prayer at Saint Mary's this coming week:
  • Sunday, November 20th (Celebration of the Feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos): Matins at 8:50 AM, followed by the Divine Liturgy at 10:00 AM.
  • Wednesday, November 23rd: Wednesday Vespers Service at 6:30 PM.

In closing, some wisdom from the Holy Fathers of the Church on the Theotokos:

"In the Old Testament a Hebrew virgin (Miriam) led an army through the sea (Exodus 15:21); in the New Testament a king’s daughter (the Virgin Mary) was chosen to be the heavenly entrance to salvation.”    +Saint Ambrose

I look forward to seeing you in church.

Faithfully in Christ,

Fr. Peter

Sunday November 13, 2022

files/Bulletin-November-13-2022.pdf (4087kb)

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

  This coming Tuesday (November 15th), the Orthodox Church enters into a 40 day fast known as the Nativity Fast or Advent. With today’s society painting Christmas as a joyous celebration filled with decorations, parties and gatherings, food, family, friends and gifts, why do we fast before we celebrate the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ?                               

We fast before the Feast of the Nativity in order to prepare ourselves for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Similar to Great Lent, the Nativity Fast is one of preparation, during which we focus on the coming of our Lord by fasting, prayer, and almsgiving.   By fasting, we “shift our focus” from ourselves to others. We spend less time worrying about our consumption of food. We set aside more time for prayer and reading of the scripture.  We look towards the poor and ask ourselves; “How can I help? We push back from a world that controls us to regain control over our lives - especially our spiritual lives. We place God at the center of our lives and in particular during this period, prepare ourselves to receive Him.                                                                                                                             

During the Nativity Fast, we are challenged, to fast to the best of our ability, and to do so consistently. Jesus Christ does not teach fasting as optional, but as a “must.” In Matthew 6:16,  Christ says, “WHEN you fast, do not be like the hypocrites,” not “IF you fast” or “IF YOU CHOOSE to fast.”     

May this Nativity Fast be a blessing to you.

NOTES:

  1. Attached is The Weekly Bulletin. Please take a few minutes to read through it.
  2. Our annual Thanksgiving Luncheon is this coming Sunday (November 13th). Please make plans to attend.
  3. Join us for Bible Study on Tuesday evening, November 15th, from 6:45 to 8:00 PM, in the Conference Room.
  4. Join us in prayer this week:
  • Sunday, November 13th: Matins at 8:50 AM, followed by the Divine Liturgy at 10:00 AM.  A 2 Year Memorial Service will be held for the repose of Ion Niculae, offered by his daughter Cristina Nagy. +Memory Eternal!
  • Wednesday, November 16th: Vespers Service at 6:30 PM.

In closing, some wisdom from +Saint John Chrysostom:

"Pay attention carefully. After the sin comes the shame; courage follows repentance. Did you pay attention to what I said? Satan upsets the order; he gives the courage to sin and the shame to repentance."

Faithfully in Christ,

Fr. Peter

 

 

 

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,


This evening's (November 9th) Vespers Service has been cancelled due to the approaching Hurricane/Tropical Storm Nicole. Please remain at home and take all necessary precautions to keep you and your family safe.
 
As the storm approaches, the following is a prayer for 'The Deliverance from Storms.' Please take a minute to pray this prayer.
 
"O Lord, Jesus Christ, As Thou didst save Thy apostles from perishing in a storm by calming wind and waves on Thy command, so now keep us safe and sound during this impending storm.  Protect us from the unpredictable elements of nature.  Steer us from storm, flood, fire, illness, injury, disaster and sudden death.  Preserve us from all evil and harm for we, though sinful, are nonetheless the work of Thy hands.  And Thou together with Thy Father who has no beginning and Thy all holy good and life giving Spirit are our God in whom we live, move, and have being. Now and ever and unto ages and ages. Amen."
 
Faithfully in Christ,
Fr. Peter
Sunday, November 6, 2022

files/Bulletin-November-6-2022.pdf (8899kb)

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Guardian Angels. Everyone seems to like them. Many believe in them. There are guardian angel books, lapel pins, statues and figurines, music, movies, drawings, and paintings. Sadly, today they are more a novelty and curiosity in the heart of man than a truth. We tend to trivialize them.

Guardian Angels are “companions of the faithful.” Guardian angels are our “shepherds” with us throughout every second, minute, and hour of every day of our lives. Next to God, our Guardian Angel knows us better than anyone in our lives since they are with us throughout our lives! Consequently, it would not be surprising to learn that our Guardian Angels exalt in our spiritual growth. Similarly, they weep at our spiritual failures. We are never abandoned or alone. And this is important because man is in constant “spiritual combat between the powers of light and the powers of darkness.” From the beginning of our life, God gives us a Guardian Angel. At our baptism, this prayer is read by the priest: "Yoke to his/her life an Angel of light, to deliver him/her from every attack of the adversary, from evil encounter, from the noon-day demon, from evil visions." At our death, it is our Guardian Angel who escorts us to stand before God, chanting the Psalms we read at every Matins Service.

As we awake in the morning, take a moment to pray this Prayer to your Guardian Angel.

"O Holy Angel, who stand by my wretched soul and my passionate life: do not abandon me, a sinner, neither depart from me because of my lack of self-control. Leave no room for the evil demon to gain control of me through the violence of this mortal body. Strengthen my weak and feeble hand, and instruct me in the path of salvation. O holy Angel of God, the guardian and protector of my wretched soul and body: forgive all the sorrows I have caused you, every day of my life. If I have sinned this past night, protect me during this day. Keep me from every adverse temptation, that I may not anger God by any sin. Pray to the Lord for me, that He may establish me in His fear and make me, His servant, worthy of His goodness. Amen."

NOTES:

  1. Attached to this email is The Weekly Bulletin. Please take a few minutes to read through it for up-to-date parish news and information.
  2. This coming Sunday (November 6th), we will assemble the Thanksgiving Baskets that will be distributed to the needy. Everyone is welcome to assist.
  3. Weekly Bible Study continues this Tuesday (November 8th), at 6:45 PM. The topic is 'The Acts of the Apostles.' All are welcome to attend.
  4. Join with us in prayer this week:
  • Sunday, November 6th: Matins at 8:50 AM, followed by the Divine Liturgy at 10:00 AM.                                                                                    Prior to Communion, Fr. Peter will offer his monthly 'Children's Sermon.'                                                                                                            Trisagion (Memorial) Prayers will be offered for the following: Economos Antony Gabriel (3 & 9 Days); George Freiji (9 Days); Dr. Ernest Shwayri (40 Days); Basil Dalack (40 Days). May their memory be eternal!
  • Wednesday, November 9th: Vespers Service at 6:30 PM.

May your weekend be blessed. See you in church on Sunday!

Faithfully in Christ,

Fr. Peter

Sunday, October 23, 2022

files/Bulletin-October-23-2022.pdf (2089kb)

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The month of October is Youth Month in our church community and throughout our archdiocese. Over the past 3 weeks the focus of the weekly emails has been parenting our youth. This week's email will continue on the same track with words of wisdom from one of the most revered saints in the Church, Saint John Chrysostom. Though written in the 3rd and 4th centuries, his words still resonate today.
 
“Let everything take second place to our care of our children, our bringing them up to the discipline and instruction of the Lord. If from the beginning we teach them to love true wisdom, they will have greater wealth and glory than riches can provide. If a child learns a trade, or is highly educated for a lucrative profession, all this is nothing compared to the art of detachment from riches; if you want to make your child rich, teach him this. He is truly rich who does not desire great possessions, or surround himself with wealth, but who requires nothing…Don’t think that only monks need to learn the Bible; Children about to go out into the world stand in greater need of Scriptural knowledge.”   
 
“Never deem it an unnecessary thing that he should be a diligent hearer of the divine Scriptures. For there the first thing he hears will be this, ‘Honor thy father and thy mother’; so that this makes for thee. Never say, this is the business of monks. Am I making a monk of him? No. There is no need for him to become a monk. Why be so afraid of a thing so replete with so much advantage? Make him a Christian.”          
 
"Your children will always be sufficiently wealthy if they receive from you a good upbringing that is able to order their moral life and behavior. Thus, strive not to make them rich, but rather to make them pious masters of their passions, rich in virtues. Teach them not to think up illusory needs, reckoning their worth according to worldly standards. Attentively watch their deeds, their acquaintances and their attachments—and do not expect any mercy from God if you do not fulfill this duty."       
 
"If good fathers strive to give their children a good upbringing, then we would need neither laws, judges, courts, nor punishments. Executioners exist because we have no morality."
 
"We are so concerned with our children's schooling; if only we were equally zealous in bringing them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord! And then we wonder why we reap such bitter fruit when we have raised our children to be insolent, licentious, impious, and vulgar. May this never happen; instead, let us heed the Apostle Paul's admonition to bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Let us give them a pattern to imitate; from their earliest years let us teach them to study the Bible."
 
NOTES:
1. The Weekly Bulletin is attached to this email. Please take a few minutes to read through it.
2. Please be mindful of the announcements in the bulletin regarding the 'Thanksgiving Baskets' and the upcoming 'Trunk or Treat.'
3. There will be no Bible Study this coming Tuesday, October 25th. Bible Study will resume Tuesday, November 1st.
4. Join us in prayer at Saint Mary's this coming week:
  • Sunday, October 23rd: Matins begin at 8:50 AM, followed by the Divine Liturgy at 10:00 AM.
  • Wednesday, October 26th: Vespers Service at 6:30 PM
Have a blessed weekend!
God bless,
Fr. Peter

 

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

'Youth Month' continues to be the theme of October. This week's email features and article by Fr. Michael Anderson entitled 'Our Youth Need You!'

“What do our youth need?” It’s a question we hear everywhere. Over the years literally hundreds of books, blogs, podcasts have discussed the needs of young people, who are taking more drugs, becoming sexually active at increasingly younger ages, and developing into the largest segment of society to be medicated for chronic depression. Our entire society is looking for the “cure” to what we feel is a disease that brings more and more of our youth into violent and life-threatening situations. Social youth agencies are spending literally millions of dollars creating programs and activities to “keep the kids busy and off the streets.”  Even we as a Church sometimes get caught up in all of this, looking to have activity after activity so that we can say we have a well developed “youth program.” Sometimes the adults involved with these programs never even sit down to talk with the kids they are there to minister to. The fact is our youth don’t need a “program.”

The answer is much simpler, but requires a much more serious approach. What do our youth need? They need adults who are living their Orthodox Faith and who want to share it with them. They need to establish reliable relationships with people who not only talk about their faith, but try to live their life by it. It is true that activities are an important part of our youth ministry efforts, but they should only exist to build up relationships with Christ, His Church, their peers, and adults who are committed to living their Orthodox faith. This requires adults who share a common vision and desire to do this. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ did not come to create programs, but restore that correct relationship between God and man, and among humankind.

Remember, the first person most teens will go to when they have a problem, or want to discuss a real issue in their life is another teen, a friend. These friends are searching themselves for answers. Why do they go to them? It’s because they know and trust them. Our youth need to have trusting relationships with faithful adults to whom they can turn. They need you!"

NOTES:

  1. Attached to this email is 'The Weekly Bulletin.' Please take a few minutes to read through it.
  2. This Sunday is SPECIAL OLYMPICS AWARENESS DAY. Members of our SOYO, who sponsor this event, will speak about it at the end of the Divine Liturgy. During Coffee Hour, SOYO will host a Luncheon (details in the attached bulletin) to help raise funds for the Special Olympics Camp. Please support our teens and this worthy project.
  3. Our Ladies Society will meet briefly in the Conference Room this coming Sunday, October 16th, to review upcoming activities. All ladies are welcome to attend.
  4. Get ready for 'TRUNK OR TREAT' on Sunday, October 30th, from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM. For more information, please speak to Amale Salloum.
  5. Join us in prayer this week at Saint Mary's:
  • Sunday, October 16th: Matins at 8:50 AM, followed by the Divine Liturgy at 10:00 AM. 
  • Wednesday, October 19th: Vespers Service at 6:30 PM.

This week's wisdom from the Holy Fathers of the Church:

"If you find that there is no love in you, but you want to have it, then do deeds of love, even though you do them without love in the beginning. The Lord will see your desire and striving and will put love in your heart."        +Saint Ambrose of Optina

God bless,

Fr. Peter

Sunday, October 9, 2022

files/Bulletin-October-9-2022.pdf (16461kb)

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

October is Youth Month in our parish and throughout the archdiocese. Each week during October, I will present thoughts of Orthodox Christian educators, writers and professionals on parenting and our young people in the Church. This week, a few excerpts from Dr. Philip Mamalakis’book, 'Parenting Toward the Kingdom: Orthodox Christian Principles of Child Rearing.'

  • “Always parent with the end in mind.” Parenting with the end in mind requires that we think beyond the moment and our short-term goals (ie: for peace and quiet at the dinner table) to what our long-term goals for our children may be (ie: for them to learn to work out their disagreements in a godly manner) and act towards that end. To be able to do so, we need to think first of what type of adults we wish our children to be when they are grown."
  • “God’s desire is for us to raise children who know Him, who live in His love, and who walk in His ways. God wants our children to know who He is and grow up near Him, to become saints. That is success.”
  • “If we love our children, we walk with them through the struggles; we don’t remove the struggles.”
  • “Children will learn what is true by how they see us behave more than by what they hear us say.”
  • “If we want to teach our children respect, they need to feel respected by us, even when they talk back. If we want them to learn how to listen, they need to feel heard, even when they don’t listen to us. If we want them to know the nature of God’s love for them, they need to experience God’s love from us, particularly when they are unloving toward us. Children really do learn what they live—most deeply when they struggle and misbehave.”

Dr. Philip Mamalakis’book, 'Parenting Toward the Kingdom: Orthodox Christian Principles of Child-Rearing' is available by ordering online at Ancient Faith Store.

 

NOTES:

1. Attached to this email is The Weekly Bulletin. Please take a few minutes to read through it.

2. Please with us in prayer this week:

·         Sunday, October 9th: Matins at 8:50 AM, followed by the Divine Liturgy at 10:00 AM.

·         Wednesday, October 12th: Wednesday evening vespers at 6:30 PM. 

3. Bible Study resumes this coming Tuesday, October 11th, at 6:45 PM, in the Conference Room. 'The Acts of the Apostles' is the topic of study.

 Some wisdom from the Holy Fathers of the Church:

"Whoever will not love his enemies cannot know the Lord and the sweetness of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit teaches us to love our enemies in such a way that we pity their souls as if they were our own children."   +Saint Silouan the Athonite

God bless,

 Fr. Peter

Wednesday October 5, 2022
Memory Eternal- Dr. Ernest Shwayri

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

It is with sadness but also hope in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ that we inform you of the falling asleep in the Lord of Dr. Ernest Shwayri on Thursday, September 29th. 

Ernest was a long standing and devout member of Saint Mary Orthodox Church. Recently retired, Ernest served many years as the Chief of Surgery at the VA Hospital in Riviera Beach. He is survived by his wife Joan; his four children Rebecca, Andrea, Nicholas, William and their families; his sister Rita; as well as numerous relatives and friends. 

Funeral Arrangements are as follows:

  • Tuesday, October 4th: Visitation (at Saint Mary's) from 5:00 to 7:00 PM, followed by Trisagion Prayers. A reception will follow with light refreshments on the lawn next to the church.
  • Wednesday, October 5th: Visitation from 9:30 to 10:00 AM, followed by the Funeral Service (at Saint Mary's). Burial will take place at Hillcrest Memorial Park (6411 Parker Avenue, West Palm Beach).

May the Lord our God grant his soul rest in the mansions of the righteous, and comfort his family in their time of sorrow.

In leu of flowers, the family requests that contributions in Ernest's memory be made to St. Mary's Orthodox Church, Repair and Improvement Campaign.

Memory Eternal!

Sunday, October 2, 2022

files/Bulletin-October-2-2022.pdf (3727kb)

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The month of October is dedicated in our church and throughout our archdiocese as 'Youth Month.' During the month of October, I will be offering articles by various authors on the Youth in our Church. This week's offering is authored by Emily Carrington.

"You wouldn’t be attempting church with children if you didn’t think it was important. Perhaps you have always known church is important or perhaps as a childless adult you were convinced that corporate worship is better than an isolated spiritual life. Either way, you have known the beautiful reality that going to church is part of the spiritual life. Every Sunday families face the monumental challenge of getting out the door and to the service on time. In our house the baby always needs something right as it is time to leave. Some mornings we stop to address her needs and we are late to church. Other mornings we come rolling in with a crying, needy baby. It is easy to find excuses to stay home, but even on the most stressful mornings it is important that Christian parents haul their families to church, even if we just feel like we are going through the motions. Children see what we do and, as my pastor reminds us regularly, they love what we love. The regular struggle to attend regular worship reinforces to our children that church is a priority.

If we wait until we have perfectly well-behaved children to bring them to church, it is likely Jesus will have already returned. Looking back, things only got more difficult for my parents as my sister and I got older. I have distinct memories of my dad sitting in the station wagon idling in the driveway while my mom herded us out the door. Once I could drive we would often take three cars to get four people to church because nobody could get out the door on time to suit my father. But we followed his lead. Going to church wasn’t debatable, and nobody had to tell us that. While on the subject of behavior and habit-making: what a great way to teach, practice, and live grace. Our salvation isn’t dependent on our behavior, so don’t make church attendance behavior-dependent, either. Our children need grace, and so do we. Regardless of how the children are acting during worship, if worship involves entering the presence of God, then what better time than with screaming children to experience such a grace.

So you got to church and you survived the service, but you can’t repeat any points from the sermon and your child was throwing a fit so epic no one could focus on the sacraments. Wasted time, right? No. Your time after the service, while perhaps not as essential as participating in the word and sacrament, is an important part of being part of the body. Your children are meeting peers whom, Lord willing, will be alongside them as they come into their faith. They are also meeting adults who are praying for them, teaching them, guiding them, and setting an example of a godly life. These peers, prayer warriors, teachers, and mentors are essential to your child’s spiritual well-being. We live in a time when fewer and fewer other associations will uphold the gospel. With the secularization of the communities in which we live, our children will lean even more on their church community to help bear the burdens that are inevitable to the human experience.

Perhaps the most important reason to strive for regular church attendance is because it is part of the duty of a Christian parent.  This is an intimidating responsibility, if only for the sheer weight of its consequences.  Why not do it with the help and guidance of the church?"

 

Fr. Peter's Notes:

  1. The Weekly Bulletin is attached to this email. Please take a few minutes to read through it.
  2. The Family Movie Night scheduled for Saturday, October 1st, has been rescheduled to Sunday, October 23rd. More information will be forthcoming.
  3. The weekly Bible Study resumes on Tuesday, October 4th, at 6:45 PM, in the Conference Room. 
  4. We are saddened to inform you of the falling asleep in the Lord of Dr. Ernest Shwayri on Thursday, September 29th. Our sympathies to his beloved wife Joan and their children. Funeral arrangements are still pending. 
  5. Join with us in prayer this coming week:  Sunday, October 2nd: Matins at 8:50 AM, followed by the Divine Liturgy at 10:00 AM. Fr. Peter will offer his monthly Children's Sermon prior to Communion. A 1 Year Memorial Service will be offered for the repose of Sonia AbuHadid, by her mother Suad AbuHadid and families.                    Wednesday, October 5th: Vesper Service at 6:30 PM.

Some wisdom from the Holy Church Fathers:

"It is only necessary to seek one thing: to be with Jesus. The man who remains with Jesus is rich, even if he is poor with regard to material things. Who ever desires the earthly more than the heavenly loses both the earthly and the heavenly. But whoever seeks the heavenly is Lord of the whole world."     +Saint Ignatius Brianchaninov 

In Christ,

Fr. Peter

Sunday, September 25, 2022

files/Bulletin-September-25-2022.pdf (2863kb)

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The Apostle Paul suffered many hardships. However, he never lost heart; he never gave up. The Epistle reading for this coming Sunday (2 Corinthians 4: 7 - 18), the Apostle Paul tells why we should not lose heart either.

"This treasure we possess in earthen vessels to make it clear that its surpassing power comes from God and not from us. We are afflicted in every way possible, but we are not crushed; full of doubt, we never despair. We are persecuted but never abandoned; we are struck down but never destroyed. Continually we carry about in our bodies the dying of Jesus, so that in our bodies the life of Jesus may also be revealed. While we live we are constantly being delivered to death for the sake of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be revealed in our mortal flesh. Death is at work in us, but life in you. We have that spirit of faith of which the Scripture says, `Because I have believed I spoke out.' We believe and so we speak, knowing that he who raised up the Lord Jesus will raise us up along with Jesus and place both us and you in his presence. Indeed, everything is ordered to your benefit, so that the grace bestowed in abundance may bring greater glory to God because they who give thanks are many. We do not lose heart because our inner being is renewed each day even though our body is being destroyed at the same time. The present burden of our trail is light enough, and earns for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. We do not fix our gaze on what is seen but on what is unseen. What is seen is transitory, what is unseen lasts forever."

Pray about and consider seriously the truths which kept the Apostle Paul and faithful followers of Jesus Christ going about their daily lives in spite of detours and other hardships. How these truths make a difference in our own hardships.

 

NOTES:

1. We had a fantastic first day of Sunday School last Sunday! Please continue to bring your children to Sunday School classes and encourage your teens to attend Teen Class. Classes begin each Sunday immediately following Communion.

2. Our Teen SOYO is hosting Family Movie Night' on Saturday, October 1st, beginning at 6:00PM. Pizza, popcorn and drinks will be provided. The movie 'Man of God' is the story of Saint Nektarios. Bring your entire family - invite your friends!

3. Weekly Bible Study continues on Tuesday, September 27th, at 6:45 PM. This past Tuesday we had 27 participants! The Acts of the Apostles is the topic of study led by Jim Gavrilos. All are welcome to attend.

4. Join us in prayer this coming week:

Sunday, September 26th: Matins begin at 8:50 AM, followed by the Divine Liturgy at 10:00 AM.

Wednesday, September 28th: Vespers Service begins at 6:30 PM.

5. The Weekly Bulletin is attached to this email. Please take a few minutes to read through it.

 Some words of wisdom from the Holy Fathers:

"Blessed is he who is not attached to anything transitory or corruptible. Blessed is the intellect that transcends all sensible objects and ceaselessly delights in divine beauty. If you make provision for the desires of the flesh (Romans 13:14) and bear a grudge against your neighbor on account of something transitory, you worship the creature instead of the Creator."        +St. Maximos the Confessor

 See you in Church on Sunday.

God bless,

Fr. Peter

Sunday, September 18, 2022

files/Bulletin-September-18-2022.pdf (11459kb)

files/Sunday-School-Registration.pdf (31kb)

files/Teen-Class-Registration.pdf (31kb)

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The Greek word 'theosis' is defined as a transformative process whose aim is to be in union with God. One of the most difficult parts of this process is "denying ourselves and taking up our cross and follow Me" as taught to us by Jesus Christ in this Sunday's Gospel (Mark 8:34). But you cannot accomplish what Christ said, to “take up your cross” or “follow Me” unless you first deny yourself. But what does that really mean in everyday life? Self-denial is in stark contrast to the world’s system of indulging the pleasures of the world. To “deny yourself” doesn’t mean to “deprive” yourself of things you want. Denying yourself is not an act of resisting temptation, or refusing to go after the things you desire. That is self-control, which is a fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22) The Apostle Paul understood what it meant to deny yourself. It is the very reason why he wrote, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20) If you truly want to achieve theosis , you must first deny yourself and accept and follow Christ before all things. Learning to deny yourself is a day by day, moment by moment process. But you must persist. The more you deny yourself, the better able you’ll be to take up your cross and achieve union with God.

NOTES:

1. Attached to this email is The Weekly Bulletin. Please take a few minutes to read through it.

2. Also attached to this email are Registration Forms for Sunday School and the Teen Class. SUNDAY SCHOOL AND TEEN CLASS BEGIN THIS COMING SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 18TH!

3. This coming Sunday is 'Ice Cream Sundae Sunday' for all of our children and teens following their classes.

4. The Ladies Society will meet as well this coming Sunday at 11:45 AM, in the hall. ALL LADIES are invited to participate.

5. Weekly Bible Study resumes this coming Tuesday, September 20th, at 6:45 PM. Jim Gavrilos will lead the discussion on the 'Acts of the Apostles.' 

6. Join us in prayer this Sunday (September 18th): Matins at 8:50 AM, followed by the Divine Liturgy at 10:00 AM. Wednesday Evening Vespers (September 21st) at 6:30 PM.

In closing, some wisdom from the Orthodox Church fathers:

"God does not create a cross for man. No matter how heavy a cross a man may carry in life, it is still just wood, from which man himself made, and it always grows from the soil of his heart."     +Saint Ambrose of Optina

God bless,

Fr. Peter

Sunday September 11, 2022

files/Bulletin-September-11th.pdf (2606kb)

files/Sunday-School-Registration.pdf (31kb)

files/Teen-Class-Registration.pdf (31kb)

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This coming Tuesday (September 13th), we will celebrate a Vesperal Divine Liturgy for the Feast of the Elevation of the Precious Cross of Christ. This commemoration dates back to the year 326 AD, when the mother of Saint Constantine the Great - Saint Helena found the cross in Jerusalem while venerating the holy places. To this day, the cross remains as an integral part of our lives as Orthodox Christians.  The cross is placed atop our churches. We wear our baptismal crosses throughout our lives. We cross ourselves when we pray at church, at home, or the undertaking of any endeavor. Most importantly, the cross is a symbol of the triumph of life over death and of goodness over darkness and evil.

We are called by Jesus Christ to take up our cross and follow (Matthew 16:24). By taking up the Cross, we accept to live the life of Christ, to endure struggles, to suffer for the sake of the Lord and His Church, and ultimately to take part in His triumph.

Join us this coming Tuesday evening, September 13th, as we celebrate the victory of the cross!

NOTES:

  1. Attached to this email are the following:
  2. a) The Weekly Bulletin. Please take a few minutes to read through it.
  3. b) Sunday School and Teen Class Registration Forms. These forms are being sent to all so no child or teen gets left behind and has the opportunity to participate in our Sunday School and Teen Classes. Classes begin Sunday, September 18th.
  4. Join us in prayer at Saint Mary this coming week:
  • Sunday, September 11th: Matins at 8:50 AM, followed by the Divine Liturgy at 10:00 AM.
  • Tuesday, September 13th: Vesperal Divine Liturgy at 6:30 PM, for the celebration of the Feast of the Elevation of the Cross, followed by the Procession of the Cross.
  • Wednesday, September 14th: Vespers at 6:30 PM.

Wisdom of the Church Fathers:

"Many have been crucified throughout the world, but none of these are the devils scared of; but when they see even the Sign of the Cross of Christ, who was crucified for us, they shudder."     +Saint Cyril of Jerusalem

Have a blessed weekend. See you in Church!

Fr. Peter

 

Sunday, September 4, 2022

files/Bulletin-September-4.pdf (3033kb)

Beloved in Christ,

For this week's email, I offer thoughts from Saint Theophan the Recluse on allowing ourselves to be chosen by God.

"The Lord chose the apostles, that they should be with Him, and that he might send them forth to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils.

Every Christian is chosen to be with the Lord, through unceasing remembrance of Him and awareness of His omnipresence, through the preaching and fulfillment of His commandments, and through a readiness to confess one’s faith in Him. In those circles where such a confession is made, it is a loud sermon for all to hear. Every Christian has the power to heal infirmities—not of others, but his own, and not of the body, but of the soul—that is, sins and sinful habits—and to cast out devils, rejecting evil thoughts sown by them, and extinguishing the excitement of passions inflamed by them. Do this and you will be an apostle, a fulfiller of what the Lord chose you for, an accomplisher of your calling as messenger. When at first you succeed in all this, then perhaps the Lord will appoint you as a special ambassador—to save others after you have saved yourself; and to help those who are tempted, after you yourself pass through all temptations, and through all experiences in good and evil.

But your job is to work upon yourself: for this you are chosen; the rest is in the hands of God. He who humbles himself shall be exalted."

Notes:

  1. Our 2022 - 2023 Sunday School Program begins September 18th. This year we will hold classes in our new classrooms at the entrance of the hall, and the conference room. Classes will be divided into three classes: P-K, Kindergarten and Grade 1 (ages 4 - 6); Middler (ages 7 - 10); Pre Teens and Teens (Ages 11 - 12 and 13 - 18). Registration forms will be available in the Church Narthex, in addition to being mailed and emailed to all parents. For further information, please speak with Sunday School Coordinator Joan Shwayri.
  2. Our weekly 'Tuesday Evening Bible Study' begins this coming Tuesday, September 6th, at 6:45 PM, in the Conference Room. Jim Gavrilos will lead the study on 'The Acts of the Apostles.' All are welcome to attend. Please bring your bibles.
  3. I invite you to pray with us this week:

Sunday, September 4th: Matins at 8:50 AM, followed by the Divine Liturgy at 10:00 AM. 

**A 40 Day Memorial Service will be offered for the repose of Nayla Tacla, offered by her daughter Jina Sayegh and family. A mercy meal will follow in the hall.

Wednesday, September 7th: Vesperal Divine Liturgy at 6:30 PM, for the Feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos. 

** Though not our feast day, the Theotokos is the patron and protector of our church community. It is proper to come and honor her in our prayers.

  1. The Weekly Bulletin is attached to this email. Please take a few minutes to read through it.

May God bless and keep you safe this Labor Day Weekend.

God bless,

Fr. Peter

Sunday, August 28, 2022

files/August-28th-Bulletin.pdf (4303kb)

Beloved in Christ,

For the Orthodox Church, the Ecclesiastical New Year (also known as the Indiction, or Church New Year) is celebrated this coming week on September 1st. The completion of the year was marked, with the harvest and gathering of the crops into storehouses at the end of the summer, and the beginning anew with the sowing of seed in the earth for the production of future crops, thus September is considered the beginning of the New Year.  On September 1st, the Church prays that God will grant fair weather, seasonable rains, and an abundance of the fruits of the earth. The Holy Scriptures (Lev. 23:24-5 and Num. 29:1-2) also testify that the people of Israel celebrated the feast of the Blowing of the Trumpets on this day, offering hymns of thanksgiving. In addition on this feast we also commemorate our Saviour's entry into the synagogue in Nazareth, where He was given the book of the Prophet Esaias to read, and He opened it and found the place where it is written, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, for which cause He hath anointed Me..." (Luke 4:16-30).

At Saint Mary's, we will celebrate the Ecclesiastical New Year with Great Vespers and Prayers for the New Year on Wednesday, August 31st, at 6:30 PM. May our Lord sow the seeds of His Word in our hearts in order that the harvest may be plentiful.

NOTES:

> The Weekly Bulletin is back after several weeks of absence due to internet issues. It is a new format for now. Please take a few minutes to read through it.

> Upcoming activities and services to be mindful of:

Tuesday, September 6th: Tuesday Evening Bible Study at 6:30 PM in the Conference Room, with Jim Gavrilos leading the study of the 'Acts of the Apostles.'

Wednesday, September 7th: Vesperal Divine Liturgy at 6:30 PM for the Feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos.

Sunday, September 18th: 2022 - 2023 Sunday School Classes begin in our new Sunday School Rooms. Classes will be each Sunday following Communion and last approximately 30 minutes. 

Some wisdom by the Holy Fathers of Church:

"Everyone who asks something of God and does not receive it doubtless does not receive it for one of these reasons: either because they ask before the time, or they ask unworthily, or out of vainglory, or because if they received what they asked they would become proud or fall into negligence".

+Saint John of the Ladder - from the Ladder of Divine Ascent

I look forward to you joining your church family in prayer this coming Sunday. Matins begin at 8:50 AM, followed by the Divine Liturgy at 10:00 AM. After the services, join with us for fellowship in the hall.

God bless,

Fr. Peter

Welcome

Welcome, and thank you for visiting St. Mary Orthodox Church online. We hope that our website highlights the wide variety of worship, fellowship, ministery and education opportunities available. Please feel free to read more about our church on this site, or come join with us in prayer. We would love to greet you and share with you our love for Jesus Christ and for you, our neighbor.

Organizations, Ministries and Education

Our parish organizations, which include Amen, the ladies Society, Teen SOYO, young Adult Ministry, Sunday School, and the Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch, we welcome your participation

Our Mission
The mission of St. Mary Orthodox Church of West Palm Beach is to live out and proclaim the gospel message of our Lord Jesus Christ through worship, witness, fellowship and service.

Father Peter Shportun, Priest/Pastor

 

Sunday Morning Services:

 

    Confessions 8:30 AM to 9:00 AM

    Matins at 8:45 AM

    Divine Liturgy at 10:00 AM.


    Wednesday Service:

       Vespers at 6:30PM

 

Feast Day Services are as announced in the Sunday Bulletin and the Church Website.

 

Schedule of Services
Sunday
8:30am - Sunday Morning Service

Confessions 8:30 AM to 9:00 AM

Matins at 8:50 AM

Divine Liturgy at 10:00 AM.<

  
Wednesday
6:30pm - Wednesday Vesper Service:
  
Feast
  - Feast Day Services

Feast Day Services are as announced in the Sunday Bulletin and the Church Website.