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

Sunday, May 26, 2024

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files/Bulletin-May-26-2024.pdf (5615kb)

Christ is Risen!

We all long to be healed. Whether the illness is physical, emotional or spiritual, the desire for healing is universal. Some turn to healthcare professionals, others to self-help gurus, or journey to special places to seek healing. Some will employ herbs, oils, crystals or charms hoping for a beneficial result. But how many of us turn to God - to the Church for healing?

The Church, like a hospital, offers treatment for that which afflicts us. Through the prayers and services - especially the Divine Liturgy, the Holy Mysteries (Sacraments), and our own personal prayers, we receive the medicine of God’s grace. But how many still need further healing? This is because we have become comfortable with our sins. It becomes easier to live with our sins than to seek healing. 

In the Gospel reading for this coming Sunday (John 5:1-15), we read of a man paralyzed for 38 years, lying by the Sheep Gate Pool in Jerusalem waiting for healing. Did he become comfortable in his paralysis? Had he fallen into despair and given up? Or, was he making excuses for his physical state? Jesus Christ healed him with the words "take up your pallet and walk."  Like the man with paralysis, the Lord sees us and wants to heal us. But we have to want to be healed. Christ knew the exact condition of the man with paralysis, but He still asked him if he wanted to be healed. Christ knows the exact condition of each and every one of us. As the man was unable to get to the waters himself, we too need Christ to help us.

NOTES

Join us in prayer at Saint Mary's this coming week.

  • Saturday, May 25th: Great Vespers at 6:30 PM.
  • Sunday, May 26th - The Fourth Sunday of Pascha: Matins begin at 8:50 PM, followed by the Divine Liturgy at 10:00 AM.
  • Wednesday, May 29th: Vespers at 6:30 PM, followed by our weekly spiritual discussion.

Attached to this week's email is this Sunday's Worship Guide and Bulletin, as well as Metropolitan Saba's Teaching.

Take a few minutes this Memorial Day Week to remember the men and women who gave their lives for the freedom we enjoy in our country.

In the Risen Lord,

Fr. Peter

Sunday, May 19, 2024

files/Bulletin-May-19-2024.pdf (8391kb)

Christ is Risen!

There is an old expression that says; "Crisis separates the men from the boys." It’s certainly true that a crisis shows up everything that was previously hidden. It shows people for what they really are. It distinguishes people who have real virtues, from those who just pretend they do. That’s one good thing about a crisis. The crucifixion and death of the Lord Jesus Christ immediately divided the Lord’s disciples and followers into two very different groups: it separated the men from the boys. Only the women reacted with courage, while the men (the disciples) hid.

Saint John Chrysostom says that the great virtue of a man is his courage. This is a quality every male Christian must have, if he is to become holy …but we don’t often have it. The monastics of the Church teach us that courage is also a quality every woman must also acquire.

If we lack courage, we will quit. We will run away as soon as we are afraid. That’s the reason Saint John Chrysostom says the Pious Joseph of Arimathea had both love and courage when he went to Pontius Pilate and begged for the Body of Jesus. The Pious Joseph was not making a simple request: he was exposing himself as a follower of Christ. He did this out of love. This took courage. Yet the courage and the love we commemorate this coming Sunday of the Myrrh-bearers is not primarily associated in the minds of most people with the memory of the Pious Joseph. It is associated with the group of holy women, whom holy tradition describes as showing manly courage – courage that could have gotten them killed.Courage that all but one of the disciples (John the Evangelist) themselves lacked.

Let us have courage, then, like the Myrrh-bearers. And let us pray for those who need to recover it.

Services this Week at Saint Mary's:

Saturday, May 18th - Great Vespers at 6:30 PM.

Sunday, May 19th: 3rd Sunday of Pascha - Matins at 8:50 AM; Divine Liturgy at 10:00 AM. Fr. Peter will offer his monthly 'Children's Sermon' prior to Communion.

Wednesday, May 22nd - Vespers Service at 6:30 PM. Spiritual Discussion with Fr. Peter will follow.

Notes:

  • This coming Sunday (May 19th) is dedicated to our 2024 Graduates, Sunday School Children, Teachers and Parents. We will pray for them during the Divine Liturgy, and have an 'End of the Year' Party in the Banquet Hall and the outside lawn from 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM. 
  • Attached to this email is The Weekly Worship Guide and Bulletin. Please take a few minutes to read through it for this coming Sunday's readings, hymns, and announcements. 

"Let us hasten with the myrrh-bearers, let us come bearing our lamps to Christ, Who has come forth from the tomb! Even if you are burdened by sins, do not turn away; for today even those in the bonds of hell hasten to the Light with joyful feet."                                                                                                                                                                                                       +Saint John Maximovitch

In the Risen Lord,

Fr. Peter

Sunday, May 12, 2024

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From Pascha until the leavetaking of the feast (June 12th), Orthodox Christians proclaim the words "Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!" This is the main proclamation of the Christian faith. It forms the heart of the Church’s preaching, worship and spiritual life. “. . . if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain” (1 Corinthians 15.14). The glorious good news “Christ is Risen!” challenges us to a personal encounter and personal communion with Jesus Christ, in order to shape our whole life around Christ. 
Let us contemplate the risen and living Christ, here and now, working in our own lives. "Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!" are not merely words of the past, but of the present, and the world to come.
 
NOTES:
1) Pray with us this coming week at Saint Mary's.
  • Saturday, May 11th: Great Vespers at 6:30 PM
  • Sunday, May 12th - Thomas Sunday: Matins begin at 8:50 AM, followed by the Divine Liturgy at 10:00 AM.
  • Wednesday, May 15th: Vespers at 6:30 PM, followed by a Spiritual Discussion.
2) If you have not done so already, please return your Food For Hungry People Lenten Alms Boxes.
 
"Let us offer to Him Who suffered and rose again for us . . . ourselves, the possession most precious to God and most proper."                  +Saint Gregory the Theologian (Easter Orations)
Holy Week Services 2024

HOLY WEEK SERVICE SCHEDULE

HOLY THURSDAY - PASCHA

Holy Thursday, May 2nd

Two services mark the Orthodox celebration of Holy Thursday. The first service of the day is the Vesperal Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil beginning at 9:00 AM. This liturgy commemorates the institution of the Holy Eucharist by our Lord Jesus Christ at the Mystical (Last) Supper. During this Divine Liturgy, a second Lamb is prepared as the Reserved Sacrament. The Reserved Sacrament is used to give communion to the sick.

The second of the two services on Holy Thursday is the Matins Service of the 12 Passion Gospels at 6:30 PM. This service takes us through our Lord's Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane; His betrayal by Judas; trial and crucifixion. Following the fifth Gospel reading, the church is darkened and the cross is taken in procession and placed in the center of the church commemorating Christ's steps to Golgotha.

Great and Holy Friday, May 3rd

On Great and Holy Friday the Orthodox Church commemorates the death of Christ on the Cross and His burial. The Reading of the Royal Hours at 9:00 AM, are readings of the Psalms, Prayers, and passages from the Old Testament, Epistles, and Gospels pertaining to Christ's holy passion.

The Vespers of the Descent from the Cross at 3:00 PM,  the removal of the Body of Christ from the Cross and placed in the tomb is commemorated with a sense of mourning. 

The Matins of Holy Saturday (Lamentation Service) is prayed on Friday evening at 7:00 PM. While many elements of the service represent mourning at the death and burial of Christ, the service itself is one of watchful expectation.

Following the Lamentation Service, All-Night Vigil is held at the Tomb of Christ (beginning at approximately 10:00 PM until 9:00 AM Saturday morning). Everyone is welcome to spend time at the tomb through prayer and reading of the scripture.

Great and Holy Saturday (Sebt al Nour), May 4th

Referred to as "The Day of the Light"  (Sebt al Nour in Arabic) or the "First Resurrection,"  this service held on the morning of Holy and Great Saturday is that of Vesperal Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil beginning at 9:00 AM. After the Old Testament and Epistle readings, the priest follows the custom of tossing the bey leaves saying: "Arise, O God, and judge Thou the earth: for Thou shall take all nations to Thine inheritance." This is symbolic of Christ's victory over death. The Gospel reading is first message of the resurrection.

Great and Holy Pascha, May 4th and 5th

The church gathers for the Services of Nocturnes, Rush Procession (Hajme); Paschal Matins and Divine Liturgy at 10:00 PM, on Saturday Evening May 4th, in celebration of the Resurrection of Christ.

*** Each family is encouraged to bring 1 dozen boiled and colored eggs to be blessed and distributed. Please place the eggs in or next to the basket in the empty tomb. In addition, for those who wish, Pascha Baskets will be blessed after Communion. Please place the baskets in front of the tomb. Everyone is invited to break the fast following the services in the banquet hall by sharing your blessed basket.

On Pascha Sunday Morning, May 5th, the church celebrates Agape Vespers at 11:00 AM. This brief service is highlighted with the reading of the Gospel lesson in various languages, of our Lord appearing after his resurrection to His Disciples and Thomas. In addition, a joyous Paschal Procession with the children is held to conclude the service.

*** Parents are encouraged to bring their children for the Easter Egg Hunt immediately following Agape Vespers. ***

May the remainder of your Lenten Journey to the Light of the empty tomb of Christ be blessed!

Sunday, April 28, 2024

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Holy Week

Schedule of Services through Holy Wednesday

Lazarus Saturday, April 27th - Divine Liturgy at 9:00 AM.

On the Saturday before Holy Week, the Orthodox Church commemorates the miracle of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ when he raised Lazarus from the dead after he had lain in the grave for four days. Here, at the end of Great Lent and the forty days of fasting and penitence, the Church combines this celebration with that of Palm Sunday. In triumph and joy the Church bears witness to the power of Christ over death and exalts Him as King before entering the most solemn week of the year, one that leads the faithful in remembrance of His suffering and death and concludes with the great and glorious Feast of Pascha.

Saturday Evening, April 27th - Great Vespers at 6:30 PM. 

Following the commemoration of the raising of Lazarus, the Church now turns its attention to, and prepares us for the triumphal entrance of our Lord in Jerusalem.

Palm Sunday, April 28th:  The Feast of the Entrance of our Lord Jesus Christ into Jerusalem

 Festal Matins at 8:50 AM; Divine Liturgy at 10:00 AM.

The  Church celebrates one of its most joyous feasts of the year. Palm Sunday is the commemoration of the Entrance of our Lord into Jerusalem. Having anticipated His arrival and having heard of the miracle, the people went out to meet the Lord and welcomed Him with displays of honor and shouts of praise. On this day, we receive and worship Christ in this same manner, acknowledging Him as our King and Lord.

Bridegroom Matins Services:

Palm Sunday Evening, April 28th; Great and Holy Monday, April 29th; Great and Holy Tuesday, April 30th at 6:30 PM.

Beginning on the evening of Palm Sunday and continuing through the evening of Holy Tuesday, the Church observes the Service of Bridegroom Matins. Each evening service is the Matins Service of the following day (e.g. the service held on Sunday Evening is the Matins Service for Holy Monday). The name of the service is from the figure of the Bridegroom in the parable of the Ten Virgins found in Matthew 25:1-13.

The Sacrament of Confession

The Sacrament of Confession will be offered 30 minutes prior to, and immediately following each of the above services. **Holy Tuesday will be the last day for Confessions during Holy Week.**

Great and Holy Wednesday, April 29th: The Service of Holy Unction at 6:30 PM.

The Sacrament of Holy Unction is offered for the healing of soul and body and for the forgiveness of sins. At the conclusion of the service of the Sacrament, the body is anointed with oil, and the grace of God, which heals infirmities of soul and body, is called down upon each person.

***The entire list of Holy Week Services may be found in The Weekly Bulletin attached to this email.

Sunday, April 21, 2024

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This Week at Saint Mary                                                                                                

The Church commemorates the Righteous Mother Mary of Egypt on the Fifth Sunday in Great Lent. So many people see her as a model of repentance, as she, who had lived a debauched lifestyle, is revered for her conversion and dedication of her life to God. As we find ourselves nearing the end of Great Lent and approaching Holy Week and Pascha let us turn to her, that through her intercessions, we may overcome the passions of this world that weigh us down and separate us from the Kingdom of God.

This Week's Schedule of Services

  • Saturday, April 20th: Great Vespers at 6:30 PM.
  • Sunday, April 21st: Matins at 9:00 AM, followed by the Divine Liturgy at 10:00 AM.
  • Monday, April 22nd: Great Compline at 6:30 PM.
  • Wednesday, April 23rd: Presanctified Liturgy at 6:30 PM.

Items of Note:

1) This coming Sunday (April 21st), both SOYO and The Ladies Society will meet in the hall during Coffee Hour. In addition, our Parents Group is sponsoring Candle Decorating for Palm Sunday and Pascha (more information may be found in the bulletin).

2) Volunteers are needed to assist in preparing the church on:

  • Lazarus Saturday, April 27th, following the 9:00 AM Divine Liturgy, for Palm Sunday.
  • Great & Holy Friday, May 3rd, 10:30 AM, decorating the Tomb of Christ.
  • Great & Holy Saturday, May 4th, following the 9:00 AM Divine Liturgy, for Pascha (Easter).

3) Again this Great & Holy Friday, we will keep vigil at the Tomb of Christ from 10:00 PM (Friday), until 9:00 AM (Saturday). If you would like to participate, please sign-up in the Church Narthex.

4) The Weekly Bulletin and Metropolitan Saba's Teaching is attached to this email. Please take a few minutes to read through both.

May your Lenten Journey continued to be blessed!

With love in Christ,

Fr. Peter

Sunday April 14, 2024

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This Sunday the Church celebrates the Fourth Sunday of Great, commemorating our +Venerable Father John Climacus, the author of 'The Ladder of Divine Ascent.' In his writing, Saint John reminds us that the Kingdom of God is not given to us, but to achieve it requires constant effort and ascent on our part. 

Attached to this week's email is The Weekly Bulletin. Please take a few minutes to read through it, in particular, the Schedule of Services for this coming Holy Week.

Join us in prayer this coming week at Saint Mary: 

  • Saturday, April 13th: Great Vespers Service at 6:30 PM.
  • Sunday, April 14th: Matins at 8:50 AM, followed by the Divine Liturgy at 10:00 AM.
  • Monday, April 15th: Great Compline Service at 6:30 PM.
  • Wednesday, April 17th: Presanctified Liturgy at 6:30 PM.
  • Thursday, April 18th: Little Compline; The Canon of Saint Andrew; and the Reading of the Life of Saint Mary of Egypt at 6:30 PM.
  • Friday, April 19th: Little Compline with the 5th Akathist (Madayah) Service at 6:30 PM. (This is the final Akathist Service of Great Lent)

Humility is the only virtue that no devil can imitate. If pride made demons out of angels, there is no doubt that humility could make angels out of demons.”  +Saint John Climacus

May your lenten journey continue to be blessed!

Fr. Peter

Sunday, April 7, 2024

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This Week at Saint Mary

"The Third Sunday of Lent is called “The Veneration of the Cross.” We are in Mid-Lent. On the one hand, the physical and spiritual effort, if it is serious and consistent, begins to be felt, its burden becomes more burdensome, our fatigue more evident. We need help and encouragement. On the other hand, having endured this fatigue, having climbed the mountain up to this point, we begin to see the end of our pilgrimage, and the rays of Pascha grow in their intensity.  Inasmuch as in the forty days of fasting we in a way crucify ourselves … and become bitter and despondent and failing, the Life-Giving Cross is presented to us for refreshment and assurance, for remembrance of our Lord’s Passion, and for comfort. We are like those following a long and cruel path, who become tired, see a beautiful tree with many leaves, sit in its shadow and rest for a while and then, as if rejuvenated, continue their journey; likewise, in the time of fasting and difficult journey and effort, the Life-Giving Cross was planted in our midst by the holy fathers to give us rest and refreshment, to make us courageous for the remaining task. The Cross is called the Tree of Life, it is the tree that was planted in Paradise, and for this reason our fathers have planted it in the midst of Holy Lent, remembering both Adam’s bliss and how he was deprived of it, remembering also that partaking of this Tree we no longer die but are kept alive …. ."      Fr. Alexander Schmemann

       This Saturday and Sunday (April 6 & 7) we are blessed to have His Grace, Bishop Nicholas (Auxiliary Bishop to the Metropolitan and Bishop of the Diocese of Miami and Southeast) visiting with us. He will preside over Saturday Great Vespers and the Sunday Hierarchical Divine Liturgy. Let us greet him and receive his blessing.

  Catechism Class # 6 is Tuesday, April 9th, from 7:00 to 8:00 PM - Topic: Confession, Spiritual Guidance and Communion (Classes are held in the Conference Room).

   If we have yet to do so this Lent, join us in prayer at one of our three weekday services.

Saturday, April 6th:

Great Vespers Service at 6:30 PM (Bishop Nicholas presiding).

   Sunday, April 7th: 3rd Sunday of Great Lent - Veneration of the Precious Cross

Orthros at 8:50 AM; Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at 10:00 AM (Bishop Nicholas presiding); Procession of the Holy Cross following Communion. 

Coffee Hour in honor of Bishop Nicholas' visit following the services.

Monday, April 8th:

Great Compline Service at 6:30 PM

   Wednesday, April 10th:

Presanctified Liturgy at 6:30 PM.

Friday, April 12th:

4th Akathist Service (Salutations to the Theotokos) at 6:30 PM.

May God continue to strengthen you in your journey to the Light of the empty tomb of Christ.

Sunday, March 31, 2024

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This Week at Saint Mary

(For March 30 - April 5th)

Saturday, March 30th

Great Vespers Service at 6:30 PM

Sunday, March 31st

Matins Service at 8:50 AM, followed by the Divine Liturgy at 10:00 AM.

Monday, April 1st

Great Compline Service at 6:30 PM

Tuesday, April 2nd

Catechism Class #5: Subject - Confession (Spiritual Guidance), Communion and Ordination. Classes are held from 7:00 to 8:00 PM in the Conference Room. Everyone is welcome to attend and participate.

Wednesday, April 3rd

Presanctified Liturgy at 6:30 PM

Friday, April 5th

Little Compline and the 3rd Akathist (Madayah) Service at 6:30 PM.

**The Sacrament of Confession is offered 30 minutes prior to each evening service.

Attached to this week's email is The Weekly Bulletin (which includes this Sunday's liturgical hymns and scripture readings and announcements) and Metropolitan Saba's Teaching on the 'Date of Pascha.' 

"We know that prayer in and of itself cannot save us, but carrying it out before God can. For when the Lord's eyes are upon us He sanctifies us, as the sun warms everything upon which it shines."   +Saint Gregory Palamas

Have a blessed week!

With love in Christ, 

Fr. Peter

Sunday, March 24, 2024

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Beloved in Christ,

This week, I offer the words of Saint John Chrysostom, who reminds us that fasting during Great Lent is more than abstinence from food and drink.

"Do you fast?  Give me proof of it by your works.  If you see a poor man, take pity on him.  If you see a friend being honored, do not envy him.  Do not let only your mouth fast, but also the eye, and the feet, and the hands and all the members of our bodies.  Let the hands fast, by being free of avarice.  Let the feet fast, by ceasing to run after sin.  Let the eyes fast, by disciplining them not to glare at that which is sinful.  Let the ears by not listening to evil talk and gossip.  Let the mouth fast from foul words and unjust criticism.  For what good is it if we abstain from birds and fishes, but bite and devour our brothers?"      +Saint John Chrysostom

NOTES:

  • Attached to this week's email is The Weekly Bulletin and Metropolitan Saba's teaching. Please take a few minutes to read through both.
  • This coming Sunday (March 24th), the Saint Mary's Ladies Society will host their annual 'Annunciation Luncheon' following the Divine Liturgy in support of the Antiochian Women 2024 Project: 'Endowment Fund for Widowed Clergy Wives.' Donation is $15.00 for adults, $5.00 for children 10 years and under. Please support our ladies and this worthwhile project.
  • Have you attended a Lenten Service this past week? Join us in prayer this coming week:

 *Saturday, March 23rd - Great Vespers Service at 6:30 PM

*Sunday, March 24th - Matins Service at 8:50 AM, Divine Liturgy at 10:00 AM

(At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, we will have the Procession of Icons in celebration of 'Orthodoxy Sunday.')

*Monday, March 25th: Feast of the Annunciation of the Theotokos - Vesperal Divine Liturgy at 6:30 PM

*Wednesday, March 27th - Presanctified Liturgy at 6:30 PM

*Friday, March 29th - 2nd Akathist (Madayah) Service at 6:30 PM

May your Lenten journey to the Light of the empty tomb of Christ be blessed.

With love in Christ,

Fr. Peter

Sunday, March 17, 2024

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Beloved in Christ,

Have you started making plans for your summer vacation? Maybe you’re planning on seeing different parts of our country, or maybe a cruise, or even a trip overseas to see loved ones. Before we leave for a vacation, much planning is needed - how are we getting there, where are we going to stay, what are we going to do , and ultimately, what is the cost. If we plan accordingly, our vacation can be most rewarding and enjoyable.

For Orthodox Christians worldwide, this coming Monday, March 17th, begins the journey of Great Lent. From Clean Monday through the following 40 days and Holy Week, we journey along a path with a clear goal in mind; The Light of the empty tomb of Christ - Great and Holy Pascha! With our fasting, our prayers, almsgiving and charity, we are also called to reset our spiritual lives and turn our attention to the Kingdom of God. 

As we undertake this lenten journey, we should sincerely reflect on the essence of our lives, and our relationship with God. Are the things of this world consuming us and becoming earthly treasures? Jesus Christ teaches us in this coming Sunday's gospel reading (Matthew 6: 14-21) "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will be your heart also."
Great Lent should be the impetus to always seek and cultivate in our hearts love, mercy, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, compassion, faithfulness, truthfulness, acts of charity, hospitality and bearing witness to God’s love to others. These are the true treasures that lead to the Kingdom of God.

Though Great Lent is not an exciting vacation, it is a journey into paradise for which we were created. Let us begin this journey with love, mercy and forgiveness abiding in our hearts. Let us plan to fast with a purpose and a goal, using it as a tool to reach our destination. And let us make the time to seriously reflect on our lives and evaluate what we consider as truly important, and then ask ourselves, “Am I storing up my treasure in heaven?”

May our lenten journey to the Light of the empty tomb of Christ be blessed!

NOTES:

1) Attached to this email is The Weekly Bulletin. In particular, please take note of the Schedule of Services of the First Week of Great Lent.

2) Join us in prayer this weekend at Saint Mary's:

  • Saturday, March 16th: Great Vespers Service at 6:30 PM.
  • Sunday, March 17th: Matins at 8:50 AM; Divine Liturgy at 10:00 AM. A 10 Year Trisagion (Memorial) Service for the repose of Metropolitan Philip of thrice blessed memory, and a 1 Year Trisagion (Memorial) Service for the repose of Archdeacon Joseph Harb will be offered. 
  • Sunday Evening, March 17th: Forgiveness Lenten Vespers with the Rite of Forgiveness at 6:30 PM.

"Fasting appears gloomy until one steps into its arena. But begin and you will see what light it brings after darkness, what freedom from bonds, what release after a burdensome life…"    +Saint Theophan the Recluse

With love in Christ,

Fr. Peter

Sunday, March 10, 2024

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Beloved in Christ,

From time to time, I come across a quote from an article or a book that is worth sharing. This week, I would like to share some words with you from one of my professors, the late Fr. Thomas Hopko, former Dean and longtime Professor at Saint Vladimir Orthodox Seminary. This brief quote is taken from his book 'The Lenten Spring.'
 
"...People feel unhappy and they don’t know why. They feel that something is wrong, but they can’t put their finger on what. They feel uneasy, confused, frustrated, alienated and estranged – and they can’t explain it. They have everything and yet they want more; and when they get it, they are still empty and dissatisfied. They want fulfillment and it never seems to come. Everything is fine and yet everything is wrong...
...Here in America, this is almost a national disease. It is covered over by frantic activity and endless running around; it is buried in activities and events; it is drowned out by television programs and football games. But when the movement stops and the dial is turned off and everything is quiet... then the dread sets in, the meaninglessness of it all, the boredom and the fear...
...St. Augustine said more than 1500 years ago, “and we will be forever restless until we rest in Him.” Our lives are made for God and we will be unsatisfied, unfulfilled and frustrated until we find our home with Him. Nothing in this fallen world can, of itself, bring us the peace that we seek. God alone can do that because He alone is our home. And we are His...
 
NOTES:
 
1) Attached to this week's email is The Weekly Bulletin and Metropolitan Saba's Weekly Teaching. Please note that included in this week's bulletin is the Schedule of Services for Great Lent which begins on Monday, March 18th.
 
2) Join us in prayer this coming week as we prepare for the beginning of Great Lent.
  • Soul Saturday - March 8th: Divine Liturgy at 9:00 AM. Trisagion Prayers for the Departed at the conclusion of the service.
  • Saturday Evening - March 8th: Great Vespers at 6:30 PM
  • Sunday, March 9th (Sunday of the Last Judgment/Meatfare Sunday): Matins begin at 8:50 AM, followed by the Divine Liturgy at 10:00 AM.
  • Wednesday, March 13th: Vespers at 6:30 PM, followed by a Spiritual Discussion.
"Whatever you do, on no account condemn anyone; do not even try to judge whether a person is good or bad, but keep your eyes on that one evil person for whom you must give an account before God–yourself."        +Saint Ignatius (Brianchaninov)
 
With love in Christ,
Fr. Peter
Sunday, March 3, 2024

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Beloved in Christ,

The Parable of the Prodigal Son in the gospel reading for this coming Sunday (Luke 15:11-32), provides us with an example of how to get over our pride and repent of even the most shameful acts. In the parable, the youngest son had given his father the ultimate insult by asking for his inheritance, which was basically to tell him that he was tired of waiting for him to die. The father apparently meant nothing to his son other than as a source of cash that he could use to fund what would become a sinful lifestyle. As the money was wasted away, the son found himself in despair. He realized the only hope he had was his father and at best his father would take him back as one of his hired servants. The son returned home, acknowledged and repented of his wasteful behavior, seeking mercy from his father. What happened next is the crux of the parable.

The father showed the son his love. He embraced him. He was not simply forgiving someone who had rejected and insulted him. No, he was celebrating a resurrection: “for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.” (Luke 15:24) When we return to God, He receives us no matter what we have done, thought or said in our lives.

As we prepare for Great Lent, we must be mindful of the lesson this parable teaches, that when we come to our senses and recognize our sins, turn away from them, God joyfully receives us - which is depicted in the above icon of the Prodigal Son. 

NOTES:

1) Attached to this email is The Weekly Bulletin and Metropolitan Saba's Weekly Teaching. Please take some time to read through both.

2) Catechism Classes begin this Tuesday, March 5th, from 7:00 to 8:00 PM, in the Conference Room. Catechumens, Inquirers and anyone interested in learning more about the Orthodox Christian Faith are encouraged to attend.

3) Join us in prayer this week at Saint Mary's:

  • Saturday, March 2nd: Great Vespers Service at 6:30 PM.
  • Sunday, March 3rd - Sunday of the Prodigal Son: Matins begin at 8:50 AM, followed by the Divine Liturgy at 10:00 AM. The 'Children's Sermon' will be offered prior to Communion.
  • Wednesday, March 6th: Vespers Service at 6:30 PM, followed by a Spiritual Discussion.

"Bring forth the best robe and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: for this is My son who was dead, and is alive again; and he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.’ (Luke 15:22-24) And this is taking place for each and every one of us, and for the sake of every sinner who repents."                +Saint Justin Popovich 

Sunday, February 25, 2024

files/Bulletin-February-25-2024.pdf (19218kb)

files/A-New-Pharisaism.pdf (146kb)

Beloved in Christ,

Over the period of the next nine Sunday's, we will hear a most beautiful hymn during the Matins Service. Entitled 'Open to Me the Doors of Repentance' is taken from the Lenten Triodion, which orders our daily prayers and discipline from the Sunday of the Pharisee and Publican through Holy Week. This particular hymn strikes at the heart of what the weeks prior to the start of, and the time of Great Lent is meant to be for us.

"Open to me the doors of repentance, O Life-giver; for my soul goes early to the temple of Thy holiness, coming in the temple of my body, wholly polluted. But because Thou art compassionate, purify me by the compassion of Thy mercies.

Prepare for me the way of salvation, O Theotokos; for I have profaned myself with coarse sins, and consumed my whole life with procrastination. But by thine intercessions purify thou me from all abomination.

If I think upon the multitude of my evil deeds, wretch that I am, I tremble for the terrible Day of Judgment. But, trusting the compassion of Thy mercy, I shout to Thee like David, Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy Great Mercy."

When we realize that we are not perfect; When we realize that we have separated ourselves from God by our sinful words, deeds and thoughts; When we seek His mercy and compassion to achieve our desire of the Kingdom of God; When we come with humility, contrition and in sincere repentance, His response will be “loving-kindness and mercy.”

Come with humility and repentance to the Lord and He will open the gates of loving-kindness and mercy to us!

 

NOTES:

1) Attached to this email is The Weekly Bulletin and Metropolitan Saba's teaching. Please take a few minutes to read through them.

2) Last Sunday, we began printing a weekly bulletin for children entitled 'The Children's Word.' Copies are available each Sunday in the Church Narthex.

3) This Saturday is our annual Hafli. If you have not done so already, please reserve your tickets by contacting Nabil Aboukhaled or Jane Pasley.

4) Join us in prayer at Saint Mary's this coming week:

  • Saturday, February 24th: Great Vespers Service at 6:30 PM.
  • Sunday, February 25th (Sunday of the Pharisee and Publican): Matins begin at 8:50 AM, followed by the Divine Liturgy at 10:00 AM. Sunday School Classes are held immediately following Communion.
  • Wednesday, February 28th: Vespers Service at 6:30 PM. The weekly Spiritual Discussion follows.

“Let your prayer be completely simple. For both the publican and the prodigal son were reconciled to God by a single phrase.”  +Saint John Climacus

With love in Christ,

Fr. Peter

Sunday, February 18, 2024

files/Bulletin-February-18-2024.pdf (20038kb)

files/Metropolitan-Boulos-Bandali.pdf (160kb)

Beloved in Christ,

Lord, have mercy. These three words effortlessly roll off our tongue everytime we gather to celebrate the Divine Services of the Church. But do we spend any time reflecting on the words “Lord, have mercy?" Each time we pray "Lord, have mercy," three things happen simultaneously.

First, it indicates a relationship with the Lord. He is the Lord. We are His children, servants and followers, therefore there is an implied reliance on Him as well as obedience to Him. Secondly, “Lord, have mercy” is an admission that we are in need of His help. This Sunday's gospel lesson, Matthew (15:21-28), a Canaanite Woman, begged Jesus Christ to "have mercy" because her daughter was possessed by a demon. Because of her persistence in begging Christ for His help and most importantly her faith, her daughter was made well. When we cry to God for mercy, we are asking for Him to spare us things we deserve, as well as to help us through things such as sickness or misfortune. Third, our prayer “Lord, have mercy,” ultimately shows a faith in the presence of God in our life. That our faith is placed not in ourselves but in the Lord. 

This prayer “Lord have mercy” needs to be foundational in our lives. This is our basic prayer, in fact it is the only prayer that we need. With this prayer, Jesus Christ comes to us.

NOTES:

  1. Attached to this week's email is The Weekly Bulletin and Metropolitan Saba's Weekly Teaching. Please take a few minutes to read through both.
  2. Time is running out to get your tickets for our annual Hafli. Please see the information in the bulletin for details on how to obtain tickets.
  3. This coming Sunday, February 18th, all of our parents with children under 18 years of age are asked to remain in church following the Divine Liturgy for a brief meeting. 
  4. Our Men will be hosting their annual 'Omelet Sunday' during Coffee Hour. All proceeds will go towards the Antiochian Village Camp Scholarship Fund for our children.
  5. Make time to join us in prayer this coming week:
  • Saturday, February 17th - Great Vespers Service at 6:30 PM.
  • Sunday, February 18th - Matins Service at 8:50 AM, followed by the Divine Liturgy at 10:00 AM.
  • Wednesday, February 21st - Vespers at 6:30 PM, followed by a Spiritual Discussion on 'A Christian Ending to our Life.'

"... I run to You O Master, for You love mankind…and I rush to accomplish your work.  Help me at all times and in all things.  Deliver me from every evil thing of this world and from the works of the devil.  Save me and lead me into Your eternal Kingdom!  You are my Maker, the Provider, and the Giver of every good.  All my hope is in You, and I glorify You, now and ever and unto ages of ages amen.  +Saint Macarius the Great

With love in Christ,

Fr. Peter

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.