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.
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.
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.
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
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!
- Attached to this email are the following:
- a) The Weekly Bulletin. Please take a few minutes to read through it.
- 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.
- 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!
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."
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
> 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.