The book that we will be using for the Fall Theological Seminar is now available. It’s called The 21: A Journey into the Land of the Coptic Martyrs. It’s an international best-seller by a German journalist named Martin Mosbach, and it’s about the 21 Egyptians who were martyred in Libya in 2015 by Islamic State terrorists.
Our next Open House Weekend will be on Saturday, October 19, and Sunday, October 20. Our speaker at St Thomas School on October 19 will be Dr. Mark Cherry; Mark is a member of St. Elias and a professor of philosophy and ethics at St. Edwards University. He will be talking at 4pm about the intersection of faith and politics, which is sure to be of interest to lots and lots of folks. Join us for his talk or for one of the services throughout that weekend.
Our sister parish in Dripping Springs, St Sophia, will celebrate their patronal feast on Monday, September 16th, and Tuesday, September 17. They will honor the Holy Martyr Sophia and her children with Great Vespers on Monday at 6:30pm, and, on Tuesday, with Orthros at 9am and Divine Liturgy at 10am. Refreshments will be provided on Monday evening, and lunch will be serve on Tuesday
On Sunday, September 15, we will host our first Community Meal of the New Church Year during Fellowship Hour. In addition to eating together in the nave, this is also the time when we put together our Quarterly Liturgy Prayer List, so you won’t want to miss out on this important time of fellowship and intercession.
On Saturday, September 14, we will celebrate the Feast of the Elevation of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross. We will serve Great Vespers on Friday evening at 7pm, and, on Saturday morning, we will offer Orthros at 7am and Divine Liturgy at 9am. Please plan on joining us for this beautiful celebration.
The season winds up with the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos on Thursday, August 15. We will offer Great Vespers with the Lamentations for the Mother of God on Wednesday, August 14, at 7pm, and then, on Thursday, we will serve Orthros at 7am and Divine Liturgy at 9am.
The Dormition Fast begins on Thursday, August 1, and it will run through Wednesday, August 14. During this Fast we observe the traditional fasting discipline Monday through Friday, with a blessing for fish, wine and olive oil on Saturdays and Sundays. The Paraklesis to the Most Holy Theotokos is served each week day evening during this Fast; that means there will be eight opportunities for us to participate in this beautiful service.
Summer and early fall is the parish festal season here in Central Texas. We always have the honor of kicking that season off in June, but, in July, our Mother Parish, St Elias, will celebrate their feast day. They will serve Great Vespers on Friday, July 19, at 6pm, and on Saturday morning, July 20, they will offer Orthros at 9am and Divine Liturgy at 10am. Let’s be sure to support our brothers and sisters downtown.
As we have not quite completed the projects scheduled for our previous workday, we are inviting everyone to come out and help complete the tasks on Wednesday, July 10. Please plan to bring your wheelbarrows, shovels, weeding tools, and buckets to vespers beginning at 5:00 p.m. Immediately following vespers, a light meal will be provided (approximately 5:45), then we will be weeding the playground area and the flowerbeds in front of the Parish, and spreading the pile of mulch as needed that is on the east side rear parking area. With many hands helping, we should complete the project with daylight to spare.
On the final Saturday in June, we will celebrate the Patronal Feast of our Patriarchate, the Feast of Sts Peter and Paul. We will offer Great Vespers at 7pm on Friday, June 28, and, on Saturday morning, we will celebrate Orthros at 7am and Divine Liturgy at 9am. This is a great opportunity to intercede for those who are not yet part of the Church and for those who have fallen away from the Church, so plan on joining us during the festal services.
The Apostles’ Fast begins on the second Monday after Pentecost, and it runs through the Feast of Sts Peter and Paul. This year, that means the fast will only last five days—Monday, June 24, through Friday, June 28—but those five days will be an important time for us to fast on behalf of those who are not yet part of the Church or who have fallen away from the Church. So please plan your menus accordingly.
This year our parish feast day, The Nativity of the Forerunner, falls on Monday, June 24. So, we will serve Great Vespers on Sunday, June 23, following a brief Fellowship Hour (we’ll start no later than 1pm). On the day of the feast, we will offer Orthros at 4:30 and Divine Liturgy at 6:30am (that’s because of Father Aidan’s work schedule). Even though the times are a bit wonky, we hope that many of you will make an effort to join us.
During the first week of June, we will celebrate the Feast of the Ascension. We will serve Great Vespers on Wednesday, June 5, the eve of the feast, at 7pm, and then on Thursday, June 6, the day of the feast, we will serve Orthros at 5am and Divine Liturgy at 7am. Please plan on joining us as we wrap up the Paschal Season with this beautiful celebration.
There are 23 services during the eight days between Lazarus Saturday and the afternoon of Pascha, and each of those services is designed to bring us as close as possible to the Most Holy Trinity, and the best way to take advantage of those opportunities is to figure out ahead of time which services we will be attending during those eight holy days.
If you have attended one of the Saturday of Souls, then you know that we are all being encouraged to prepare for our departure from this life. To assist with that work, this coming Sunday, April 7, during Fellowship Hour, we will have two presentations over in the parish house. A representative from Beck Funeral Home, Philip Gunter, will be with us to talk about funeral arrangements; Beck is one of the few independent funeral homes in the area, and they also administer the Cedar Park Cemetery just down the road from our parish. The other presentation will be made by our very own David Brown; David is an attorney who does lots and lots of work for our parish, and he will be providing us with information about wills. So, there will be two important presentations during Fellowship Hour this coming Sunday; please plan on joining us.
This coming Sunday, March 31, is not only the mid-point in the 40 days of Great Lent, it is also the Sunday of the Cross, and it is the fifth Sunday of the month—which, if your Fellowship Hour schedule runs on a four Sunday rotation, like ours, is a problem. But not to worry! We’ve got this: What we’re going to do is have a potluck. That’s right! This Sunday, we are all going to bring fasting food to share. If you have questions about how that’s going to work or exactly what to bring contact our hard-working Fellowship Hour Coordinator, Misty Wright and plan on joining us for our Fifth Sunday Potluck.
There are three Saturdays of Souls each year during the Triodion and Great Lent. We have already observed two of those Saturdays; however, the same services will also be offered for the last time during this season this coming Saturday, March 30th. On that day, we offer Orthros at 7am and Divine Liturgy at 9am, and we pray for our departed family members and friends. We should all be able to make the services on at least one of those days, and those of us with children and grandchildren and godchildren need to make sure that those folks are present with us so that they will know how to remember us when we have departed this life.
Saturday, March 23, is the second Saturday of Souls for the year. If you have not yet participated in one of those services, please remember that the departed need your prayers, and your friends and family need to learn how to pray for you after you have departed this life. So plan on joining us for Orthros at 7am and Divine Liturgy at 9am
This year for St. Patrick's Day we will be hosting the Celtic Games at St. John's in Cedar Park directly after the Liturgy! So come with your kilt or a pair of jeans and t-shirt to change into an get ready to throw heavy objects for sport. The games will include a modified "Caber Toss" (half the size of a normal Caber), "Stone Throw" (a combo of golf and hammer throw), Snake Toss (obviously with rubber snakes) and this year we will also be playing a new game Joe has named "King of the Maze" which involves friendly pushing, shoving, and pulling to take over your opponents territory before he/she does.
Great Lent will begin in just a week, on Monday, March 11, and on this coming Sunday, March 10, we will offer Forgiveness Vespers no later than 1pm. Forgiveness Vespers is one of the most important services of the year, and it’s the very best way to begin the Forty Day Fast.
The Triodion, the three week period of preparation leading up to Great Lent, will begin on Sunday, February 17. That means it’s time to start thinking about how we are going to fast, when we will make our confession, how often we will participate in the weekday Lenten services (most weeks, there are services on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evenings), and which of the Saturdays of Souls we will be attending.
Our 2019 Annual Community Meeting will be on Sunday, February 10, during Fellowship Hour. During that meeting, we will briefly review all the reports from the parish council, and we will elect two new members for the council. See the emailed The Happy Priest newsletter for all the reports which will be used at the meeting, and please read those ahead of time. If you have any questions, check with our parish council president, Chris Lewis. Remember, to vote in the council elections, you will need to have filled out a 2019 Commitment Card, so, if you overlooked that important item, check with Nick Crown, the head of our Finance Committee.
We will wrap up this lovely festal season with The Feast of the Presentation of our Lord and Master in the Temple at Jerusalem. The day before the feast, Friday, February 1, we will serve Great Vespers at 7pm, and, on Saturday, February 2, the morning of the feast, we will offer Orthros at 7am and Divine Liturgy at 9am. Plan on joining us as we finish up these forty days of feasting.
It's time to start planning for the 2019 Rally for Life. This year’s event will be held on Saturday, January 26. We will meet at the south gate of the state capitol building at 12:30pm, and we will sing hymns until all the marchers make it on to the grounds of the capitol. Our goal is to pray while others are shouting and to sing while others yelling and to enjoy being together on what is usually a lovely afternoon. However, if that sort of thing is beyond your physical endurance, or if you just don’t like being out in the public, this year, our mother parish, St Elias, will be offering the Service for the Victims of Abortion at 7pm on Friday evening, January 25. So, when it comes to the #1 most important cultural issue of our times, there are now opportunities for all of us to get involved.