Brothers and Sisters,
Greetings in the Name of the Lord.
In three weeks, we will arrive at Holy Week, so it’s time to take stock: Have we made our confession? Are we reading Laughing at the Devil? Have we contributed to the Pascha Flower Fund? Do we know which services we are going to attend during Holy Week? Are we current on our giving? Having all that complete and in place will make our celebration of Pascha that much more meaningful.
The Fast continues. During the Fast we abstain from meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, fish, wine, and olive oil Monday through Friday, with katalysis (a blessing) for wine and olive oil on Saturday and Sunday. If you need to modify the fast in any way, please check with your spiritual father.
Monday, April 1-Friday, April 5
(But please be aware that there will be no daily vespers on Wednesday, April 3, due to the Pre-Sanctified Liturgy. Also don’t forget that since life in our parish community can be pretty busy, sometimes the starting times for the daily services has to be shifted. So, if you know ahead of time that you will be attending a particular service, it’s always a good idea to send Father Aidan a note to confirm when the service will actually begin.)
Monday, April 1
Great Compline 7p
Wednesday, April 3
Pre-Sanctified Liturgy 7pm
Friday, April 5
Akathist to the Mother of God 7pm
Thursday, April 4
Choir Practice 7pm
Saturday, April 6
St Thomas School 4pm John Bell will lead the discussion on Chapter 5 Vestments of the Clergy
Great Vespers 6pm
Sunday, March 31
4th Sunday of Great Lent
Church School 8:15am
Divine Liturgy 10am
Fellowship Hour Noon
This Week at St Thomas School
If you are interested in fashion and liturgy, know something about either or know nothing about it at all, then come and join us this Saturday evening at 4:00 p.m.
Metropolitan Hilarion explains, “The apostolic Church did not have special vestments for sacred serving everyday clothing came to be treated as sacred.” How do objects come to be treated as sacred?
In this chapter, he continues with this kind of question and he discusses the origins of liturgical vestments that became sacred in the Greek and Russian traditions. That may be easy enough to understand. But why would it be inappropriate for the Orthodox today to change their liturgical vestments to everyday clothing in the spirit of the early Church or as other Christian communities do? It is important to know that sacred significance and symbolism of liturgical vestments took root in the early centuries of the Church.
In the East, we see the phelonion and omophorion become more widespread in liturgy and in icons and mosaics of the saints more than in the West. Although Russian liturgical vestments have a lot of influence from the Byzantine tradition, there were developments – like the sable mitre-caps for patriarchs – that were specifically Russian in adaptation to culture and climate.
Metropolitan Hilarion discusses these main vestments in more detail: sticharion, orarion, epitrachelion, omophorion, sakkos, turban/mitre, and staff as well as a section about the color scheme of vestments.
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.
The Pascha Book Study begins on Wednesday, May 1; the book we are using is called Laughing at the Devil; it’s by Laura Hall, and a few additional copies are still available at Christ the Lightgiver Bookstore. The book is part memoir and part commentary on the very first book ever written in English by a woman about the spiritual life (that book The Revelations of Divine Love is also available in an inexpensive edition at Christ the Lightgiver). That woman is Julian of Norwich, and Laura Hall, who is a Protestant, does a very good job of connecting Julian’s insights with contemporary issues. Here is the remainder of the schedule that we will follow as we read through Dr Hall’s book together:
The Week of April 1 Blood pgs 61-80
The Week of April 8 Bodies and The Postscript pgs 81-112
The archdiocese calls on each of us to make our confession before Pascha. In our parish, confession is offered on Saturday evenings after Great Vespers or any other time with a specific appointment. However, we do not offer the Holy Mystery of Confession after Holy Week begins on Lazarus Saturday. This year, Lazarus Saturday is April 20, so that means we all have three Saturdays left in which to make our confession. If Saturdays are difficult or impossible, you can always email Father Aidan and make an appointment for another day and time, but we need to get all that done as soon as possible because Holy Week will be here before we know it.
Please go ahead and check the website calendar and start planning which services you will be attending during Holy Week. 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.
The annual Parish Life Conference is always an enjoyable time of fellowship and learning and worship, and, this year, the conference is being held at The Westin Hotel at DFW Airport, June 19-22. That’s within easy driving distance, and the website for the 2019 DOWAMA PLC is now live. You can go to www.dowamaplc.org to access registration for the PLC as well as secure hotel rooms.
Our Moment of Grace and Courtesy
Holy Week begins in three weeks, so it’s time to start reviewing our Pascha Moments of Grace and Courtesy. Here’s the fourth one:
Please do not bring food that requires cooking or warming up or extensive preparation; there simply isn't room for that in our kitchen. Also, if you bring food that requires refrigeration, you also need to bring an ice chest; there simply isn't room in our refrigerator.
I’m praying that this fourth week of the Fast will be filled with peace and mercy for each of us and all those that we love.
An unworthy priest,