Week of January 14

Brothers and Sisters,

Greetings in the Name of the Lord.

Happy Feast!

This coming Saturday, January 19, St Thomas School will be back in session. Check the update in this newsletter to find out what we will be studying, and then join us for this important and enjoyable time of adult education.

Our Calendar

Fasting Days

Wednesday, January 16, and Friday, January 18

Daily Services

Monday, January 14-Friday, January 18

  • Orthros 5am

  • Vespers 5pm

(There will be no daily vespers on Monday, January 14 due to House Blessings. 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 at fraidan@austin.rr.com to confirm when the service will actually begin.)

Thursday, January 17

  • Choir Practice 7pm

Saturday, January 19

  • St Thomas School 4pm Mike Brown will lead the discussion of chapter 27, Death as a Way to eternity

  • Great Vespers with the Jesus Prayer 6pm

Sunday, January 20

Twelfth Sunday of St. Luke

  • Orthros 8am

  • Divine Liturgy 10am

  • Fellowship Hour Noon

This Week at St Thomas School

Part 6 Eschatology

Chapter 27: Death as a Way to Eternity

In the introduction to Part 6 on Eschatology, Metropolitan Hilarion delineates two major approaches to life and death. Those who deny an afterlife, the quantity of life often becomes a preoccupation. Believers in an afterlife, specifically as Christians, the quality of life we lead in righteousness matters more than longevity or the quantity of material or worldly success we have or don’t have.

From that starting point, Chapter 27 explores how the Christian belief in the afterlife changes our understanding of death as a purely negative, fearful event. Other topics to be discussed include what happens to the soul after death, for either the “God-loving” or the unrepentant person, what happens to infants, children, and youth, whether baptized or unbaptized, if they die young.

We may understand death foremost as the punishment from God for our disobedience. But is God seeking retribution? Find out what Metropolitan Hilarion says about that and how God has hidden the plan of our salvation in death.

Coming Up

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.

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.

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. Attached to this edition of The Happy Priest are all the reports which will be used at the meeting, so please read those ahead of time, and, 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.

This year, our candidates for the parish council are Erica Wood, Vera Poe, Demetry Zozulya, and Jerry Juliano. All of these folks have served on the council previously, and you cannot go wrong with any of them. Our constitution also allows for nominations from the floor at the Annual Community Meeting. Each of these people have served on the council before, so you can’t go wrong with any of them. Our constitution also allows for nominations from the floor during the meeting itself; nevertheless, since our constitution also requires that everyone nominated be 1) over 18 years of age 2) a member of our parish for at least 12 months, 3) a regular participant in the Holy Mysteries of Confession and the Eucharist, and 4) a consistent financial contributor to our community, it’s always important to A) check with the person you wish to nominate and B) check with Father Aidan before making the actual nomination during the Annual Meeting. That way, we can avoid any awkward and embarrassing moments.

Our Moment of Grace and Courtesy

When we need to ask the priest a question or give him an update on our health or schedule an appointment, we can do that by email or with a phone call or in a personal conversation. However, we should not try to do any of that when we are receiving the Holy Eucharist or reverencing the Precious and Life-Giving Cross—those are sacred and solemn moments that should not be interrupted with other concerns.

I’m looking forward to seeing you all at St Thomas School this Saturday.

An unworthy priest,