Brothers and Sisters,
Greetings in the Name of the Lord.
This coming weekend, we will wrap up the Nativity/Theophany Festal Season with the Feast of the Presentation of our Lord and Master in the Temple. On Friday, February 1, we will serve Great Vespers at 7pm, and on Saturday, February 2, we will offer Orthros at 7am and Divine Liturgy at 9am. Please join us as we finish up these forty festal days.
Wednesday, January 30, and Friday, February 1
Monday, January 28-Friday, February 1
(But check the calendar for the festal services. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm when the service will actually begin.)
Friday, February 1
Great Vespers for the Feast of the Presentation 7pm
Saturday, February 2
The Feast of the Presentation
Divine Liturgy 9am
St Thomas School 4pm Matt Groh will lead the discussion on Chapter 29 The Universal Resurrection
Great Vespers 6pm
Sunday, February 3
Sixteenth Sunday of St. Matthew
Church School 8:15am
Between Orthros and the Divine Liturgy, we will be making a number of folks catechumens; please arrive early and join with us in this service
Divine Liturgy 10am
Fellowship Hour Noon
This Week at St Thomas School
Chapter 29: The Universal Resurrection
The dogma of the universal resurrection is “difficult for rational comprehension,” but it requires for us a different kind of comprehension.
Metropolitan Hilarion starts with how apostolic teaching differs from ancient philosophy. Essentially, if there is no resurrection of the dead with the same body and soul 1) our faith is empty of power and hope 2) there seems to be no major difference between Christians and Plato or Pythagoreas, Kant or Nietzsche. We will be discussing what exactly this all means and how it is related to the resurrection of Christ. We will also contrast this with other ideas, such as reincarnation and modern naturalism.
The Prophets of Israel and the Old Testament give witness to belief in the resurrection of the dead as well as in the Gospels. There is also discussion in more detail about exactly how the body returns to the soul and the soul to the body, and especially important is that all are resurrected whether for paradise or punishment. Other dogmas and teachings that connect to this topic are: baptism, eschatology, creation of the cosmos, the second coming, and the final judgment. In practice, “the dogma of the resurrection of the dead has a deep spiritual-moral significance. From the view of many Fathers of the Church, this dogma reveals that eschatological perspective in the light of which Christian moral law acquired meaning.”
The hope is that this study will help us to understand how the universal resurrection expresses God's fathomless love for us and His respect for each human person. This chapter should also serve as a nice preparation for the following week's discussion on the Last Judgment. Please join us!
Oil and Wine
While not everyone has the time and energy to bake prosphora, we can all help out with the Divine Services by donating oil or wine. The oil is used for the lamps in the nave and in the altar. Extra Virgin Olive Oil does not burn well, so please do not buy that kind. Also, the oil is easier to get into the lamps if it is in smaller bottles; so even though it’s more economical to buy very large containers of oil, for our purposes, it’s better to purchase several smaller bottles. The wine that we use is Mavrodaphne Patras; it is a red sweet wine. When you bring the wine and oil that you have purchased, you can leave it with the ushers or the older altar servers, but please be sure and include a list of folks for whom you would like us to pray, and we will be sure and to that each time we use the items that you have donated.
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.
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, and which of the Saturdays of Souls we will be attending. During Great Lent, we will also be reading a short book together in preparation for the Pascha Book Study; the book is called Laughing at the Devil; it’s by Laura Hall, and it is now on sale at Christ the Lightgiver Bookstore.
Once again, this year, The Order of St Ignatius has given our parish (and all others in the archdiocese) $700 to be distributed between no more than seven children or young people for scholarships to Camp St Raphael. If your child or young person would like to go to camp this summer, and you would like to take advantage of that scholarship money, the first thing you need to do is register for Camp St Raphael, and the second thing you need to do is notify our priest no later than Sunday, February 17. Each year, we divide up the money on a first come, first serve basis, so please don’t delay with either your registration or your notification.
Thanks to your generosity and thanks to the grace and mercy of the Most Holy Trinity, we ended 2018 with a substantial surplus. However, we’re not going to publish that number just right now because some of that surplus includes donations that need to be credited to 2019, and we don’t want to give you an unrealistic sense of how well things are going. Nevertheless, things really are going well, and we will have all those figures for you at the Annual Community Meeting on Sunday, February 11. So, as we head even further into this New Year, let’s continue to be faithful in our giving.
Our Moment of Grace and Courtesy
There are any number of reasons why people find themselves in the narthex and kitchen during liturgy. Some people have children that they need to calm; some people have coffee hour responsibilities; some people have social phobias; some people get tired. However, if you do end up in the narthex and kitchen during liturgy, we ask that you continue to participate in the service by remaining as quiet as possible. You can listen to the service over the sound system in those areas, so, even if you can't be in the nave you can still help us all maintain our focus during the liturgy.
I’m looking forward to celebrating the Feast of the Presentation with each of you.
An unworthy priest,