Week of July 1

Brothers and Sisters,

Greetings in the Name of the Lord.

This coming Saturday, July 7, we begin the next unit at St Thomas Catechetical School. We will also be starting Volume IV of our curriculum: Worship and Liturgical Life of the Orthodox Church. This would be a great time to start a new good habit by these Saturday classes and Great Vespers on a regular basis.

Our Calendar

Fasting Days

Wednesday, July 3, and Friday, July 5

Daily Services

Monday, July 1-Friday July 5

  • Orthros 5am

  • Vespers 5pm

(There will not be any daily services on July 4th; 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.)

Saturday, July 6

  • St Thomas School 4pm De Anne Maisano will lead the discussion on Part I, Vol IV, Certain Features of Worship in the Orthodox Church

  • Great Vespers 6pm

Sunday, July 7

Third Sunday of Matthew

  • Orthros 8am

  • Divine Liturgy 10am

  • Fellowship Hour Noon

During Fellowship Hour, Team Cupola, Gabe Martini, Mike Krenek, and Lisa Azares will be cleaning the Long Hall; please be sure and thank them for their hard work—or just pitch in and help them out

This Week at St. Thomas School

Part 1: Certain Features of Worship in the Orthodox Church 

De Anne has background in education and she will present Part 1 to start Volume IV, The Worship and Liturgical Life of the Orthodox Church. There are five main sections to Part 1: 

  1. Worship and Theology 

  2. Liturgical Languages 

  3. Liturgical Ceremonies 

  4. The Church Calendar

  5. Liturgical Cycles and Liturgical Books

There are three types of calendars used for calculating when to observe feast days, weekly fasting, and other liturgical cycles that are used in Orthodox Churches: Gregorian, Julian, and the revised Julian calendar. What do Orthodox Christians do throughout the year? Liturgical cycles run daily, weekly, annually fixed, and annually movable. Other important books that are used in these cycles include the MenaionOctoechos, and Horologion; these cycles allow us to read through all the Gospels and Psalms weekly and yearly as well as learn about the lives of the saints.   

Each of these smaller sections present us with a similar idea. How do we keep certain features of the old and the new in the Orthodox Church? Metropolitan Hilarion presents us with the idea of a “living Tradition of the Church” that flows from the past into the present. But how is it decided? Should a calendar be updated or kept the same? Should Russian or the inheritance of Old Church Slavonic as a sacred language be kept? The Orthodox Church is experienced in these situations since we've dealt with Arianism and controversies about Pascha before. If some new development causes a schism or a rupture between worship and theology, then it is very likely either a bad idea or not a genuine feature of the Church. 

Another important consideration when we start Volume IV is the nature of worship and theology. It’s interesting that this interaction is called lex orandiand lex credendi (Latin for the law of praying and the law of believing) because it’s an inescapable part of life that our beliefs will follow our worship. Actions reveal our beliefs. He explains that what we believe – like the Creed – flows out of how we pray, and nothing in the divine services hinders us from prayer.

Finance Update

We ended May with a deficit of $400; that brings our surplus on the year to just a little over $10,000. That’s a great place to be at the beginning of the summer, but we need to continue to be consistent in our giving as we move into July and August, so we don’t end up in too much of a summer slide. If you have questions about where you are in your financial commitment to the parish, please do not hesitate to contact our hard-working Money Guy, Nick Crown.

Coming Up

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.

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.

Our Moment of Grace and Courtesy

When you approach the chalice to receive the holy gifts, please get as close to the priest or deacon as you can. The cloth should be well under your chin, and the priest or deacon should not have to extend their arm in order to place the gifts in your mouth; this will help prevent the gifts from being spilled.

I hope to see a whole lot of you at St Thomas School this Saturday as we begin talking about Orthodox worship.

An unworthy priest,