Week of March 11

Brothers and Sisters,

Greetings in the Name of the Lord.

This week is going to be a busy one:  Not only are we starting Great Lent, but, this coming weekend, we are also going to host our first Open House Weekend of the year. So, read through this week’s newsletter carefully, and plan on joining in—and inviting others, as well—throughout the next seven days.

Our Calendar

Fasting Days

The Fast begins on Monday, March 11. During the first week of the Fast (known as Pure Week or Clean Week) it is traditional to keep a total fast until after the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts on Wednesday, but those who intend to do a total fast should check first with their physician and their spiritual father. During the rest of 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.

Daily Services

Monday, March 4-Friday, March 8

  • Orthros 8am

  • Vespers 5pm

(There will be no daily vespers on Wednesday 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 at fraidan@austin.rr.com to confirm when the service will actually begin.)

Lenten Services

Monday, March 11

Clean Monday

  • Great Compline with Canon of St Andrew 7pm

Tuesday, March 12

Clean Tuesday

  • Great Compline with Canon of St Andrew 7pm

Wednesday, March 13

  • Pre-Sanctified Liturgy 7pm

Thursday, March 14

  • Great Compline with Canon of St Andrew 7pm

Friday, March 15

  • Akathist to the Mother of God 7pm

Our Open House Weekend

Remember, the idea is that, in addition to inviting our friends and family members and neighbors and co-workers to join us at some point during the weekend, we will all show up at each of the services and every one of the events on Saturday and Sunday. That way, folks will see us at our best, and we will make a good impression on our visitors. So, here’s the rundown of services and events:

Saturday, March 16

  • St Thomas School 4pm

  • Great Vespers 6pm

Sunday, March 17

Sunday of Orthodoxy

  • Orthros 8am

  • Church School 8:15am (if you are planning to invite a family to Church School, please let Lindsey Bell know ahead of time so the teachers can be prepared)

  • Divine Liturgy 10am (we will have the Annual Icon Procession at the conclusion of the liturgy, so, if you are inviting a guest, please bring an icon that they can carry)

  • Fellowship Hour and Celtic Games Noon

This Week at St Thomas School

Since Sunday is St Patrick’s Day, this week at St Thomas School, Father Aidan will be talking about the great Apostle to the Irish. We’re calling the presentation “Fire Upon the Earth: The Legacy of St Patrick for Today”, but it will not only be a time of learned discussion about important spiritual and cultural issues; it will also be a lot of fun because we will be talking about things like Druids and super-hero saints, and the efficacy of standing all night on acorns.

Coming Up

This week we are also beginning our preparations for the Pascha Book Study; the book we are using is called Laughing at the Devil; it’s by Laura Hall, and additional copies are now 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 schedule that we will follow as we read through Dr Hall’s book together:

  • The Week of March 11 Introduction pgs 1-18

  • The Week of March 18 Time pgs 19-40

  • The Week of March 25 Truth pgs 41-60

  • The Week of April 1 Blood pgs 61-80

  • The Week of April 8 Bodies and The Postscript pgs 81-112

That will take us right up to Holy Week, and then we will be ready to get together starting on Bright Wednesday, May 1, and talk about everything that we’ve read.

There are three Saturdays of Souls each year during the Triodion and Great Lent. We have already observed one of those Saturdays; however, the same services will also be offered on March 23 and 30th. On those days, 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.

The 2019 Parish Life Conference

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

Easter will be here before we know it, so it’s time to start reviewing our Pascha Moments of Grace and Courtesy. Here’s the first one:

During the Paschal Services on Saturday night/Sunday morning, if young children need to sleep, then they must be A) in the parish house with a family member or friend, or B) held in the arms or on the lap of a family member in the nave. Please do not, under any circumstances, allow your children to sleep on the floor of the nave, the narthex, the cry room, or the kitchen. This is not safe, and our ushers have been instructed to remind parents and grandparents that children are not allowed to sleep in these locations. Also, please remember that if your children are going to sleep in the parish house, there must be a family member with them at all times; they are not to be left alone for any reason.

Check out the blog for a column that will appear in this week’s Hill Country News: St. Patrick.

I’m looking forward to praying with you this week. I’m also looking forward to meeting the folks that you will bring with you to the services.

An unworthy priest,