Brothers and Sisters,
Greetings in the Name of the Lord.
This coming Saturday, March 23, is the second Saturday of Souls for the year. If you have not yet participated in one of those services, please remember that the departed need your prayers, and your friends and family need to learn how to pray for you after you have departed this life. So plan on joining us for Orthros at 7am and Divine Liturgy at 9am
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. There is also a blessing for fish, wine, and oil on March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation. If you need to modify the fast in any way, please check with your spiritual father.
Monday, March 18-Friday, March 22
(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 firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm when the service will actually begin.)
Monday, March 18
Great Compline 7p
Wednesday, March 20
Pre-Sanctified Liturgy 7pm
Friday, March 22
Akathist to the Mother of God 7pm
Thursday, March 21
Choir Practice 7pm
Saturday, March 23
Saturday of Souls
Divine Liturgy 9am
St Thomas School 4pm Mike Ruse will be leading the discussion on Chapter 3, Russian Church Architecture
Great Vespers 6pm
Sunday, March 24
2nd Sunday of Great Lent
Divine Liturgy 10am
Fellowship Hour Noon
Akathist to the Mother of God, Nurturer of Children Noon
Great Vespers for the Annunciation No later than 1pm
Monday, March 25
The Feast of the Annunciation
Divine Liturgy 7am
This Week at St Thomas School
Come and join us this Saturday evening to learn more about Russian Church Architecture. In Chapter 3, Metropolitan Hilarion offers an overview of many churches and cities built throughout the history of Russia. Often times the building of churches and cities coincided such as The Resurrection Monastery or the New Jerusalem Monastery. Although he doesn’t offer much cultural analysis or interpretation of the churches themselves, he does roughly follow the history of Russia starting in Kiev, Novgorod, Pskov, and Moscow, the last of which became the center of Russian Orthodoxy after the Mongol Invasion. There is an East-West influence to be seen in the beautiful structures of Russian church architecture.
The Pascha Book Study is now just a little over a month away; 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 remainder of the schedule that we will follow as we read through Dr Hall’s book together:
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 this coming Saturday, on March 23, and again on March 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 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 five Saturdays 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.
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
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:
Pre-school children should not be given lighted candles. Battery operated candles are available at craft stores, and that is what pre-school children should use. Parents and grandparents should use their best judgment when it comes to allowing elementary-age children to hold a lighted candle. This is not only a safety issue (hot wax can cause bad burns; hair and clothing can blaze up quickly and unexpectedly); it also takes a great deal of work to remove wax from the carpet. Again, our ushers have been instructed to remind parents that very young children should not be given lighted candles.
Monday, March 25, is the Feast of the Annunciation. On the day of the feast, we will offer Orthros at 5am and Divine Liturgy at 7am, but, this coming Sunday, March 24, we will offer Great Vespers no later than 1pm, after a brief Fellowship Hour.
I’m praying that this third week of the Fast will be a blessing to us all.
An unworthy priest,