Brothers and Sisters,
Greetings in the Name of the Lord.
This coming Sunday, March 31, is not only the mid-point in the 40 days of Great Lent, it is also the Sunday of the Cross, and it is the fifth Sunday of the month—which, if your Fellowship Hour schedule runs on a four Sunday rotation, like ours, is a problem. But not to worry! We’ve got this: What we’re going to do is have a potluck. That’s right! This Sunday, we are all going to bring fasting food to share. If you have questions about how that’s going to work or exactly what to bring contact our hard-working Fellowship Hour Coordinator, Misty Wright, and plan on joining us for our Fifth Sunday Potluck.
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 25-Friday, March 29
(But notice the festal services and please be aware that 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 25
Great Compline 7p
Wednesday, March 27
Pre-Sanctified Liturgy 7pm
Friday, March 29
Akathist to the Mother of God 7pm
Monday, March 25
The Feast of the Annunciation
Divine Liturgy 7am
Tuesday, March 26
Monthly Parish Council Meeting 7pm
Everyone is welcome to attend, but if you wish to address the council then you need to contact our council president, Chris Lewis, ahead of time
Saturday, March 30
Saturday of Souls
Divine Liturgy 9am
St Thomas School 4pm Rebekah Galloway will be leading the discussion on Chapter 4, The Arrangement of Churches and Church Objects
Great Vespers 6pm
Sunday, March 31
The Sunday of the Cross
Divine Liturgy 10am
Fellowship Hour and Fifth Sunday Potluck Noon
This Week at St Thomas School
Join us this Saturday March 23 for Chapter 4, and learn more about what makes us so Orthodox when we use liturgical objects and how we arrange space for worship. Each thing and place has a purpose because we are not keeping up antiques.
It would be good to be able to point out that some form of seating, the cathedra, lighting candles, the nave and the narthex were church objects and arrangements we use today as earlier Christians did in ancient times.
Although there are some exceptions like “electric-lightening” candles, air-conditioning, indoor-plumbing, and electricity itself, we seem to worship in much the same way as our ancestors did in the Church. In this Chapter 4, there are a lot of new or familiar vocabulary surrounding liturgical services; and learning those terms will help us become more aware of the significance and history of the things we use, touch, walk or stand by and sit on when we worship.
Metropolitan Hilarion also helps contrast some distinctions within Orthodox traditions – primarily Greek and Russian – so that we can appreciate some of the differences we have. For instance, some liturgical objects such as eagle rugs and royal gates have imperial origins in Constantinople, while every Orthodox tradition will use a chalice or “drinking vessel” (poterion in Greek) for communion.
Thanks to the faithfulness of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and thanks to your on-going generosity, we ended January with a surplus of $5,600. We ended February with a deficit of $1500, so, for the year thus far, we have a surplus of $4,000. That’s a good position to be in, but Great Lent is also a great time to increase our giving: that way, we can help those folks who aren’t able to give as much as they anticipated, and we can keep our budget in good shape as we head into the leaner months of late spring and summer.
The Pascha Book Study is now only three weeks 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 two of those Saturdays; however, the same services will also be offered for the last time during this season this coming Saturday, March 30th. On that 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 four Saturdays left 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
Holy Week begins in three weeks, so it’s time to start reviewing our Pascha Moments of Grace and Courtesy. Here’s the third one:
Please remember to bring extra food for the Paschal Feast early Sunday morning. Godparents, if this is your godchild's first Pascha, please teach them about the feast and encourage them to bring food and join in. If you have friends who have been visiting the parish but aren't yet catechumens, please let them know about the feast so they can participate.
I hope to see many of you this coming Saturday at the final Lenten Saturday of Souls.
An unworthy priest,