Brothers and Sisters,
Monday, June 24, is our parish feast day, The Nativity of the Forerunner. We served Great Vespers today following a brief Fellowship Hour, and on Monday morning, we will offer Orthros at 4:30am and Divine Liturgy at 6:30am (that is to accommodate my work schedule; thank you for your flexibility). Happy Feast to each and every one of you.
The Apostles’ Fast
This year, the fast is just five days: It runs from Monday, June 24 through Friday June 28. During this Fast we observe the traditional fasting discipline on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, with katalysis for fish, wine and olive oil on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Monday, June 24- Friday, June 28
(But remember the schedule for festal services.)
Monday, June 24 The Nativity of the Forerunner
Divine Liturgy 6:30am
Tuesday, June 25
Parish Council Meeting 7pm
Everyone is welcome to attend the meeting, but if you wish to address the council, you must contact the president, Chris Lewis, ahead of time
Thursday, June 27
Choir Practice 7pm
Saturday, June 29
The Feast of Sts Peter and Paul
Divine Liturgy 9am
St Thomas School 4pm Father Deacon Andrew will be leading the discussion on Chapter 13 Bells and Bell Ringing
Great Vespers 6pm
Sunday, June 30
The Synaxis of the Twelve Apostles
Divine Liturgy 10am
Fellowship Hour Noon
This week, Team Big Hat, Mike Ruse, Clay Stewart, and Vera Poe will be cleaning the Long Hall. Please pitch in and help them out (or at least thank them for their hard work)
This Week at St. Thomas School
Chapter 14: Bells and Bell-Ringing
Deacon Andrew will present our final chapter in Volume III. Bell-ringing was a liturgical custom that came from the West through Italian and German bell craftsmen. It was a positive one and so much so that Russians liked to name their bells personally. The bells also were held in reverence. They even had their own formula for blessing found in the Great Book of Needs that are rooted in the Psalms. After a bell was blessed, it took on a personality and sacred role of not only reminding people to pray and worship – much as a deacon would do – but also to help protect the church and people from destructive natural elements.
Are bells only a Western invention or early Christian development? There is a parallel between the signal of trumpets that were used in the Old Testament and Christian bell-ringing (Joshua 6:10-19). Both were used for liturgical services. Bell-ringing became an artform in early Rus’ Christianity, and later Russian bell-ringing became well-known to other nations. It was an inseparable part of Russian Orthodox expression of faith. In the Russian language there are ways to discern the various timbres heard: zvonkoe/clear, glukhoe/hollow, rezkoe/sharp, and miagkoe/soft. Church bells are really like persons because each one has its unique “overtones” that are not repeated in the same way as other bells, and they are recognizable as individuals based these timbres.
Part 3 on Church Music has been sectioned into Liturgical Singing and Bell-Ringing. Part 2 has covered Iconography and Part 1 contained Church Architecture and Liturgical Vestments. There has been an underpinning from the Old Testament in all these parts. From the New Testament onward there was sacred development as early Christians from different ethnicities and lands converted and learned from previous Hellenic or Hebrew Christians.
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.
The summer months are also the time when most of us tend to slide just a bit on our giving. We travel; school’s out; we’re on a different schedule, and we just forget to keep up with our commitment. However, our parish expenses are on-going (for example, just this past month, we had to repair some damage to our irrigation system, and the bill was close to a thousand dollars). So let’s avoid all that catch-up in the fall, and let’s stay current with our gifts throughout the summer.
Our Moment of Grace and Courtesy
If you wish to receive communion during the Divine Liturgy, please remember that you must arrive no later than the gospel reading. Children who arrive late may come forward and receive the gifts; adults who arrive later than the gospel lesson must wait until the following week.
This coming Saturday, we will be celebrating the Feast of our Patriarchate, the Great City of God Antioch and of all the East, when we offer the services for Sts Peter and Paul. We will start Orthros at 7am and Divine Liturgy at 9am. This is a great time to pray, not only for our brothers and sisters in Syria, but also for all of those that we know and love who are not yet part of the Church.
An unworthy priest,