Week of November 12

Brothers and Sisters,

Greetings in the Name of the Lord.

The Nativity Fast begins this coming Thursday (actually, since Wednesday is a fast day, we get a one day jump on the whole effort). Please review the fasting details contained in this newsletter, and, if you need to make any modifications (or if you want a break on Thanksgiving Day) get in touch with your spiritual father as soon as possible.

Our Calendar

Fasting Days

The Nativity Fast begins, officially, on Thursday, November 15 (and unofficially on Wednesday, November 14). This Fast is divided into two periods: The first is November 15th through December 19th when the traditional fasting discipline (no meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, fish, wine, and olive oil) is observed on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, with a blessing for wine and olive oil (some also permit fish) on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and for fish, wine, and olive oil on Saturdays and Sundays. The second is the period of the Forefeast, December 20th through 24th, when the traditional fasting discipline is observed Monday through Friday, with a blessing for wine and olive oil on Saturday and Sunday.

Daily Services

Monday, November 12- Friday, November 16

  • Orthros 5am

  • Vespers 5pm

(Because 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.)

Thursday, November 15

  • Choir Practice and Music Meeting 7pm

Saturday, November 17

  • St Thomas School 4pm Mike Ruse will be leading the discussion on Chapter 22 The Holiness of the Church

  • Great Vespers 6pm

Sunday, November 18

Ninth Sunday of St Luke

  • Orthros 8am

  • Church School 8:15am

  • Divine Liturgy 10am

  • Fellowship Hour Noon

This Week at St Thomas School

Chapter 22: The Holiness of the Church

This chapter briefly deals with two questions that mainly became controversial in Western Christianity: 1) Paul’s replacement theology that identifies Christ’s Church as the true Israel, not the continuation of the Jewish nation or the practices of Judaism, and 2) the degree of sin that affects the status of members, clergy, and sacraments of the Church.

In the Church, becoming holy is normal. Each of us can do this with the grace of God first, then with our own effort. But is it a contradiction to believe that the Church is Christ’s pure bride while also admitting that people in the same Church sin?

John Chrysostom and Anastasius of Sinai describe God’s Church as a hospital, not a courtroom, and an assembly where sinners find medicine and healing, not a place of torture or rejection

Coming Up

The 2019 Parish Calendars are available in the bookstore. Please just take one until everyone in the parish has had the opportunity to get one. Also, please be sure and thank the Hardins and the Bays who, once again, sponsored our calendar.

During the Nativity Fast, we will be offering the Nativity Paraclesis each Wednesday evening at 7pm. The service lasts about 45 minutes, so, by Orthodox standards, it’s really brief. Because of the way the Liturgical Calendar works out this year, we will only be offering the service four times during the fast, but there’s no reason why each of us cannot participate in at least one of those services before December 25. If we do, our celebration of Nativity and the Circumcision and the Presentation and Theophany will be that much more profound.

On Wednesday, November 21, we will celebrate the Feast of the Entrance of the Mother of God into the Temple. On Tuesday, November 20, we will offer Great Vespers at 7pm; on the day of the feast, Orthros will be served at 4:30am and Divine Liturgy at 6am. Please join when you can for this lovely feast of the Theotokos.

Our archdiocese expects that each of us will make our confession before December 25. That Holy Mystery is offered each Saturday evening following Great Vespers or by specific appointment at just about any other time. We don’t do ‘on-the-spot’ confessions, but we will do our very best to accommodate anyone who plans ahead.

Our Moment of Grace and Courtesy

The area between the main doors to the nave and the table that is just inside those doors needs to remain clear as much as possible. Folks are constantly coming in and going out, and if people stand in front of the door or by the table during the liturgy, that makes it difficult to enter and exit. The ushers will be reminding us to keep this area open, so please follow their directions.

This coming Sunday, November 18, is when our 2019 Commitment Cards are due. If you have not filled one out, please go ahead and send that information to me at fraidan@austin.rr.com. The Finance Committee needs to get all that data together so they can take a final look at the budget for the new year.

An unworthy priest,