Week of November 26

Brothers and Sisters,

Greetings in the Name of the Lord.

This coming Saturday, December 1, we’re going to serve an Unction Service for Keri Grandalski. Keri has been dealing with a cancer diagnosis for several months now, and she would appreciate your prayers and support. The service will begin at 2:30pm.

Our Calendar

The Fast Continues

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. Many American Orthodox Christians break the fast on Thanksgiving Day, but you need get a blessing from your spiritual father for that (and you need to remember that it’s Thanksgiving Day and not Thanksgiving Very Long Weekend).

Daily Services

Monday, November 26-Friday, November 30

  • 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.)

Tuesday, November 27

  • Monthly Parish Council Meeting 7pm Everyone is welcome to attend, but if you wish to address the council, please contact our president, Christ Lewis, ahead of the meeting

Wednesday, November 28

  • Nativity Paraclesis 7pm

Thursday, November 29

  • Choir Practice 7pm

Saturday, December 1

  • St Thomas School 4pm John Bell will be leading the discussion on Chapter 23 The Apostolicity of The Church

  • Great Vespers 6pm

Sunday, December 2

Fourteenth Sunday of St Luke

  • Orthros 8am

  • Church School 8:15am

  • Divine Liturgy 10am

  • Fellowship Hour Noon

This Week at St Thomas School

Chapter 24: The Apostolicity of the Church. Hierarchy and Clergy

We arrive now at the last characteristic of the Church in our seminar – its Apostolicity. How does apostolic succession work so that we understand what the true Church is or what it is not? Metropolitan Hilarion discusses the theme of apostolic authority and how successors were chosen according to tradition. We also explore the specific responsibility of the priest as healer as well as the deacons and deaconesses.

The bishop (episcopikos = he who watches over in Greek) plays a key role in the Church as the spiritual center and head of each Eucharistic community. This episcopal “office” isn’t like running for a political office, although there is leadership structure in the Church like in other areas of life. A bishop’s responsibility is to watch over spiritually the communities that partake of the Eucharist in the liturgy. An important image we have to help us understand our leadership is the Good Shepherd. Join us this Saturday evening to learn about the development and structure of the Church that finds its "source in the Holy Trinity" (Dionysius the Areopagite).

Coming Up

On Thursday, December 6, we will celebrate the Feast of St Nicholas. We will serve Great Vespers at 7pm on Wednesday, December 5, and, the following morning, we will offer Orthros at 4am and Divine Liturgy at 6am. St Nicholas is the patron and protector of all children, so all of us who are parents and grandparents and godparents need to be present at some point during those services.

As you begin your holiday shopping, don’t forget about Christ The Lightgiver Bookstore. The bookstore has lots of great gift items in addition to a wide selection of books and icons. The store is open every Sunday during Fellowship Hour, but you can always get in touch with our hard-working manager, Stephanie Crown, and ask a question or place an order during the week.

The 2019 Parish Calendars are also 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.

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.

At the conclusion of the emailed newsletter, you’ll find the 2019 House Blessing Schedule. It may seem early, but if you will go ahead and write your assigned date on the calendar or enter it into your phone, we’ll have a much better chance of actually making it all happen. If you already know that your assigned date won’t work for you, send me an email right away at fraidan@austin.rr.com, so we can see about fitting you in at some other point in the schedule.

Our Moment of Grace and Courtesy

When you are attending services at night, please be aware that when you park directly in front of the building, if you keep your head lights on, those beams shine directly into the nave. So the sooner you can turn off your head lights, the less distracting it will be for everyone in the nave.

An unworthy priest,