Week of October 15

Brothers and Sisters,

Greetings in the Name of the Lord.

Sunday, November 18, seems like a long way off, but it will be here before we know it, and that’s the date by which we need all of the 2019 Commitment Cards turned back in. Handing in that card makes it possible for you to vote in the Annual Community Meeting in February; it makes it possible for you to receive this fabulous weekly newsletter, and it will make it possible for you to receive the new password to the membership section of the website. Clearly, there are lots of benefits to getting that card in on time, so, if you need one, just see Nick Crown or anyone else on the Finance Committee.

Our Calendar

Fasting Days

Wednesday, October 17, and Friday, October 19

Daily Services

Monday, October 15-Thursday, October 18

  • Orthros 5am

  • Vespers 5pm

(There will be no daily vespers on Monday, Oct 15 and no daily services on Friday, Oct 19. Also, 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.)

Wednesday, October 17

  • Fall Theological Seminar 7pm at the parish and in Killeen. We will be discussing 153-180 of Gilead.

Thursday, October 18

  • Choir Practice 7pm

Saturday, October 20

  • St Thomas School 4pm Hubert Bays will be leading the discussion of Chapter 18, The Descent into Hades

  • Great Vespers 6pm

Sunday, October 21

Sixth Sunday of St Luke

  • Orthros 8am

  • Church School 8:15am

  • Divine Liturgy 10am

  • Fellowship Hour Noon

  • Stewardship Visits: Groh, Grandalski, Goecker, Gockley, Ghirmai, Galloway, Easley, Dubina, Crown, Coleman, Cabeza De Vaca, Brown, Brown, Brown, Brown, Bodnarchuk, Benson, Bell, Bell, Bays, Andrews

This Week at St Thomas School

Chapter 18: The Descent into Hades

“Remove, O prince, your gates, and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of glory shall come in.” That is an early Christian writing taken from the Gospel of Nicodemos. It’s describing Chapter 18’s theme of Christ’s entering into Hades. Was everyone saved there? Are only the Old Testament righteous saved when Christ entered Hades? We often think preaching the Gospel is only for people who haven’t died yet here on earth. Metropolitan Hilarion explores this question and how Christ achieved victory over death, the devil, and, most rarely talked about, Hell itself.

Although there isn’t a systematic idea found in the Fathers of the Church about whether not Hades was emptied after Christ’s death, there is support from Scripture, Tradition, Liturgical texts for worship, liturgical poetry, and Apostolic teachings on this rare but important subject of Christ’s descent into Hell and what happened there exactly.

Coming Up

We’re just about done with our annual Stewardship Visits. This is when we review the budget for the coming year, get all our questions answered, and fill out our Commitment Cards. The budget is attached to this week’s edition of The Happy Priest, and you can ask any and all questions you need to ask about that plan during your Stewardship Visit; however, any time you have a question about money, you can always speak directly with our Finance Chair, Nick Crown.

Filling out the Commitment Cards is an important part of life in our parish, because that is how we officially become members of the parish. That membership makes it possible for us to receive the weekly newsletter and get the annual password for the member section of the website; it also gives us the privilege of voting each year at the Annual Community Meeting in February. So, it’s essential that we get those cards filled out.

The cards also provide our Finance Committee with crucial data in regards to our budgeting process, so we need to be sure and fill it out as accurately as possible.

If you were not able to make it to your assigned visit, there will be three make-up Sundays on October 24th, November 4th, and November 11. However, we need all the Commitment Cards to be turned in by Sunday, November 18th.

On Saturday, November 3, we will celebrate the Feast of St Raphael of Brooklyn. St Raphael is the first Orthodox bishop to be consecrated in North America. He is also the Good Shepherd of the Lost Sheep in America, so these services will be an excellent time to intercede on behalf of all those folks that we know who are not yet part of the Church or who have fallen away from the Church. We will offer Orthros at 7am and the Divine Liturgy at 9am

The Nativity Fast begins on Thursday, November 15. That may seem like a ways off, but it will be here before we know it, so we need to start planning now in order to take full advantage of all that the season will offer. 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. If you need to modify the fast in any way, now is the time to make those arrangements with your spiritual father.

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 Moment of Grace and Courtesy

Our parish cleaning service is made up entirely of volunteers. That means the people who do the cleaning are the people who are standing next to you at this liturgy. So, let’s do all we can to make their job easier: let’s leave the nave and the narthex and the bathrooms and the kitchen and the parish house clean and neat. In fact, one of the most effective ways we can help out with this effort is to volunteer to be part of the cleaning crew; if you’d like to take that step, please talk with Rob Thurner.

Please know that I’m praying that the week will go well for each and every one of you.

An unworthy priest,