Brothers and Sisters,
Greetings in the Name of the Lord.
It’s time to get those 2019 Commitment Cards turned in. Please remember that the deadline is Sunday, November 18; the Finance Committee needs to take another look at the data to see if they need to make any adjustments to next year’s budget, so help them out by getting those cards in soon.
Wednesday, October 24, and Friday, October 26
Monday, October 22-Thursday, October 25
(There will be no daily vespers 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 firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm when the service will actually begin.)
Tuesday, October 23
Monthly Parish Council Meeting 7pm Everyone is welcome to attend, but if you would like to address the council, you need to speak with the president, Christ Lewis, ahead of time.
Wednesday, October 24
Fall Theological Seminar 7pm at the parish and in Killeen. We will be discussing 180-210 of Gilead.
Thursday, October 25
Choir Practice 7pm
Saturday, October 27
St Thomas School 4pm Chris Speckhard will be leading the discussion on Chapter 19 “The Resurrection of Christ”
Great Vespers 6pm
Sunday, October 21
Seventh Sunday of St Luke
Divine Liturgy 10am
Fellowship Hour Noon
Akathist to the Mother of God, Nurturer of Children Noon
Make-Up Stewardship Visit: If you missed your assigned Sunday, this is your time to get all of your budget questions answered and to pick up a 2019 Commitment Card
This Week at St Thomas School
Metropolitan Hilarion writes that the “life and witness of the first Christians were permeated by paschal joy and the knowledge of the central meaning of Christ’s resurrection for the salvation of mankind. The Orthodox Church preserves this joy and this knowledge until this day, to which the whole liturgical structure witnesses, oriented to Christ’s resurrection…If the feast of Christ’s nativity acquired significance in Western Christianity as the main feast day of the ecclesial year, then in the East the “Feast of feasts” has always been Pascha, celebrating victory over death by Christ who was resurrected from the dead, resurrecting the whole race of man with himself.” In our discussion of this brief but theologically rich chapter, we will examine how the resurrection lies at the crux of the Orthodox Faith and how it represents the culmination of Christ’s redemptive work, inseparably connected with His crucifixion and descent into Hades. As Orthodox Christians, we participate in Christ’s resurrection through the Mystery of Holy Baptism, and we can experience the Paschal joy in the services of the Church.
If you were not able to make it to your assigned Stewardship Visit, there are two make-up Sundays left—on November 4th and November 11. However, we need all the Commitment Cards to be turned in by Sunday, November 18th. 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. 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.
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.
Thanks to the grace and mercy of the Most Holy Trinity, and thanks to your on-going faithfulness, we ended September with a surplus of $9,900.00 (The Finance Committee was so blown away, they checked the numbers twice.) That brings our surplus on the year to $10,400.00. That’s super-good news, but, as we still have three months to go in 2018, we need to continue to be vigilant since that surplus could easily disappear with, say, two major HVAC repairs. So keep up the good work, and thanks to each and every one of you.
Our Moment of Grace and Courtesy
It's easy to get distracted during the Divine Liturgy, but three of the most important moments in the service are when we say our 'Amens' during the Consecration of the Holy Gifts. That's not just a fancy way of saying 'OK'; that's our opportunity to affirm and to seal what has just taken place on the altar. Amen is also one of the titles of our Lord and Master. So, when it's time to say, 'Amen', 'Amen', and the triple 'Amen', we should do so with excitement and joy and enough volume to flatten the flame on the altar candles.
If you are worried that you might forget to bring your Commitment Card with you the next time you’re up at the parish, you can always send that information to me by email at email@example.com.
I’m praying that this week will be a blessing for each of us and all those whom we love.
An unworthy priest,