Brothers and Sisters,
Greetings in the Name of the Lord.
This coming weekend is one of those All Church Weekends that happens from time to time: We’ll start by celebrating the Feast of the Elevation of the Cross with Great Vespers on Friday, September 13, at 7pm; then on Saturday morning, we will serve Orthros at 7am and Divine Liturgy with the Service of the Cross at 9am. We will follow the regular schedule for the rest of the weekend, and we will wrap things up with a Community Meal following the services on Sunday. That’s a lot of Church, but that’s why we became Orthodox—to transform the world through our worship of the Most Holy Trinity.
Wednesday, September 11, and Friday, September 13
Monday, September 9-Friday, September 13:
(Be sure and check the calendar for festal services. Also, please don’t forget that since 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.)
Wednesday, September 11
Fall Theological Seminar 7pm
You can join us at the parish house or at Mike and Linda Brown’s house in Georgetown or at Tony and Heather Chandler’s house in Harker Heights; we will be discussing Chapters 1-2, pgs 3-16
Friday, September 13
Great Vespers for the Elevation 7pm
Saturday, September 14
The Feast of the Elevation of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross
Divine Liturgy with the Service of the Cross 9am
St Thomas School 4pm
Father Aidan will lead the discussion of Chapter 5 Sunday Services and Daily Services
Great Vespers with the Jesus Prayer 6pm
Sunday, September 15
The Sunday After the Elevation of the Cross
Divine Liturgy 10am
Community Meal Noon
In addition to eating together in the Long Hall, we will also be putting together our Quarterly Liturgy Prayer List
This Week at St. Thomas School
Chapter 5: Sunday Services and Daily Services
In the Orthodox Church, Saturday vespers is the first worship service of the week. Metropolitan Hilarion focuses on the content of the stichera, or verses in Greek, that are sung during the daily services. The sticheraoften recall Christ’s death on the Cross and His Resurrection, have Trinitarian and Christological dogmatic content, and speak of the Theotokos and Virgin Mary in what’s called a theotokion. Each day of the week focuses on a canon or mood. On Tuesday, the St. John the Forerunner is included with other verses and canons. On Thursday, St. Nicholas and the apostles are commemorated, and on Saturday, all types of saints and martyrs are commemorated as well as prayers for the departed. In many of our discussions in Volume IV, we have been looking at the practical and spiritual aspects of time, calendars, how we structure our lives around it and how it even points to our cultural identity. Imagine if we could rename the days of the week based on Orthodox themes rather than Saturn, the Moon, or the Germanic goddess Freya. If resurrectional hymns, stichera and canons make up the bulk of what we are singing and thinking about during a single week, what might that imply for living out our Orthodox faith daily? Join us this Saturday at 4:00 p.m. to see how the Orthodox Church divides time into verses.
Thinking About Joining the Choir?
For those interested in singing in the choir, but simply can't commit on a regular basis (there are many folks who have conveyed this to me!), I'd like to brainstorm with all of you on how we can make that happen!
If you fit that bill, on Sunday, Sept 22nd, during Fellowship Hour, grab some coffee and food and meet me at a picnic table in the playground area. I'd love to hear your ideas and ideal situations for singing with the choir!
Our Next Open House Weekend
Our next Open House Weekend, which will be on Saturday, October 19, and Sunday, October 20. Our speaker at St Thomas School on October 19 will be Dr. Mark Cherry; Mark is a member of St. Elias and a professor of philosophy and ethics at St. Edwards University. He will be talking at 4pm about the intersection of faith and politics—which is what we are also talking about in our Fall Theological Seminar—and, since that is sure to be of interest to lots and lots of folks, we are hoping that you will invite your friends and family members to join us for his talk or for one of the services throughout that weekend.
Of course, with each of our Open House Weekends, we not only invite a guest to an event or a service, but we also attend all of the services and events on Saturday and Sunday. That means we commit to showing up at St Thomas School and Great Vespers on Saturday, and Orthros, Church School, Divine Liturgy, and Fellowship Hour on Sunday because we want to make a good impression on folks; we want them to see Holy Orthodoxy at its best.
To help publicize the weekend, attached to this newsletter is a flyer that you can send to your friends and family and neighbors and co-workers; there is also a version that can be used on social media. To be sure, the best way to encourage folks to join us on October 19-20 is to speak to them in person, but we also want to reach as many people as we can, so go ahead and share the flyer with all your contacts.
Our sister parish in Dripping Springs, St Sophia, will celebrate their patronal feast on Monday, September 16th, and Tuesday, September 17. They will honor the Holy Martyr Sophia and her children with Great Vespers on Monday at 6:30pm, and, on Tuesday, with Orthros at 9am and Divine Liturgy at 10am. Refreshments will be provided on Monday evening, and lunch will be serve on Tuesday.
We will be starting our Annual Stewardship Visits in October. At the conclusion of this edition of The Happy Priest is a column that explains how that process works and how we approach the subject of money in our parish community. Please read through the column, check to make sure when your visit is scheduled, and start praying about what you plan to give during the coming year.
Our Moment of Grace and Courtesy
We need to remember not to over-load the candle trays that are just inside the door to the nave. The ushers will let you know when the trays are full, but you can always go up to the iconostasis and place your candle in one of those trays. Just wait for a time when the deacon and priest are both inside the altar, and then go ahead and light your candle and offer your prayers.
I hope that many of you join us as we kick off the Fall Theological Seminar at the parish, in Georgetown, and in Harker Heights.
An unworthy priest,
Sunday #1 - October 6th
Zozuyla, Zozulya Wright, Wood, Whalen, Wilson, Wilcoxson, Wilcoxson, Vaughn, Treckman, Thurston, Thurner, Taylor, Stewart, Speckhard, Snodgrass, Shynkar, Seidler, Sanchez, Ruse, Roehrig, Roblenski, Poe, Peacock, Parsons, Nelson, Nicholas, Morgan
Sunday #2 - October 13th
Moralez, Mirabella, McClary, Martini, Martin, Maisano, Lewis, Latta, Krenek, King, Khoury, Kelly, Juliano, Juliano, Juliano, Jones, Jacob, Howell, Hatfield, Haskins, Hart, Harding, Hardin, Hampton, Halsey, Groh, Grandalski, Grandalski, Grandalski
Sunday #3 - October 20th
Goecker, Gockley, Ghirmai, Galloway, Easley, Easley, Easley, Easley, Dubina, Crown, Comer, Coleman, Cloud, Chandler, Cabeza De Vaca, Brown, Brown, Bodnarchuk, Bliss, Benson, Bell, Bays, Bassari, Baron, Babina, Azares, Andrews, Abbott
Makeup Sundays: Oct. 27th, Nov. 3rd, and Nov. 10th.
Deadline for Cards: Sunday, November 17th.