Yes, it is that time again. Lent begins on Monday, March 3rd, but we begin the preparations for the journey of "bright-sadness" by especially dealing with our hearts and our spiritual condition. In her wisdom the Church is a great aid to us, for the four Sundays before Lent carry special themes that enable us to examine ourselves.
The theme of the Sunday before Lent is FORGIVENESS (cheese fare) and the Gospel lesson is Matthew 6:14-21 which teaches us both of forgiveness and of fasting. "To forgive is to put between me and my enemy the radiant forgiveness of God Himself. To forgive is to reject the hopeless dead-ends of human relations and to refer them to Christ. Forgiveness is truly a breakthrough of the Kingdom into this sinful and fallen world" (Great Lent, Page 28). And to fast is to first fast before God and not men so as to curb the desires and cravings of our fallen nature. This effort can help free us from the dictatorship of the flesh over our spirit, so we can more fully love and forgive.
May God be with us as we approach the Holy Season of Lent.
Romans 13:11-14:4: As we read from his letter to the Romans, St Paul encourages us to walk in the light and put aside the deeds of darkness, knowing that the time of salvation is near at hand. He also encourages us to accept those who are weak in faith and not to make personal judgments.
Matthew 6:14-21: The Lord Jesus in this portion of the Sermon on the Mount gives us instructions on forgiving others, on fasting, and on laying up treasures in our hearts.
Troparion of the Resurrection: Let the heavens rejoice and the earth be glad; for the Lord hath done a mighty act with his own arm. He hath trampled down death and become the First-born from the dead. He hath delivered us from the depths of hades, granting the world the Great Mercy.
Troparion of the Chains of St. Peter: O Holy Apostle, Peter, thou dost preside over the Apostles by the precious chains which thou didst bear. We venerate them with faith and beseech thee that by thine intercessions we be granted the great mercy.
Kontakion of Cheese Fare Sunday: O thou who guidest to wisdom, and givest understanding and intelligence, the Instructor of the ignorant and Helper of the poor, strengthen my heart and grant it understanding, O Master. Give me word, O Word of the Father; for behold, I shall not refrain my lips from crying to thee, O merciful One, have mercy upon me who am fallen.
Sunday, March 2 (Sunday of Cheese Fare)
8:50 a.m. -- Orthros
9:00 a.m. -- Christian Education
10:00 a.m. -- Divine Liturgy
12:00 p.m. -- Teen Fundraising Meal
6:30 p.m. -- Forgiveness Vespers
Monday, March 3 (Clean Monday)
GREAT LENT BEGINS
Office Closed -- Father John's Day Off
6:30 p.m. -- Canon of St. Andrew of Crete, Part I
Tuesday, March 4
6:00 a.m. -- Lenten Orthros
6:30 p.m. -- Canon of St. Andrew of Crete, Part II
Wednesday, March 5
6:30 p.m. -- Presanctified Liturgy followed by Soup Supper
Thursday, March 6
NO Daily Orthros
11:30 a.m. -- Men's Lunch
6:30 p.m. -- Canon of St. Andrew of Crete, Part IV
Friday, March 7
NO Daily Orthros
6:30 p.m. -- Akathist Hymn to the Theotokos
Saturday, March 8
10:00 a.m. -- Ladies meet to pray the Akathist to the Mother of God,
Nurturer of Children
5:45 p.m. -- Ninth Hour followed by Great Vespers
Sunday, March 9 (Sunday of Orthodoxy)
8:50 a.m. -- Orthros
9:00 a.m. -- Christian Education
10:00 a.m. -- Divine Liturgy
6:00 p.m. -- Sunday of Orthodoxy Vespers at Holy Resurrection
Eucharist Bread …was offered by the Yeatts for the Saturday of the Souls Liturgy last Saturday, by the Abrahams for the Divine Liturgy last Sunday and by the Fahmys for the Divine Liturgy this morning. Koliva for last week's Saturday of the Souls Liturgy was offered by the Dn. Richard Roots.
Eucharist Bread and Coffee Hour Schedule:
Eucharist BreadCoffee Hour
March 2 Fahmy Teen Fundraising Meal
March 9 Baker Stewart/Meadows
March 16 Wood Ellis/Zouboukos/Fahmy
March 23 R. Root Pigott/Brock/Strain
March 24 (Mon. p.m.) Henderson Anastasia Jones
March 30 Algood Skirtech/Skirtech/Parker
Schedule for Epistle Readers – Page numbers refer to the Apostolos (book of the Epistles) located on the front pew. Please be sure to use this book when you read.
March 2 Sh. Charlotte Algood Rom. 13:11-14:4 279
March 9 Kh. Sharon Meadows Heb. 12:1-10 375
March 16 Mildred Morris Heb. 1:10-2:3 283
March 23 Kh. Be'Be' Schelver Heb. 4:14-5:6 285
March 24 (Mon. p.m.) Brenda Baker Heb. 2:11-18 376
March 30 Sh. Charlotte Algood Heb. 6:13-20 287
Continue to pray for Metropolitan Paul (who is also the brother of our Patriarch) and the Syriac Archbishop John of Aleppo who were abducted while on a humanitarian mission in Syria.
Terrorists have abducted 12 Orthodox nuns from the Convent of St. Thekla in Syria. Please keep them in your prayers.
Please remember Fr. Joseph and Kh. Joanna Bittle, and their daughter Abigail, in your prayers.
Please be reminded of the following:
Be very careful with the Blessed Bread when you take it after communion. Because this bread has been blessed, we should take care not to let crumbs fall on the floor. Parents, especially, please help your children to choose a small piece and treat it carefully.
Also, at the end of the liturgy, maintain a prayerful disposition during the veneration of the cross as the prayers of thanksgiving after communion are still underway. Please exchange your greetings with each other in the Fellowship Hall during Coffee Hour.
Please continue to pray for the health of His Grace, Bishop ANTOUN.
Please remember the following in your prayers: Steve, Sheryl and Stephen Chamblee; Amy and Brantley Oliver; Aidan Milnor, the Milnor family; Sam and Lamia Dabit and Sammie; Georgia Buchanan, George Johns (Georgia's grandson) and his family; Mary Greene (Lee and Kh. Sharon's sister); Fr. Stephen Tewfik; Sh. Gail Shannon; Dn. Sidney and Sh. Mary Elliot;
Fr. Alexander Atty, the Dean of St. Thikon's who is battling cancer; Walt and Charlotte Wood and their family; Tom and Jennifer Skirtech and their family; Tom and Kathy Willingham; Athena and Anthony Zouboukos and their family.
Please be reminded that the Sacristy/Vestry which is adjacent to and behind the altar in our church is considered by the Orthodox Church to be part of the Sanctuary (Altar area) and should not be entered without the blessing of the priest for a specific purpose. If you need to speak with a member of the clergy while they are in the Sanctuary, please ask them to come to you in the nave.
Young Adults Study Group: The Young Adults will meet once a month on Sunday evening from 5:00 – 6:30 p.m. (time will be strictly adhered to) for a meal, fellowship and teaching. The next meeting will be March 16th. Please let Father John know by text or e-mail if you will be there, so that plans may be made for the meal.
Metropolitan Philip has given the Antiochian Women the project of raising money for the orphans of the war in Syria. He has asked them to raise $200,000 towards this project. All monies raised are to be distributed directly to the affected areas. Please read information regarding "Help the Orphans of War in Syria" posted on the bulletin board in the Fellowship Hall. If you wish to contribute to this project, please make your donation to the Ladies of St. Peter noting it is for "Help the Orphans of War in Syria." They will be collecting money for this project through the coming months.
Canned food drive: The Christian Education classes are collecting canned good s for the needy.
* The Men of the parish meet for lunch and fellowship on the first Thursday of the month.
* The Ladies of St. Peter will meet at 10:00 a.m. on the second Saturday of each month to pray the Akathist to the Mother of God, Nurturer of Children. Those who are able will go out for lunch and fellowship afterwards.
* The Youth Group will be holding their annual Cheesefare Fundraising Meal following the Divine Liturgy today. Please make plans to stay for the Fun and Fellowship. Money raised from this meal helps defray expenses for the teens to attend the annual Parish Life Conference as well as other needs.
* This year our Sunday of Orthodoxy Vespers will be held at Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church in Clinton next Sunday evening, beginning at 6:00 p.m.
* As is our parish custom, we will celebrate the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts on Wednesday evenings and the Akathist Hymn to the Theotokos on Friday evenings during Great Lent. Both services will begin at 6:30 p.m.
* The next Workday at the Church is scheduled for Saturday morning, March 15th, beginning with breakfast at 8:30 a.m.
* The Young Adults will meet at the church Sunday, March16th from 5:00-6:30 p.m.
* We will celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation with Orthros followed by Divine Liturgy on Monday evening, March 24th, beginning at 6:00 p.m.
* The Youth Group will meet for a meal and Christian Education with Father John on Sunday evenings, March 23rd and March 30th beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Fasting Discipline for March
March 2nd is Cheese Fare Sunday, the last day until Pascha that dairy and wine are permitted. Monday , March 3rd is Clean Monday, the first day of Great Lent when the traditional fasting discipline (no meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, wine or oil) is observed on all days of the week until Pascha (except Annunciation on March 25th and Palm Sunday on April 13th, when fish, wine and oil are permitted).
Major Commemorations for March
March 2 Cheese Fare Sunday
March 9 1st Sunday of Lent; Sunday of Orthodoxy; Holy Forty Martyrs of
March 16 2nd Sunday of Lent; St. Gregory of Palamas
March 23 3rd Sunday of Lent; Adoration of the Holy Cross
March 25 Feast of the Annunciation
March 26 Synaxis of the Archangel Gabriel
March 30 4th Sunday of Lent; St. John Climacus
Parents, please supervise your children with food in the Fellowship Hall. We are getting stains on the new carpet (and also the chairs in the nave).
Suggestions on use of the Cry Room:
-- Please remember you're in liturgy when you're in the cry room.
-- Its main purpose should be a place for parents to take their children if they're being disruptive during liturgy, staying for 5-10 minutes (or until the child is calmed down) and then returning to liturgy.
-- It should not be used as a main sitting area during the liturgy.
-- Children should not be eating snacks or watching electronic devices while in the cry room.
Happy Birthdays in March:
March 3 -- Kay Carlton
March 6 -- Amy Surratt
March 9 -- Ian Jones
March 12 -- Alexa Zouboukos (#19!)
March 17 -- Cliff Stewart
March 20 -- Charlotte Wood
March 24 -- Brenden Skirtech (#10!)
March 26 -- Katherine Habeeb (#6!)
March 29 -- Sophie Dansereau (#3!)
March 30 -- Aidan Milnor (#8!)
Happy Anniversaries in March:
March 10 -- Fr. James and Kh. Sharon Meadows (#41!)
March 13 -- Warren and Sandra Strain (#20!)
March 15 -- Dn. Richard and Sh. Margaret Root (#39!)
March 27 -- Sam and Anne Habeeb (#10!)
Quotable: "God is always near us because He is everywhere. He always sees us just as He sees everything. But during prayer we are especially close to God: we stand before Him, speak to Him and He listens to us. Because of this, while praying, we sign ourselves with the Cross more often, and especially before and after each prayer in order that we may not be distracted in saying them. We also make the Cross upon ourselves when we enter church or approach any sacred object or kiss an icon, and many times during church services. We should make the Sign of the Cross in the morning in order to obtain the blessing of God on the day; in the evening to ask for His protection during the night; at all the important moments of our life: when in danger, in sorrow, in joy; before all important undertakings that they may turn out well; at mealtime to invoke God's blessing and to give Him thanks."
Rev. Fr. David F. Abramtsov, The Orthodox Companion
Worship: Sunday, March 9, 2014 (Sunday of Orthodoxy; Holy Forty Martyrs of