Parish Bulletin February 18-25, 2018

Parish Bulletin February 18-25, 2018

THE FIRST WEEK OF GREAT LENT

****************************************************************************
CHEESEFARE (FORGIVENESS) SUNDAY TONE 4
Apodosis of the Meeting of Our Lord. Holy Martyr Agatha of Palermo in Sicily. St. Theodosius of Skopelos in Cilicia.
EPISTLE: Rom. 13:11-14:4 GOSPEL: Matt. 6:14-21
From the Synaxarion: “On this day of we commemorate the falling away of first-created Adam from the food of Paradise.”
****************************************************************************
SCHEDULE OF SERVICES
Sun., Feb. 18: FORGIVENESS SUNDAY – CHEESEFARE SUNDAY
MATINS – 8:00 AM DIVINE LITURGY – 9:30 AM
LITIYA FOR:
Theodore Petrochko by Ted & Serge Chwastiak Hazel Sokalsky by her family
Michael Kulick, Sr. by Steve & Helen Lahey Lovey Kulick by grandchildren, Stephen & Julie
Sergius Chwastiak, Sr. by grandchildren Olga Chwastiak by grandchildren
FORGIVENESS VESPERS – 4:00 PM
Mon., Feb. 19: BEGINNING OF GREAT & HOLY LENT
COMPLINE w/CANON OF ST. ANDREW OF CRETE – 6:30 PM
Tue., Feb. 20: COMPLINE w/CANON OF ST. ANDREW OF CRETE – 6:30 PM
Wed., Feb. 21: NO PRESANCTIFIED LITURGY due to Fr. Daniel’s schedule
COMPLINE w/CANON OF ST. ANDREW OF CRETE – 6:30 PM
Thur., Feb. 22: COMPLINE w/CANON OF ST. ANDREW OF CRETE – 6:30 PM
Fri., Feb. 23: NO PRESANCTIFIED LITURGY
CONFESSIONS – 6:00 PM
CANON OF INTERCESSION TO ST. THEODORE THE RECRUIT w/BLESSING OF KOLIVA – 6:30 PM
Sat., Feb. 24: COMMEMORATION OF ST. THEODORE THE RECRUIT – DIVINE LITURGY – 8:00 AM
CONFESSIONS – 3:30 PM GREAT VESPERS – 4:00 PM
Sun., Feb. 25: FIRST SUNDAY OF GREAT LENT – SUNDAY OF ORTHODOXY
MATINS – 8:00 AM DIVINE LITURGY – 9:30 AM
LITIYA FOR:
Olga Yaworske by daughter, Susan & grandson, Daniel Theodore Petrochko by Susan & Daniel O’Brien
LENTEN VESPERS – 4:00 PM
****************************************************************************
EVENTS:
Sun., Feb. 18: COFFEE HOUR – Rose Mareski & Bonnie Mashin (Food – no meat); Malina Bazink (Coffee)
Mon., Feb. 19: NO RELIGIOUS EDUCATION CLASSES due to the Canon of St. Andrew. Parents, please bring your children to these short, but meaningful Lenten services.
Sun., Feb. 25: COFFEE HOUR – Presbytera (Food) & Christina (Food & Coffee) (LENTEN)
FEBRUARY RADIO BROADCAST: IMO JEAN & PETER PETROSKY by daughter, Sharon & family. MEMORY ETERNAL!
ALTAR VIGILS: IMO ANDREW REPOSH by daughter, Illona Christie. MEMORY ETERNAL!
TABLE OF OBLATION: IMO ANDREW & FLORENCE KULENICH by daughter, Joan Beal. MEMORY ETERNAL!
ETERNAL LIGHT: IMO OLGA CHWASTIAK by her family. MEMORY ETERNAL!
HIGH PLACE: For the health of the SOROCHKA, CHWASTIAK & LUTZ FAMILIES by Tanya. MANY YEARS!
****************************************************************************
CHEESEFARE SUNDAY: Sunday 2/18/18, Forgiveness Sunday, is also known as Cheesefare Sunday. This is the last day that dairy products and fish can be eaten until Holy Pascha. Please fast accordingly to your health.
****************************************************************************
300 CLUB WINNERS – 2/11/18: $50 – #17 – Marilyn Prybicien; $25 – #237– Diane Terpak; $25 – #369 – Tina Kowalski
****************************************************************************
GARDNER’S CANDY FORMS FOR EASTER are now available in the church vestibule. Please help our Youth Group by purchasing your Easter Candy from them. Order forms, along with payment, can be given to Karen Tomanchek. ****************************************************************************
REMINDER: Our “Lenten journey” to Holy Pascha begins Sunday afternoon at Forgiveness Vespers starting at 4 PM. Let us come together as a Christian family and begin this journey together.
****************************************************************************
PASKA SALE DATES: MARCH 29 & 30 – Only round paskas (raisin or white) will be sold. Call 570-876-0730 or 570-876-3576 with your orders. Paskas – $10 each; Kolachi – $10 each (nut, poppyseed, lekvar & apricot). No orders after March 26th.
****************************************************************************
CHOIR CHANCES: The choir is once again selling chances for the following prizes: 1ST PRIZE – Basket of Pysanky;
2nd PRIZE – Basket of Pysanky; 3rd PRIZE – Faberge-type egg bracelet. Chances are $2 each or 3 for $5. See any choir member for chances. Thank you. Your support will be greatly appreciated.
****************************************************************************
CANON OF ST. ANDREW BOOKS are available for you to purchase in the church vestibule. These books will be beneficial during the Lenten services beginning tomorrow evening at 6:30 PM.
****************************************************************************
CHURCH COUNCIL MEETING: Monday, February 26th at 7:00 PM. All members are asked to attend.
****************************************************************************
PHOTO RETURNS: If you submitted photos for our 125th anniversary book and did not get them back as of yet, please contact Tanya (570-446-3132) this week.
****************************************************************************
DONATIONS SOUGHT: Anyone willing to donate towards the following for the period of Great Lent as an act of almsgiving may do so by contacting the sextons or Fr. John: Altar Candles – $65 each; Wine – $50 case; Incense – $40 lb.; Oil – $40. ****************************************************************************
ST. ANDREW OF CRETE – THE GREAT CANON OF REPENTENCE
The Great Canon of St Andrew is read each year as part of the ascetic labor of the Great Fast (Lent). Divided into four portions, these are read during the services of Great Compline on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings of the First Week (‘Pure/Clean Week’) of the Fast. The whole Canon is then read in its entirety on Thursday of the Fifth Week (actually read ‘in anticipation’ on Wednesday evening). The Great Canon is one of the great works, if not the greatest work, of the Church’s hymnography of repentance. It is steeped in biblical imagery, yet it is not simply a condensation of biblical themes. In the Canon, all the human events of scripture—creation, fall, exile, return, longing, redemption—all are made personal. They become my events: my creation, my fall, my redemption. Their story is my story, and I am made intensely aware of all its depth. The Canon begins: ‘Where shall I begin to weep over the cursed deeds of my life? What foundation shall I lay, O Christ, for this lamentation?’ The Canon brings each of us into the story of scripture; stirs us with moving imagery to realize the depths of our sin. We begin to see our exile, our distance from Christ; and from that distance, we begin to repent.
****************************************************************************
SATURDAY OF THE FIRST WEEK
After the penitential fasting of the first five days of Lent, Saturday and Sunday are kept as feasts of joyful thanksgiving. On Saturday we commemorate the Great Martyr Theodore the Recruit, a Roman soldier in Asia Minor, martyred in the fourth century under Emperor Maximian. Here may be seen at work a rule applied by the Church since the fourth century: as the full Liturgy cannot be offered on weekdays in Lent, saints’ memorials which in fixed calendar, occur during the week are transferred to Saturday or Sunday. So the memorial of St. Theodore, whose feast falls on February 17th /March 2nd, has been transferred to the first Saturday of Lent which this year is February 24th.
There is a specific reason why St. Theodore has come to be associated with the first week of Lent. According to the tradition recorded in the Synaxarion, the Emperor Julian the Apostate (reigned 361-363), as part of his campaign against the Christians, attempted to defile their observance of the first week of lent by ordering all the food for sale in the market of Constantinople to be sprinkled with the blood of the pagan sacrifices. St Theodore then appeared in a dream to Eudoxios, Archbishop of the city, ordering him to warn his flock against buying anything from the market; instead, so the Saint told him, they should boil wheat (kolyva) and eat this alone. In memory of this event, after the Presanctified Liturgy on the first Friday, a Canon of intercession is sung to St. Theodore and a dish of kolyva is blessed in his honor.
****************************************************************************
ON THE SUNDAY OF FORGIVENESS
On the eve of the Lenten Fast, during the liturgy on the Sunday of Repentance the gospel reading speaks of conditions on which is predicated our liberation from the slavery to sin, to “this world.” The first condition for our liberation from the dictatorial will of the flesh, the matter, is fasting. But for the fast to be real, authentic, the Gospel indicates, we must not fast hypocritically, ostentatiously. In the words of Christ, when we fast we must not appear to fast unto men but unto our Father which is in secret. The second condition is forgiveness. “If ye forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you.” The triumph of sin and the principal sign of its dominion over the world are quarrels, discord, dissension, hatred. The first breach in the fortress of sin is forgiveness — that is the return to unity, concord and love – that is God.
At the end of the vespers on the Sunday of Forgiveness, the worshippers come up to the celebrant and ask for forgiveness after which they turn to each other asking each other for forgiveness. It is precisely this act of love, this act of becoming one that marks the beginning of the Fast. Today, there are not many who stop to think about the meaning of fasting. This is a result of the overall spiritual weakening, of the lack of spiritual vigor and responsibility. If only we remembered what we were called for, what feats of spirit the Lord expects of us! If only we remembered more often that we were appointed laborers in the vineyard of the Lord and that we shall be called by the Master to account for our labors and for the fruits brought forth by our labors in His vineyard! Perhaps it is to us that the terrible words of the Master in the parable refer: “The kingdom of God shall be taken from you and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof!” (Matt. 21, 33-43.) Unknown
****************************************************************************
CONFESSION is the sacrament of repentance – a change of heart leading to forgiveness and healing. It is based on Christ’s promise to His disciples. “If you forgive the sins of any they are forgiven” (John 20:22) and His saying: “If your brother repents, forgive him” (Luke 17:1). True repentance means a movement towards healing. The penitent turns away from a side track and towards the goal of the Kingdom of God. The sacrament involves examining relationships with God and with other people, and seeking ways to improve. It is more than a dialogue between priest and parishioner: the Holy Spirit and Christ are present in a mysterious way.
Confession takes place before an icon, with the Gospel book and cross. Confession is made to Christ with the priest as a witness. It begins with prayers of preparation by the penitent, after which the penitent confesses his or her sins and may speak about the things which are troubling him or her. The priest gives whatever advice he feels may be appropriate. The penitent is kneeling during his or her confessions, except for times when kneeling is not appropriate. The priest places his stole over the person’s head, and says the prayers of absolution by which they are released from their sins. Finally, the penitent kisses the Gospel book and the Cross, and asks the priest for a blessing.
Great Lent is a time for us to realize that it is necessary to shake off that condition of numbness, those cobwebs of everyday life which suggest to us that the life of this world–which is in us and around us–is the only possible way of life. It is a time to yearn for another form of existence–the one revealed to us in the Gospel and in the experience of the saints and ascetics-a time to confess and commune with that radiant sorrow which is the beginning of spiritual renewal. Make every attempt to attend the liturgical services and partake of the Blessed Sacraments as often as you can during this Great Lent period. The reward of spiritual renewal is beyond words.
****************************************************************************
CONCERNING GREAT LENT
Great Lent is the greatest fasting period in the church year in Eastern Christianity, which prepares Christians for the greatest feast of the church year, Easter (or “Holy Pascha”). Although it is in many ways similar to Lent in Western Christianity, there are important differences in the timing of Lent (besides calculating the date of Easter), the underlying theology, and how it is practiced, both liturgically in the church and personally.
Before Great Lent itself, there is a three-week Pre-Lent season, often referred to as the “Triodion”, to prepare for Lent. (Ash Wednesday is not observed in Eastern Christianity.) On three successive Sundays, Zacchaeus, the Publican and Pharisee, and the Prodigal Son are commemorated. Next comes Meatfare Sunday (its proper name in the typikon is Sunday of the Last Judgement), the last day to eat meat before Pascha. It is followed by Cheesefare Sunday (its proper name is Sunday of Forgiveness), the last day to eat dairy products before Pascha; on this Sunday, Eastern Christians identify with Adam and Eve, and forgive each other in order to obtain forgiveness from God, typically in a Forgiveness Vespers service that Sunday evening. It is during Forgiveness Vespers that the decor of the church is changed to reflect a penitential mood.
Observance of Great Lent is characterized by abstention from many foods, intensified private and public prayer, personal improvement and almsgiving. The foods traditionally abstained from are meat and dairy products, fish, wine and oil. (According to some traditions, only olive oil is abstained from; in others, all vegetable oils.) Since strict fasting is canonically forbidden on the Sabbath and the Lord’s Day, wine and oil are permitted on Saturdays and Sundays. If the Feast of the Annunciation falls during Great Lent, then fish, wine and oil are permitted on that day.
Besides the additional liturgical celebrations described below, Orthodox Christians are expected to pay closer attention to their private prayers and to say more of them more often. The Fathers have referred to fasting without prayer as “the fast of the demons” since the demons do not eat according to their incorporeal nature, but neither do they pray.
Each of the five Sundays of Great Lent has its own special commemoration. The first Sunday is the Feast of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, which commemorates the restoration of the veneration of icons after the Iconoclast controversy. The second Sunday is kept in memory of Gregory Palamas. The Veneration of the Cross is celebrated on the third Sunday. John Climacus is remembered on the fourth Sunday, and Mary of Egypt on the fifth Sunday.
During the weekdays of Great Lent, there is a liturgical fast when the eucharistic Divine Liturgy is not celebrated. However, since it is considered especially important to receive the Holy Mysteries during this season the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, also called the Liturgy of St. Gregory the Dialogist, may be celebrated on Wednesdays and Fridays. At this vesperal service some of the Body and Blood of Christ reserved the previous Sunday is distributed. On Saturday and Sunday the Divine Liturgy may be celebrated as usual, although on Sundays the more solemn Liturgy of St. Basil the Great is used in place of that of St. John Chrysostom.
One prayer that is said often, accompanied by great reverences, is the Prayer of Saint Ephrem. One translation of it is:
O Lord and master of my life! Take from me the spirit of sloth, despair, lust of power and idle talk!
But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love to thy servant.
Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own transgressions and not to judge my brother.
For blessed are Thou unto ages of ages. Amen.
One book commonly read during Great Lent, particularly by monastics, is The Ladder of Divine Ascent, which was written in about the seventh century by St. John of the Ladder at St. Catherine’s monastery on Mt. Sinai.
Like Western Lent, Great Lent itself lasts for forty days, but unlike the West, Sundays are included in the count. It officially begins on Monday seven weeks before Easter and concludes on the eve of Lazarus Saturday, the day before Palm Sunday. However, fasting continues for the following week, known as Passion Week or Holy Week, up until Pascha or Easter Sunday.
****************************************************************************
GREAT LENT – FASTING
Those people who belong to the Church merely out of habit or out of obedience to tradition usually view Great Lent only as a time of self-restriction. Theoretically, such an attitude toward Great Lent could be called negative. One must refrain from meat and dairy products, from dances and other forms of entertainment, and at some point during Great Lent one must go to Confession and Communion.
We encounter a different attitude toward Great Lent in those who belong to the Church not through pious inertia, but who seek a faith that is conscious and aware. Such people cannot but notice that during Great Lent, first and foremost, the very style of the Church’s liturgical self-expression changes. It would be a mistake to see in this style merely an appeal addressed to us for repentance and correction, although without a doubt this enters into the thematic of the divine services during the time of Great Lent.
But the mission of the Church in the world does not consist of convicting people and calling them to correction. In principle, any one of the numerous systems of moral philosophy would be equal to such a task. Rather, the Church again and again reveals to us the fundamental truth of the New Testament revelation, which is contained in the following: To be a Christian means to experience the miracle of birth into a new life, and already here on earth to feel oneself to be a citizen of God’s Kingdom, revealed to us by Christ. In accordance with this, Great Lent is for the Orthodox Christian, on the one hand, a time of radiant sorrow, and simultaneously with this, it is a difficult journey, marked by struggle, to the shining and beautiful goal of the feast of the Resurrection of Christ–Holy Pascha.
Why have we called the time of Great Lent a time of radiant sorrow? We experience sorrow because we are conscious that we have departed from the Father’s house into a far country, that in our vain and distracted life we have not preserved the purity of our baptismal garment, in which we were clothed when we entered the Church. It is necessary to shake off that condition of numbness, those cobwebs of everyday life which suggest to us that the life of this world–which is in us and around us–is the only possible way of life. To yearn for another form of existence–the one revealed to us in the Gospel and in the experience of the saints and ascetics-means to commune with that radiant sorrow which is the beginning of spiritual renewal.
This sorrow is radiant because we know that God accepts us who return to Him with the very same love and readiness to forgive with which the father accepted and forgave the prodigal son of the Gospel parable. Therefore, this mystical union of sorrow and hope, darkness and light, becomes the central theme of the whole period of Great Lent. God made me His temple; but the temple needs cleansing and renewal, and I believe and hope that God will help me in this.
In the Vespers of Forgiveness Sunday (today), with which Great Lent begins, we hear the words of the Great Prokeimenon–words simultaneously of sorrow and hope. “Turn not Thy countenance away from Thy servant, for I am afflicted. Quickly hearken unto me, attend unto my soul and deliver it.” Great Lent lasts for forty days. The journey of the chosen people from Egyptian slavery to the promised land lasted for forty years. Christ fasted in the wilderness for forty days before He went out to His service of the Word and Sacrifice. Being sinless Himself, He gave us an example of renewal through fasting. And for us this is a forty-day journey to the light of Holy Pascha, for the feast of the Resurrection of Christ is not simply a great feast or even the greatest of all the feasts of the Church year, but is the very essence and core of our faith. Without immutable faith that in Christ we are victors, not only over sin but also over the imaginary all-powerfulness of death, the preaching of the Gospel loses its meaning–for why bother to renew and regenerate that which is in any case doomed to death, disintegration and oblivion. It is for this reason, namely, the Apostle Paul says that “if Christ be not risen, then our faith is in vain” (see I Cor. 15:14). Each word of the Christian Good Tidings lives and breathes by the miracle of the Resurrection which is revealed to us through the exercise of faith, and the light of the approaching Pascha illumines the days of Great Lent.
****************************************************************************
NEXT PIROGIE SALE: FRIDAY, MARCH 2ND – NOON to 4:00 PM
****************************************************************************
SUNDAY RADIO BROADCAST: We are still accepting donations for the RADIO BROADCAST FUND. This fund is a huge help financially to our parish. The cost of the broadcast is $650 per month. As you know, this is a financial burden on our parish, but it is an aspect of Christian love that is necessary. If you would like to donate towards this act of missionary outreach, please make your donations to ST. JOHN’S RO CATHEDRAL. Your donation will be greatly appreciated not only by our parish, but by those faithful listeners who tune in every week. No one knows when they might find themselves in this same situation – at home unable to get to church. Any and all donations will be greatly accepted in helping to carry out this act of “missionary work”. We are asking for families to come together and donate a month of radio broadcasts. Thank you for your generosity and willingness to help.
****************************************************************************
How Often Should We Receive Holy Communion?
To receive Communion the usual two or three times a year is good and helpful, but to receive Communion more frequently is far better. Remember, the nearer a person comes to the light, the more light he gets. The closer he draws to the fire, the warmer he is. The nearer he approaches sanctity, the more saintly he becomes.
In the same way, the more often one draws near to God in Communion, the more one receives light and warmth and holiness. My friend, if you are worthy to make your Communion two or three times a year, you are worthy of making it more often, as St. John Chrysostom tells us, by maintaining your own earlier preparation and worthiness. But what does stop us from taking Communion? The answer is our carelessness and laziness, and we give way to these faults so much that we are not sufficiently prepared to be able to receive Communion.
There is another way of looking at this problem, too. People like this do not, in fact, obey God’s commandment as they imagine they do. Where did God, or any one of the saints for that matter, bid us communicate two or three times a year? Nowhere is this found. Therefore we must be very sure that, when we obey a command, it is our duty to see that we are obeying it exactly as it says. That is, we must pay attention to the place, the time, the purpose, the method and all the conditions in which it should take place. Thus the good action that we wanted to perform will be perfect in every detail and well pleasing to God.
You can see that the same thing applies to the case of Holy Communion. It is both necessary and very beneficial to the soul for a person to receive Communion frequently. It is also in obedience to the commandment of God. It is a good deed well done and well-pleasing to God. On the other hand to communicate only three times a year is neither in obedience to a command nor a perfect good deed. Because it is not good in itself, its results are not good.
Therefore, like all the rest of God’s commandments, every one requires the right time, as it says in the Book of Ecclesiastes, “For everything there is a season.” This is true also with regard to the command about Holy Communion. We must receive the proper time; and that means the proper time is the moment when the priest exclaims, “In the fear of God and with faith and love draw near.”
Is this heard only three times a year? Oh, no. Yet, although everyone must eat two or even three times a day in order that the material body may live, must the unfortunate soul only eat three times a year – or perhaps even once-the food that gives it life in order to live the spiritual life? And isn’t this completely absurd? Even if this is not the case, I am very much afraid that we may be deriving no benefit from complying with the commandments, because we water them down and spoil them. So we are not keepers of the law, but breakers of the law.
PRAYERS BEFORE COMMUNION
“I believe, O Lord and I confess that You are truly the Christ, the Son of the living God, who camest into the world to save sinners, of whom I am first. I believe, also, that this is truly Thine own most pure Body and that this is truly Thine own precious Blood. Therefore, I pray Thee, have mercy on me and forgive me my transgressions, both voluntary and involuntary, of word or of deed, knowingly or unknowingly, of knowledge or in ignorance and make me worthy to partake without condemnation of Thine own most pure Mysteries, for the remission of my sins and life everlasting. Amen.
Of Thy Mystical Supper O Son of God, accept me today as communicant, for I will not speak of Thy Mysteries to Thine enemies, neither like Judas will I give Thee a kiss, but like the thief will I confess Thee. Remember me, O Lord, in Thy kingdom.”
May the Communion of Thy Holy Mysteries be neither for my judgement nor to my condemnation, O Lord, but to the healing of soul and body and life everlasting. Amen”
****************************************************************************
PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION
“We thank You, loving Master, benefactor of our souls, that again today You have counted us worthy of Your heavenly and immortal Mysteries. Set us a straight path; make us all firm in reverence of You; keep watch over our lives; safeguard our movements; through the prayers and intercession of the glorious Theotokos and ever-virgin, Mary and of all Your saints. Amen.”
****************************************************************************