Parish Bulletin December 2-9, 2017

Parish Bulletin December 2-9, 2017

NOVEMBER 20/DECEMBER 3, 2017
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26TH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST TONE 1
Forefeast of the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple. St. Procius, archbishop of Constantinople.
EPISTLE: Eph. 5:8b-19; Heb. 7:26-8:2 GOSPEL: Luke 12:16-23; John 10:9-16
NATIVITY FAST: Fish, wine and oil allowed.
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SCHEDULE OF SERVICES
Sun., Dec. 3: MATINS – 8:00 AM DIVINE LITURGY – 9:30 AM
LITIYA FOR:
Louise Bazink by friends Mat. Martha Ermakov by Ted & Serge Chwastiak
Calliope Trent by Dr. & Mrs. Peter Pavuk Sandra Bazink by Nathaniel & Alexa Suchniak
Michael Paserp by daughter, Irene Coggins Lubov Paserp by daughter, Irene Coggins
VIGIL – 4:00 PM
Sun., Dec. 4: THE ENTRY OF THE MOST HOLY THEOTOKOS INTO THE TEMPLE – DIVINE LITURGY – 9:30 AM
LITIYA for Tamara Mareski by her family
Sat., Dec. 9: CONFESSIONS – 3:30 PM GREAT VESPERS – 4:00 PM
Sun., Dec. 10: MATINS – 8:00 AM DIVINE LITURGY – 9:30 AM
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EVENTS:
Sun., Dec. 3: NO COFFEE HOUR due to hall rental on Saturday night
Mon., Dec. 4: RELIGIOUS EDUCATION CLASSES – 6:00 PM
Wed., Dec. 5: CHOIR REHEARSAL – 7:00 PM
Thur., Dec. 6: POTATO BALLS – 5:00 PM
Fri., Dec. 7: PIROGIE PROJECT – 8:00 AM (We are asking for a good turnout of workers for this project. We need to make at least 10,000 pirogie for the Christmas Sale! The Bazaar cleaned us out – we have no pirogie to sell! Please come and help us with this project for the holiday sale. We’re getting orders already – we don’t want to disappoint our customers. Thank you!
Sun., Dec. 10: COFFEE HOUR – Lillian Shust & Joyce Walsh (food) – Mat. Larissa (coffee) LENTEN
POTATO BALLS – during Coffee Hour
Mon., Dec. 11: PIROGIE PROJECT – 8:00 AM
Fri., Dec. 15: PIROGIE SALE – Noon to 4:00 PM (If you need pirogie for your holidays, purchase them at this sale. Orders are
Being taken for frozen, uncooked only! Fried will be sold on a first-come-first-serve basis.)
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ALTAR FLOWERS: God’s blessings upon all ST. JOHN’S PARISHIONERS by anonymous. MANY YEARS!
TABLE OF OBLATION: IMO HENRY & MARIAN WILCHA by Ron Wilcha & family. MEMORY ETERNAL!
ALTAR VIGILS: IMO TAMARA MARESKI by her mother & family. MEMORY ETERNAL!
ETERNAL LIGHT: IMO RUSSELL LUTZ by Fred & Dolores Lutz. MEMORY ETERNAL!
HIGH PLACE: For the health of FRED LUTZ by Tanya Sorochka, Dcn. Nathaniel, Mat. Larissa & sons. MANY YEARS!
ICONOSTAS VIGILS: For the health of JOAN BEAL. MANY YEARS!
ST. MICHAEL’S BASKET: IMO MICHAEL MOSLEY, SR. & MICHAEL MOSLEY, JR. by Ron & Ellen Zeshonski. MEMORY ETERNAL!
FEAST DAY ICON WREATH: IMO TAMARA MARESKI by her family. MEMORY ETERNAL!
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DECEMBER RADIO BROADCASTS: IMO TAMARA & JOSEPH MARESKI, SR. by Rose & family. MEMORY ETERNAL!
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SEMINARY COLLECTION: For many decades, our parish has held a special collection for our Orthodox seminaries. The collection takes place on Thanksgiving Day and continues until the end of the year. The Tuesday following Thanksgiving has now been designated as “Giving Tuesday” – a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Giving Tuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving. Dcn. Michael Pavuk, the new Director of Development at Holy Trinity Seminary informed us that every $7,000 received by Holy Trinity Seminary will be matched by a generous benefactor! This is truly a wonderful opportunity for our seminary. If you did not turn in your seminary envelope as of yet, please do so as quickly as possible in order for Holy Trinity to benefit from this generous individual’s offer. If you would rather make your contribution on line, you may do so by going to the seminary’s website, Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary. On the website you will find a short video entitled, “Forged by Fire.” Please watch it — hopefully, you will be moved and inspired to help Holy Trinity by donating generously to this cause. Remember, the seminary teaches and trains the future clergy of the Orthodox Faith.
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GARDNER’S CANDY: The Youth Group is once again selling this delicious candy as a fundraiser for their organization. The profits from sales such as this benefit all of the children of our parish. Today is the deadline for orders. Please give Karen Tomanchak your order forms. Thank you! IDEA: If you are having a difficult time finding gifts for friends, neighbors, colleagues, etc., consider bundling a box of candy, a loaf of bread or a lottery ticket or two, with the adorable Christmas trees we are selling. These miniature European trees are the perfect gift for someone on your list! Cost is $12 each or 2 for $20. They are now
available for purchase at the church.
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“JANUARY” LOTTERY tickets are now available at the candle desk in the church vestibule. Tickets win on the DAILY 3 NUMBER pulled at the evening lottery. Cost per ticket is $5 for the entire month of January. Prizes awarded are as follows: Mon. thru Sat. – $25/Sunday – $50 Special Prizes: January 7 (Russian Christmas) – $100. January 14 (Russian New Year) – $50.
Please support our parish by purchasing some of these tickets – they make great stocking stuffers/gifts for your neighbors, paper delivery persons, mailmen, handymen, etc.!
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300 CLUB WINNERS – 11/26/17: $50 – #316 – MAE ; $25 – #53 – RSC; $25 – #425 – Dave Bernosky
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DONATIONS REQUESTED: Anyone willing to donate towards the following for the period of the Nativity Fast as an act of almsgiving may do so by contacting Fr. John or the sextons: Altar Candles – $65 each; Wine – $50 case; Incense – $40 lb; Oil – $40.
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JANUARY 2018 DAILY NUMBER RAFFLE: If you were kind enough to take these chances to sell, please make returns to Tanya Sorochka or Joan Zaleski as soon as possible. Your help in selling these tickets is greatly appreciated! Proceeds from this fundraiser goes towards our parish’s Diocesan Dues. Thank you for your help!
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FLOWER CLUB: Joyce Walsh & Susan O’Brien would like to close the books for 2017, however there are several members who have not paid for this year’s Flower Club, as of yet. If you have any questions about the status of your club, please call Susan at (570) 876-3463 or Joyce at (570) 876-1191. Also, talk to them about joining the 2018 Flower Club. Let’s keep this custom of putting beautiful floral arrangements on the Altar by joining the 2018 Flower Club. Cost is $36 per membership. We are attempting to initiate a new system for members — there is now a SIGN-UP SHEET for your weeks of commemoration in the church vestibule by the candles. Please help us continue this beautiful tradition by signing up and becoming a member of the 2018 Club today. Thank you.
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FLORAL BASKETS FOR FEAST OF THE NATIVITY: If you are interested in donating one of the large floral arrangements or a spray above the iconostasis for our church for this glorious Feast, please contact Mott or Gary.
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Orthodox Homily on Advent

The Nativity Fast is a period of abstinence and penance practiced by Eastern Orthodox Christians and other Christian denominations in preparation for the Nativity of Christ. The Eastern fast runs for 40 days instead of four or six weeks and thematically focuses on
proclamation and glorification of the Incarnation of God.
One of the most beautiful times of the year is this holy season of preparation for God’s Incarnation that we call the Nativity Fast. The title refers to a common theme of the Scriptures and the Orthodox Faith, that of readiness to meet the Lord when He comes again. This theme of the Second Coming, the meaning of the word, Advent, means “coming,” is also part of the Church’s teaching on Christ’s Incarnation-in-the-flesh, and so, is particularly poignant during this season of preparation. The theme of watchfulness to meet the Lord is based on Christ’s Parable of the five Wise Virgins from Matthew 25, who in contrast to the five foolish virgins, keep their lamps lit.
The early Church lived in a constant state of alertness, readiness, to meet the Lord at His Second Coming, putting Christ first and before all things the world offers. Our Orthodox forbearers knew that at any moment they might be arrested, tortured, and martyred.
Christ having ascended in glory, we now live in the last epoch, that is, “the last days.” We who are here today are even closer to that final day that will begin the day that has no end, which is the heart of the message of every Vespers where we sing the Gladsome Light. We’re called to live with eternity before our eyes, to put away the temporal distractions that lull us into spiritual slothfulness so that we can be ready for the Day of Christ’s Second Coming, the day without no end. Advent is never just about looking to the past; it is also always a looking forward to that second Advent, that of Christ’s glorious Second Coming. St. Cyril of Jerusalem writes, “We do not preach only one coming of Christ, but a second as well, much more glorious than the first. The first coming was marked by patience; the second will bring the crown of a divine kingdom.”
That we may be ready when Christ comes again and make the most of this holy season in spiritual preparation for “the Winter Pascha,” Holy Nativity, we’re called to vigilance in how we live our lives—now, how we prioritize our life in Christ in His Church—now. Our Lord Jesus Christ is concerned that we be watchful, “awake”, alert, to the needs of our souls, of our need for life with Him because He knows and reveals to us that this is the difference between true life and a living death. Do we know and are we in communion with Him who is Life itself or do we preoccupy ourselves with the things of this world to the neglect and lethargy of our eternal souls?
During Advent, we’re called to heed the prophets’ warnings, to rouse ourselves from spiritual lethargy, and renew our zeal for life with God, the only true life. St. Paul admonishes us in Ephesians 5:14, “Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” This is the choice before us: life with God or death without God. The fast is given to us that we may learn to choose the true life in Christ over life lived in and for the impulses of the flesh.
Modern man is particularly challenged to keep these words of spiritual action because we so easily live in the relative comforts and distractions of our work-a-day world, where we seek to surround ourselves with material safety, which serves to ‘numb’ the hunger of our souls for more of our life-source for whom we are created, God, our Creator and Savior Jesus Christ. Most of the time, people don’t ‘appear’ to ‘need’ God because their days are filled with such distraction and entertainment; their physical or material needs are met and they live in relative ease.
Repeatedly, Christ’s Gospel calls on the faithful to “redeem the time, because the days are evil.” People walk around, busy in their lives, and forget God. Evil ensues, by definition. Without God, evil happens. Where God is, there is true love, light, peace, truth. Where He’s forgotten, there’s no accountability or bounds to human behavior. We’ve seen how this plays out writ large in the events of the 20th century and, now, sadly, continuing to our own day. As Fyodor Dostoyevsky puts it in Brothers Karamazov, “If there is no belief in the immortality of the soul, then everything is permissible.” (Youth of the Apocalypse, p. 20).
For this reason, St. Paul warns us, saying, “Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.” We are returning to a pagan era, but not one that is as “religious” as pagan Rome. Instead, “religion” comes in a new guise, that of secular humanism and nihilism, which prides itself on being “free” of the constrains of the religions of the past, and yet is, ironically, enslaved to its own false belief that mankind is always improving itself and that each generation is wiser and more “evolved” than the one that came before—a dangerous precedence that can lead us to repeat the evils of the past in prideful reliance on self and evolving ‘morality’.
Because God loves us to such a great extent, more than you and I can fathom, He warns us, beckons us, to redeem the time, that is, to learn to number our days, to make use of them for repentance, to shake off our spiritual lethargy, to flee from the immorality around us, to ready ourselves for His awesome and glorious Second Coming.
To do so, it’s incumbent on us to continue to become more and more Christ-minded; so much so that we turn to Christ whenever we sin, and then, whenever we’re tempted, and then, whenever and at every time and season as we progress in the life in Christ. It’s not man that saves man, no government, so society, no so-called ‘progress’; it is God alone who saves mankind and calls him back to His first beauty through the life in Christ and communion with the Holy Trinity.
Every Advent is a call to spiritual ‘arms’: Redeem the time, love the people of this fallen world enough to hold up to them the truth of Christ, a life of repentance; confess the vices and sins that the world no longer has known to confess. Speak the truth in love and strive with all your heart to live out that truth of Christ in your daily life. Model the faith humbly, vulnerably, to all those around you. Share with others, all skeptics, those who have given up on the Church, the godless following the way of the culture and its secularism and hedonism, the truth of what Christ God is doing in your life, forgiving, healing, renewing you, giving you joy grounded in Him who is Eternal Life by virtue of His Incarnation, life-giving death and resurrection in the flesh.
Make Christ God your priority this holy season as we prepare for His Holy Incarnation: pray, fast, rejoice, share the Good News of Christ’s coming, redeem the time. As you do so, you are also doing what is necessary to prepare for Christ’s Second Coming as well. Keep before you the words of St. Paul, “Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”
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