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Church Bulletin: March 24, 2013

posted Mar 23, 2013, 8:10 PM by Saint Raphael of Brooklyn Antiochian Orthodox Church
March 24, 2013- Sunday of the Triumph of Orthodoxy (1st Sunday of Lent)
This Week's Services and Events
Mar 25, Monday
        + 3rd Hour Prayers, 9AM
        + Father's Office Hours, 9:15AM-11:30AM
        + Vesperal Liturgy for the Annunciation, 6PM
Mar 27, Wednesday
        + Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts, 6PM, followed by Lenten Soup Supper
Mar 28, Thursday
        + OCF Compline with discussion following, 7PM
Mar 29, Friday
        + Matins, 8:30AM
Mar 30, Saturday
        + Teen SOYO service project at Crisis Center, 10AM-2PM
        + Catechumen Class, 4PM
        + 9th Hour and Great Vespers, 6PM
Mar 31, Sunday, Sunday of St. Gregory Palamas
        + Matins, 8:45AM
        + Divine Liturgy, 10AM, followed by coffee hour and Sunday School
        + Book Group discussion, "St. Seraphim of Sarov", 3:30PM (at church)
        + Pan-Orthodox Vespers and Supper, 5:30PM at St. Raphael Church
Upcoming Events and Announcements
Vesperal Liturgy for Feast of the Annunciation-
          Since the Feast of the Annunciation falls on a Monday this year, we are not able to have a Vesperal Liturgy the night before (Sunday evening) as we often do. The reason for this is that there is a church canon which states that two liturgies can't be served on the same altar on the same day. Therefore, this year, we will have a Vesperal Liturgy for this feast on Monday evening, March 25.
Catechumen Classes-
        Fr. Ignatius is leading a six week series of catechumen classes at 4PM on Saturdays beginning March 23. All are welcome to attend whether or not you are a catechumen.
Two Potlucks on March 31-
        On Sunday March 31, we will have a parish-wide potluck following Liturgy, as it is the 5th Sunday of the month and we do not have a food team assigned for that day. In addition, we are hosting visiting clergy and laity from area Orthodox churches for Pan-Orthodox vespers at 5:30PM that day. Following vespers, we are providing another potluck meal so that our guests will be fed before returning home. Please consider participating in both of these potlucks. Perhaps making a double batch of whatever you plan to bring would be the simplest solution. That way, we will have some for both after Liturgy and after vespers.
Slight Change at the "Kiss of Peace"-
        There is a portion of the Liturgy called, the "kiss of peace" during which the priest turns to the people and says "Christ is in our midst!" and the people respond with "He is and ever shall be!" According to a directive from Metropolitan Philip, we ought to now be responding with these words, "He was, and is, and ever shall be." Following this exchange of greetings, we have greeted each other with an embrace and kisses on the cheeks of those we are standing near. Metropolitan Philip states that a handshake is also an acceptable greeting at this point.
Thank You-
        Thank you to Karen Kuntz for sewing a new purple covering for the proskomedi table which sits to the left of the altar.
The Church Always Needs Olive Oil-
        Especially during this season of many services, we use a lot of olive oil in the various oil lamps which burn before our icons and on our altar. The church will gladly accept any donations of olive oil for this purpose. Regular grade (not extra virgin) olive oil is preferred (and less expensive too!)
Rough Draft of Church Directory Available at Church for Corrections-
        A printed rough draft of our new church directory is available for you to look at in the narthex. Please check out your listing and make sure it is correct. The directory will go to the printers soon.
Upcoming Teen SOYO Activities-
        On Saturday March 30 from 10AM-2PM, our teens will be volunteering at the Crisis Center's food bank. On Monday April 8, at 6:30PM, they will gather for their book group and a dinner.
Thoughts of the Antiochian Orthodox Metropolitan of Argentina on Pope Francis-
        Metropolitan Silouan, the head of the Antiochian Orthodox Church in Argentina, the same country where the new Pope Francis is from, was in Rome recently at the Pope's inauguration. At the following site, Metropolitan Siouan shares his thoughts on the new Pope and his recent private audience with him. http://araborthodoxy.blogspot.com/2013/03/met-siluan-mucis-meeting-with-pope.html
On the Frequency of Receiving the Eucharist-
        "We must not avoid communion because we deem ourselves to be sinful. We must approach it more often for the healing of the soul and the purification of the spirit, but with such humility and faith that considering ourselves unworthy...we would desire even more medicine for our wounds. Otherwise it is impossible to receive communion once a year, as certain people do...considering the sanctification of heavenly mysteries as available only to saints. It is better to think that by giving us grace, the sacrament makes us pure and holy. Such people manifest more pride than humility...for when they receive, they think of themselves as worthy. It is much better, if, in humility of heart, knowing that we are never worthy of the holy mysteries, we would receive them every Sunday for the healing of our diseases rather than, blinded by pride, think that, after one year, we become worthy of receiving them."- St. John Cassian
        During Lent, the Church asks us to abstain from meat (with the exception of fish on March 25 for the Annunciation and April 28 for Palm Sunday) until Great and Holy Pascha, May 5. Shellfish are OK. The full Lenten fast also includes abstention from dairy, eggs, oil and wine (oil and wine are permitted on the weekends). Fast as you are able with these standards being the goal. Exceptions can be made for those who are very young, very old, ill, pregnant, nursing, or infirm. If you have any questions about fasting, please ask Fr. Ignatius. May our fasting from certain foods help us to find some humility as we struggle to fast from sin.
The Lenten Prayer of St. Ephraim-
        O Lord and Master of my life,
Take from me the spirit of sloth, meddling, 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 sins and not to judge my brother,
For Thou art blessed unto ages of ages. Amen.
Almsgiving (Food For Hungry People Program)-
        Along with fasting, prayer and repentance, almsgiving is one of the pillars of the Lenten time. Look for ways to be generous with others and let your giving be as anonymous as possible. One easy way to give something to those in need is to participate in the Archdiocesan Food For Hungry People Program which collects money for all of the Antiochian parishes and gives it to various programs that serve the hungry. Look for collection boxes at church in the narthex.
Repentance and Confession-
        Lent is the perfect time to make a confession. If it has been awhile since your last one, don't let another Lent go by without making one. This is medicine for our souls. Take advantage of what God has to offer through His Church- the forgiveness of your sins. If you have never made a confession, or if you have any questions about how to prepare for one or what takes place during a confession, feel free to speak with Fr. Ignatius. He is available after Saturday vespers, at the end of Sunday matins (right before the beginning of Liturgy) or other times by appointment if you would like to schedule a time to receive this sacrament.
Lenten Pan-Orthodox Sunday Vespers-
        As has been the tradition for several years, we are invited to attend vespers at various Orthodox churches in Eastern Iowa on Sunday evenings during Lent and in turn, we will be hosting clergy and the faithful from these churches at St. Raphael. Each vespers service begins at 5:30PM and is followed by a fellowship meal provided by the hosting church. The remaining schedule is as follows:
March 31- St. Raphael of Brooklyn Antiochian Orthodox Church, Iowa City (722 E. College St.)
April 7- St. Elias the Prophet Greek Orthodox Church, Dubuque (1075 Rockdale Rd.)
April 14- St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, Cedar Rapids (3650 Cottage Grove Ave. SE)
April 21- St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, Waterloo (613 W. Fourth St.)
Lenten Wednesday Evenings-
        On Wednesday evenings during Lent, we gather for the Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts at 6PM. Following the service, we will share a simple lenten soup supper. There is a sign-up sheet posted in the narthex so that people can sign-up to provide the meal each week.
Would You Like to Learn More About Lent?-
        Our Archdiocese has created an informative section on their website to help us better understand the season of Lent. Check out: http://www.antiochian.org/lent
Ground Level Front Door Available to Use Again-
        The ground level front door to our church, to the right of the elevated porch, is now able to be used again. The sagging overhang above has finally been repaired.
Charitable projects-
        Many, many thanks to everyone who has helped (and is still helping) with the cookbook. We're hoping to have copies in hand by late April. We are also planning to participate in the Iowa City Farmer's Market, hopefully once a month from May to October. We'd love to see many people involved, as it will be lots of fun. If you're interested, contact Amy Spencer, Tania Van Dinter, Karen Kuntz, Alli Rockwell, or Father. Lotion bars will be available soon in the church bookstore too.
Do You Have a Prayer Request?
        Please give it to Fr. Ignatius and he will distribute it by email to all those on the Prayer Chain. If you wish to join the Prayer Chain, please let Fr. Ignatius know.
Choir Leadership-
        During the weekend of March 30-31, the choir will be lead by Matthew Arndt.
Coffee Hour-
        On Sunday March 31, the food for coffee hour and the clean-up of the fellowship hall will be provided by all who bring food to the potluck.
Holy Bread-
        On Sunday March 31, the holy bread will be provided by the Abuissa family. Thank you in advance. Anyone can sign up to provide holy bread for future liturgies. Look for the sign-up sheet in the narthex.
Church Cleaning-
        During the week of March 24-30, the cleaning of the nave, narthex, bookstore, stairs, nursery and bathrooms will be accomplished by the St. Raphael team.
Food for Thought-
"Dialogue with an Athonite Elder on Fasting"
Mount Athos...
A fragrant-smelled saint-walked land. Strewn from end to end with the relics of the saints. A meeting place of the descendants of Adam with their forgotten Creator. Here man is trying, he is struggling. God is constantly being offered. The same with man. Athos is a Holy Altar, a place of sacrifice. You move forward and the soul breathes. Every meeting is a spiritual education. You throw your nets and fish for spiritual food from the seas of paradise.
Bless Elder.
"The Lord bless you, my joy."
Are you on Mount Athos for many years?
"I've been here for sixty years, but what is sixty years to God; it is a breath.
Elder, I would like you to tell me a few things about fasting.
"In order to say something you must experience it, you must live it. Only one who was born near the sea or is a seaman can speak of the sea. But I will be obedient to your will and tell you what the Fathers said who were friends of fasting."
Elder, is fasting the aim?
"Fasting is not the aim, but the means towards it. See, it was your aim to come to Mount Athos, it was your destination. The boat which brought you was the means by which you arrived. Such is fasting; it is one of the means given to us by the love of God to crave for Him. God is our destination."
When did fasting appear?
"Fasting is commingled with humanity. In Paradise it was given to man by God, says Basil the Great."
But why did God give fasting? To reduce man?
"No, in order to free him! The Sacred Chrysostom writes that when God created man He took him and placed him in the hands of fasting, which is an affectionate mother and excellent teacher. He entrusted it for his salvation. Though fasting is a teacher, it does not limit but it cultivates man."
Is fasting necessary, Elder?
"Chrysostom will again reply to you: 'If fasting was necessary in Paradise, it is much more necessary outside of Paradise. If medicine was useful before an injury, it is much more useful after an injury.' Do you understand?"
"Fasting was given in Paradise as a precaution to not fall. Since man fell it is given therapeutically."
Then what is the purpose of fasting?
"Fasting withers evil desires, says Saint Maximus the Confessor; and Saint Symeon the New Theologian says it softens our hearts. Through fasting every good work is accomplished and perfected, says Saint Gregory Palamas. For all these reasons Sacred Chrysostom confesses his love for fasting: 'I love fasting, because it is the mother of wisdom and the well of philosophical acts.'"
How should we fast?
"Fasting is a means and spiritual tool which is not limited to food, but the entire man must participate in it psychosomatically. Listen to what John Chrysostom says: 'Do you fast? Give me proof of it by your works. If you see a poor man, take pity on him. If you see a friend being honored, do not envy him. Do not let only your mouth fast, but also the eye and the ear and the feet and the hands and all the members of our bodies. Let the hands fast, by being free of greed. Let the feet fast, by ceasing to run after sin. Let the eyes fast, by disciplining them not to glare at that which is sinful. Let the ear fast, by not listening to evil talk and gossip. Let the mouth fast from foul words and unjust criticism. For what good is it if we abstain from birds and fish, but bite and devour our brothers?'"
How do we bite and devour our brothers?
"With slander and criticism, which proceed from the lack of love for our brother."
Thank you, Elder. You have benefited me much.
"May we thank God for enlightening our saints."
Your prayers.
"Go in goodness, and may the Grace of God cover you, the Panagia protect you, and the saints accompany you. And don't forget that fasting is primarily to hunger for God!"