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February 8, 2009 - The Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee

posted Feb 12, 2009, 9:27 AM by Arian Kulp   [ updated Feb 12, 2009, 9:37 AM ]

No Fasting this Week

Since we are quickly approaching the Lenten Fast, this week the Church gives us a week off from the normal Wednesday and Friday fasting practice.

Parish Council Meeting

The February Parish Council meeting will be on Monday, February 16, at 7PM. ALL are welcome.

Souls' Saturday Liturgy

On Saturday February 21 at 9AM, we will have a Saturday of Souls Liturgy in memory of all of the departed. If you have names of the departed that you wish to have remembered at this Liturgy, please get the list to Fr. Ignatius by email or in person.

February 22 Voters' Meeting

At this meeting after Liturgy, we hope to accomplish the following. We will vote on whether to approve taking out a mortgage for a certain dollar amount, based on our fundraising progress at that point. If we vote to approve taking out a mortgage loan, we will vote on a budget which reflects this move and the expenses associated with it. We will also discuss our priorities as far as what kind of interior renovations need to be done right away, how much we think they will cost, and what renovations can be delayed.

UI Cultural Diversity Festival

Sunday, February 22 is also the UI Cultural Diversity Festival at the Fieldhouse from 12PM-5PM. Our choir is scheduled to perform at 3:30PM. We will have a table at which we sell baked goods and possibly other foods, and have information about the church. This has been a successful outreach to the community and a modest fundraiser in the past. Coming off of such a great cooperative effort with our Evening in the East fundraiser, I hope that we can have many volunteers to make this smaller undertaking a success as well. Kristi Abuissa has volunteered to head up the organization for this. We will need volunteers to provide food, set-up the table, staff the table and take down the table, in addition to choir members to give the choir performance.

OCF Gatherings

Before Lent starts, our OCF advisor, Professor Lori Branch, is opening up her home on two Friday evenings for food and fellowship. Students are invited to the Branch/Peterson home (831 Dearborn St.) on Friday February 13 and Friday, February 27.

News on Fundraising

We have until February 20 to raise money for this Phase 1 of our Capital Campaign. For the latest up-to-date totals on our fundraising, go to our Capital Campaign page. We continue to proceed with our fundraising and to date, we have over $173,000 dedicated to the purchasing and renovation of our building. We pray that we will be in a position to complete the purchase by February 20. Our goal is $275,000.

Archdiocese Camp Scholarships

We are blessed with some wonderful Orthodox Christian summer camps in our Archdiocese, including the Antiochian Village camp in PA, and Camp St. George, right here in Iowa. Through the generosity of the Order of St. Ignatius, our parish has been offered up to $700 total in scholarship money, for children who may need some help in paying for camp tuition this summer. If your child is planning on going to one of our camps, and you would like to apply for some of this money, please let Fr. Ignatius know by February 22. The total will be divided up amongst the families of the children who will use it.

House Blessing Schedule

It is time to schedule a house blessing with Fr. Ignatius sometime before the beginning of Lent (March 1). Fr. Ignatius would like to visit as many of you in your homes as possible during this time. A sign-up sheet is posted at church. Please suggest a day and time and Fr. Ignatius will confirm if that time will work.

Daily Akathist to Continue Through February 27

The sign-up for members to pledge to pray an Akathist at home each day during our Capital Campaign will continue until February 27, our scheduled date for closing on the property, now that our deadline has been extended. Whether you sign-up to pray an Akathist or not, will you pray that God would reveal to us His plans for our location?

Book Sale to Benefit Shelter House

A book sale will be held at Hope United Methodist Church, located at 2929 E. Court Street, on Saturday, February 28, from 10AM to 3PM. All proceeds will go to benefit the Shelter House, the local temporary shelter for those who have no place to live. If you have books that you would like to donate, please contact Meg at 338-5416 ext. 112.

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.

Holy Bread and Coffee Hour

For Sunday February 15, the OCF will provide the holy bread. The Kulp family will provide the food for coffee hour. Thank you in advance.

Food For Thought

"I was staying at the beautiful little Monastery of Stavronikita [on Mt. Athos], located by the sea. One afternoon, I had the opportunity to speak in private with a venerable monk in the library of the monastery's guesthouse. At one point, I told him, 'Elder, I'd like you to teach me to pray.' With a surprised look in his eyes, he repeated my words, 'You want me to teach you to pray?'

'Yes Elder, what should I do in order to pray? What do I have to say? How should I sit?' Being influenced by Hinduism, I imagined that there must be a special method or technique.... He understood how little I knew, but he didn't show it.

'It's really quite simple, and you must approach prayer with simplicity. Just sit calmly in some corner and speak to Christ as though He were in front of you and listening to you. And He is in front of you and listening to you. Just speak to Him as you would speak to one of your friends.'

But while he was still talking, I felt as though something alien were taking hold of me and altering the state of my soul. I cut him off and told him about this change, which was preventing me from continuing and was causing me to look at him negatively....My words startled the monk....He arose from his seat and quickly left with an uneasy expression on his face. By now, night had fallen. I went to me small, solitary room, lay down, and fell asleep.

I had not been asleep for more than a couple of hours when something bearing down on my chest awoke me from sleep. I opened my eyes in fear but didn't see anything.... Nevertheless, I felt a powerful entity putting an unbearable amount of pressure on me. I cried out in my heart, 'O Christ, I can't take it anymore. Get it out of here!' Immediately, I felt the room being emptied of this heavy presence....

[That morning] I went into the monastery's courtyard, where I ran into the old monk with whom I had conversed the night before. He appeared to be very tired, as though he had been awake all night. Concerned, he lovingly asked me how I was and if I was all right. I told him I was okay now that it had left me and I thanked him- I sensed that this monk had worn himself out praying for me all night long, and that it was on account of his prayers that my evening visitor had been unable to harm me.

On the following day, I walked two and a half hours in order to see [Elder] Paisios and to tell him what had happened. Smiling, he said, 'Sit down, and I'll bring you a pistol.' He went into his cell and brought me a prayer rope... and a cross. 'Guess what?' he said laughing. 'This shoots spiritual bullets. Every time you say the prayer Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, it's like shooting at the devil, so he won't come near you. Take it, so you'll have it to defend yourself.'"

Dionysios Farasiotis, "The Gurus, the Young Man, and Elder Paisios," pp. 63-66.