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ST.MICHAEL'S HOLY GOSPEL, SERMON AND EPISTLE READING
...is to tend to the flock of our Lord Jesus Christ and to spread the Good News of Christ to those outside the flock. The mission is to be accomplished by:
The mission of the members of St Michael’s Orthodox Church is to become completely loving people.
(Luke 10:27) This will occur by the Grace of God as we strive to live holy lives, using the tools He has given us for this endeavor: prayer, fasting, charitable works, and the constant remembrance of death.
House Blessings 2019: The “Go to God” Tour
Dear parishioners of St. Michael’s,
The Great Feast of Holy Epiphany (January 6) falls on Sunday this year. Following Divine Liturgy on that day we will proceed to our usual place at the Upper Twin Lake to celebrate the Feast with the invigorating Outdoor Blessing of the Waters.
The end of this cosmic prayer marks the beginning of the House Blessing season when, ideally, the homes of all our parishioners will be visited by me. This is a daunting task, not because we are so large a parish (which we are not), but because we are typically busy citizens of the world. It is very difficult to schedule times when all family members are home but also critically more important to do just that precisely because our cultural energy is pulling us away from opportunities such as this for prayer and fellowship with each other.
This year I hope to add a bit of a thought-provoking twist to our encounters by asking you to think about what it means that we are beings who are created and called to “go to God.” Please do this little bit of homework that may add more direction and meaning to our time together.
Church Secretary Debbie has been called on to help produce the miracle of scheduling our visits before the arrival of the Triodion season ,when we begin preparing to prepare for Great Lent and Holy Pascha. This will give us about 8 weeks to accomplish this work
I look forward with great anticipation to your house blessing and our getting together.
THE RULES OF FASTING IN THE GREAT LENT
by Bishop Kallistos Ware and Mother Mary (pages 35-37)
Within this developed pattern of Lent, what precisely do the rules of fasting demand? Neither in ancient nor in modern times has there ever been exact uniformity, but most Orthodox authorities agree on the following rules:
(1) During the week between the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee and that of the Prodigal Son, there is a general dispensation from all fasting. Meat and animal products may be eaten even on Wednesday and Friday.
(2) In the following week, often termed the 'Week of Carnival', the usual fast is kept on Wednesday and Friday. Otherwise there is no special fasting.
(3) In the Week before Lent, meat is forbidden, but eggs, cheese and other dairy products may be eaten on all days, including Wednesday and Friday.
(4) On weekdays (Monday to Friday inclusive) during the seven weeks of Lent, there are restrictions both on the number of meals taken daily and on the types of food permitted; but when a meal is allowed, there is no fixed limitation on the quantity of food to be eaten.
(a) On weekdays in the first week, fasting is particularly severe. According to the strict observance, in the course of the five initial days of Lent, only two meals are eaten, one on Wednesday and the other on Friday, in both cases after the Liturgy of the Presanctified. On the other three days, those who have the strength are encouraged to keep an absolute fast; those for whom this proves impracticable may eat on Tuesday and Thursday (but not, if possible, on Monday), in the evening after Vespers, when they may take bread and water, or perhaps tea or fruit-juice, but not a cooked meal. It should be added at once that in practice today these rules are commonly relaxed. At the meals on Wednesday and Friday xerophagy is prescribed. Literally this means 'dry eating'. Strictly interpreted, it signifies that we may eat only vegetables cooked with water and salt, and also such things as fruit, nuts, bread and honey. In practice, octopus and shell-fish are also allowed on days of xerophagy; likewise vegetable margarine and corn or other vegetable oil, not made from olives. But the following categories of food are definitely excluded:
(b) On weekdays (Monday to Friday inclusive) in the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth weeks, one meal a day is permitted, to be taken in the afternoon following Vespers, and at this one meal xerophagy is to be observed.
(c) Holy Week. On the first three days there is one meal each day, with xerophagy; but some try to keep a complete fast on these days, or else they eat only uncooked food, as on the opening days of the first week. On Holy Thursday one meal is eaten, with wine and oil (i.e. olive oil). On Great Friday those who have the strength follow the practice of the early Church and keep a total fast. Those unable to do this may eat bread, with a little water, tea or fruit-juice, but not until sunset, or at any rate not until after the veneration of the Epitaphion at Vespers. On Holy Saturday there is in principle no meal, since according to the ancient practice after the end of the Liturgy of St. Basil the faithful remained in church for the reading of the Acts of the Apostles, and for their sustenance were given a little bread and dried fruit, with a cup of wine. If, as usually happens now, they return home for a meal, they may use wine but not oil; for on this one Saturday, alone among the Saturdays of the year, olive oil is not permitted.
The rule of xerophagy is relaxed on the following days:
(1) On Saturdays and Sundays in Lent, with the exception of Holy Saturday, two main meals may be taken in the usual way, around mid-day and in the evening, with wine and olive oil; but meat, animal products and fish are not allowed.
(2) On the Feast of the Annunciation (25 March) and Palm Sunday, fish is permitted as well as wine and oil, but meat and animal products are not allowed. If the Feast of the Annunciation falls on the first four days of Holy Week, wine and oil are permitted but not fish. If it falls on Great Friday or Holy Saturday, wine is permitted, but not fish or oil.
(3) Wine and oil are permitted on the following days, if they fall on a weekday in the second, third, fourth, fifth or sixth week:
- First and Second Finding of the Head of St. John the Baptist (24 February)
(4) Wine and oil are also allowed on Wednesday and Thursday in the fifth week, because of the vigil for the Great Canon. Wine is allowed - and, according to some authorities, oil as well - on Friday in the same week, because of the vigil for the Akathistos Hymn.
* It has always been held that these rules of fasting should be relaxed in the case of anyone elderly or in poor health. In present-day practice, even for those in good health, the full strictness of the fast is usually mitigated. Only a few Orthodox today attempt to keep a total fast on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday in the first week, or on the first three days in Holy Week. On weekdays - except, perhaps, during the first week or Holy Week - it is now common to eat two cooked meals daily instead of one. From the second until the sixth week, many Orthodox use wine, and perhaps oil also, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and less commonly on Mondays as well. Permission is often given to eat fish in these weeks. Personal factors need to be taken into account, as for example the situation of an isolated Orthodox living in the same household as non-Orthodox, or obliged to take meals in a factory or school canteen. In cases of uncertainty each should seek the advice of his or her spiritual father. At all times it is essential to bear in mind that 'you are not under the law but under grace' (Rom. 6:14), and that 'the letter kills, but the spirit gives life' (2 Cor. 3:6). The rules of fasting, while they need to be taken seriously, are not to be interpreted with dour and pedantic legalism; 'for the kingdom of God is not food and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit' (Rom. 14:17).
of St Michael’s Orthodox Church members
is to become completely loving people.”
“Jesus answered and said, ’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’” - Luke 10:27
“Loving” is a word that is just as startlingly impossible for us to wrestle with as was the “completely” before it. While the lawyer quoting the Law in St. Luke’s Gospel account is able to quote the letter of the law and the primacy of the commandments to love God and neighbor, he, like most of us, falls woefully short of truly comprehending, let alone living, those commandments. Yet we may discover that the simplicity of the reality is as stark as our inability to live it.
Without using any of the words we might expect regarding love, in this Bulletin I’ll use just one — BIG. Starting from the God end of things, we might say that God is BIG. He is BIGger than anything imaginable. He is BIGger than anything unimaginable. His BIGness ‘beyond measure’ makes perfectly good sense as God ‘exists,’ God IS, before anything else IS. Anything that He creates is within Him Who occupies and fills every corner of infinite space and time, even before space and time exist, and is, therefore, ‘smaller’ than Him. (All these words are totally inadequate to this little writing about God, as are any other of the representational tools to which we humans have access.)
So maybe the ‘loving’ we’re called to become in our mission statement might well be described in the words of a hymn that many of us learned as children — “He’s got the whole world in His hands. He’s got the whole, wide world, in His hands. He’s got the whole world in His hands. He’s got the whole world in His hands.” And as He made the whole thing, which means everything that exists, His BIGness is His love and Love is all that He is, as revealed in the pre-eternal Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As no thing does not fit in His hands, as no thing is outside of His hands, then His BIGness is the love that embraces everyone and everything all the time, even when some of the everyones, made to be BIG like Him, decide to play small. >>>=====> >>>=====> >>>=====> >>>=====> >>>=====> “Playing small” could be a definition of what it means to be fallen and sinful, a status we arrived at in the Fall of Mankind in the Garden of Eden. When we play small we abandon the BIGness endowed by God to us in our creation. We bury our BIGness, a formidable accomplishment, under an ever-thickening, yet illusory, mantle of smallness, exchanging the BIGness in us for our own self-designed, scaled down version of humanity. We no longer see ourselves as BIG (Godlike/loving), but small (petty, self-centered, hateful, legends in our own minds, abandoned, fending for ourselves at each others’ expense).
So, how do we regain our BIGness? How do we fix ourselves and become completely loving people? We don’t. We can’t. We don’t need to. Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ, the BIG God and the BIG Man has done that for us. He has dug into the depths of our tiny, fallen souls, and restored the BIGness that was lying hidden and dormant under the façade and lie of smallness.
Yes, that is BIG of Him — to restore in us who follow Him, His BIGness which He gave to us in our creation and He now restores in us through the waters of the baptismal font and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. But we have a dilemma. Our fear that we really are small continues to nag and haunt us and tempts us to fall back into the lie that we are small.
We need not worry. God continues to give us every opportunity to once again experience His BIGness in ourselves — to become, by His Grace — as BIG as He is. He does this by including in the flow of life challenges that give us opportunities to exercise our BIGness against our seeming smallness. Our egos must be wrestled with. Our self-interest must be battled. Our pride must brought to its knees. And this is just the kind of warfare we’re built for. Let us give Him a BIG “Thank You” and promise to fight to let His BIGness be known wherever we go through our BIGness.
God made us BIG.
We forgot and got small.
Get BIG Again!
On Tuesday, March 26th the Antiochian MEN will prepare a free meal for the benefit of people in our community. There are at least two ways in which you may participate in this charitable activity. The first is to come and help with the planning and execution. The second is to support the event financially. Donation may be given to Gus Flizanes. Anyone who would like to support “Food on the Hill” in whatever capacity you would like should contact Gus Flizanes.
Those who attend our “Food on the Hill” luncheon are also the same people who make use of the generous donations made to “Caleb’s Cupboard,” (which is located at the front entrance of the church). If everyone brought in one item of canned food, or a paper or hygiene product, it would keep Caleb’s Cupboard full so that there is something for those who attend “Food on the Hill” each month. The participants are most grateful for the continuous generosity of food, fellowship and donations. Thank you to the parishioners who consistently give of their time, their culinary skills, their financial and material donations to make these ministries possible.
"Food On The Hill" WEATHER CANCELLATION POLICY - When weather causes Hempfield or Greensburg Salem School District to close for the day; "Food On The Hill" will NOT serve lunch that day! Please refer to TV & Radio Newscasts when in doubt. Thank You!
St. Michael’s Financial Summary
Year to Date as of June 30, 2018
This Year Last Year Budget
Income $146,899.53* $143,463.83 $139,219.96
Expenses $186,696.72 $172,432.35 $185,922.78
Net Loss $(39,797.19) $(28,968.52) $(46,702.82)
*Does not include bequest of $107,718.33
Address questions to Christian Sam or Jeff Curry.
PATHS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
“He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” Psalm 23:3
Paths of Righteousness is a hiking group forming at St. Michael’s under the leadership of Pete Papas and Fr. Sam Smolcic. The group will embark on wilderness hikes of 5 to 7 mile length on Saturdays (or on Sundays when hours of daylight permit) on established trails in Westmoreland, Fayette, Somerset and Cambria counties. Fr. Sam has extensive experience on these trails and will be choosing routes of easy to moderate difficulty. He has perhaps 20 or so different hikes in this region in his repertoire, all of which inspire praise to our Lord, “whose Name is majestic in all the earth.” (Psalm 8:9) Hikers of both genders are welcome, with the only requirement being that they be fit enough and able to do the hike. Also, hikers with First Aid experience will be cordially welcomed to participate. Hikes could take place approximately once every 6 weeks and could run from April to early October. Please contact Pete Papas in person, by phone
(412) 558-1246, or by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in becoming a part of this outdoor fellowship of those who are moved to “praise the Lord from the heavens... praise Him in the heights.” (Psalm 148:1)
Post-Presanctified Liturgy Soup and Bread
Sign up sheets are posted on the Fellowship Hall Bulletin Board.
Each volunteer is asked to bring
ABOUT BISHOP THOMAS
You May Find the Text of the Divine Liturgy beginning on the bottom page 91 of the Service Book (gold embossed cross on the reddish brown cover) or in the green-spiral-bound book; sheet music can be found in the 8.5” x 11” large, spiral-bound booklet.
At the Kiss of Peace,our practice is for each of us to greet the person to our right and left with the bowing of our head, hands held in a prayerful clasp or crossed on the chest, while offering each other the Christian greeting, “Christ is in our midst!” and responding, “He is and shall be!”
Please remember that Holy Communion is reserved for those Chrismated Orthodox Christians who have appropriately prepared themselves through prayer, fasting and Confession to receive the Holy Mysteries of the Church. The bread (anti’doron, which means ’in place’ of the gifts) which we share after Communion and at the end of the Liturgy is for all.
Being mindful we are in church, let us always remember to…
...be quiet and attentive.Let us sing, pray, stand., sit, kneel and respond where responses are indicated. Let us not talk, look around, text message, play games, etc. Especially let us work at this in the Communion line and when in line to venerate the Cross and depart. If we cannot hear the post-Communion prayers being chanted during our departure, we are way too noisy.
...refrain from eating, drinking or chewing gum (most obviously and especially if you will be receiving Holy Communion).
...stay put. Except in rare cases, there are few of us who cannot stay in one location for two hours (usually less, for most of us).
The complete text of the Great Vespers and Matins services for each Sunday may be retrieved and printed from the Antiochian Archdiocese website at http://www.antiochian.org/content/online-liturgical-guide
3 DAY CALENDAR
Saturday, March 23rd
9:00 AM - DIVINE LITURGY
5:00 PM - Chant Rehearsal
6:00 PM - GREAT VESPERS
Sunday, March 24th
10:00 Divine Liturgy
11:20 Church School
Friday, March 29th
At Antiochian Village — March 29-31
Antiochian Women Lenten Retreat
MARCH IS ANTIOCHIAN WOMEN’S MONTH
Date Reader Offering Takers
March 17 Connie Volchko Laura Nicholas
March 24 Joyce Eger Christine Mansour
March 31 Valerie Flizanes Jill Crowe
PARISH COUNCIL MINUTES
CLICK HERE for January 2019 Parish Council Minutes
CLICK HERE for December 2018 Parish Council Minutes
CLICK HERE for November 2018 Parish Council Minutes
CLICK HERE for October 2018 Parish Council Minutes
CLICK HERE for September 2018 Parish Council Minutes
CLICK HERE for August 21 2018 Parish Council Mimutes
CLICK HERE for June 19th 2018 Parish Council Minutes
CLICK HERE for March 27th 2018 Parish Council Minutes
CLICK HERE for Church Audit Report
CLICK HERE for January 23rd 2018 Parish Council Minutes
CLICK HERE for January 28th 2018 Parish Council Minutes
CLICK HERE for March 1st February Parish Council Minutes
We are seeking additional parishioners to provide the Holy Bread for Divine Liturgy service during the coming year. We have some open Sundays on the 2019 schedule, so please let Debbie know as the schedule is being done now. You do not have to make the Holy Bread, but can make a donation. Please consider this special way to remember your departed and to honor your living family and friends.
Important “House-Keeping” information and requests:
#1) We have recently changed all of the outside locks to our building.
So, if you have a key to the church,
it will no longer work.
Contact Fr. John if you have a need for key replacement.
#2) Please review your personal contact information that was listed in the Parish Directory that was mailed out to all of St. Michael’s parishioners at the end of 2018. If you have a new cell phone, landline, email, or address change, we ask that you please provide it to the Church Office, so that our database can be updated. Our contact information is only as good as it is provided to the office for our records.
#3) Reminder that hospitals no longer contact the church if a parishioner is admitted. It is the responsibility of the parishioner to contact Fr. John or the Church Office if you are admitted to the hospital. This is due to privacy regulations.
PLEASE INFORM THE CHURCH OFFICE if your child will be attending
Highlights of Upcoming Events
DATES AND EVENTS
Tuesday, March 26 — Food on the Hill
Friday, March 29, to Sunday, Mar 31
Sunday, March 31 Easter Bake Sale — Last day to order
Friday, April 12, to Sunday, April 14
Saturday, april 13 10:00am to 12 Noon — Bake Sale Order Pick Up
Sunday, April 14 — Sarris Candy Order Delivered;
Friday, May 24, to Monday, May 27 Family Camp
Tuesday, June 4 - SAVE THE DATE!
June 26 - June 30
July 21 - July 28
(Fellowship of Orthodox Christians United for Service)
FOCUS Pittsburgh is collecting clothes (clean and in good condition, please) for the very, very needy people (many homeless) in the Hill District neighborhood of the city. Clothing including coats, jackets, sweaters, trousers, shirts, blouses and other tops, shoes, handbags, gloves, scarves, etc., are all gratefully received and appreciated.
There is a drop-off area at the top of the stairs at the main entrance for those who would contribute. The contact person for this project are Marilyn Elias.
We are seeking new members who would be interested in learning how to prepare the Memorial Wheat. We have a group of women who currently fulfill this important function and are willing to teach anyone who may be interested in becoming part of this ministry team. For more information, contact Val Flizanes or call the church office.
The big chest you see as you come through the main entrance of our church, is a simple way to help our hungry neighbors. Just bring in a few cans of food or other unperishables when you come to church and you will making a difference for someone.
Please check that the goods you bring are “reasonably” close in time to the expiration date. (While we know the food lasts longer than that date, it is not always easy to tell how much longer.)
IOCC SYRIAN RELIEF UPDATE
Thank you to everyone who contributed to the success of this year’s Syrian Relief Dinner back on March 4. Net proceeds of $37,129 were sent to IOCC which mean the Syrian people received $260,000 in leveraged aid through this effort.
For information on IOCC and how to become part of the worthwhile work being done, visit www.iocc.org.
Please CLICK HERE for the form to provide us with your information. Or, see the form on the new back page of the weekly bulletin. We want to serve you better and we need your help. Please understand that we will protect yur privacy from the standpoint of the church. We will not show or distribute your email address!
March 10th Attendance ~
- Calendar: Check out what's scheduled this month including weekly services, meeting, fasting dates, events etc.
- The Holy Gospel: This weeks reading
- The Epistle: This weeks reading
- Weekly Announcements: Keep in touch with all of the happenings of St. Michael's, the services, events and more
- 2010 Graduates
- Church School: Orthodox Institute for Christian Education
- Administration: Names, phone numbers and email addresses for Father and Parish Council
- Illumination Project: Learn how you can be a part of beautifying St. Michaels and who to contact
- Photo Album: Pictures of Services and events at St. Michael's
- About Orthodoxy: Articles about the faith
- You Tube: Watch St. Michael's and other Orthodox events on You Tube
- Facebook: St. Michael's Main Page, Church School Page
- Ancient Faith Radio: Listen to music, listen to discussions or play the radio itself
- The Word: Read The Word Magazine online - "NEW EDITION!"
- History and Founders: The History and Founders of St. Michael's
- Print and read the weekly Bulletin or monthly Newsletter
- Driving Directions: If you need to know how to get to St. Michael's...Find out how here
- Contact Us: Direct questions to Father, individuals on Parish Council or general questions St. Michaels