St. Peter Newsletter — April 2, 2014

St. Mary of Egypt

The Fifth Sunday of Great Lent — St. Mary of Egypt

The Life of St. Mary of Egypt

Our holy mother Mary was born in Egypt. She had left her parents at the age of twelve to go to Alexandria, where she spent the next seventeen years in debauchery and the greatest profligacy. Living on charity and linen-weaving, she nevertheless offered her body to any man, not being forced to it by dire necessity as were so many poor women, but as though she were consumed by the fire of a desire that nothing was able to appease.

One day, seeing a crowd of Lybians and Egyptians moving towards the port, she followed them and set sail with them for Jerusalem, offering her body to pay her fare. When they arrived in the Holy City, she followed the crowd that was thronging towards the Church of the Resurrection, it being the day of the Exaltation of the Cross. But, when she reached the threshold of the church, an invisible force prevented her entering in spite of repeated efforts on her part, although the other pilgrims were able to go in without hindrance.

Left alone in a corner of the narthex, she began to realize that it was the impurity of her life that was preventing her approaching the holy Wood. She burst into tears and smote her breast and, seeing an icon of the Mother of God, made this prayer to her: “O Sovereign Lady, who didst bear God in the flesh, I know that I should not dare to look upon thine icon, thou who are pure in soul and body, because, debauched as I am, I must fill thee with disgust. But, as the God born of thee became man in order to call sinners to repentance, come to my aid! Allow me to go into the church and prostrate before His Cross. And, as soon as I have seen the Cross, I promise that I will renounce the world and all pleasures, and follow the path of salvation that thou willest to show me.”

She felt herself suddenly freed from the power that had held her and was able to enter the church. There she fervently venerated the Holy Cross and then, returning to the icon of the Mother of God, declared herself ready to follow the path that the Virgin would show her. A voice replied to her from on high: “If you cross the Jordan, you will find rest.”

Read the entire story on the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese website.

A Sunday of Penitence

The Sunday of St. Mary is also a reminder of the purpose of Lent: to turn away from our sins.

Fr. Thomas Hopko speaks of repentance and inner transformation in a podcast located on the St. Peter website.

 

Need Lenten Resources?

St. Mary of Egypt

An overview of services and Holy week can be found on the Antiochian website.

 

Lenten Services Next Week

All services will be held at St. Paul’s (get map) starting at 5:30pm. Services this week include:

Pre-Sanctified Liturgy on Wednesday, April 2 at 5:30pm.
Salutations on Friday, April 4 at 5:30pm.
Pre-Sanctified Liturgy on Wednesday, April 9 at 5:30pm.
Lazaras Saturday Divine Liturgy on Saturday, April 12 at 9:30am

Fr. Hans Out of Town Monday and Tuesday

Fr. Hans will be in Washington DC attending a meeting from Sunday afternoon until Tuesday evening. He will be available by cell phone.

There will be Divine Liturgy this Sunday, April 6 (his plane leaves in the afternoon).

 

Community Easter Card

Easter Card SignUp

Once again you can help sponsor the St. Peter Community Easter card.

This is a great way to offer your best wishes to other members of our parish family and support your church at the same time.

You can sign up for the card on the website or following Divine Liturgies on Sunday.

Deadline to be included in the card is April 12, 2014.

 

Palm Sunday Brunch — Please Note the New Location

Palm Sunday Brunch

Reserve Palm Sunday (April 13, 2014) for the annual St. Peter Palm Sunday Brunch to be held at the community center of Island Walk on Vanderbilt Beach Road east of I-75 (get map). We start following Liturgy at 12:30.

Our brunches and pot-lucks are good — low key with plenty of rich conversation and fellowship. Also, the food is always exceptional.

Please sign-up on Sunday after Liturgy or use the sign-up form on the website.

Island Walk requires a full guest list and we need to know how many people to prepare for so please sign up ASAP.

Also, the Town Center at Island Walk is completely smoke free (enforced) and parking is allowed only in the parking lot and on the street (also enforced).

 

We Need a Secretary/Administrator!

We need a secretary!

St. Peter's needs your help!

There is some administrative/secretarial work to do to keep St. Peter's running smoothly. We need someone to help us for the next year.

Basically it involves such things as keeping track of who does the Sunday Fellowship hour, sending out thank you notes, notifying members of board meetings, keep track of necessary announcements, that sort of thing. (Think of what Mary Copeland has been doing.)

Most of this can be done at home through email.

If you can volunteer, please speak to either Jack Long, John Hansen, or Fr. Hans.

A special thank you to Mary Copeland who has handled so much of this over the past few years.

 

Sunday Scripture Readings

Epistle

Ancient Cover for the Bible

(For the Fifth Sunday of Great Lent)

Make your vows to the Lord our God, and perform them.

God is known in Judah; His Name is great in Israel.

The Reading from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Hebrews. (9:11-14)

Brethren, when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not madewith hands, that is, not of this creation), He entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but His own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.

For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, Who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, purify your conscience fromdead works to serve the living God?

Gospel

(For the Fifth Sunday of Great Lent)

The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Mark. (10:32-45)

At that time, Jesus took His twelve Disciples, and began to tell them what was to happen to Him, saying, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of man will be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles. And they will mock Him, and scourge Him,and spit upon Him, and kill Him; and after three days He will rise.”

And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to Him, and said to Him, “Teacher, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire” And Jesus said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?” And they said to Him, “Grant us to sit, one at Thy right hand and one at Thy left, in Thy glory.”

But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” And they said to Him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized. But to sit at My right hand or at My left is not Mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John.

And Jesus called them to Him and said to them, “You know that those who are supposed to rule over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you; but whoeverwould be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be servant of all. For the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give Hislife as a ransom for many.”