St. Peter Newsletter December 6, 2016 — Sunday of the Forefathers, St. Panteleimon Visits St. Peter’s, Christmas Schedule, 2017 Calendars,…more

Sunday of Forefathers of Christ

The Ancestors of Christ

The Ancestors of Christ

On the Sunday that occurs on or immediately after the eleventh of this month, we commemorate Christ’s forefathers according to the flesh, both those that came before the Law, and those that lived after the giving of the Law.

Special commemoration is made of the Patriarch Abraham, to whom the promise was first given, when God said to him, “In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed” (Gen. 22:18). This promise was given some two thousand years before Christ, when Abraham was seventy-five years of age. God called him and commanded him to forsake his country, parents, and kinsmen, and to depart to the land of the Canaanites.

When he arrived there, God told him, “I will give this land to thy seed” (Gen. 12:7); for this cause, that land was called the “Promised Land,” which later became the country of the Hebrew people, and which is also called Palestine by the historians. There, after the passage of twenty-four years, Abraham received God’s law concerning circumcision.

In the one hundredth year of his life, when Sarah was in her ninetieth year, they became the parents of Isaac. Having lived 175 years altogether, he reposed in peace, a venerable elder full of days.

Source: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese website

Christmas Worship Schedule

The Nativity of Christ

Christmas worship is different this year because Christmas falls on a Sunday. The schedule is:

  • December 23 (Friday) Nativity Royal Hours 9:00am
  • December 24 (Saturday) Nativity Eve Divine Liturgy 9:00am
  • December 24 (Saturday) Great Vespers 6:30pm
  • December 25 (Sunday) Nativity Divine Liturgy, Hours 9:00am, Liturgy 9:30am

St. Panteleimon Blesses St. Peter’s

On Sunday, November 27, 2016 the icon of St. Panteleimon behind the altar began exuding oil. It lasted for one day although some oil is still fresh in the left side of the cross near St. Panteleimon’s ear. The oil began exuding during the Divine Liturgy although no one noticed it until the Liturgy was complete. A parishioner with an ear problem was scheduled for prayers immediately following the Liturgy so when the oil on the icon was discovered, it was used in the annointing.

St. Panteleimon Exuding Oil

St. Panteleimon Exuding Oil

We’ve Entered the Christmas Fasting Period

The Christmas fasting period runs from November 15 to December 24. Guidelines for proper fasting during the Christmas fast can be found on the Antiochian Archdiocese website.. Look at the schedule, conform to the fast as you are able, and if you have questions consult Fr. Hans.

Fasting is important but sometimes circumstances require adjustments to the directions. We are not bound to directions (fasting is voluntary) but we should not use our liberty as an excuse for slackness or negligence either.

Why fast? It helps us focus on Christ more in our interior lives. As we learn to master our interior life, our exterior life changes for the better too. We fast faithfully and in secret, not judging others, and not holding ourselves up as an example.

From the Antiochian Archdiocese Website:

The Purpose of Fasting

The purpose of fasting is to focus on the things that are above, the Kingdom of God. It is a means of putting on virtue in reality, here and now. Through it we are freed from dependence on worldly things.

  • Fasting in itself is not a means of pleasing God. Fasting is not a punishment for our sins. Nor is fasting a means of suffering and pain to be undertaken as some kind of atonement. Christ already redeemed us on His Cross. Salvation is a gift from God that is not bought by our hunger or thirst.
  • We fast to be delivered from carnal passions so that God’s gift of Salvation may bear fruit in us.
  • We fast and turn our eyes toward God in His Holy Church. Fasting and prayer go together.
  • Fasting is not irrelevant. Fasting is not obsolete, and it is not something for someone else. Fasting is from God, for us, right here and right now.
  • Most of all, we should not devour each other. We ask God to “set a watch and keep the door of our lips.”

Do Not Fast

  • between December 25 and January 5 (even on Wednesdays and Fridays);
  • if you are pregnant or nursing a newborn;
  • during serious illness;
  • without prayer;
  • without alms-giving;
  • according to your own will without guidance from your spiritual father
 

Stewardship Letters in the Mail

Responsibility towards God includes taking responsibility for His Church. We love God because He first loved us. He established the Church as His body, as the way we find Him and draw closer to Him. We are responsible for maintaining it so that the work of Christ can continue in the world. That’s how it works.

You will be getting letter next week asking for your commitment to St. Peter’s. Prayerfully consider your support of St. Peter’s. The Church is not a charity. The Church is the Body of Christ. It needs to be high on our list.

 

Christmas Season Food Drive for NAMI

NAMI Logo

Every Christmas season St. Peter’s runs a food drive for NAMI (National Association for Mental Illness)serving local people in need. NAMI helps people with serious and persistent mental illnesses, as well as their parents, children, spouses, siblings and friends.

St. Peter’s has contributed to NAMI emergency food bank care for six years. Donations go to the Sarah Ann Drop In Center in Naples, FL. Three categories of items are needed:

  1. Canned and dry goods
  2. Toiletry articles (The small hotel type items work very well)
  3. Diabetic foods

Bring them to church and we will get them to NAMI. The drive will run through Christmas.

 

2017 Liturgical Calendars Available

Pick up yours at Church. One per household please. What constitutes a household? If you have kids in college and want to send them a calendar for example, that would count as another household. So go ahead and send it.

If we have any left (we ordered 100) we can move to more than one per household.

The calendar is attractive and useful. It lists the Saint for each day, the scripture readings, fasting schedule, and more.

Toys for Tots Continues Until Christmas

Toys for Tots

The drive for Toys for Tots leading up to our St. Nicholas Pot Luck was successful and we have decided to continue it another few weeks. Please bring an unwrapped toy to Church and we will make sure it gets to the people who give it to needy children.

Music from Archdiocese Teens

Grace Shining Forth

Grace Shining Forth, a beautiful Music CD featuring our teens singing hymns of the Orthodox Church was just released. Sales of this CD provide scholarships for our teens to participate in the Youth Music Ministry (YMM) of the Sacred Music Institute (SMI) held each year.

You can hear a sample of the music and order a CD on the Teen SOYO website.

 

Choir Practice on Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Choir practice this Tuesday, December 6, 2016.

Bible Study on Wednesday, December 14, 2016 at 7pm

Bible study also this Wednesday, December 7, 2016.

Calendar At A Glance

Choir Practice every Tuesday at 6:00pm and Bible Study every Wednesday at 7:00pm unless cancelled as noted below. Divine Liturgy every Sunday at 9:30. Extra services noted below.

  • November 15 – December 24 Christmas Fast Period
  • December 11 (Sunday) Women’s Group pepares Parish Christmas Card during social hour
  • December 23 (Friday) Nativity Royal Hours 9:00am
  • December 24 (Saturday) Nativity Eve Divine Liturgy 9:00am
  • December 24 (Saturday) Great Vespers 6:30pm
  • December 25 (Sunday) Nativity Divine Liturgy, Hours 9:00am, Liturgy 9:30am
 

Wisdom From The Elders

The only valuables on earth are good works done for Christ: these win us the grace of the Holy Spirit.
—St. Seraphim of Sarov

What is the sign to a man that a certain sin is forgiven? The sign that a sin is forgiven is that the sin does not generate any activity in your heart and that you have forgotten it to such a degree that, in conversation about a similar sin, you do not feel any inclination toward that sin, but rather consider it something totally foreign to you.
—Venerable Isaiah the Recluse

Try not to skip your prayer rule, morning or evening. But if you skip it sometime for some reason, especially if it is due to circumstances beyond your control, do not be upset, but humbly reproach yourself for your weakness; for self-reproach is an unseen ascent, while getting upset, in the words of Elder Ambrose, is not listed anywhere in the virtues.
—St. Nikon of Optina

If you want the Lord to be merciful to you, always repent, be merciful to the suffering, and comfort them. “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7).
—Archbishop Seraphim (Sobolev) of Bogucharsk

Prayers that are offered up to God remain behind closed doors if they do not contain love, for only love can open the doors for prayer.
—St. Ephraim the Syrian

A monk also asked Sisoes: How can I attain humility? The saint replied: When someone learns to acknowledge every man as being better than himself, then he has attained humility.
—St. Sisoes the Great

 

Remember in Your Prayers

Mary
James
Lori
Baby Kyriake
Maximos
Marian
Photini
Nicholas
Brad William
Ryan
Sarah
Robert Jarvis
Petronia (Wife of Phil Pappas)
Anna Marie Smith Baker
Harry Zifiris
Iris Kuring (Bettina Zifiris' mother)
Constantine Houpis
Gerhard Kuring (Bettina Zifiris' father)
Ron Chromulak
Beverly Chromulak
Katerina
Dianne
Loucine Kassis
Mary Kassis
Baby Maximus
Annette Star
Christine
Maria
Claire Livaditis
Eva Chandilles
Baby Dani
Scott Nedoff
Anthony Mourgis
John Hansen
Constandina James
James Hord
Bob Smith
Tom and Jean, parents of Patty and Jerry.

How should we pray for the sick? Remember them daily. Say their names (first names are sufficient) and ask God to bestow mercy and grace on them.

Add or remove names and print this list for easy reference during your prayer time on the St. Peter website.

 

Sunday Readings

Christ Giving Blessing

Epistle

For the Holy Forefathers

Blessed art Thou, O Lord, the God of our Fathers.
For Thou art just in all that Thou hast done for us.

The Reading from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Colossians. (3:4-11)

Brethren, when Christ, Who is our life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these, the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience. In these you once walked, when you lived in them. But now put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and foul talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old nature with its practices and have put on the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator. Here there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, but Christ is all, and in all.

Gospel

For the Holy Forefathers

The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke. (14:16-24)

The Lord spoke this parable: “A man once gave a great banquet, and invited many; and at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come; for all is now ready.’ But, one by one, they all began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it; I pray you, have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them; I pray you, have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ So the servant came and reported this to his master.

Then the householder in anger said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and maimed and blind and lame.’ And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges, and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.”