From Heaven to Earth, from Earth to Heaven: Our Lord’s Holy Nativity
From heaven to earth a great peace and love shall come our way. What we experience in the very depths of our souls is the result of a two-way action on the part of our loving God. Our fathers, the saints and the martyrs, have passed from this earthly existence to heaven because our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ came to earth from the heavenly realm to save us and lead us to His Kingdom.
The time before Nativity is a time for all to pray and fast, go to Confession, take Holy Communion, and to think about how we are to celebrate this great and holy feast day. All of heaven rejoices at the marvel of the Lord’s Incarnation. Just think what a blessing, what great kindness, and what an unsurpassable act of love it is that the Mighty Lord God came, and still comes, to earth from heaven to guide us on the path towards our salvation. As the Lord comes to us while we are still on this earth, we must surely wonder how we should draw near to Him. Do we come to Him with the same love that He is offering us? Or will we be so busy trying to purchase gifts and spending so much time at holiday gatherings that we forget that a Holy, Mighty, and Immortal God is being born for our sakes?
We remember from the Holy Scriptures how our Lord Jesus Christ was born and lived among us. As He began to teach the multitude of people who came to Him, they were amazed at what He said and felt blessed just to be in His presence. They learned that all anyone had to do was to receive His great blessings. Healing was done by simply touching the hem of His garment in faith. Those who truly hungered listened to every word of love He offered. They received His words and believed in them as an act of faith in a new life and in the hope that the way to heaven was open to them. It is just the same for us! Our Lord Jesus comes from heaven to save us on earth and to show us the way back to heaven and eternal life with Him. Let us think about the Three Wise Men who journeyed long and far before they arrived at the place of our Lord’s Holy Nativity. What wonder, peace, and joy they must have felt as they knelt in prayer and offered their gifts. Think about the fact that in their presence was a great holiness and that salvation and love for all of mankind has come!
What shall we do as pious and Orthodox Christians in response to our Lord’s Holy Nativity? Like the Wise Men, will we also kneel in prayer and offer our glory and honor to our Lord God? Will we go to church for the beautiful vigil services and Holy Divine Liturgy and sing with the choir: “Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace and good will among men?” This is what we should do! Do not be late for the Holy Nativity services of our Lord, as by arriving too late we miss out on the great love offered to us. Yes, it is alright to prepare your festival dinner and have your family and relatives with you. But at the same time do not forget the great feast that is being celebrated in our Holy Churches.
Prepare yourself and your beloved family so that you all may give that which is truly due to our God, all honor and worship, and let us receive our Lord Jesus Christ with true humility and love. And there is one great gift He wants from us, that we should love Him and desire to seek Him spiritually, preparing ourselves to go from earth to heaven.
Because of what we have experienced throughout our lives, our souls desperately need the blessings of our Lord God. We can receive all of these spiritual rewards during the Nativity Fast, and on this great Feast Day in prayer. Thereafter, at this Holy Feast let us busy ourselves with the Lord, drawing near to Him, seeking Him, remembering we need to cleanse ourselves from any sins we have committed; we must keep ourselves pure in mind, heart, and soul! Our spiritual peace with our Lord God should be to love our New-Born Savior, and be wrapped up like a gift in His love for us. So finally our tears will be no more as we have a new hope and a new peace in the realization that as pious and Orthodox Christians we can indeed behold heaven on earth!
+ Rev. Dr. Emanuel S. Chris, M.D., M.Div.
Dr. Mary Despina Lekas Endowment Fund News
Financial Report for the period ending (October 30, 2015)
Endowment Fund Portfolio: $728,793.20
Endowment Fund Checking Account: $5453.28
Donor( s) for the current period:
Additional donation in Memory of James Limperis (died 10/20/15) to the Endowment Fund:
M/M Emmanuel Mihailides
In Memory of Anastasia LeClair (died 10/30/15) donations to the Endowment Fund:
Billie Jo, Michele & Irving Lagasse
In Memory of Angelo Maintanis (died 11/18/15) donations to the Endowment Fund:
M/M Stanley P. Brown, Jr., Mary Ann Ciano, M/M Gregory G. Demetrakas, M/M Michael Haveles, John Haveles, Julie Karahalios, Peter Leasca, Marshall Electric Co ( Mary Soares) Jean Mihelakos, M/M George Nonis, M/M Michael Papigiotis, M/M Steven Richard, M/M William Rougas, M/M Albert Scappaticci, M/M Richard Sipka, Starkweather & Shepley, Michael Tsapakos MD, M/M Peter Vassilopoulos, Weiss Sheet Metal & Carol Xanthakis
May the Spirit of the Christmas Season Peace and Joy Be With You Always
Your Endowment Fund Committee
We wish to thank and acknowledge the recent donation of services and some 75 fixtures for the up-grading of our security and fire alarm system at the Mihailides Center by our parishioner Richard Cragin and his Ocean State Alarm Company. We thank as well Christopher Love (husband of our parishioner Andrea Bobotas) for filming and producing our 30th Anniversary Cranston Greek Festival DVD in which he used a drone that captured breathtaking views of our property. (If you missed seeing the video—it is posted on U-Tube). Thank you as well to the Arthur Rosaki family for their donation of a large supply of Christmas themed cookies for general use here at up-coming functions and events.
DECEMBER STUDY OPPORUNITIES
Two week Bible Study Series on the theme “”Preparatory Readings for the Nativity” offered by Holy Cross Graduate Emile Sarkis (M.Div)—Thursday Dec 10 & 17 from 7:30-9PM.
Orthodoxy 101 Series (with Fr Andrew) for those desiring to enter the Orthodox Church (as well as those born in the Orthodox Church) which reviews the basic history, teaching & life of Orthodoxy will be held on—Mon, Dec. 14th, Tues, Dec. 15th, Mon, Dec 21 & Tues, Dec 22, from 7:30-9:00 pm.
Please register thru the parish office (401)-942-4188.
Michael DiMucci Christmas Concert—Fri Dec 18
A benefit concert for the Faith Nursery School will be held in our Mihailides Center’s Demetrakas Hall by well know RI musician Michael DiMucci at 7PM. Tickets are $20 per person. Michael has performed in both large and small venues including Linden Place, Blithewold Mansion, Mount Hope Farm, the Odeum Theatre, The Dunes Club. He has been a regular guest artist at URI’s Opera Workshop and has performed many lead tenor roles. This event is open to the public.
COOKIE WALK AT ST MICHAEL’S—Sat Dec 19
St Michael’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church at 74 Harris Ave / Woonsocket is hosting their annual Cookie Walk (of specialty cookies, cakes, pies and more) on Sat Dec 19 from 9am-Noon / $9 per pound. For per-orders of 5 pounds or more call 508-883-7176.
A BYZANTINE CHRISTMAS—CHANTS & GREEK CAROLS—Tues Dec 22
The Greek Institute presents this concert—directed by Dr. Spyridon Antonopoulos Tuesday, December 22, 8pm being held at the First Church Cambridge, 11 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA. www.psaltikon.org,
To purchase tickets, contact the Greek Institute, P: 617-547-4770 E: email@example.com, $20 adults, $7 students/seniors.
2015 PLEDGE PROGRAM REPORT
We have to date 411 parishioners with a total pledge of $214,047.00
The Actual Amount Received is $197,539.07
Since our last newsletter, the following pledges have been received for 2015:
Karen Bablenis, M/M Anastasios Barakos, Dimitri Benekos, M/M John Bunch, M/M Dean Christelis, M/M Dean Costakos, Christina DiDino, M/M Christos Dimos, Stephan & Gail Erinakes, M/M George Fidas, Joann Spires Fay, Georgia Fortunato, M/M Theodoros Fotopoulos, William Frangos, Vasilios Harritos, Olga Haveles, M/M George Kollitides, Niki Kyrou, Demetra Lambros, M/M Vasilios Malatos, Dolly Mnyarji, Dr. & Mrs. Craig Nichols, M/M John Politis, M/M Michael Rawlinson, Constantine Scapinakis, M/M Stephen Sterpis, Linda Takoudes, M/M Ed Tarbox, M/M Christopher Tribelli, Stephanie Turini, Jason & Jennifer Wheatley, M/M James Xiarhos, Kathy Xiarhos, and Gregory Zervos.
Young Adult League (YAL) Elects
President: Alexis Harritos
V-President: Anthony Pappas
Co-Treasurers: Anthony George & Christopher Mitrelis
Secretary: James Harritos II
All young adults are invited to attend Sunday gatherings following Liturgy over coffee in the parish library as activities are planned out, then posted on the Yal Face book
Dennis Psilopoulos, age 70, of Johnston, RI on 11/6/15. His funeral and burial was held on 11/12/15. Angelos Maintanis, age 92, of Cranston, RI passed away on 11/18/15. His funeral and burial was held on 11/23/15. Aristide Stephanopoulos, age 89 of Pawtucket on 11/22/15. His Funeral and burial on 11/27/15. Also– Fr Emanuel’s aunt (Vassiliki Nikolaidou) in Mytilene, Greece (his mother’s sister), the mother of our parishioner Arthur Kazianis (Georgia) age 93, passed away in Greece. The father of our parishioner Eleni (Nacos) Xiarhos (James) passed away in MD.
~May Their Memory Be Eternal~
THE FINANCIAL CORNER
We have been in need of using festival profit for the general budget to the extreme which is very unfortunate ($158,500 this 2015 year). Our Stewardship giving is down as concerns the number of people participating. General expenses for the operation of the parish should come from the stewards of the parish and not the visitors to the festival. We thus ask the non-pledging communicants of our parish to be faithful, regular and generous in the annual pledge drive as well as their regular attendance on Sundays and Holy Days with candle offerings and the trays.
Total Envelopes $ 0.00
Sunday collections $3,910.00
Special Fund Raisers $ 100.03
Special Contributions $1,691.16
Sundry Receipts $ 5.00
Hall Rentals $1,100.00
TOTAL REVENUE: $15,240.16
Pastoral Expenses $11,446.77
Administrative Expenses $ 9,439.45
Building & Grounds $ 6,246.84
Mortgage Loan $ 4,725.90
Social Function $ 1,338.00
World Mission Ministries $ 4,366.67
Music & Worship Ministry $ 2,875.21
Education Ministry $ 5,505.87
Utilities $ 770.32
Parish Center $ 269.00
Youth Ministry $ 802.50
Hall Rentals $ 320.50
TOTAL EXPENSES: $48,107.03
“Good Habits Formed at Youth Make all the Difference”
Goya Elects Officers
Co-Presidents: Christian Mitrelis & Athena Sampalis
Co-Vice Presidents: Aris Degaitas & Sophia Sarkis
Treasurer– Alexis Arsenis
Corresponding Secretary—Constantine Coclin
Recording Secretary—Katherine Mitrelis
Annunciation Athletics Program 2015/2016 Basketball League
We have officially started the season any and all information pertaining to the basketball program can be found on the AAP website: Riaap.wordpress.com if you have further questions feel free to contact Stephen Sterpis 401-226-3116.
Family Outing—LaSalette Shrine Monday, Dec. 28th
Join us on December 28th at 3:30 for our trip to LaSalette Shrine sponsored jointly by Goya & the Parish Council and open to all. $5 for children age5 and under $10 for ages 6 and up. Portion of proceeds will be given to LaSalette Shrine. Hot chocolate will be provided. A bus is reserved so we can travel together as a group. We will also stop at Bliss Ice Cream afterwards. RVSP with CJ Mitrelis at 401-632-8752.
The following was sent out by Megin Detomasis, one of the Faith Nursery School Staff—the group that is renting space here at our Mihailides Center
I got side tracked watching the events from Paris unfold. I just kept thinking to myself as a parent, what kind of world are my children growing up in? Most importantly how do we prepare our children for these kinds of challenges? What I can tell you is this. At the heart of what we do everyday at Faith Nursery school is to help children learn to care for one another. We want them to know that God made everyone different, yet we are all sharing the same world. For them their world is just a small classroom, but it is a start. We want them to know that their actions good or bad, have consequences on other peoples feelings. We teach them to use their strong voices because what they have to say matters. We teach them to ask God to watch over us and help us to use kind words and kind play…very useful tools.
PHILOPTOCHOS ANNUNCIATOR DECEMBER, 2015
VASILOPETA LUNCHEON – Our Annual Vasilopeta Luncheon will be held on Sunday, year’s event once again is Kate Silva. Save the date and further details will be announced. January 17th, immediately following Divine Liturgy. All proceeds from this Luncheon are for the benefit of St. Basil’s Academy which is a National Obligation of each Philoptochos Chapter in the country. Chairing this year’s event once again is Kate Silva, Roula Proyous and Eleni Trikoulis.
MEMBERSHIP –STEWARDSHIP– Now is the time to think about your stewardship to Philoptochos for the 2016 year. Please send your stewardship to the Church Office, attention Philoptochos – Mary Samaras. When doing so, please keep in mind that $15 per capita is sent to the National Philoptochos and $5 per capita to the Metropolis Philoptochos. Thank you.
SISTERHOOD OF ST. BASIL’S – For just $5 per year, you may support the Sisterhood of St. Basil’s Academy which assists the children residing at the Academy. Please send your check to the Church Office, attention Philoptochos – Carol Rothemich. Thank you.
THANK YOU-to all who in any way supported our Annual Greek Food Fair Bazaar. Once again it was an overwhelming success. Final figures will be announced in January.”
“A Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year. Merry Christmas to all!!!”
GEORGIA PAPPAS, PRESIDENT
KAREN DRAGER, CORRESPONDING SECRETARY
Christmas Decorations Needed
Each year, various Christmas decorations are needed to decorate our Church. These are most often donated by individuals. If you would like to donate any of these items, listed below, please call our parish office at 942-4188. All items are to be reserved through the office and not through any particular florist. Needed are: (Prices listed are estimates only in some cases). Poinsettia Plants (large) $35.00 each (6 needed); Icon Floral Frames – 2 large ($50.00 each) for the Nativity and 2 large for the Epiphany; Candelabras – 2 for the Epiphany ($50.00 each). Holy Water bottles (for Epiphany-Jan 5 & 6) approximately $375.00.
Christmas Gifts from our Bookstore
As you shop for gifts for loved ones, keep in mind that our parish bookstore has a good variety of items for children and adults. Our stock includes: CD’s, study bibles, icons, vigil lights, hand censers, prayer ropes, and many, many books on a variety of religious themes, both in English and in Greek.
The Children Of St. Basil’s Academy Need Your Help!!
Please Support Our Vasilopeta Luncheon
Let’s Put a Smile on the Children’s Faces…
Date: Sunday, January 17, 2016
Place: Mihailides Center
Time: 11:30 AM
DONATIONS: $10.00 Per Person
ALL DONATIONS WILL BE APPRECIATED
Call: Kate Silva 946-1935
Roula Proyous 781-8567
Eleni Trikoulis 944-4530
STEWARDSHIP MESSAGE GIVEN IN CHURCH NOV. 22, 2015
Your stewardship committee meets the first Tuesday of the month…and there are ten members on the committee. Our main purpose is to generate active participation in the pledge program and to encourage parishioners to give of their time and talent. It has not been an easy task. Year after year our pledge program fails to meet our annual budget and we have to rely on proceeds from the festival to make ends meet. Our concern is that some years our festival has not generated enough because of poor attendance, mostly due to poor weather, to supplement our bills and keep us financially healthy.
We have approximately 550 potential donors in our church—we have received 400 pledges to date. We estimate that there are 100-150 who have not pledged. Some of our pledges are individual donors, some are married households donors, some are parents with children donors, some are elderly, some are retired and some are young adults attending college. Some are struggling to give what they can and some of the 550 don not contribute at all. Some only donate the year they have a wedding or a baptism and then never pledge again until another child is born.
It is up to us—who are part of the pledge program to keep our church functioning. We thank God for all of you who so tirelessly give not only monetarily but also give of your time and talent. Your committee is doing it’s best to try to bring more parishioners into the program, to help those of us who are giving regularly. Many times those who are regular pledges forget to send in their donation and we have to struggle to take from Peter to pay Paul…as they say. Please if you have—pledged this year and have forgotten to send in your pledge, it will be appreciated if you can send it in as soon as you are able. One year Lisa and I had sent in our pledge card in January and completely forgot to send our donation in….we remembered in August when a reminder was sent to us……..and we’re the stewardship chair people!!! We know it happens!!
We have placed a stewardship table at the back of the church—as a reminder to all. On the stewardship table we have added a suggestion box. We welcome any of your suggestions or ideas as to how we can reach out to those who are not in our pledge program. Your suggestions will be very much appreciated. Also if you have any questions about finances or programs please submit your questions on the card provided nd place it in the box. It is not necessary to add your name. I will be checking the box regularly and a response will either be given personally, if you add your name, or if you wish to remain anonymous, a response will be addressed in the monthly Annunciator.
It is so difficult to come before you and ask for your continued help…it seems today you can’t go shopping without sales people asking for a donation for some worthy cause. We can’t support everything but this is your church…it is your home…it is your guarantee that it will be your home for eternity…there’s no other worthier cause than that!!! The holidays are coming…it’s a joyous time of year…we are thankful for all that the Lord has provided us…we pray that you and your family will not forget Your Church when counting your blessings!
National Philoptochos Children’s Medical Fund Donates $20 ,000.00 to Hasbro Children’s Hospital Providence, RI
The most critically ill children admitted to Hasbro Children’s Hospital occupy beds in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), which consists of two suites of eight rooms each. Loved ones are allowed to stay at their child’s bedside but families need to retreat, eat, shower and recharge. The PICU family room has not been renovated since the hospital was built in 1994. The grant will assist with the renovation project including reconfiguring the current room to create a suite of new spaces that encourages use by multiple families. Family members will have a redesigned space that serves as a haven for those whose children are critically ill and having to spend time in the intensive care unit. “A home away from home that delivers comfort, solace, brightness and warmth during a difficult time.”
Other recipients of funds raised from the luncheon were awarded to: Bayside Pediatric Endocrinology, Springfield, Mass., Camp Sunshine at Sebago Lake, Inc. Casco, Maine, Cooley Dickinson Hospital, Northampton, Mass., Health Imperatives, Inc., Brockton, Mass., Julia’s Wings Foundation, Sherman, Conn., Matthew’s Hearts of Hope, Sherman, Conn., Mount Auburn Hospital, Cambridge, Mass., New England Disabled Sports (Neds) Lincoln, NH., Umass Memorial Children’s Medical Center Palliative Care Program, Worcester, Mass.
Attending the Oct. 31st luncheon in Boston from our parish were: Georgia Pappas, Bessie Papigiotis, Anna Demetrakas, Josie Aliferakis, Diane Mitrelis, Angela Provost, Koula Rougas, Roula Proyous, Elizabeth Degaitas, Marianne Phelan, Mersine Florio, Stella Vassilopoulos, Maria Zaharakos, Helen Argeris, Mary Quinn, Eleni Pappas & Mary Samaras.
Sponsors for the Children’s Medical Fund Luncheon from our parish
Good Samaritan Philoptochos Society for $1000.00; Michael & Bessie Papigiotis for $250.00; Gregory & Anna Demetrakas for $250.00; Andrew & Diane Mitrelis for $250.00; Marianne Phelan for $250.00; Harry P. & Demetra Hoopis for $250.00; Kathleen Trambukis Coyne for $100.00 and Dr. Eleni T. Pappas Zervos for $100.00.
Donations for the Hospitality Baskets for guests staying in Hotel:
Anna & Gregory Demetrakas donated 100 manicure kits and 100 silk pouches. Bradford Soap Works, Inc. (West Warwick, RI) donated 250 bars of soap for the Hospitality Baskets. Demetri and Valerie Sampalis donated 4 cases of Dunkin Donuts Coffee for the Hospitality Baskets. Bessie Papigiotis—Co-Chaired the Hospitality Committee along with Helen Quinn Argeris and Georgia Pappas.
CHRISTMAS CYCLE OF SERVICES
Thur. Morning Dec 24 – Royal Hours (no communion) – 9:30am
Thur. Evening – Dec 24 – Vesper/Liturgy – 6PM (with caroling afterwards)
Fri Morning Dec 25 – Nativity Orthros – 8:15am
Nativity Liturgy – 9:30am