LENTEN PASTORAL MESSAGE FROM FR ANDREW
I greet you with words of encouragement that this Great Lenten Season may be a bless-ing to you and your loved ones as we seek to grow in Christ.
The Old Testament book of Genesis states that God created man then He breathed life into him. He gave Him a body then a soul. A current church author, Nicholas Cabasi-las, states that “there is nothing more sacred than humanity”. For only humanity was created in His image and likeness of God and was given the privilege to know God.
Humanity was also endowed with inner reason, and free will. Animals react to their needs out of instinct. When they are hungry they kill to eat. But humans also experi-ence these same feelings and emotions but when we utilize reason and logic we control these feelings rather than, them controlling us. This is what distinguishes us from the rest of God’s creation.
The various stories in the news are frightening. They bring before us examples where humanity acts like an animal carrying out atrocious acts against their brothers and sis-ters and not simply in far away lands but in the USA as well. How alarming and sad.
God created us both with body and soul. We are a physical and a spiritual reality. Our society seeks to impress upon us the importance of the outer person, the body. There are so many diets to make us look fit. Cosmetics to make us look young. Yet all of that remains behind when our earthly days end.
Our Orthodox tradition, although acknowledging the importance of the body as “the temple to the Holy Spirit’, it goes on to teach us that the soul is more important. We become like God when the soul, when reason, has control over the body, over the pas-sions. We know many times what is the right thing to do, yet doing it is so difficult. We know what we must do to please God yet to actually do it seems so impossible.
Yet we also know that with God, nothing is impossible! Lent connects us to God more completely, so that we can grow in our Christian experience by nurturing the soul.
St Paul reminds us today in (Romans ch13:11) You know what hour it is, how it is full time now, for you to wake from sleep… the night is far gone, the day is at hand.
St. Paul also exhorts us: to cast off the works of darkness and to put on the armour of light, to walk honestly as in the day, fleeing drunkenness, debauchery and the lusts of the flesh. Paul links this theme of the flesh to the theme of fasting. One person believes that he may eat all things; another eats only herbs. Let not him that eats despise him who does not, and let not him who does not eat, judge him who does. Who are you to judge another? Both you and he are dependent on the same Master.
We need to remember my beloved that:
The fast of the church is actually the APPLICATION OF DISCIPLINE.
Fasting is not prescribed by the Church to make people suffer. But, rather to aid the Christian to control the body, their life and the passions of life.
We fast from various foods, yes, simply to let our spiritual mind control our physical self.
We must also fast from sin of word, deed and thought, of what is seen, read, heard and spoken. Year round of course > Lent is sort of a “reminder” or, a renewal if we had eased off in our general food fasting.
The gospel for the liturgy, taken from St. Matthew (6:14-2 1), quoting Jesus, opens with the precept of forgiveness:
“If ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
The fact that the Church has chosen this saying to introduce the gospel for the day before Great Lent begins, shows that she intends to make forgiveness the dominant theme as we enter Lent.
The Bible in fact is filled with numerous verses on this topic of forgiveness, knowing that for some people, it is hard to do.
Thus various exhortations are given on the topic and the importance of forgiveness:
I Cor 13:5—Love does not keep a record of wrongs
Col 3:13—Bear with each other & forgive whatever grievance you may have against one another.
Romans 13:8—We owe no one anything, except to love one another.
Truth he said– life does have it’s hard moments and friction between people, casual friends and even direct family members, from time to time.
Even Christ was betrayed by one of His Apostles.
So yes—from time to time, we might be hurt by someone’s actions, But what we do with that hurt, is more important than the hurt itself.
The first step is to let go of the lingering resentment, don’t ruminate over it; pray for that person who hurt or betrayed you (realizing that at another time and situation, you may have hurt someone as well).
Forgive and don’t hold a grudge. Forgiving will set you free! It is in essence, de-ciding that the other person, or that particular event, no longer has power over you.
Forgiveness in essence is ultimately, a sign of strength; Christian empowerment! Christ clearly taught forgiveness and numerous Saints present it as well in their writings. I share one example—from the writings of St. John of Kronstadt:
“Love every person in spite of his falling into sin. Never mind the sins, remember that the person is still the image of God. Other people’s weaknesses strike us, but we too are not without evil — perhaps, even there is more in us than in others. At least in respect to sin, people are equal: ‘For all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God.’
Therefore, besides loving each other, we must bear with each other, and pardon each other, in order that we also may be forgiven. Therefore, with all your soul, honor and love in every person the image of God, not regarding his sins, for God alone is holy, God alone is without sin, and see how much He loves us, how much He has created and still creates for us, punishing us mercifully and forgiving us so abundantly. Honor the person also, in spite of his sins because he can always amend.” (1908 AD)
Beloved in the Lord— Great Lent is upon us once again! It is a very special time of the year, filled with so many opportunities for renewal and growth when we live its tenants and accept its challenges. Use lent to Grow!
It is a 6 week period filled with extra services containing glorious and ever meaningful hymns, prayers and scripture readings that are presented only during lent. Come for them; don’t overlook them! Please don’t make your growth and your participation be an impossibility! Let the soul (our spiritual nature) control the body!
Parish Council Officers 2017
Kevin Phelan, President
Theofanis Markos, Vice President
Elaine Otto, Secretary
James Silva, Treasurer
Paraskevi Devlin, Asst. Treasurer
Elaine Crabtree, Anthony George, Dina Mihos, Dean Perdikakis, Paul Pliakas
(Newly Elected Members)
Alexander Carr, Jason Maintanis from the Parish Assembly.
There was an open position not filled by the Assembly and thus the new 2017 parish council appointed Gail Erinakes to fill that position.
We also wish to thank the departing council members Peter Manis, Dennis Sampalis and Stephen Sterpis for their service and commitment.
ORTHODOX OBSERVER NEWSPAPER
In regards to receiving the Observer from the Archdiocese – if a parishioner would like to receive the monthly issues the parish office simply needs to verify for you that you are in our stewardship program and the newspaper is then complimentary. If you are not, there is a fee for the newspaper to be delivered.
Subscribing for Archdiocese News Releases
Communicants may also subscribe to the Archdiocese “List Serve” to receive their news releases automatically Press Office. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up or call 212-570-3530.
Moving or Vacationing
We kindly thank you for making the Annunciation Church your first place to call when moving to a new location or just going to enjoy some warm sun for the winter months. Last month we had 21 “return to sender envelopes” come back. (401) 942-4188 or email us, email@example.com
Think Spring / Then, Think Spring Food Fair Preparations
Before we know it our Spring Greek Food Fair will be here (Sat/Sun May 6-7). Baking preparations will begin in March. Mark the dates from now.
Thank you for your anticipated help.
Monday 3/27 – Spanakopita/ Tyropita / Tuesday 3/28 – Baklava
Monday 4/24 pastry / Tuesday 4/25 pastry
(New start time – 5PM – light meal will be provided)
Since our last newsletter, the following pledges have been received for 2016: M/M John Fotopoulos, M/M Theodoros Fotopoulos, M/M Alexander Kanelos, Andrea O’Hair
2017 PLEDGE PROGRAM REPORT
We have to date 217 parishioners with a pledge of $120,135.00
The Actual Amount Received is $77,025.00
Josephine Aliferakis, M/M Andreas Andreopoulos, M/M James Apostolou, Nicholas Apostolou, Nicole Arsenis, Dr. & Mrs. Peter Baziotis, M/M Scott Campbell, M/M Michael Campopiano, M/M Ronald Capraro, Maria Chippis, M/M George Cicma, Sue Cimino, M/M Stephen Cross, M/M Kimon Dafoulas, Nikki Samaras Deary, M/M Douglas DeRhodes, Olga DiChiara, Helen DiMaio, Louis Dostou, Constantine Georas, Alexis George, Fr. Andrew George, Anthony George, James George, Debra Georgeon, Helen Georgeon, Barbara Goldis, M/M Robert Goralski, M/M Nicholas Gorgievski, Anna Gountra, M/M Constantine Grammas, William Grimshaw, Dr. John & Helene Grossomanides, M/M William Hague, M/M John Hatjopoulos, Ann Heberg, M/M Peter Kanelakos, M/M Arthur Kazianis, Demetra Lambros, M/M Nicholas Lambros, M/M Mark Lavoie, Linda Limperis, Sandra Maliangos, M/M Peter Mihalos, Jean Mihelakos, M/M Andrew Mitrelis, M/M Richard Mitson, Mrs. Andrea O’Hair, M/M Richard Otto, Evgenia Panteleakis, M/M Michael Papigiotis, M/M George Paloukas, M/M Theodoros Panagopoulos, Nicoletta Panos, M/M Arthur Pappas, M/M Ernest Pappas, Georgia Pappas, Dr. & Mrs. James Pascalides, M/M Arthur Passa, Dr. & Mrs. Peter Petropoulos, M/M Demetrios Petrou, M/M Gus Proyous, Stephen Quinn, Lydia Regopoulos, M/M Youssef Rizk, M/M Alan Root, Mary Samaras, M/M Phillip SanSouci, M/M Anthony Silveira Jr., Calliope Kay Spires, M/M Leon Stamatakos, M/M Georgios Theodosiou, M/M Richard Towne, Sophia Tzanetos, Andriana Vanikiotis, Anthony Vanikiotis, Antonia Vanikiotis, M/M John Vanikiotis, M/M Michael Venditelli, Adam Vinhateiro, M/M Manuel Vinhateiro Jr., James Vose, M/M Jason Wheatley, M/M Russell Wheatley, and Maria Zaharakos.
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on His law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. (Psalm 1: 1-4)
THE SACRAMENT OF CONFESSION is frequented by many during the Great Lent, although confessions can be heard at any time of the year. Each Wednesday of Lent, Fr. Andrew will be available by advance appointment. Other days and times may be scheduled simply by calling Fr. Andrew directly. Fr. Emanuel will be available for Confessions on Fridays by advance appointment. Our faithful are reminded that they may also seek confession with any other Orthodox clergy at our neighboring parishes.
Dr. Mary Despina Lekas Endowment Fund News
Financial Report for the period ending 1/31/17
Endowment Fund Portfolio: $783,031.49
Endowment Fund Checking Account: $22,138.28
A donation has been made to the Endowment Fund by
M/M Ernest Pappas & Georgia Pappas in memory of Angela Promades
A donation has been made by M/M Gregory Demetrakas, M/M Ernest Pappas & Georgia Pappas in memory of Maryanna Floskis
A donation has been made by M/M Constantine Rougas in memory of Nikolitsa Tsamis
Taxes! Taxes! Taxes!
A reminder that donations made to a non-profit organization, such as our church, can have substantial tax benefits!
CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PHASE 2
Our fund-raising effort is in full swing. In last month’s edition of “The Annunciator” it was noted that we had received a total of $126,242.00 in pledges. As of the printing of this report we have now have reached a total of $138,942.00 in total pledges. A total of 69 pledges have been submitted to date. Below is a list of those pledges we have received since last month’s report.
Order Of AHEPA, Steven Drager, M/M Elias Haralambides, M/M James Manis, Jean Mihelakos, John & Maha Mitrelis, M/M Jimmy Petrou, M/M Gus Proyous, Angela & Phillip San Souci, M/M James Silva, Carole Xanthakis.
Thank you all for your support and generous donations. – Submitted by James Silva
Maryanna Floskis, age 85 of Warwick, RI passed away on 2/1/17. Her funeral and burial was held on 2/7/17. Antonia Giannakakos (Gannek), age 90 of Narragansett, RI passed away on 2/18/17. Her funeral and burial was held on 2/27/17. NikolitsaT-samis, age 93 of North Providence, RI passed away on 2/21/17, mother of parish-ioner Angela Vasiliadis. Her funeral and burial was held in Worcester on 2/28/17. ALSO: John Drager, brother of parishioner Steven Drager passed away In CA with services held there; Margaret Violet, sister of parishioner Nicoletta Panos. Her funer-al and burial was at St. Spyridon’s in Newport on 2/28/17.
CHILDRENS’ CONFESSIONS DURING LENT
Our youth are urged to avail themselves of this important Sacrament (be it during Lent or any time of the year). An appointment can be made with Fr Andrew for just about any day by plan-ning ahead, for Fr Emanuel, the appointment would be for a Friday. Call 942-4188.
ANNUAL SCHOOL PROGRAMS
St John Chysostom Oratorical Festival – Sun March 12, following Liturgy, sponsored by our Sunday Church School. The community is invited to remain and be inspired by our teens in their witnessing to the Orthodox Faith through their orations.
Annunciation / Greek Independence Program- Sun March 26, following Liturgy, spon-sored by our Afternoon Greek Language School. Again the community is invited to re-main and enjoy the children with their songs, poems and dance; equally inspiring!
GOYA ACTIVITIES AHEAD (6th-12th graders)
Join Goya on Saturday March 18th from 1:30 to 3:30 for a Bowling Event. We will be bowling at CW Lanes in Lincoln. 622 George Washington Highway. The admission price will be $13.50 a person. To RSVP please call Jimmy Grammas at 401-965-6017.
April Lock in
Goya will be holding the first Lock in of 2017 from Saturday April 1st to Sunday April 2nd. The Lock in will start at noon. Join us for a day of community, fun, and spiritual enrichment. Price for the Lock in will be $15 to cover food and activity costs. More information to follow.
The Saturday before Mother’s Day, Saturday May 13th, we will be having brunch at the hall then preparing the gifts for all the mothers. Join us for nice breakfast then help us make our Mother’s Day presents so that we can say thank you to all our mothers. More information to follow.
DANCE TROUPE NEWS
Coming your way soon will be the Dance Troupe practice schedule.
REMINDER– Every Thursday
Watch the weekly edition of “BE THE BEE” from our Archdiocese Youth Office. Visit- youtube.com/y2am
CRANSTON WEEK @ MBC – Mon July 24 week when Fr Andrew will attend but pick the week best for your schedule
GREAT LENT HAS STARTED
THE ULTIMATE GOAL OF GREAT LENT IS:
PREPARATION, yes; RENEWAL, yes with the hope that we can all grow clos-er to God, and establish a great love of God and of man. The Church asks us all to “CLEAN HOUSE,” to clean up our lives wherever it is needed to estab-lish a CHANGE OF LIFE, to IMPROVE OUR LIFE from a Christian perspec-tive.
OFFER THIS PRAYER DAILY:
O Lord Master of my life! Take from me the spirit of sloth, faint-heartedness, lust of power and idle talk.
But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love to thy servant.
Yea, Lord and King! Grant me to see my own errors and not to judge my brother;
For thou are blessed unto ages of ages, Amen!
~Prayer of St. Ephrem
During the season of Great Lent, our faithful are reminded that there are addi-tional Liturgical services during the week: on Wednesday evenings we offer the Pre-Sanctified Liturgy at 6 pm. Of course each Friday we have the ever beauti-ful Salutations Services also at 6 pm with the participation of the children of our Greek Language School. On Sunday evenings we will have the combined Lenten Vespers with other Orthodox clergy at various par-ishes. Refer to the calendar page for these locations.
WHY MORE CHURCH SERVICE ???
The limitation of social functions and the institution of more church services is based on the Church’s principle that GREAT LENT is a period of time when people are to be more conscious of their spiritual character and their contact with God. The Lenten Evening Services are very meditative so as to provide the faithful with the opportunity to REALLY REVIEW and RENEW their lives.
A BLESSED GREAT LENT TO ALL
Lazaros Saturday to Pascha
Sat., April 8 Saturday of Lazaros / Church School Communion
8:15 am – Orthros
9:20 am – Forgiveness Prayers
9:30 am – Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom
Sun., April 9 Palm Sunday / Entrance to Jerusalem
8:15 am – Orthros
9:20 am – Forgiveness Prayers
9:30 am – Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom with distribution of Palms
Sunday Evening: 7:00 pm – 8:15 pm— Nymphios Service
Mon., April 10 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm— Nymphios Service/Forgiveness Prayers afterwards
Tues., April 11 7:00 pm – 8:45 pm— Nymphios Service/Forgiveness Prayers afterwards
Wed., April 12 The Sacrament of Holy Oil (Euchailion)
4:00 pm – 5:15 pm— Followed by anointing (especially for families w/ children)
7:00 pm – 8:45 pm— Nymphios Service — Followed by anointing
Thurs., April 13 Commemoration of the Mystical Supper
6:00 am – 7:45 am— Vesper / Liturgy of St. Basil
Communion to be distributed within the proper context of the liturgy
THE PASSION OF OUR LORD / SERVICE OF THE CRUCIFIXION
(Thursday Evening) 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm Reading of the 12 Gospel Narratives And Procession of the Crucifixion
Fri., April 14 Holy and Great Friday
10:00 am – 11:45 am- Service of the Royal Hours (Teens as readers) Simultaneously the decoration of the Tomb
4:00 pm – 5:15 pm— Service of the Descent from the Cross
7:30 pm – 10:30 pm— Service of the Lamentations w/Procession
Sat., April 15 Holy & Great Saturday / Discovery of the Empty Tomb
9:00am – 10:45am— Vesper / Liturgy of St. Basil
Communion will be distributed within the proper context of the liturgy
11:00 pm— Chanting of the Paschal Canon Please arrive early giving yourself time to park your car and enter the Church which will take extra time due to the large number of people who normally attend.
11:45 pm – 2:15 am – Paschal Orthros & Resurrection Liturgy
Sun., April 16 Holy Pascha (Easter Sunday)
Noon—1:00 pm—Agape Vespers
(Gospel Read in Various languages of the World)
Children’s Easter Egg Hunt follows at 1:00 PM
We are in the middle of our Lenten Journey, and Philoptochos will be very busy with many activities leading up to Pascha. Also on our calendar of events, is the Feast of the Annunciation, our Parish Feast Day.
RECEPTION FOLLOWING ANNUNCIATION VESPERS – MARCH 24TH: Philoptochos will host a reception following our Vespers this evening. Please bring any Lenten refreshments to the Church Cen-ter prior to the Vespers. Nancy Harritos is Chairing this event, and you may email Nancy to let her know what you will be donating. NHarritos@yahoo.com. Thank you.
EASTER BREADS: Orders will be taken for Easter Breads on Sundays at the Coffee Hour follow-ing Divine Liturgy. Helen Quinn Argeris and Mary Quinn will be taking your orders. Please call Helen at 1-508-337-3697 to place your order. Breads will be available for pick up on Palm Sunday, April 9th.
EASTER EGGS FOR DYEING: We will distribute eggs, netting, ribbon and dye, along with in-structions on dyeing the eggs. We will distribute these on Saturday of Lazarus and Palm Sunday and ask that you take a dozen or two and dye them for distribution at the Anastasi (Resurrection) Saturday night. Please follow the dyeing instructions to be sure the eggs are hard boiled. Thank you very much.
EPITAFIOS DECORATION: We invite all women to come and assist with the decoration of the Epitafios. It looks beautiful each year, and we thank Koula Rougas for undertaking the organizing of the Epitafios for many years.
SENIOR CITIZENS LUNCHEON: Each year, Philoptochos honors our Senior Citizens by hosting a Luncheon on Friday following Easter. This year our Luncheon will be on Friday, April 21st, following Divine Liturgy for Zoodoghos Peghes, Feast of the Lifegiving Fountain. ALL SENIOR CITIZENS are invited to come. Please circle the date, and details will be announced. Co-Chairing the Luncheon are An-na Demetrakas, Bessie Papigiotis, Josie Aliferakis, Karen Aliferakis and Diane Mitrelis.
OPERATION HEARTWARMING BASKETS: We are asking for your donations, once again, for Phase 2 of Operation Heartwarming for our homeless veterans. Thank you to all who donated baskets or items for baskets during Phase 1 of this Project. Items now needed are twin size bed pillows, twin bed blankets, bath towels, cloth shower mats, sets of silverware for 4, cooking utensils, coffee maker, twin size bed sheets, sets of plastic dishware & cups, electric fans, twin size bed covers, non-slip inside shower mats, toaster ovens, pots & pans, manual can openers, sponges, all purpose cleaners, laundry detergent, paper towels. Marianne Phelan is heading this project, and you may email or call Marianne with any questions firstname.lastname@example.org or 943-9201. Donations may be dropped off at the Church Center. Thank you all so very much on behalf of our Veterans.
METROPOLIS OF BOSTON PHILOPTOHOS FUND RAISER SUNDAY, MAY 7TH – The Metrop-olis Philoptochos invites you to the FESTIVAL OF TABLES, on Sunday afternoon, May 7th, at the Taxiar-chae Parish Center, Watertown, Ma. from 3-6PM. Please circle the date, and plan to come. Car pooling will be available. Please contact Bessie Papigiotis or Marianne Phelan with any questions. Details will be announced soon. Thank you.
The next Philoptochos meeting will be held on March 20th, 2017
A Blessed Great Lent and Kali Anastasi to all.
GEORGIA PAPPAS, PRESIDENT
KAREN DRAGER, CORRESPONDING
SAVE THE DATE SAT. APRIL 22
IOCC Buffet following Vespers @ 5 pm.
IOCC.ORG / CRANSTON
Questions? Elaine Otto—401-692-9326 or email@example.com
Chairladies Mary Quinn and Helen Argeris will be taking orders for Easter Breads after Liturgy starting March 19th. Orders also may be taken by calling Helen Argeris at 508-337-3697. Please consider purchasing a loaf at $10.00 each in support of our commitment to Hellenic College/Holy Cross. Breads will be distributed on Palm Sunday, April 9, 2017.
Annual Annunciation Observance Luncheon And Children’s Program
Sunday March 26, 2017
Following Divine Liturgy
Luncheon Time: 11:30 AM
Join us at the luncheon to commemorate Our Parish Feast Day and Greek Independence Day
Shrimp & Rice Dinner $15.00 / Macaroni & Sauce Only$ 8.00
Both meals come with salad & dessert
For Reservations Call Church Office at 942-4188 or Jim & Kate Silva 946-1935