First Sunday of the Great Fast –Sunday of Orthodoxy

Christ and 2 ApostlesThis Sunday is called the “Sunday of Orthodoxy” because it commemorates the restoration of the Church’s teaching on making images (icons) of our Lord and the saints in the year 843. Before that, it was the Sunday of the Commemoration of the Holy Prophets. This explains the Gospel, Phillip witnesses to Nathanael: “We have found him of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets, wrote – Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” This is our goal in the Great Fast – to find our faith in Jesus. The Great Fast was the training period for those about to be baptized, and it was a time for the whole community to rediscover its faith. Along the journey to Holy Week, we read especially from the book of Genesis and from Isaiah to guide us to Christ, who will perfect his covenant with us by his death and resurrection. This is why, in the Apostolic reading, we remember Moses, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David and Samuel and all the prophets. It was all for Jesus, “Yet all these, though approved because of their faith, did not receive what had been promised. God had foreseen something better for us, so that without us they should not be made perfect. (Hebrews 11:39)”

How, then, should we keep the Fast? Hebrews tells us: “since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith. (Hebrews 12:1-2)” The Sunday of Orthodoxy helps us to fulfill this plan, for “keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus,” gazing upon his image, we are led to God, to faith, to life.

Meditation by Archpriest David Petras

Divine Liturgy for the coming week

During Great Lent the Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great is prayed at Divine Liturgy and not the Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom.

Sunday, 3/05/17     First Sunday of Lent — The Sunday of Orthodoxy
9:00 a.m. PRO POPULO
10:30 a.m. God’s blessing and health for Anna requested by Maria Wysowskyj

Epistle: Hebrews 11:24-26, 32-12:2
Gospel: John 1:43-51, Tone 1

Monday, 3/06/17     The 40 Martyrs of Ammorium
8:00 a.m. +Sophie Plachtyna requested by Sestrichi

Tuesday, 3/07/17      The Holy Priest-Martyrs and Bishops of Cherson
8:00 a.m. +Eugenia Harvey (Pan.) requested by Carl Harvey

Wednesday, 3/08/17     Our Venerable Father and Confessor Theophylactus
8:00 a.m. +Helen Wasylyk requested by Sestrichi

Thursday, 3/09/17     The Holy 40 Martyrs of Sebaste
8:00 a.m. +Catherine Levitzky (Pan.) requested by Joseph M. Levitzky

Friday, 3/10/17     The Holy Martyr Condratus, Cyprian and those with him
7:00 p.m.  Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts

Saturday, 3/11/17     Our Holy Father Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem
8:30 a.m.  For All deceased members of the Parish
9:00 a.m. Sorokousty
9:30 a.m. +Myron Gali (29th Anniv., Pan.) requested by Anastazia Gali

Sunday, 3/12/17 Second Sunday of Lent —Commemoration of St Gregory Palamas
9:00 a.m. PRO POPULO
10:30 a.m. Thanksgiving Divine Liturgy  requested by Maria Wysowskyj

Epistle: Hebrews 1:10-2:3
Gospel: Mark 2:1-12, Tone 2

Restoring a tradition of Social days

One of the resolutions of the 2016 Synod of Bishops of Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) which met September 04-11, 2016, in Lviv-Brukhovychi, is the following:

In order to evoke an interest to the social ministering among faithful of UGCC and behave a virtue of sacrifice and mercy, to announce in UGCC:

  • Sunday of a Prodigal Son – Day of the extreme care for prisoners; Sunday of Meatfare – Day of Social service and charity;
  • Restoring a tradition of Social days initiated by righteous Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky;
  • To organize days between Sundays, mentioned as previous points as Social days and be involved in intellectual and charitable activities at the parishes.

TODAY is Forgiveness Sunday; Lent begins tomorrow

Lady LentToday, the Church calls this Sunday “Forgiveness Sunday” and you may also know it as Cheesefare Sunday. The Byzantine Church uses the image of Lady Lent to illustrate (especially to children) the meaning of Lent in an accessible way.

“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15)

The three pillars of the Great Fast are fasting, prayer and almsgiving. In the Great Fast, the idea is to increase one’s prayer, perhaps adding to morning and evening prayer, prayer at noon. Feeding the mind/soul is needed: book will be chosen for special spritual reading?

Likewise, virtue is extroverted. This past year the Universal Church under Pope Francis drew our attention to living the Works of Mercy, the 7 spiritual and 7 corporal works of mercy. All of them are based in sacred Scripture; read the Gospel of Matthew 25. During Great Lent, what work of mercy will we do to live a Work of Mercy?

Lady Lent in your home?

The tradition is that before Lent starts, the family will make “Lady Lent” out of paper, clay or baked flour.

Lady Lent is made with no mouth as a sign of fasting. She has no ears, as she refuses to listen to gossip. Her eyes are closed, as she refused to watch and judge others. Her head is tilted, her eyes closed and her hands are folded reverently in prayer as a reminder of our spiritual journey during Lent.

She has seven feet, based on the number of Sundays until of Lent until Pascha. The tradition is that, every Saturday one of her feet is cut or broken off until she had no more feet by Holy Saturday, before Easter.

On Holy Saturday, the last foot is cut off and then is placed in a jar dried fruits and nuts, and whoever finds it receives a special blessing. Traditionally, whoever finds the last leg of Lady Lent, would right their his/her name and date on the back of it and keep it for good luck.

(h/t BC)

Parish Announcements this week

1. RECTORY OFFICE will be closed from Monday, February 27, 2017 until Friday, March 3, 2017. Father Iura Godenciuc will be away for Clergy Days.

2. The Knights of Columbus Blessed Andrey Sheptysky will hold its next regular meeting on Monday, March 6, 2017 at 7:00 P.M. in the church hall. All men of parish are invited to attend to see what the Knights are all about and what can do for our parish.

3. SOROKOUSTY will be celebrated during Lent on All Souls’ Saturdays, March 11, 18, April 1, June 3. Please take a book found in the entrance of the church, fill it out. Place it in envelope, and drop it in the collection basket. Let us remember all our loved ones who have gone to their heavenly reward. Eternal Memory!

3. All new announcements for upcoming events should be submitted to rectory office before Tuesday of the week prior to when the event is to be posted in the bulletin.

4. We have for sale stuffed cabbage with meat or mushrooms ($18.00 per dozen) cabbage with sausage ($10.00 per container), stew with meat and mushrooms $8.00, pierogies in bags $12.00 or in container $10.00.  See Walter Ushchak after the Liturgy.

5. SUMA Federal Credit Union, New Haven Branch, 555 George St., New Haven, CT.   Business hours: From October 1,2007 Tues.  3:00pm to 7:00 pm., Sat. 9:00am to 12:30 pm . Phone (203) 785-8805; Fax: (203) 785-8677.

6. A container is in our church vestibule for non-perishable food. This collection will be taken every week. Father Iura will distribute the food to those in need. Thank you for your generosity. See Judy Ellis for assistance and more information.

Cheesefare Sunday

Christ with Adam and Eve“When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites.” (From today’s Gospel, Matthew 6:16)

The reason is not to be hypocritical, in the pattern we’ve seen over the past three Sundays, to think that we are better than others. In this saying, we may see something deeper, the wisdom of what it means to live a godly life. Fasting is the more difficult decision. It’s easier to eat what we want, to be the person we want to be, to follow our own “nature.” It’s a modern mantra, “Be the person that you are! Don’t let others – even God – tell you what to do!” But it’s really not “modern,” it goes back to Adam and Eve, who ate the forbidden fruit so that they would “know” – that is, determine what is good and evil for themselves. We have to discern “easy nature” from “real nature,” for God has created us to surpass “nature” and become “godlike.” The army tells us, “Be all that you can be,” but faith tells us, “Be more than you can be.” To choose for ourselves wraps us up in ourselves, and closes us to the whole universe of others and to God. Fasting is a symbol, of refusing the decision of Adam and Eve, of opening ourselves up to others and to God.

Nicholas Denysenko recently wrote, “Fasting is about changing one’s ways for the sake of the other; one dies to excesses and indulgences in one’s life to become aware of the other and his needs, and to rehearse loving the other.” The gospel tells us that we should be joyful in opening ourselves up to the other, a whole new universe awaits us! Fasting is an “alleluia.”

Meditation by Archpriest David Petras