New Life in the Church
Thanksgiving to God
As we prepare to celebrate the civil holiday of Thanksgiving our prayer is that we will all arrive safely at our respective destinations to be with family and friends and return home in peace. Here are two prayers you may wish to include in your Thanksgiving Day blessing as you prepare to eat. Please also remember those who have no family, those who have no friends to share this day with, the unemployed, the homeless and the outcast.
A Prayer of Thanksgiving
O Lord our Savior and Master, we, your servants, with fear and trembling give thanks to You for Your loving goodness and for all Your benefits which You pour out so abundantly upon us. We bow down in adoration before You and offer You, O God, our fervent praise; and we humbly ask that You deliver us from all adversities and mercifully fulfill in us those things that are for our salvation. For You are the Hope of all the ends of the earth, and unto You, with the Father, and the Holy Spirit, be ascribed glory, now and ever. Amen.
We praise You, O God of our Fathers, we hymn You, we bless You, we give thanks to You for Your great and tender mercy. To You we flee, O merciful and mighty God. Shine into our hearts with the True Sun of Your righteousness. Enlighten our minds and keep all our senses, that henceforth we may walk uprightly and keep Your commandments, and may finally attain unto eternal life, even to You, Who are the source of life, and be admitted to the glorious fruition of Your inaccessible Light.
For You are our God, and to You, O Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be ascribed glory,
now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
Parish News and Notes
Congratulations to our Scouts, Megan Kirtyan and Hannah and Cathryn Popadin-Lesniak on being awarded the St. George Medal. All three girls were active in the sending of greeting cards to our troops during our Fall Ethnic Food Festival. Megan also made a beautiful diorama of the iconostasis and altar at St. Gregory's.
James and Martha Podobinski recently visited our parish in Taylor, PA where an icon of the Virgin Mary and been exuding sweet-smelling myrrh. As James and Martha recount, it is an amazing and spiritually moving experience. If anyone would be interested in making a trip to Taylor to see the icon and pray before it, please let Fr. Andrew know so that he can arrange transportation.
Just a reminder that confessions are heard before and after Saturday Great Vespers, before and after Liturgy, by appointment on Sunday morning and by appointment during the week. Don't wait until the last minute to come to Confession before Nativity or Pascha. Call or email Fr Andrew.
A signup sheet for Paschal flower donations and for reading at the Tomb of Christ from Friday evening until Saturday night will be available at the back of the Church starting this Sunday. The Book of Psalms is reader after the Friday Burial Service until the Vesperal Liturgy on Holy Saturday. After the Liturgy on Holy Saturday until the start of Nocturns on Saturday evening, the Book of Acts is read.
We wish to welcome two newcomers to our parish community, Anthony Ferrara and Kathy Kulek. Anthony lives in Happaugue and Kathy just a few blocks away from St. Gregory's in Massapequa.
Extra News and Notes
Check the SGN website homepage for the latest updates to the website, including the Sunday Bulletins.
This coming Sunday is Cheesefare and Forgiveness Sunday. We will celebrate Forgiveness Vespers at the conclusion of the Liturgy with the Rite of Forgiveness. There is no more appropriate way to enter the Great Fast than by asking one another for forgiveness. During this final week before the Great Fast, we should make every effort to begin to enter into the spirit of the Lenten season. The words from Forgiveness Vespers can help us:
Let us begin the fast with joy!
Let us prepare ourselves for spiritual efforts!
Let us cleanse our soul and cleanse our flesh!
Let us abstain from every passion as we abstain from food!
Let us rejoice in virtues of the Spirit and fulfill them in love,
that we all may see the Passion of Christ our God,
and rejoice in spirit at the holy Pascha!
Click here to review the services for the First Week of Lent. Let us prepare ourselves and arrange our schedules so that we may participate in as many of these services as possible.
Parish News and Notes - January 29
Parish News and Notes - January 15
The ACROD will once again be present at the annual DC March for Life. Former St. Gregory's pastor, Fr. Edward Pehanich, was one of the original founders of Orthodox Christians for Life. Read more here...
It's time to start thinking about Summer Camp at Camp Nazareth. Read more here....
The New Jersey and New York City deaneries will meet at St. John the Baptist Church in Perth Amboy on Monday, January 16. One of the topics of discussion will be the selection of a new bishop for the ACROD.
Parish News and Notes - December 24
Church School Christmas Party and YolkaThe youth of St. Gregory's held their annual Christmas party on December 11 and held their Yolka on December 18 with a visit from St. Nicholas.
ACROD Consistory Meets with Archbishop Demetrios
NEW YORK – His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America met yesterday (Oct 4, 2011) with the Consistory of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese of the Ecumenical Patriarchate at the Archdiocese Headquarters in New York City. The Consistory requested the meeting from the Archbishop who is the Locum Tenens for the Diocese since the passing of the late Metropolitan Nicholas earlier this year. The members are Protopresbyter Frank P. Miloro, Chancellor; Protopresbyter Michael S. Rosco, Vice Chancellor; Protopresbyter Ronald A. Hazuda; Protopresbyter Michael Polanichka; Protopresbyter Lawrence R. Barriger; Protopresbyter Mark Leasure, and Protopresbyter Kenneth Bachofsky. Protopresbyter Mark Arey of the Department of Inter-Orthodox Relations, was also present in the meeting. Following the meeting, the Consistory attended a luncheon hosted by the Archbishop.
This meeting is the second of its kind since the repose of the late Metropolitan. Among the items for discussion were the following: the search for a new presiding bishop for the Diocese, administrative issues affecting various parishes, and representation of the Diocese at the celebrations at the Ecumenical Patriarchate in honor of His All Holiness's 20th Anniversary of election and enthronement as Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch. Archbishop Demetrios thanked the Consistory for their offering of stable, decisive stewardship during this season of "widowhood" of the Diocese. The Archbishop also offered a substantial contribution to the two Carpatho-Russian parishes affected by the recent floods in New Jersey. For their part, the clergy of the Consistory expressed their gratitude to the Archbishop for his leadership, generosity and pastoral care for the Diocese.
Extra News and Notes
It is good to share that we see new faces (well at least they are new to me) every Sunday at St. Gregory's, for which we give all glory and thanks to God. The choir has been beautiful and the spirit good.
Next Sunday we will sing plain chant from the blue liturgy books. Let's all sing from our hearts. Remember, God has perfect pitch only listening to the intention of our prayer and not if we can hit all the notes perfectly!
Have a blessed week!
St Gregory Welcome Back Picnic - September 18
St. Gregory Nursery School Back in Session!
The St Gregory Nursery School is off to another great year with over 75 new and returning students ages 2-4 enrolled in the morning session. Our 12 great teachers have worked very hard to provide their students with a fun and stimulating school year.
One of the great signs that points to the success of the St. Gregory Nursery School is the length of service of our teachers. All teachers have been with the school at least three years and many over 20 years and one, over 25 years! Teachers are now teaching children of parents who use to come as children to St. Gregory’s School!
Check out our School website page for more information on the school and God bless all our teachers, students and their parents!
Protopresbyter David Wine, Memory Eternal!
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
We have been informed by our Johnstown Chancery that Father Protopresbyter David Wine, of Massillon, Ohio fell asleep in the Lord on Sunday, September 11 after an extended illness. Father David is the brother-in-law of Father John and Pani Marie Brancho. His death ends a marriage of 49 years to Pani Joan (Kerestesy) Wine.
Services for Father David will be held in Canton, OH, Akron, OH and Johnstown, PA. where he will be buried at Christ the Savior Cathedral cemetery. May Fr David’s memory be eternal.
Parish News and Notes - September 7
Tonight at 6:30, we will celebrate Great Vespers and Litiya for the Feast of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary and tomorrow at 9:30am the Festal Liturgy for the Feast.
As usual, Confessions will be heard starting at 5:30 or by appointment.
Your nativity, O Mother of God, has brought you to all the inhabited earth: for from you has shone forth the Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God. He freed us from the curse and gave the blessing; He has made death of no effect and bestowed on us eternal life.
By your holy birth, O Undefiled, Joachim and Anna were set free from the reproach of childlessness, and Adam and Eve from the corruption of death. Delivered from the guilt of sin. Your people keep the feast as they sing to You: The barren woman bears the Mother of God who sustains our Life.
Parish News and Notes - September 2
Extra News and Notes
Request for Prayers
We have also been asked by our Chancery in Johnstown to keep the following clergy from the ACROD:
Father David Wine and Pani Joan. Father David has been hospitalized.
Father Daniel Mahler who has recently completed his therapy after a double knee replacement. He is now serving again. Let us pray that he might be continually strengthened.
Protodeacon John Youhas will undergo a surgical procedure on Wednesday morning at 7:30 AM. He will appreciate your prayers to strengthen him.
Let us also continue to pray for all those who have suffered as a result of Hurricane Irene.
Tomorrow Night-we will celebrate a service of Thanksgiving for the beginning of the new liturgical year which begins on September 1. The Thanksgiving Service will start at 6:30pm.
Please Check-the parish calendar available here on our new website.
Parish News and Notes - August 22
The St Gregory Church School teachers - met with Fr. Joseph on Sunday to discuss the curriculum for the upcoming 2011/12 Church School Year. There will be three classes for elementary, middle school and high school age students. A variety of new materials are being reviewed to provide exciting and engaging classes for the parish children. We are grateful again to Carolyn Popadin Lesniak, Kathy Riedman and Cesar Cantone (pictured left to right) and Janine Vassallo for their continued commitment to the education of our parish youth.
Many Thanks - to the family of the newly departed Anne Kasenchak for offering a beautiful fellowship meal on Sunday in memory of Anne Kasenchak. May her memory be eternal!
Last Year the grounds around - the parish and school suffered some damage with the prolonged drought. We lost several shrubs and other vegetation. Thanks to the Myers Family, we will have two new spruces planted as a backdrop to the King of Glory Cross on the parish grounds.
Confessions - are heard on a regular basis before, starting at 5:30pm and after Saturday Great Vespers and by appointment. It is the practice of the Orthodox Church that Her faithful avail themselves of the Mystery of Holy Confession at least four times per year. Of course we should come to Confession as often as we feel the need for such is the medicine of the Mystery (Sacrament) of Confession and the benefits drawn when we keep a close watch over our thoughts and actions. If you would like to schedule a Confession by appointment, either call Fr. Joseph at 516-754-7804 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please-continue to keep Deacon Richard Howrilka in your prayers has he recovers from his recent heart attacks.
Parish News and Notes - August 17
At The Conclusion - of the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, August, 21, the clergy and faithful of St. Gregory's will mark the 40th day of repose of the newly-departed handmaiden of God, Anne Kasenchak. The Kasenchak family will host the coffee hour following Liturgy and Memorial Service. Everyone is invited to attend. May the memory of Anne Kasenchak be eternal!
Deacon Richard Howrilka suffered two more heart attacks while in hospital on August 16. He will be given a pacemaker to help regulate his heartbeat. Please continue to keep him, Pani Diana and Lydia in your prayers.
Sunday, September 11 - will mark the 10th anniversary of the attack on the USA. Many who lived on Long Island lost their lives that day either in the attack or those trying to rescue the victims. At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy on the 11th we will celebrate a Memorial Service for all those who lost their lives on that fateful day. May their memory be eternal!
Mark Your Calendars-for St. Gregory's Annual Welcome Back Picnic on Sunday, September 18. This traditional event brings all the friends and members of the parish together after the long summer vacation. Bring your favorite dishes and drinks and let's have a great time making new friends and seeing old friends.
The 2011-2012 St. Gregory Church School - will begin on Sunday, September 25. A new and exciting Church School year is being planned by Father Joseph and our Church School teachers. More information will be forthcoming.
Please Sign Up for the new Friends of St. Gregory email list. The new email list is a part of the new St. Gregory website. The sign up sheet will be in the back of the Church and in the parish hall every Sunday.
Why Orthodox Bless Homes at Theophany
In ancient times the Feasts of our Lord’s Nativity (birth) and that of His Theophany (manifestation to the world) were celebrated as one Feast in the Church. Later these two essential events in the life of our Savior were separated into two unique celebrations.
The Feast of Theophany, also known as Epiphany, makes present again for us the central message of our Lord coming in the flesh into the world. He came to re-orient, to re-focus the world to its original purpose and orientation. This original purpose of man, made in the Image and according to the Likeness of God, was to offer up the creation back to God, “offering to You, Yours of your Own, in behalf of all and for all...” This is the essential work of man as the “Royal Priesthood” to offer ourselves to God the Father in an act of sanctifying whatever we do as an active offering in our daily life and returning it to God who has given us life. We are all a part of the Royal Priesthood.
The beautiful tradition of the annual blessing of homes by Orthodox Christians brings this act of offering and blessing to the very place where we live. The blessing of homes shows forth this central sign of God’s sanctification of all things through Christ’s baptism in the river Jordan and His manifestation to the world.
The Christian home in the Orthodox understanding is imagined as a “small church.” As we gather as the Body of Christ to receive His Body and Blood at the Divine Liturgy, we also gather in our homes to receive our “daily bread.” We gather at our family table where we give thanks to God in the Name of Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit for this day, this meal, this family, this life.
We live most of the time of our life in our homes, as children in the home of our parents, as adults in our own home, and it is in the home that we work out most of our salvation. Thus the blessing or sanctification of the home is central as we connect that which we “do” in Church with what we “do” in our little church, the home.
During Church services on the eve of Theophany we bless Holy Water. This water is then carried home by the faithful. It is used throughout the year to bless and sanctify in time of need. This Theophany touchstone of the Incarnate Christ symbolizes Him touching the created world and sanctifying it. We bring this water, not only as the essential element of life for man, but as sanctified waters revealing to us the essential eternal life that Christ freely offers to man by His birth and epiphany as the Savior of the world.
We bring this Holy Water, this sanctifying presence of God to where we live and the priest comes and blesses where we live. The priest brings Christ to where we work out our salvation and, as it were, “re” plants Him in our midst - Christ is in our Midst - so that we may live another year in his Presence in a consecrated home dedicated to God and to His service.
The short but deeply spiritual service of the blessing of the home at Theophany asks of God to bring peace and His blessing Presence to all the members of the household. It is not easy to live an Orthodox Christian life each day. We need God’s help to carry on and not give up. We can’t do this alone, we need God and we need one another. Thus everyone in the household comes together and prays together for the living and the dead of the family, and all who live and have lived in the house. We all sing the hymn of salvation and process from room to room while the priest blesses the home. The liturgical act of processing first greets us at our own entry into the Church at Baptism, again at the Sacrament of Marriage, at Holy Ordinations. This movement makes present our sojourn in this life and we are called to move toward the Kingdom of God, already made present in the Church. So we process through our homes bringing again the sanctifying presence of God in the sprinkling of the Holy Water. In truth, man is forgetful and such reminders are necessary to keep us oriented and focused on God.
Traditions of the ceremony differ according to local custom, but these general guidelines should are observed. A candle with an icon and a shallow bowl with some holy water should be placed in a suitable place, such as kitchen or dining room table, or a home altar. A list of first names for whom prayers are to be offered, including members of the family and all those living in the house. The list should have a clear distinction between the living and the dead. When the priest comes, all who are present in the house gather around the icon with the candle and offer their voices to God in the celebration of the service.
In the act of opening our homes to the priest who comes to make Christ present in our home, we are also opening our life to Christ and inviting Him to be with us. It is in the opening of ourselves to Christ that we have the opportunity to become more, each day, little by little, with much effort and sacrifice, the person God knows we can be and created us to be.
It is not by chance that the Feast of Theophany comes just a few weeks before we begin our most intense period of personal reflection and assessment as Orthodox Christians, the time of the Great Fast or Great Lent. In the opening of our homes at Theophany we signal, as it were, a first new opening to Christ who is knocking at the door of our hearts. We invite the priest into our homes to make a personal contact with us where we live and, by God’s grace and our cooperation with Him, to open up more of our hearts and life to Christ during the Great Fast as we prepare for His glorious and saving Pascha.
Let us all again invite Christ into our homes during the Theophany season and ask Him to sanctify our “little churches” and the church of our heart and be that much more personally in us as we strive to make God present in the words we speak, the actions we take, and the way we live every day God gives us as His stewards.
Glory to God for all things!