Schedule of Services

Schedule of Services 

Monday-Friday LITURGY 8:30 AM (Except on the 13th of each month, when the Pilgrim Mass is at 2:00 pm)

Saturday VESPERS 4:00 PM

Saturday LITURGY 5:00 PM (Vigil)

Sunday LITURGIES 9:00 AM English, 10:30 AM Ukrainian

The Sacrament of Reconciliation is available 30 minutes before every Mass and also upon request.

Note: On holidays there may be changes to the liturgy schedule. Please call the office to hear the liturgy schedule for the holiday week. (770) 760-1111

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The Act of placing Ukraine under the Intercession of the Blessed Mother

The Act of placing Ukraine under the Intercession of the Blessed Mother will be renewed April 5-6, 2014
In continuing the service of my great predecessors on the Kyiv-Halych Altar, I desire once again, in communion with our whole Church in Ukraine and in settlements, to renew the Act of consecrating the Ukrainian people under the mighty Intercession of the Blessed Mother.
The Father and Head of the Ukrainian Greco-Catholic Church, His Beatitude Sviatoslav (Shevchuk) wrote about this in his Pastoral Letter to the Faithful and Clergy On the occasion of the Renewal of the Act of Consecration of Ukraine to the Protection of the Most Holy Mother of God.
The Act of the placing of Ukraine under the Protection of the Mother of God will take place on Sunday, 6 April 2014 in all the churches of our Church in Ukraine and throughout the World. His Beatitude Sviatoslav will lead from the Patriarchal Cathedral in Kyiv; all Bishops will lead this Consecration from their Cathedral churches; and priests within their parish churches following each Divine Liturgy.
The 6th of April is not a casual choice, since April 5th this year is “Akathistos Saturday” (the day during Lent when Mary is honoured) and on April 7th according to our Byzantine rite (on the Julian Calendar – widely used in the Ukrainian Church) we will celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary.”
His Beatitude reminds us that back in his day, the pious Prince Yaroslav the Wise (1019-1054)dedicated the people of Kyivan-Rus’ to the Protection of the Most Holy Virgin Mary. This dedication was renewed at Zarvanytsja in 1995 by Myroslav-Ivan Cardinal Lubachivsky, of blessed memory.
The UGCC Primate, is calling for this act of renewing the Consecration to the Protection of the Theotokos, because of the great tribulation that all the people and our entire country are experiencing at this time due to the occupation of part of our land – a situation that fills our hearts with anxiety for the future, uncertainty and fear. The letter states, “taking into consideration these new historical circumstances, I want to direct your spiritual eyes toward the Mother of God and in response to her loving and caring presence in our lives – to place all of us in her motherly care.”
“By this Act we solemnly recognize God’s watchfulness over us, we express our love toward the Mother of God, our readiness to fulfil all that her Son and our Lord Jesus commands us; and our desire to serve God and our nation only in the light of God’s law. May this prayer to the Most Holy Mother of God be a concrete demonstration of our desire to implement this Consecration in our lives. We will observe this consecration personally and communally, petitioning our Lord for His blessing upon our longsuffering nation through the intercession of the Theotokos”, states the Pastoral Letter.
His Beatitude Sviatoslav reminds the Faithful that the Most Holy Mother of God is near us especially at the Liturgy, “she joins us in the unending praise of the Most High, while at the same time, as a loving mother she continuously intercedes for us before the Lord”.
The Head of the Church asks that everyone prepare themselves for this solemn event – by approaching the Sacraments of Confession and the Eucharist and by performing acts of charity and penance.
The Primate of the UGCC wrote that, “I invite and call upon all Bishops, Priests, Monks and Nuns and Faithful of our Church to persevere in trust and prayer to Mary, the Mother of God, so that, always kept under her protection, and after the struggles and accomplishments of the Great Fast, we would arrive at the radiant Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ to be witnesses to and participants in the renewal of our dear homeland!”
His Beatitude Sviatoslav noted in his commentary to the UGCC Information Department that, “we proposed to our brothers of the Orthodox Churches of Ukraine to also perform such acts of consecration, since at the time when Prince Yaroslav the Wise initiated them – the Kyivan Church was undivided. Thus, we hope that they will also carry out such liturgical ceremonies.”
His petition is that – through the intercession of the Mother of God – our people would receive the blessing of the omnipotent God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Information Department of the UGCC

To Our Friends and Visitors

An account with Wells Fargo #1553349323 sponsored by the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, Inc. (UCCA) has been set up for donations on behalf of the wounded, maimed, and deceased heroes of the Maidan protests in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Please check the story on ABC regarding UFA’s involvment in the treatment of EuroMaidan victims.

One of UFA’s sponsored patients in Philadelphia.

http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/video?id=9479758

Click on the link below and make a donation
Help EuroMaidan Victims in Ukraine
http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/help-euromaidan-victims-in-ukraine/158098

Dear friends:

The Ukrainian Congress Committee of America – Georgia Branch (UCCA) has started a campaign to raise money to help children and families of those who lost their lives, had been permanently injured or require immediate treatment and rehabilitation due to the tragic events that took place in Ukraine over the last three months. Through comprehensive financial and medical assistance, your donations will provide victims and families of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for democracy in Ukraine with an opportunity to rebuild their lives and face the future with confidence and hope.
All monies collected will be send to the Ukrainian Federation of America, a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization founded in 1991 and registered in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and in Ukraine. The activities and programs of the Federation are initiated, developed and implemented by devoted volunteers who work closely with local, domestic and international government agencies and non-government organizations for the benefit of our community.
The Federation has shipped and airlifted millions of dollars’ worth of medical supplies, equipment and medicines to physicians, hospitals and medical facilities. In times of crises, UFA’s volunteers have mobilized emergency relief efforts. To learn more about the Federation, please visit their website http://www.ukrainianfederationofamerica.org
What is the issue, problem, or challenge?
Having witnessed unprecedented violence, Ukraine mourns over a hundred civilians and military who died during the mass anti-government protests in January and February 2014, with more than 600 wounded and hundreds of missing, detained or otherwise politically persecuted. Nothing will return grieving mothers their sons and children their dads. But we can make sure they know that they are still loved and that they will continue to be looked after despite their loss, pain and tears.
How will this project solve this problem?
With your help, victims of Ukraine’s Maidan could receive comprehensive care and support in addressing their needs. The Ukrainian Federation of America is helping to relocate the very seriously wounded patients to the European countries like Poland, Germany, Czech Republic and Austria. The patients stable enough to travel by commercial airline, yet requiring specialized surgeries or procedures, are being brought to the United States for treatment. In addition, the Federation will cover any requests for financial support from Ukrainian hospitals and clinics.
Through Federation’s efforts all wounded patients brought to the United States are receiving pro-bono treatments in trauma centers and rehabilitation.
Potential Long Term Impact
By paying tribute to the courage and bravery of the victims, we will provide relief to their families. We believe that the right support at the right time can enable the permanently injured with an opportunity to rebuild their lives, recover from their emotional trauma and have positive futures ahead. With your help, people affected in Ukraine will restore a sense of security, continuity and care unfairly taken from them in their fight for freedom, civil rights and democracy.
GLORY TO UKRAINE!
Here are some ways that you can help:
Make a financial donation through the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America – Georgia Branch (UCCA):
1. Click on the link below and make a donation
Help EuroMaidan Victims in Ukraine http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/help-euromaidan-victims-in-ukraine/158098

2. Send a check to UCCA by mail
Ukrainian Congress Committee of America
6495 Shiloh Rd., Suite 400
Alpharetta, GA 30005

3. Make a deposit at Wells Fargo
Account # 155 334 9323

Regards,

Vitaliy Pynzenyk
Social and Media Affairs
UCCA Georgia Branch
6495 Shiloh Rd., Suite 400
Alpharetta, GA 30005

http://www.ucca.org/
http://www.facebook.com/UCCAinGeorgia

Nativity of the Mother of God, the Theotokos

THE CROSS: SIGN OF LOVE, VICTORY AND UNITY

Man is involved in a constant search to relieve suffering. Great effort is poured into research to find the cure for disease and when the cure is found, man rejoices in his
victory. Imagine the tremendous joy all experienced when Dr. Jonas Salk discovered a
vaccine that would prevent polio. Now man could live in freedom — no longer afraid of
that crippling, often fatal disease.
The Christian Community celebrates just such a victory. For centuries man had been
plagued with spiritual death. His separation from God was a source of constant suffering
and, in his total loneliness, man sought a cure for his plight.
This cure came in the form of the God-Man, Jesus Christ. The instrument was the
cross, through which the separation between God and man was conquered. It was through
the wood of the cross that man no longer lived in spiritual death but rather rejoiced in
spiritual victory.
Next Sunday, September 14, we celebrate the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy
Cross. What a joyous feast! What a victory!
The Cross is the great sign of the Christian Community. First, it is the sign of love. If
the world were to inquire about this God we worship and His love for us, we could show
the cross — this is how much our God loves us — enough to die on the cross.
Secondly, it is a sign of victory. Man no longer sees life ending in death but rather,
because of Christ’s death on the Cross, life ends with eternal life. Each of us, because of
Christ and the Cross, has conquered death and sin. We have won the battle.
Lastly, the cross symbolizes unity. Jesus Christ the Son of God and our brother, dies
on this cross and while dying draws all together. His arms are outstretched as though to
embrace the whole world. Just as the shepherd gathers his sheep to safety, so Jesus
gathers us to the Father. We are one with Him, and His victory is ours, His glorious cross
is our cross.
We Christians, then, rejoice in the cross. We use it as a sign or symbol of our unique
position — saved, redeemed.
Each time we make the sign of the cross we are really expressing to the world our
belief in Jesus Christ and in His victory over death and sin. Each time we venerate the
cross, we rejoice in the fact that through this cross we are one, a holy people.
We join together and show to the world this sign of salvation, saying, “Behold the
wood of the Cross, on which has hung the salvation of the world. Come, let us adore.”
Your Parish Priest
For God so loved the world
that He gave His only-begotten Son,
that those who believe in Him may not perish,
but may have life everlasting.
John 3:16-17

PREDESTINED WOMAN
Mary’s figure first appears in the third chapter of Genesis as crushing the head of
the serpent (Genesis 3:15). She is the “Predestined Woman whom God has selected from
all eternity to be the shining dawn introducing Christ, the Sun, into the world” (from the
Akafist Hymn). “For God Who rests upon the spiritual thrones, has made ready for Himself
a holy throne upon the earth. He Who has made firm the earth in His Wisdom has prepared
a living heaven in His love for man” (Vespers for the feast). She is the prologue of the
pleasure of God and the first announcer of salvation to mankind. According to tradition,
Mary was born in Jerusalem near the Pool of Bethsaida, in the house of Joachim and
Anne. St. John Damascene wrote in one of homilies, “I will enter this house and I will
cover with kisses the walls which are so dear to me, the walls which sheltered the Mother
of God.” Since there is no distance for those who love, let us go, in turn, and enter in
spirit and cover with kisses the birthplace of the Mother of God, the Queen who gave
birth to the King of the Universe — our Mother.
God entered our human history through a woman “when the designated time had
come, God sent forth His son born of a woman . . . so that we might receive our status as
adopted sons” (Galatians 4:4). He became one of us to make us one with Him. He took
what we are and gave us what He is. He took our infirmities and gave us His Divinity and
all that we have received from Him was lavished upon us through the “Woman full of
grace” whom all generations shall call blessed forever. If the Lord, Who promised the
sinful woman who washed His feet with her tears that “wherever the Gospel is preached,
what she did for Him will be told in her memory,” (Mark 14:9), how much more will He
not do for His Mother “the all-holy and blessed Virgin?” Whoever honors the Son, honors
the Mother who gave Him birth and, whoever honors the Mother, also honors the Son,
for they are so intimately associated in the Mystery of Redemption that they cannot be
dissociated. If our worship must be Christ-centered, we will not forget that it was the fiat
of Mary which made it all possible, in order to always associate the Mother of Light with
the Author of Life — Christ the Redeemer and Savior of mankind.
NATIVITY OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
September 8
“Your birth has filled all the universe with joy, O virgin Mother of God, for from you
arose the glorious Sun of righteousness, Christ, our God. He destroyed the age-old curse and
replaced it with a blessing. For having conquered death, He gives us everlasting life.”
(Troparion of Nativity).
September is the beginning of our ecclesiastical liturgical year, and the first feast
which we celebrate is the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
What is the purpose of the liturgical year? To recall to the minds of all the followers
of Christ the great drama of divine Redemption of which St. Paul writes: “You see, God’s
grace has been revealed and it has made salvation possible for the whole human race. . . .
He (Christ) sacrificed Himself for us in order to set us free from all wickedness and to purify
a people so that it could be His very own and would have no ambition except to do good”
(Titus 2:11-14).
There are many mysteries in the divine drama of the salvation of mankind. But all
these mysteries start with the birth of the Mother of God, the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is
the first feast of the ecclesiastical year in the Eastern Church, because the birth of the
Blessed Virgin has started a new era in the history of mankind, fallen into sin, and then
redeemed by Christ, Mary’s divine Son.
No wonder why our Church sings on Mary’s birthday: “Your birth has filled all the
universe with joy!” With these words our Church invites all her spiritual children to
rejoice and be happy. We read a similar invitation in the prophet Zechariah which he
addressed to the Jewish people, promising them that the future Messiah would come
and free them from both spiritual and national slavery: “Rejoice, daughter of Sion. Shout
with gladness, daughter of Jerusalem! See now, your king comes to you. He is victorious.
He is triumphant” (Zechariah 9:9).
The daughter of Sion represents the Chosen People, the people of Israel. And who
has the symbol of Israel? Who was the privileged daughter of the Chosen People? The
Blessed Virgin Mary who represents the whole Jewish people and mankind in general,
because the Angel deals with her about the salvation of the whole human race at the
moment of Annunciation.
WHY SHOULD WE REJOICE AT THE BIRTH OF MARY?
Because Mary is the fulfillment of the promise and hope which God gave to our first
parents in Paradise after their fall into original sin. When Adam and Eve forfeited the
happiness of paradise, God punished them, but He punished as a good father punishes
his child who has offended him. He still loves the child.
God still loved mankind after the fall of Adam and Eve. In punishing them, He
promised to repair their mistake and sin. As Eve started our fall by inducing Adam to
sin, so another Eve, the New Eve, Mary will become God’s instrument in carrying out
God’s promise. “I will make you enemies,” God told Satan who had seduced Eve, “of
each other, you and the woman, your offspring and her offspring. It will crush your head”
(Genesis 3:15).
The same promise was confirmed and renewed through prophet Isaiah who said:
“The maiden is with child, and will soon give birth to a Son Whom she will call ‘Emmanuel’,
which means ‘God with us’ ” Isaiah 7:14).
This blessed Son is Jesus Christ our Savior. St. John says: “The Word was made
flesh (became Man) and lived among us” (John 1:14).

Thus the birth of Mary is God’s signal that the new era of God’s mercy was close at hand. It was the era of salvation for all mankind through Christ Who would be born of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This is why our Church calls her “the morning star,” announcing the coming of the Sun. Mary’s birthday announces that Christ, the Savior of the world, would come soon and save us from sin.
We should be thankful to the Blessed Virgin for what she has done for all mankind by becoming the Mother of God’s Son and by offering her works, suffering and prayers for our salvation, and for praying and interceding for us even now in heaven where she enjoys the beatific vision, seeing God face to face and glorifying the Blessed Trinity together with all the Saints and Angels.
Our Church sings in her honor at every Divine Liturgy that is celebrated: “It is truly right to bless you as the Theotokos, as the ever-blessed and immaculate Mother of our God. More honorable than the cherubim and by far more glorious than the seraphim, without corruption you gave birth to God the Word. O true Mother of God, we magnify you.”

Pope Declares Sept. 7 Day Of Fasting and Prayer for Syria

“I have decided to proclaim for the whole Church on next 7 Sept. , the vigil of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace, a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the world” Pope Francis

VATICAN CITY, September 01, 2013 (Zenit.org) – Here is a Vatican translation of the Pope’s address this morning, given before and after praying the midday Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
* * *
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Hello!
Today, dear brothers and sisters, I wish to add my voice to the cry which rises up with increasing anguish from every part of the world, from every people, from the heart of each person, from the one great family which is humanity: it is the cry for peace! It is a cry which declares with force: we want a peaceful world, we want to be men and women of peace, and we want in our society, torn apart by divisions and conflict, that peace break out! War never again! Never again war! Peace is a precious gift, which must be promoted and protected.
There are so many conflicts in this world which cause me great suffering and worry, but in these days my heart is deeply wounded in particular by what is happening in Syria and anguished by the dramatic developments which are looming.
I appeal strongly for peace, an appeal which arises from deep within me. How much suffering, how much devastation, how much pain has the use of arms carried in its wake in that martyred country, especially among civilians and the unarmed! I think of many children who will not see the light of the future! With utmost firmness I condemn the use of chemical weapons: I tell you that those terrible images from recent days are burned into my mind and heart. There is a judgment of God and of history upon our actions which are inescapable! Never has the use of violence brought peace in its wake. War begets war, violence begets violence.
With all my strength, I ask each party in this conflict to listen to the voice of their own conscience, not to close themselves in solely on their own interests, but rather to look at each other as brothers and decisively and courageously to follow the path of encounter and negotiation, and so overcome blind conflict. With similar vigour I exhort the international community to make every effort to promote clear proposals for peace in that country without further delay, a peace based on dialogue and negotiation, for the good of the entire Syrian people.
May no effort be spared in guaranteeing humanitarian assistance to those wounded by this terrible conflict, in particular those forced to flee and the many refugees in nearby countries. May humanitarian workers, charged with the task of alleviating the sufferings of these people, be granted access so as to provide the necessary aid.
What can we do to make peace in the world? As Pope John said, it pertains to each individual to establish new relationships in human society under the mastery and guidance of justice and love (cf. John XXIII, Pacem in Terris, [11 April 1963]: AAS 55, [1963], 301-302).
All men and women of good will are bound by the task of pursuing peace. I make a forceful and urgent call to the entire Catholic Church, and also to every Christian of other confessions, as well as to followers of every religion and to those brothers and sisters who do not believe: peace is a good which overcomes every barrier, because it belongs all of humanity!
I repeat forcefully: it is neither a culture of confrontation nor a culture of conflict which builds harmony within and between peoples, but rather a culture of encounter and a culture of dialogue; this is the only way to peace.
May the plea for peace rise up and touch the heart of everyone so that they may lay down their weapons and let themselves be led by the desire for peace.
To this end, brothers and sisters, I have decided to proclaim for the whole Church on 7 September next, the vigil of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace, a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the world, and I also invite each person, including our fellow Christians, followers of other religions and all men of good will, to participate, in whatever way they can, in this initiative.
On 7 September, in Saint Peter’s Square, here, from 19:00 until 24:00, we will gather in prayer and in a spirit of penance, invoking God’s great gift of peace upon the beloved nation of Syria and upon each situation of conflict and violence around the world. Humanity needs to see these gestures of peace and to hear words of hope and peace! I ask all the local churches, in addition to fasting, that they gather to pray for this intention.
Let us ask Mary to help us to respond to violence, to conflict and to war, with the power of dialogue, reconciliation and love. She is our mother: may she help us to find peace; all of us are her children! Help us, Mary, to overcome this most difficult moment and to dedicate ourselves each day to building in every situation an authentic culture of encounter and peace. Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us!

NEW LITURGICAL YEAR

Thanks to Steve Zinski for providing this information.

September 1st is the beginning of the Liturgical Year. It is also the beginning of
a new school year. A beginning means a new and fresh start. We have spent the three
month of summer resting and maybe we were bored. Now we begin school again with
new strength and new spirit. The same is true with beginning a new liturgical year.
We begin, once again, to live in the mysteries of Christ, by first celebrating the
birthday of Mary. In Mary’s birth the hopes of the Israelite people, who long awaited the
Messiah were fulfilled. Mary brought the Messiah–Christ into the world; thereby ending
the expectation of the people in the old Covenant.
It would be wonderful if we, at home, would celebrate the beginning of the new
liturgical year and Mary’s birthday. It would be nice to celebrate these with our families
at the main meal on September 8th by having a birthday cake in Mary’s honor. Maybe
we could also decorate the center of the table with a picture or icon of Mary.
In the month of September we also celebrate the feast of the Exaltation of the
Holy Cross. It seems strange that we would celebrate this feast at the beginning of the
liturgical year. The cross is a symbol of Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection. It is
the end towards which the liturgical year will lead us; yet, we are reminded of the end
right at the beginning. The Church brings the beginning and end before us because it
wants to show us that they are not far apart.
On this feast we are taken back to the beginning when Adam sinned by eating the
fruit of the tree. At the same time we are shown another tree — the cross which brings us
new life. For this reason we draw near to the cross and bow before it for from it comes
the new life of Christ.
In our churches we find the cross surrounded with flowers placed on a table.
Wouldn’t it be good for us to celebrate this feast also in our homes? We could take the
cross which we have at home and place it on our dining room tables or some other small
table and surround it with flowers. We could keep it there and venerate it for the eight
days of this feast. In this way we could enter the liturgical year with new meaning and
with new spirit.
NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION
The liturgical year has wound down. Its final day was yesterday, Saturday, August
31st. Today, September 1st, begins the new liturgical year As with every secular new
year, resolutions are in order. Now that we have another beginning, people of faith ought
to resolve for themselves certain tasks and goals directed toward a greater love of God
and neighbor.
We are students and disciples of our Lord, Jesus Christ, as were Christ’s chosen
Apostles. They spent time with Christ and so should we. Christ walked with them more
in spiritual terms than in physical. They only had three years with Him. Their journeys
were limited by the endurance of their feet and the course of the seasons. Yet, their
walk with Him in faith took them on a journey of faith light years ahead of their meager beginnings.
Christ taught them with His frontal attacks on their moral and behavioral shortsightedness. He challenged their values on greatness by setting a little child before them
(Matthew 18:2). He taught them a supremacy of spiritual holiness over physical wellbeing (Matthew 18:5.10). He built up their concern for the lost and the erring over and
above flattering those well-off and secure by human standards. He came to save what
was lost and cure the sick as a holy physician.
The values which Jesus upheld at the price of His own blood were made evident
by the way He lived. Our own human endeavors ought to strengthen and uphold our
faith in God, irrevocably establishing our rapport both with God and man. By cooperating with God’s will we become communicators of God’s love. Our thoughts, words and
deeds become vessels of God’s grace, pouring out a righteous example of Christian
living. Vatican lI’s DogmaticConstitution on the Churchspeaks admirably of Christian
living in terms of holiness. From Chapter 1.2 we read: “By an utterly free and mysterious
decree of His own wisdom and goodness, the eternal Father created the whole world. His
plan was to dignify men with a participation in His own divine life.”
Chapter 5 entitled “The Call of the Whole Church to Holiness” explains: “Thus it is
evident to everyone that all the faithful of Christ of whatever rank or status are called to the
fullness of Christian life and to perfection of charity. By this holiness a more human way of
life is promoted even in this earthly society. In order that the faithful may reach this perfection, they must use their strength according as they have received it as a gift from Christ. In
this way too the holiness of the People of God will grow into an abundant harvest of good,
as is brilliantly proved by the lives of so many saints in Church history.”(no.40).
The Byzantine Church credits the greatest growth in holiness to people who drink
from the font of daily prayer, who receive the sanctifying grace of Penance and Holy
Communion, and who apply the Holy Spirit’s guidance to the duties of their lives by the
reading and study of Sacred Scripture. This is how we apply the maxim of seeking first
the kingdom of God. By such means we cannot fail to offer God, the Author of our lives,
true and loving worship.
By subjecting our lives to the pursuit of God’s will, right from the beginning of this
liturgical year, our walk through life becomes a walk with God in faith, hope and love.
Today we prayed the following Kontakion:
Christ our King, You dwell on high. Maker and Creator of all that is seen and
unseen, You made the days and nights, the seasons of the year and time
itself. Bless the new year. Preserve in peace and protect our nation, this faith
community and all Your people, O most merciful Lord.
I think we all recognize that the love we have for a person can find its best expression
in time of crisis. A husband may tend to grow thoughtless of his wife and fail to show signs
of tenderness and affection, but just let her go into the hospital for a serious operation and
he will show how deep his love really is by his worry and concern. Or a mother becomes
annoyed with her child who seems always to be complaining, “There’s nothing to do around
here.” After the child is sent out to play he is struck by a car, and in that terrible moment
all the love of the mother goes out to her child. It seems a shame that sometimes we wait
until a time of crisis to show how great our love is.
Several years ago a five-year-old girl came down with an extremely rare disease. The
doctors understood little about her condition, but they did know that a blood transfusion
was imperative, and they wanted her to receive blood exactly like her own, a very rare type.
Neither parent had the right type, so the doctors tested the little girl’s eight-year-old brother.
His type was perfect, but it occurred to the doctor in charge that it would be frightening for
a boy of that age to be asked to give blood. The doctor sat the boy down and explained
that his sister needed his blood in order to live. The boy’s eyes grew bigger and bigger during the explanation, but when the doctor had finished the boy consented and his parents
signed the necessary papers. They wheeled the boy into his sister’s room and effected the
transfusion. When it was all over the little boy looked up at the doctor and asked, “Doctor,
when do I die?”
That little boy thought that to give blood to his sister meant that he had to die. How
heroic he was! But I am sure that he bickered with his sister and teased her as older brothers do. There were times when he did not want her around as he played with his buddies.
But despite all that, he did build within his heart a great love for his sister. In one sense it
seems a shame that he waited until a time of crisis to show it.
And it is a shame too if we wait until a time of crisis to show our love for God. In our
daily lives we can tend to drift away from God, to forget about Him, to fail to show the
love and tenderness that we should. Sometimes, when God’s law gets in the way of what
we want to do, we may even wish that He were not around. Today Jesus tells us that we
must love God with our whole heart—that means that we must love God all the time, in
little things as well as big things. We should not wait until we come face to face with some
problem. Nor can we afford to wait, because we do not know how much love we have built
up within ourselves to meet the crisis. Love grows in only one way—by loving.
The Divine Liturgy is the best means we have both for expressing our love of God and
for growing in that love. The Divine Liturgy makes us think about God. We hear His words
in the scriptures and the homily. If a person is not on your mind, you are not really going
to be concerned about him. The Divine Liturgy is also our way of telling God we love Him
through the prayers and hymns. A husband and wife can actually increase their love by
saying that they love each other. A good husband doesn’t need some special occasion to
bring home a little gift to his wife. In the Divine Liturgy we give God the best gift possible,
the body and blood of Jesus Christ in sacrifice. We pray that Jesus may make of us an
everlasting gift to His Father. That means that our love for God should be so great that we are willing to die for Him, as the little boy was willing to die for his sister.
Love also grows from being with the person we love. In holy communion we come
into intimate contact with God our Father through the precious body and blood of Jesus
Christ, His Son.
Of course the Divine Liturgy will not automatically help us grow in our love for God,
just as human relationships do not grow automatically. People in a family can talk to each
other without really communicating. They can physically dwell together under the same
roof like boarders without any real personal relationship. They can even eat at the same
table without feeling any more sense of intimacy than do people at the same lunch counter
in a coffee shop. Growth in love demands effort, especially the effort on your part. You
must get involved. God is talking to you and you must listen. When you talk to God, you
must mean what you say. The prayers in the missal and the hymns are cold, dead print
on a page. It is up to you to give those words life and meaning. When Jesus renews His
sacrifice through the action of the priest, you are not just a spectator. You must actively
join with the priest in offering yourself as a victim with Christ. At communion time you
must be thinking about the fact that Jesus wants to draw you to Himself so that you may
share in His own family-like relationship as a child of God the Father.
The Divine Liturgy should never be just routine. It is too vital to our relationship with
God. The real test of our love for God will come on a day of crisis. Meanwhile, let us use
the Divine Liturgy as our means for growing in our love for God, a love so strong that we
will be willing to die for Him.
C.E.M.
Wooden Tongues
While our Church has always incorporated singing into the liturgy, there are still some
of us who miss the golden opportunity of using this form of praise. We forget that a hymn is
a prayer. A quick glance around many congregations on any given Sunday Divine Liturgy
will find that there are a number of parishioners who do not use this tribute to God.
While there may be a number of reasons for this attitude, there cannot be very many
good excuses for the failure to participate. In most instances the missals and hymnals are
available.
It is true that none of us will sing like Caruso, nor do we have the talent to solo in
front of an audience. But if God had expected us to praise Him with a voice that rivals the
angels He would have provided the vocal chords.
So the weak alibi that we do not participate because we do not have a pleasant voice
is not very valid. There are more of us with the inability to carry a tune than there are those
who stop the show with a beautiful aria.
Stephen Crane, the American poet and novelist of the 19th century, penned these
words: There was a man with a tongue of wood/Who essayed to sing/And in truth it was
lamentable./But there was one who heard/The clip-clapper of this tongue of wood/And I
knew what that man wished to sing/And with that the singer was content.
From these lines, we wooden-tongued warblers can gather courage to sing our hymns.
We can also be assured of one certain fact, that we have a listener. Not the people on either
side of us, but the God Who gave us that off-key voice.
L.J. Huber

Good Friday (Gregorian)

Today is Good Friday–the time during Holy Week to reflect on the sorrowful passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The reason Jesus handed himself over for the life of the world and died for our sins is because of His tremendous Love for us and His ardent desire for our salvation. Also, let us not forget about Mary, the Mother of God, and her Immaculate Heart that suffered along with her most beloved Son, as she witnessed how He was condemned to death and crucified.

 As we get closer to Sunday, let us not forget the real meaning behind the Holy Day of Easter that we celebrate with pascha and colorful eggs. Please honor today with silence and prayer. *It is recommended to pray today between the hours of 3:00pm and 5:00pm, as those are the most likely hours during which Jesus was dying on the Cross.