PARISH NEWS AND EVENTS
40 Days ~ Emile Mantzakides, Right Rows 1 - 2
8 Years ~ Nick (Nicolaos) Right Rows 3 - 4
Today’s Coffee Fellowship is hosted by the Assumption Community. Please join us in Plato Hall to enjoy fellowship.
Sunday Church School:
Divine Liturgy begins promptly at 9:45am in St. Catherine's Chapel. Classes will take place immediately following the Divine Liturgy in Plato School. If you have not, as yet, registered your child for the 2014-15 school year, please do so by contacting the Church Office, securing a registration form online at our Church’s Website (www.assumptionchicago.org), or by speaking with our SCS Director, Mrs. Christina Arvanites.
A Reflection Before Great Lent:
WHEN YOU FAST:
A REFLECTION BEFORE GREAT LENT
George Parsenios PhD
What appears to happen in the Passion of Christ and what actually happens are not at all the same. What appears to happen is not that extraordinary. The Romans crucified a Jewish man in order to keep public order. During their long rule over Judea, the Romans had killed many Jews, making the death of Jesus one among these many. But, only in appearance. The reality was very different. The Paschal homily attributed to St. John Chrysostom emphasizes this difference between appearance and reality. Chrysostom describes Christ`s encounter with Hades as follows:
Hades…was embittered when it encountered thee in the lower regions…
It took a body, and met God face to face.
It took earth, and encountered Heaven.
It took that which was seen, and fell upon the unseen.
Fooled by what appeared to be just another corpse, Hades was overthrown by an encounter with the Almighty God, as the Passion and Resurrection of Christ shook the foundations of the universe in the final acts of a cosmic drama.
As we are about to enter the Great Lenten Season on February 23rd, we are again reminded that we have a role in this universal, cosmic drama. Let’s reflect on the proper nature of our role by using the language of appearance and reality. For, it is easy to confuse our role, or to play the wrong role by focusing on our appearance rather than our reality. When Jesus chastises his opponents, he often calls them hypocrites for practicing their piety in public, and for drawing attention to themselves as they pray. The word hypocrite, of course, is the Greek word for "actor." They are trying to "act" pious and "act" charitable. Their focus is on their appearance in public. Jesus urges them instead "to go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you" (Matt 6:6). Now, these things are not included in the Gospels so that we can ridicule the Pharisees whom Jesus criticizes. Indeed, they are written, not because we are unlike the Pharisees, but because we have the unfortunate potential to be just like them. The very things that are designed to make us more humble, the very acts of repentance and self-denial that are supposed to make us more open to God and more loving to one another can be used to make us more self-satisfied and more self-centered. But this is to focus on the appearance of holiness, and not its reality.
A wonderful little book called the “Way of the Ascetics” provides an important image for reflecting on real holiness. For, we may be inclined to think that, if we want to be humble, we must try to appear humble. We might, for instance, wear especially humble clothes or constantly adopt humble postures. But, this, too, can be a way of drawing attention to ourselves. The Way of the Ascetics has a lovely passage about real humility, however, emphasizing that the truly humble person doesn`t stand out as being more humble than others, and, indeed, doesn`t stand out at all. You may not even notice him because the goal of humility is precisely not to stand out. Real holiness has a way of making a person appear relatively normal, just like everyone else. As with the Passion of Christ, of course, this appearance of being usual and every day is only on the surface.
A very helpful step in focusing on the inner drama of holiness is to avoid comparing ourselves with others, and the Church reminds us of this fact in various ways. On the 5th Sunday of Lent, for instance, we commemorate St. Mary of Egypt. She lived alone in the desert until she met St. Zosimas, who tells her story. We wouldn`t know anything about St. Mary, however, if St. Zosimas had not encountered her in the desert. And St. Zosimas would not have been in the desert if his monastery had not observed the Lenten fast in a particular way. To keep the monks of his monastery from competing with one another, the monks retreated individually into the desert, in order to observe the fast separately. Their drama was internal and their only audience was God. This is a helpful model to imitate. A certain silence should accompany our fasting. While it will be helpful to encourage one another and support one another over the next forty days, it is also easy for this need for support to become something else. It`s easy to find ways to drop hints of our fasting regimen into casual conversations. We might even rationalize a good reason for doing so. But this is to risk making the fast into one more opportunity to put ourselves in the limelight and at center stage, and to undermine the real work of fasting, prayer and repentance that lie within the inner heart of Lent.
The great ascetics of the early Church always navigated between the appearance and the reality of holiness. We are regularly told in the stories of the Desert Fathers that the monks of the Egyptian desert would hide their ascetical practices from visitors. They don`t make their guests fast with them, but prefer to show hospitality to whomever comes to see them. They feed them well and make them comfortable. The visitors, of course, are always surprised and suppose that these renowned monks are not really all that strenuous in their spiritual exercises. We are always told in the stories, however, what really happens, and how the ascetic only allows himself to appear unimpressive, because his greater concern is the care and comfort of his guests. Here we see the opposite of the hypocrites whom Christ admonishes. The appearance is allowed to be unspectacular, while the reality of generosity and holiness is profound.
Let us, then, observe the fast in reality and not only in appearance, following these models of piety and especially the model of our Lord, whose strength was shown in weakness and whose apparent defeat in death led in reality to the victory of the Resurrection. "For, if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his" (Rom 6:5).
George Parsenios, M.A. Duke University, M.Div. Holy Cross School of Theology, M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. Yale University, and Associate Professor of New Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary
We thank and are appreciative to all stewards who have pledged and remained committed to our beloved Parish of Panagia. Through your continued and loving support, the Parish Council has been able to serve as caretakers and steward the needs and priorities that face our Church. We ask that you complete your 2015 pledge card for the New Year at your earliest convenience and return it to the church office. If you have a balance on your 2014 commitment, you may submit that as well.
Dates to Remember:
PRE-LENTEN TRIODION PERIOD THROUGH
PASCHA AND BRIGHT WEEK 2015
Sunday, February 22nd
Cheese Fare Sunday - Forgiveness Sunday
Last day on which the eating of dairy is permitted
Monday, February 23rd
GREAT LENT BEGINS
STRICT FAST DAY
5:30 p.m. Great Compline
7:00 p.m. Lenten Dinner
Wednesday, Feb. 25th
6:00 p.m. Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts
Friday, February 27th
7:00 p.m. First Salutations to the Theotokos
Saturday, February 28th
Third Saturday of the Souls
Feast of the Miracle of St. Theodore
8:30 a.m. Orthros
9:30 a.m. Divine Liturgy
Sunday, March 1st
First Sunday of the Great Lent
Sunday of Orthodoxy
6:30 p.m. Sunday of Orthodoxy Great Vespers Service at
St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church
1220 South 60th Court, Cicero, IL
Monday, March 2nd
6:00 p.m. Great Compline Service
7:00 p.m. Adult Bible Study
Wednesday, March 4th
9:00 a.m. Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts
Friday, March 6th
7:00 p.m. Second Salutations to the Theotokos
Sunday, March 8th
Second Sunday of Great Lent
Feast Day of Saint Gregory of Palamas
Monday, March 9th
6:00 p.m. Great Compline Service
7:00 p.m. Adult Bible Study
Wednesday, March 11th
6:00 p.m. Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts
Friday, March 13th
7:00 p.m. Third Salutations to the Theotokos
Saturday, March 14th
9:00a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Annual Lenten Youth Retreat
Philoptochos would like to thank everyone for attending the Apokreatiko Glendi "The Roaring Twenties" honoring the 90th anniversary of the establishment of our Church. Thank you to Chairlady Tina Sarantos and her committee Evie Maggos, Nikki Massouras, Joanne Bastounes, and Tina Kozil, Reservations chairlady Joan Leakakos, and to all the ladies providing the sweets, and our own Assumption dancers. A good time was had by all.
"Go Red for Women Sunday":
Assumption Philoptochos has designated this, Sunday, February 22nd as our local "Go Red for Women Sunday" in order to raise awareness for women's heart health. All ladies, young and old, are asked to wear red on this Sunday to show support for this important health issue for women.
Annual Lenten Dinner in Plato Hall, Monday, February 23rd:
With Kathara Deftera (Clean Monday) on MONDAY, FEBRUARY 23rd, our Church begins its journey through this solemn Season of Great Lent. And, as is the tradition, Church Services will be held on this first evening of Lent beginning at 5:30pm, with the Great Compline Service. Following this solemn Worship Service, the traditional Lenten Meal will be served in Plato Hall. The proceeds this year will be us used to help with the expenses incurred in the Sunday Church School 90 Acts of Kindness Program. Donation is $10.00, and reservations can be made by calling the Church Office (773.626.3114). A Flyer can be found in this Weekly Bulletin.
Children’s Winter Retreat:
The Metropolis of Chicago is hosting a winter retreat titled “Great Escape Winter Camp” for children grades 6 through 12. The retreat, which will take place at the St. Iakovos Retreat Center, will begin on Friday March 6th to Sunday March 8th. The fee for the camp is $155.00. Children will be transported via bus and they will be picked up and dropped off at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Des Plaines. For more information please contact Dn. Chris Avromopoulos at email@example.com.
2015 Celebration of Books:
Holy Apostles is excited to announce their annual Celebration of Books from Sunday, March 8th through Sunday, March 15th. This year the keynote speaker on all three nights will be Fr. Maximos.
Finding God in Scripture and Creation:
The Theology of St. Maximos the Confessor
Sunday, March 8th
6:30 pm Vespers; 8:00 pm Presentation, “The Search for Truth”
Monday, March 9th
6:30 pm Compline; 8:00 pm Presentation, “The Book of Nature”
Tuesday, March 10th
6:30 pm Compline; 8:00 pm Presentation, “The World of Scripture”
Wednesday, March 11th through Sunday, March 15th Holy Apostles Church is open from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm and all are welcome to browse the books and icons in their bookstore.
Thinking of Converting to Orthodoxy?
If you, a family member, or friend, who are not of the Orthodox Faith, and may be considering conversion to Orthodoxy, please contact the Church Office (773.626.3114) or speak with Fr. Timothy. A Confirmation/Chrismation Class is being formed to prepare those who have expressed interest to convert to Orthodoxy. This also includes couples who are planning to be married in the Orthodox Church in the near future, and where one of the couple is contemplating converting to the Orthodox Faith. We plan to begin this process in late February or the first week in March.
AHEPA 13th District Scholarships Available:
Applications for the Order of AHEPA’s 13th District Scholarship Awards are now being accepted. Eligible students must be high school seniors, have a minimum four-year cumulative grade point average of ‘B’, and be either of Greek heritage or have a parent that is an active member of the AHEPA family. For further info, or to obtain an application, please call the Church Office (773.626.3114). Deadline for submitting application is March 15, 2015.
George Mougolias Memorial Scholarship:
The GMMF Scholarship Program was created to give the Orthodox youth in the community the opportunity to further their academic studies. The awards are based on need and their involvement in the Orthodox community and their academic achievements. For further information, or to obtain an application, please call the Church Office (773.626.3114). Deadline for submitting application is April 15th.
Sunday Church School 90 Acts of Kindness Challenge:
Our 90 Acts of Kindness Challenge continues to progress! Thank you to all our fellow parishioners for the continued support of our Sunday Church School and its events. Together we are making a positive difference one kind act at a time!
Act of Kindness #1-45 Completed – Please visit our website or our bulletin board to see who benefited from these Acts of Kindness
HALF WAY TO OUR GOAL!!!!!
Act of Kindness #46 – We will be baking/delivering cookies and thank you cards to the Chicago Police Dept.15th District-Austin (Dept. responsible for serving our church) 5701 W. Madison, Chicago.
Act of Kindness #47 – Now through March 1st we are collecting items listed for Sarah’ Inn (domestic abuse shelter) residents. (pasta, rice, mac/cheese, kids cereal, canned beans, deodorant)
Act of Kindness #48 – Now through March 1st we are collecting gently used adult sized shoes for local homeless.
Act of Kindness #49 – On Saturday, March 7th from 4:30-7pm we will be serving a meal to the homeless at Marquard Center 1645 W. LeMoyne, Chicago. All Volunteer spots have been filled, THANK YOU!
Act of Kindness #50 – Students will be making craft kits (plastic bags filled with an easy craft a child/teen can do as they wait to visit with a doctor) for patients at St. Jude’s Research Hospital. (grades 7/8 & HS will be assembling)
Act of Kindness #51 – We will be making quilts for the SEWonderful Quilts. SEWonderful Quilts recycles designer fabric into one-of-a-kind quilts which are gifted, free of charge, to children (0-21yrs) suffering with life-threatening illnesses, as well as children who have been sexually abused.
Act of Kindness #52 –We will be collecting broken, used crayons that will be melted down and made into larger sized crayons for special needs children. All grades will sort and package.
Act of Kindness #53– We will be collecting used/preowned Nintendo DS, Playstation, Wii, and any other video games as well as any equipment. These will be donated to the Toybox Connection for use in foster care and State of IL operated group homes.
Act of Kindness #54 – We will be making “starter kits” for homeless veterans that will be transitioning into a home for the first time. Starter kits include items such as dish towels, pot holders, kitchen sponges, cleaning supplies. Donations of these items are welcomed.
Act of Kindness #55 – Children will be decorating paper lunch bags and filling them with small toiletries items for use at Fisher House. Fisher House provides temporary housing for families of veterans receiving care at Hines VA Hospital. www.fisherhouse.org
Act of Kindness #56 – We will be assembling hygiene kits for IOCC. Donations of bars of soap, combs, washcloths, and hand towels are welcomed. www.iocc.org
Act of Kindness #57 – We will be collecting children sized shoes for Share Your Soles. www.shareyoursoles.org
Act of Kindness #58 – We will be making Memorial Day cards for veterans to be given at the Jesse Brown VA Home.
Act of Kindness #59 – On April 25th form 10am-12 we will be doing a craft or game with disabled children of Marklund Home in Bloomingdale. Volunteers ages 9 and up needed. Please see Christina Arvanites to volunteer
Act of Kindness #60 – On Sunday, April 26th students will have a jump rope contest and raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society, we will also be wearing orange to raise awareness and support this organization.
Act of Kindness #61 – Our Ladies Philoptochos and Church School students have joined together to support a benefit for little 5 year Chris Ellis who is battling Stage 4 neuroblastoma. Please see any Ladies Philoptochos member or SCS student to purchase a $10 raffle ticket.
There’s so much more kindness to spread and our Sunday Church School is just the right group to do it!! Our goal is 90 by our Anniversary Dinner on October 18, 2015! You can watch our progress as we fill in a “thermometer” that is displayed in St. Catherine’s Meeting room. *Do you have a suggestion for an Act of Kindness or have an organization that you would like to see benefit? Please let Mrs. Christina Arvanites know.
Church School on FACEBOOK:
Our Sunday Church School has created a FACEBOOK page. Like our page: Assumption Sunday Church School! See our progress on our Acts of Kindness Challenge, keep up to date on upcoming events and view photos from recent events.
Next Orthodox Adult Bible Study Monday, March 2, 2015:
Our Adult Bible Study will meet on Monday evening, March 2, 2015, at 7:00 pm, in Saint Catherine’s Meeting Room. We have moved into study of another Epistle written by Saint Paul the Apostle, the Epistle to the Philippians. This class is open to all, and it is hoped that you will avail yourself to the opportunity to study the Bible in-depth. All you need to bring along with you is your Bible. For further information and/or questions, please see Father Timothy.
Panagia’s Monthly Book Club:
Our Monthly Book Club will meet on Thursday, March 12, 2015, at 7:00 pm at the Pan Arcadian House, 880 North York Road, Elmhurst, IL. The discussion will center on the Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives by Elder Thaddeus. The Monthly Book Club meets the 2nd Thursday of each month. If you would like to join the group or want further information, please contact Father Athanasios.
Establishment of Assumption Prayer Ministry:
The Assumption Adult Bible Study Group has developed an idea that may be of interest to parishioners and friends of our Panagia Parish. They are interested in being able to form a ministry comprised of individuals who would like to pray for the health of those individuals who may be ill or experiencing health issues. Our Orthodox Faith teaches us that the ‘power of prayer’ literally works miracles, and Jesus instructs us in the Bible that we should “always pray for one another in the fellowship of love and through the Holy Spirit”. As a Panagia Parish, we are united as brothers and sisters in Christ, and we are encouraged to pray for one another as any family would do. So, how do we plan to do it? It’s simple, easy, and spiritually uplifting and rewarding. Here is what we can all do:
- If you are interested in participating, you need only submit your name and email address to the Church Office or Fr. Timothy.
- When a name is submitted to be prayed for, you will be contacted by email, given the first name of the person to be prayed for, along with the prayer to be read by you, offering the prayer for the intercession of God upon that individual, and asking that the afflicted be healed by God’s abundant blessing.
- Your prayer, together along with the many others who are offering a prayer for the person who is ill, will bring comfort beyond comprehension.
Just think about that….our prayers collectively praying for a person who needs the loving and tender Hand of God during his/her special time of need. It’s that simple. Just provide us with your email address, and you can join this ministry team who will pray for the person who needs help the most. It costs nothing, takes only a few seconds to do, but will make us all part of a spiritual family that looks and cares for one another.
Do you need gifts for your family or relatives? Then please visit the Bookstore in Plato Hall after the Divine Liturgy on Sundays. There you will find unique gifts for everyone, such as books for children and adults, icons of your or your children’s patron saints, crosses, key chains and other beautiful items, which will make much appreciated gifts this year. Please stop in and browse, you’ll be glad you did.
Coffee Fellowship Hosts Needed:
Have you considered selecting a day to host the Weekly Fellowship Hour following Worship Services on a specific Sunday in 2015? You might want to celebrate a family event, a memorial, or just want to share time with the Church family. Please call the Church Office (773.626.3114) to book a date and for more information. Available dates for the first half of 2015 are:
March 1 May 3 June 14 July 12 Aug. 16 Sept. 13
March 15 May 17 June 21 July 19 Aug. 23 Sept. 20
March 29 May 24 June 28 Aug. 2 Aug. 30 Oct. 4
April 26 May 31 July 5 Aug. 9 Sept. 6 Oct. 18
Prosfora Bakers Needed:
One of the blessings of Stewardship that we are given is the ability to serve our Church in a number of ways. Our Church is in need of individuals who can offer the weekly Prosforo (Bread) for the Divine Liturgy. Should you be able to offer your service, please inform the Church office or see either Fr. Timothy or Mrs. Demetra Spyropoulos. With the help of each steward/member, we come together as a Church family to better offer our thanks to our Lord.
College Students -- Check Out OCF (Orthodox Christian Fellowship):
To our young people who are going away to college for the first time, or to those returning to school to continue their studies, Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) is the organization which keeps you connected to your Church and your Orthodox Faith. OCF has 300 chapters in colleges and universities throughout North America. So be sure to check out their web site to locate and find out about your chapter -- WWW.OCF.NET. We also encourage our college young people to share their e-mail addresses with our Church so that we may keep them informed of their “Spiritual Home” while they are away. And always remember, your Assumption Church’s weekly Divine Liturgy Services are just a click away on your computer each Sunday as we now broadcast live each Sunday. Just access it by going to our website at: www.assumptionchicago.org
Cemetery Graves Update:
The Parish Council announces that effectively immediately, prices for graves at Elmwood Cemetery will be the following: $1,995.00 (members), and $2,295.00 (non-members). Our Parish has only forty-six (46) graves remaining in the Panagia section, and the Church pricing is about 50% less than the graves that are being sold at Elmwood. For more information, please call the Church office and speak with Gail (773.626.3114).
Proper Church Etiquette:
Worship Services are vital instruments and components to our prayer development. In order to help us achieve this, we need to be cognizant of our fellow parishioners and all those around us. Therefore, please make sure that cell phones are completely turned off during Services. In addition, while we most welcome children to participate in the liturgical life of the Church, it remains the responsibility of parents to make sure that children do not become a distraction to those around them. Therefore, if a child is crying, or in some way in need of attention, please feel free to take him/her to the Narthex or Cry Room. You are most welcome to enter and exit the Church proper as many times as necessary. By doing this, all who are in attendance will be afforded the opportunity to worship and pray together. (Please keep in mind that we are also privileged to have a complete Sunday School Liturgy celebrated in Saint Catherine’s Chapel each week for your use as well). We ask for your cooperation. Ushers will be available to help you, if needed.
Holy Communion Announcement:
While we pray and work for the reconciliation and unity of all the world’s Christians, the reality remains that there is still no intercommunion between our Orthodox Churches and the Churches of the West. This means that only baptized, chrismated, and observant Orthodox faithful are allowed to receive Holy Communion in our churches. At the same time, we warmly welcome all non-Orthodox to join us in prayer and celebration, and humbly offer to all present the Antidoro bread of fellowship at the end of the worship service. We offer this important symbol ‘instead of the Gifts’, in the words of the Apostle Paul, ‘Till we all come to the unity of the Faith’ (Eph. 4.13).
We Need Your E-mail Address:
Are you receiving the weekly bulletin online in your e-mail mailbox each week? How about our Assumption Church’s Newsletter and the Saint Catherine’s Newsletter? If not, please give the Church Office your e-mail address so that you can stay informed about the schedule of religious services, events, and news of our Community.
Website News: www.assumptionchicago.org
We are excited to announce that many additions/changes have been made to our Church’s Website. In addition to upcoming events in our Parish and throughout our Metropolis of Chicago, we are constantly updating information as well regarding our faith. You can find articles and resources for the Orthodox Church on our web site. They include the history of Orthodoxy, special Services and Blessings, Spirituality, Teachings of the Orthodox Church, how to become a member of the Orthodox Church, the meaning and celebration of The Holy Eucharist, the form and characteristics of Orthodox worship, the Sacrament of Confession, Holy Week Meditation and Study Guide, Fasting, and many others. We have up loaded the current editions of the Assumption Newsletter and the St. Catherine Newsletter, and are available for reading online. Through the help of Mr. Chris Panos, we have also uploaded all previous newsletters dating back to 2008. They are now available online. Just log on to our website www.assumptionchicago.org, and see the many changes we have made.
Our Sunday Church Services are broadcast live on the Internet each week:
A reminder to all, in April of last year, our Parish of Panagia began broadcasting live to the internet each Sunday. This is of particular benefit to our shut-ins, elderly, college students, and vacationers who are away from home, yet need to receive the benefit and blessing of the weekly Divine Liturgy experience. All you need to do is log on to our website www.assumptionchicago.org, and click the link to begin watching the Worship Service live. We have also archived our Services allowing anyone to click and watch the Service/sermon at their leisure. We encourage you to give it a try.
Chris Limperis, Bill J. Vranas, Demetra Lakerdas, Stacy Lynch, Dean Sarantos