PARISH NEWS AND EVENTS
Annual Palm Sunday Luncheon:
Today, is our Annual Palm Sunday Luncheon in Plato Hall. Donation: Adults $12.00, Children $6.00. The proceeds this year will benefit the rebuilding of Saint Nicholas Shrine/Church at Ground Zero in New York City. Please join us in Plato Hall to enjoy fellowship.
An Emotional Easter Egg Story
Today is Palm Sunday. As Easter is approaching in one short week, I thought this story is very moving, and reminds us of the true meaning of Easter (Pascha). I share it with you.
Jeremy was born with a twisted body, a slow mind and a chronic, terminal illness that had been slowly killing him all his young life. Still, his parents had tried to give him as normal a life as possible and had sent him to St. Theresa's elementary school. At the age of 12, Jeremy was only in second grade, seemingly unable to learn.
His teacher, Doris Miller, often became exasperated with him. He would squirm in his seat, drool and make grunting noises. At other times, he spoke clearly and distinctly, as if a spot of light had penetrated the darkness of his brain. Most of the time, however, Jeremy irritated his teacher.
One day, she called his parents and asked them to come to St. Teresa's for a consultation. As the Foresters sat quietly in the empty classroom, Doris said to them, "Jeremy really belongs in a special school. It isn't fair to him to be with younger children who don't have learning problems. Why, there is a five-year gap between his age and that of the other students!" Mrs. Forrester cried softly into a tissue while her husband spoke. "Miss Miller," he said, "there is no school of that kind nearby. It would be a terrible shock for Jeremy if we had to take him out of this school. We know he really likes it here."
Doris sat for a long time after they left, staring at the snow outside the window. Its coldness seemed to seep into her soul. She wanted to sympathize with the Foresters. After all, their only child had a terminal illness. But it wasn't fair to keep him in her class. She had 18 other youngsters to teach and Jeremy was a distraction. Furthermore, he would never learn to read or write. Why spend any more time trying? As she pondered the situation, guilt washed over her. "Oh God," she said aloud, "here I am complaining when my problems are nothing compared with that poor family! Please help me to be more patient with Jeremy." From that day on, she tried hard to ignore Jeremy's noises and his blank stares.
Then one day he limped to her desk, dragging his bad leg behind him. "I love you, Miss Miller," he exclaimed, loudly enough for the whole class to hear. The other children snickered, and Doris's face turned red. She stammered, "wh-why, that's very nice, Jeremy. Now please take your seat." Spring came, and the children talked excitedly about the coming of Easter. Doris told them the story of Jesus, and then to emphasize the idea of new life springing forth, she gave each of the children a large plastic egg. "Now," she said to them "I want you to take this home and bring it back tomorrow with something inside that shows new life. Do you understand?" "Yes, Miss Miller!" The children responded enthusiastically - all except for Jeremy. He just listened intently; his eyes never left her face. He did not even make his usual noises. Had he understood what she had said about Jesus' death and resurrection? Did he understand the assignment? Perhaps she should call his parents and explain the project to them.
That evening, Doris' kitchen sink stopped up. She called the landlord and waited an hour for him to come by and unclog it. After that, she still had to shop for groceries, iron a blouse and prepare a vocabulary test for the next day. She completely forgot about phoning Jeremy's parents. The next morning, 19 children came to school, laughing and talking as they placed their eggs in the large wicker basket on Miss Miller's desk. After they completed their math lesson, it was time to open the eggs. In the first egg, Doris found a flower. "Oh yes, a flower is certainly a sign of new life," she said. "When plants peek through the ground we know that spring is here." A small girl in the first row waved her arms. "That's my egg, Miss Miller," she called out. The next egg contained a plastic butterfly, which looked very real. Doris held it up. "We all know that a caterpillar changes and turns into a beautiful butterfly. Yes, that is new life, too." Little Judy smiled proudly and said, "Miss Miller, that one is mine."
Next Doris found a rock with moss on it. She explained that the moss, too, showed life. Billy spoke up from the back of the classroom. "My daddy helped me!" Then Doris opened the fourth egg. She gasped. The egg was empty! Surely it must be Jeremy's, she thought, and, of course, he did not understand her instructions. If only she had not forgotten to phone his parents. Because she did not want to embarrass him, she quietly set the egg aside and reached for another.
Suddenly Jeremy spoke up. "Miss Miller, aren't you going to talk about my egg?" Flustered, Doris replied, "but Jeremy, your egg is empty!" He looked into her eyes and said softly, "yes, but Jesus' tomb was empty too!" Time stopped. When she could gain her composure, Doris asked him, "Do you know why the tomb was empty?" "Oh yes!" Jeremy exclaimed. "Jesus was killed and put in there. Then his Father raised him up!" The recess bell rang. While the children excitedly ran out to the school yard, Doris cried. The cold inside her melted completely away.
Three months later Jeremy died. Those who paid their respects at the Church were surprised to see 19 eggs on top of his casket……..all of them empty.
Montini Catholic High School has informed our Church that Marisa Arvanites has achieved the ‘Honor Roll’ during her third quarter of the 2014-15 academic year. Congratulations.
Ministry, Ministry, Ministry!
Every Christian who has accepted salvation has also accepted the responsibility of working in the ministry of the Church. The clergy have been called apart and given the grace and blessing to perform the specific sacramental functions of the church, but all Christians, clergy and laity alike, have been called to serve in our Lord’s ministry. If this is not what the Church is doing, then we have entered into serious error. Everything that we do as a Church should be in direct support of Christ’s ministry of salvation. If we build buildings, they should be to support ministry. Any event sponsored by the Church should be ministry or in support of ministry. The Church’s budget should be driven by its ministry, not the ministry to be limited by its budget.
Have You Made Your 2015 Stewardship Pledge Yet?
We have come to the end of the first quarter of 2015. We thank and are appreciative to all stewards who have pledged and remained committed to our beloved Parish of Panagia. The Parish Council reminds all stewards and supporters of our beloved Panagia Parish to complete your stewardship pledge card for 2015 and return it to the church office. Pledge cards and info can be found at the Pangari in the Church Narthex. May our Lord continue to bless us abundantly.
We are in need of donors for the flowers that are used during the Lenten/Easter Season. Should you wish to offer a donation for one of the items below, please call the Church Office - 773-626-3114
Palm Leaves for Palm Sunday April 5th - DONATED
Palm Sunday Crosses - DONATED
Icon for The Salutations to the Theotokos - DONATED
Jonquils for the Sunday of the Veneration of the Cross - DONATED
Icon for Bridegroom Services, - DONATED
Flowers for the Large Icon of the Last Supper – DONATED
3 Wreaths for Holy Thursday, April 9th - DONATED
Rose Pedals, Holy Friday, April 10th - DONATED
Carnations, Holy Friday, April 10th - DONATED
Lavaro, April 11th and April 12th -DONATED
Easter Lilies for Holy Pascha, April 11th and April 12th - DONATED
2015 Pan-Hellenic Parade:
Thank you to all our parishioners that participated in the Hellenic Parade this past Sunday. The cold weather did not hamper the just under 90 participants who represented our parish with great enthusiasm and love!
Dates to Remember:
PRE-LENTEN TRIODION PERIOD THROUGH
PASCHA AND BRIGHT WEEK 2015
Sunday, April 5th
Annual Palm Sunday Luncheon following Services
7:00 p.m. Service of the Bridegroom
Monday, April 6th
Great and Holy Monday
7:00 p.m. Service of the Bridegroom
Tuesday, April 7th
Great and Holy Tuesday
7:00 p.m. Service of the Bridegroom
Wednesday, April 8th
Great and Holy Wednesday
2:30 p.m. Sacrament of Holy Unction
7:00 p.m. Service of the Bridegroom
Holy Unction will be distributed after the Service.
Thursday, April 9th
Great and Holy Thursday
9:00 a.m. Vespers and Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil
7:00 p.m. The Holy Passion of Our Lord
Friday, April 10th
Great and Holy Friday
9:00 a.m. Reading of the Royal Hours
3:00 p.m. Removal of Christ from the Cross
7:00 p.m. Service of the Lamentations
Saturday, April 11th
Great and Holy Saturday
9:00 a.m. Vespers and Divine Liturgy
11:00 p.m. Canon of the Holy Resurrection
Sunday, April 12th
12:00 Midnight Resurrection Service & Divine Liturgy
11:00 a.m. Vespers of the Feast of Agape
Thursday, April 16th
7:00 p.m. Assumption Book Club
Friday, April 17th
Friday of Bright Week
Feast of The Life-giving Fountain
8:30 a.m. Orthros
9:30 a.m. Divine Liturgy
Saturday, April 18th
4:00 p.m. Spring Event, "Country Western Barbeque"
hosted by the SCS High School Class
Monday, April 20th
7:00 p.m. Adult Bible Study
Wednesday, April 23rd
Feast Day of Saint George the Great Martyr
8:30 a.m. Orthros
9:30 a.m. Divine Liturgy
If you need Easter Lambades for your children or Godchildren please stop by and check out the Lambades that the Ladies of the Assumption Philoptochos will be selling every Sunday from March 1st up to Easter during the Coffee Fellowship.
Just a reminder, the Philoptochos Easter Bake Sale will be this Sunday after Divine Liturgy in St. Catherine's Meeting Room and in Plato Hall.
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.
Upcoming Philoptochos Fellowship Event:
Tapas & Wine, a culinary demonstration and wine tasting, Sunday, April 26, 2016, 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. at Dave's Specialty Foods, 106 W. Prospect, Mount Prospect. Chef Dave will prepare dishes, share recipes and techniques and provide generous tastings, along with various wines. Donation $50. Space is limited there are only 40 spots available--for reservations or more information contact Evie Maggos, phone 847-253-8835 or email: email@example.com. Reservations will be confirmed when payment is received.
Annual Assumption Church Festival:
Mark Your Calendars! The dates for the Annual Church Festival July 25 – 26, 2015. We need volunteers for the planning and preparation for the Picnic. Please speak with Chris Limperis or Eileen Szubert, who serve as Chairpersons for this year’s event.
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 #1-61 Completed – Please visit our website or our bulletin board to see who benefited from these Acts of Kindness
Act of Kindness #62 – On April 19th we will be making sack lunches for The Night Ministry and will have the opportunity to distribute them to the area homeless from 4pm - 5pm All Volunteer spots to distribute the sack lunches are filled. THANK YOU!
Act of Kindness #63 – On April 25th from 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 #64 – 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 #65 – On Saturday, May 2nd from 10am-11:30am we will be visiting the Animal Care League (Oak Park) children will have an opportunity to tour the facility, learn about the organization, make “Kitty go home kits” and Stuff Kongs, there will also be a chance for interaction with one of the animals. Volunteers needed. Please see Christina Arvanites or George Rodinos to volunteer
Act of Kindness #66 – 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 suffering with life-threatening illnesses, as well as children who have been sexually abused.
Act of Kindness #67 – On Sunday, May 3rd Students will be packing care packages for cancer patients that Phil’s Friends will be delivering to local area hospitals.
Act of Kindness #68 – We will be making goody bags for homeless teens that will be going to prom with the help of the organization TLP
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, April 20, 2015:
Our Adult Bible Study will meet on Monday evening, April 20, 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, April 16, 2015, at 7:00 pm at the Pan Arcadian House, 880 North York Road, Elmhurst, IL. The discussion will center on the Man of God: The Life of St. John Maximovitch. 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.
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:
April 26 May 31 July 5 Aug. 9 Sept. 6 Oct. 18
May 3 June 14 July 12 Aug. 16 Sept. 13 Nov. 1
May 17 June 21 July 19 Aug. 23 Sept. 20 Nov. 8
May 24 June 28 Aug. 2 Aug. 30 Oct. 4 Nov. 15
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.
In addition our Parish’s website, we encourage you to keep abreast on the latest news and happenings about Orthodoxy from our Metropolis of Chicago and our Holy Archdiocese.
Please use the links below to access any of the three sites:
Assumption Church: www.assumptionchicago.org
Metropolis of Chicago: www.metropolisofchicago.org
Archdiocese of America www.goarch.org
All three websites will provide you with articles and resources for the Orthodox Church. 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, the Orthodox Calendar, and much more. Specifically, on our Parish’s website, we have uploaded past and current editions of the Assumption Newsletter and the St. Catherine Newsletter, and are available for reading online.
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.
Ted Pappas, Rose Marie Stewart, James Lakerdas, Voula Spyropoulos, Tom Collis