Community Archive

0

A Message from Fr. Lou – “I lift up my eyes to the hills…” Psalm 121:1

In 1999, Presbytera Marsha and I, had the incredible opportunity to accompany a group of St. Catherine parishioners, friends and family members, in a visit to the Holy Land and Mt. Sinai. There are so many amazing memories from this experience as we walked where Jesus, His Disciples and Prophets walked. For most of this trip, we had the good fortune to have as our guide, His Grace, Bishop Nikeforos of the Jerusalem Patriarchate. He took us to a number of Orthodox sites that most would not have the opportunity to visit and arranged, among many other events, a participation for us in a midnight Divine Liturgy in the Holy Sepulcher and the veneration of St. Catherine’s relics at the monastery bearing her name at the foot of Mt. Sinai.
There were a couple of days, however, that His Grace could not be with us so we had then, as our guide, a Jewish man called Shlomo, who was the friend of our Palestinian driver. That opportunity was special as well as we witnessed many Jewish sites introduced to us by Shlomo, as his Palestinian Arab friend drove us from one site to another. As I fondly recall these events a beautiful psalm in song comes to mind: “As the mountains are around Jerusalem, the Lord is all around His people.” (Psalm 125:2). Shlomo led all fifty of us in song as we drove in the countryside of Israel, observing the mountains near and around Jerusalem. We contemplated the thousands of years of love and faithful relationship between God and His people, Israelite and Gentile alike.
As we celebrate the 30th Anniversary this year of our St. Catherine Parish, one generation passes the torch to the next. In honoring the Founders of our Parish, we connect with them – those living here and those living on in that next realm with our Lord. We also connect through them with hundreds of generations of faithful stewards of God’s grace, family members, Saints, Disciples and Prophets, Gentile and Jew alike.
The second generation of our St. Catherine Parish now begins as one more generation of love in faithful relationship between God and His people.
“I lift up my eyes to the hills…” As you gaze to the beautiful Rockies in the West may your minds’ eye take you to the East – to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ – “The Sun of Righteousness.” And remember “As the mountains are all around Jerusalem, The Lord is all around His people,” from this generation and forever more.
With our Lord’s blessings,
Fr. Lou

0

Happy Ecclesiastical New Year!

A MESSAGE FROM FATHER DINO

Happy New Year!

Yes, New Year! The Ecclesiastical New Year begins
September 1, 2010.
What does that mean for you?
We have come full circle. In Church speak that means we remembered the falling asleep of the Virgin Mary in August, and on September 8th we will remember her nativity.
As we begin the New Ecclesiastical Year, the only resolution each of us must make is to make more time for Jesus. Making more time for Him means having a deeper understanding and relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ at the end of next year.
Therefore our theme will be a continuation of last year’s, which was “Gather my people to my home: Come and See.” This year we still invite everyone to gather to Jesus Christ’s home: His Church, but with the added resolution that each of us come and BE!
It even rhymes making it easier to remember. This year you are invited to be at St. Catherine’s. Be an active member in a ministry of your choice. Let you children be involved in the youth group of their age. Be willing to make time for the most important part of your life: Jesus Christ.

If each us of can just be the body of Christ- His Church-our Lord’s Parish of St. Catherine- it will be a blessing!

0

The Tragedy in Haiti

A MESSAGE FROM FATHER LOU

As of the writing of this article, the estimated death toll following the tragic earthquake in Haiti in mid-January is over 150,000. Millions and millions of dollars have been collected from the world community to offer aid to the services of the terrible event. In fact just under $3000 has been collected by our Parish and forwarded to the IOCC and our Archdiocese. I am certain significantly more money has been donated directly to IOCC and other relief agencies by you, our parishioners. A few hundred hygiene kits have been collected, packaged and shipped by our Philoptochos, Young Adults and OCF College Students. May our Lord grant eternal life to the innocents who have passed on and recovery to the hundreds of thousands of survivors.
One may ask, where God is in the midst of such an event? Does God cause such tragedies? Why does He allow innocent people to suffer and die? Our underlying premise as people of Faith is that in the midst of tragedies, God is with them and us. I refer you to Psalm 139 and Romans 8 as assurances of our Lord’s presence. Nevertheless, we live in an imperfect world where such epic events periodically happen, and God does allow them. Why there and not here? Why now and not at another time? Why the Haitians and not another nation? We really cannot answer these questions.
In any case as Christians, our hope is in the Lord now and in the afterlife. We therefore place, with love and compassion the souls of the departed ones of this earthquake in the compassionate hands of our Living Lord. We offer help to the best of our ability monetarily and otherwise for those suffering and for their recovery. We place them also, through prayers, in the hands of our Lord and Savior.
May God’s grace abide and be with all those who lost their lives, those suffering and the thousands of relief workers, now and for the months to come.

With our Lord’s blessings, Father Lou

0

Health Reform

A MESSAGE FROM FATHER LOU

We have not seen a more controversial issue than health reform in our country for some time. It is the main topic of debate on many radio talk shows, Fox News and CNN. Those on either side of the debate, I believe would agree that the providing of quality and affordable health care to all within our country is one of her main responsibilities.

Allow me to focus on a different type of health reform – Spiritual Health Reform. How many times have we heard or perhaps even said ourselves, “…if you have your health you have everything.”? Our Lord and His Church throughout the centuries would of course confirm this through His compassion and countless healings of sickness, disease and ailments in His ministry and through His people. However, above these physical healings He places, of course, our spiritual health and well being. This is of no surprise for us in theory. In other words, even the most basic of Christians understand that our spiritual health, the health of our soul is of primary importance. Health of mind, body and soul are intricately woven together, but our primary focus is health of soul. In our Lord’s own words, “…do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is life not more than food and the body more than clothing…? But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all this shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:25, 33). Or remember Jesus’ healing of the paralytic man that was lowered down through the roof to Jesus by his friends? Upon seeing their faith Jesus said to the Paralytic, “son, your sins are forgiven.” The scribes and others with them upon hearing Jesus, complained that only God can forgive sins to which Jesus responded by healing the man to show that his sins were forgiven also and first showing the primacy of this dimension of health. (Mark 2:1-12)

In the midst of the great health reform debate that we find ourselves, why not take this opportunity to focus on your own spiritual health reform? Allow me to offer a few concrete suggestions:
1. Dedicate your life more fully to Christ. Accept His love for you (John 3:16), and love Him and your neighbor as yourself (Mt. 22:37-39). Daily think of concrete ways of loving God by loving others – a kind word here, a prayer there, a monetary offering to help over there, are a few suggestions.
2. Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Mt. 6:33). Put God and His kingdom first in your daily life. Begin and end each day with a thanksgiving prayer. Read His word, the Bible, daily. It is like daily food or vitamins.
3. Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. (Mt. 4:17). To be a “holy one” (a-yi-os in Greek) means to be in the world but not of the world. Repentance is about walking in a different direction than worldly directions such as desiring fame, fortune, and being self-centered. Be God-centered and humble as you relate to others!
4. Forgive! If you forgive man their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not… either will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matt. 6:14-15). We tend to justify ourselves when we have a conflict with another. That’s our pride—not humility talking. That’s the world’s way.
5. Be humble! Remember the Parable of the Publican and the Pharisee. “…everyone who exalts himself will be humbled and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
6. Take advantage of the Religious Education classes for the adult, the “School of the Seventy”, and the personal journaling questions offered weekly.
7. Participate in the Church – the sacramental presence of our Lord with His people.

I respectfully offer these suggestions with a sincere hope and prayer that they can help in reforming our spiritual health and wellbeing.

With our Lord’s blessing, Fr. Lou

0

“Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God!” Matthew 6:33

A MESSAGE FROM FATHER LOU

This September 1, 2009, marks the 25th time that our St. Catherine Parish has begun a new Ecclesiastical Year. With the overall theme of “Every Generation”, marking our Silver Anniversary as a Parish, we have chosen our Religious Education theme for the year: “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God.” (Matthew 6:33)

Please join Father Paul, Father Dino, Our Ministry Leader and me in beginning each day in prayer, thanking our Good Lord for His love, grace and Divine presence in our lives. Let us place one another in God’s care and protection. In a world that seems less and less focused on our Lord, let us endeavor to focus more and more upon Him.

• Begin and end each day in Thanksgiving for God’s love and grace
• Love God, love others, love yourself
• Be humble
• Forgive and ask for forgiveness
• Be compassionate, “rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn!” Romans 12:15
• Be kind
• Be patient with others and yourself
• Be peacemakers

Allow me to conclude with the following thought :
“God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called. Yes, I do love GOD. He is my source of existence and my Savior. He keeps me functioning each and every day. Without Him, I am nothing, but with Him I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)”
Have a blessed and grace filled Ecclesiastical Year, Seeking first the Kingdom of God.

With our Lord’s Blessings,

Fr. Lou

0

“SEEK YE FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD”

A MESSAGE FROM FATHER LOU

The greatest sermon of all time, “The Sermon on the Mount” is recorded in Matthew, Chapters 5-7 and delivered by our Lord to His disciples and a great crowd of onlookers. In Chapter 6, verse 33 of this sermon, our Lord Jesus reminds us that the proper focus of life is on the Kingdom of God. When we focus on our Lord, everything else will fall into place.

At our Clergy/Laity and Philoptochos Congress in the Summer of 2008, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios chose the theme, “Gather My People to My Home.” He then challenged all Parishes to endeavor to reach out and include all Orthodox and those interested in our Orthodox Faith. We therefore have made some changes outlined below in order to assist each of you in your faith commitment .

We look to begin our New Ecclesiastical year, September 1, with a renewed commitment of our lives to our Lord. “Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God”, is the theme of our Orthodox walk in general and this year in particular, our focus for Religious Education. For two years we have used an interactive teaching model for our early childhood and primary children that was taught on either Wednesday evenings or Sunday mornings. We have decided this year to once again have ALL of our Religious Education classes for children on Sunday mornings. We will continue our Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Curriculum for the Preschool and Kindergarten age group and augment our curriculum for older children.
There are several changes in the Sunday Schedule which are listed below:

8:15am – Orthros
9:20am – Doxology
9:30am – Divine Liturgy
10:35 -11:35am – Church School For Children (Leave after Holy Communion)
11:10 – Coffee Hour

Please note that the biggest change is not only going back to Sundays, but having Church School AFTER rather then before Divine Liturgy, and that Liturgy will begin at 9:30am all year round, rather than only in the summer months.
Please do your very best to get to Divine Liturgy at 9:30am with your children. We plan to have a short sermonette for them after the Gospel. The children with their teachers will be the first to receive Holy Communion and proceed directly to their classes at 10:35am. The adult sermon and extra services will happen at the end of the Liturgy after which adults will proceed to Coffee Hour and shortly thereafter classes will be dismissed.

Wednesday Fellowship Nights will not have religious education for children. We will, however, continue to have classes for adults (the schedule will be posted in August) and babysitting will be available. We are exploring other activities for children on Wednesday nights and GOYA will have Basketball practices in the fall.

We also look forward to beginning a 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-per-week Internet Radio Program in conjunction with OCN (Orthodox Christian Network). We intend to weekly highlight a Gospel reading and the life of a saint for the spiritual growth of our parishioners.

The Church School registration form is on page 5 (also available on our website); please send it back to the Church Office (Attn: Alina Buzdugan) by August 15. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, Fr. Dino or Suzanne Magerko.
Let us begin this Ecclesiastical year “Seeking first the Kingdom of God.”

With our Lord’s Blessings,

Fr. Lou

0

“Every Generation”

A MESSAGE FROM FATHER LOU

“Every Generation offers a hymn to Your burial
Oh Christ.” (Hymn – Holy Friday Lamentation Service)

Billions of Christians from “every generation” and all lands have sung this hymn from the Lamentations service of Holy Friday night with love to our Lord. Thousands of faithful parishioners of our beloved Saint Catherine parish have joined them in song for these past 25 years. From the auditorium Sanctuary at Slavens Elementary School to our beautiful Temple honoring the All-Wise Great Martyr Catherine of Alexandria, we sing praises to our Lord. We are Orthodox Christians from Greek, Russian, Serbian and other Slavic backgrounds. We are Romanians, Bulgarians, Middle-Easterners, Egyptians and Africans. We are Americans from Roman Catholic and various Christian traditions, from Judaism and other major faiths who have chosen to become one with the Ancient Apostolic Church. Those who sang in those first years as small children are now adults, many with faithful children of their own. We are young and old. We are diverse, yet one in love for and in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Let us therefore join together as one family in Christ to celebrate our Silver Anniversary of 25 Years. We remember in honor the 20 Founding Members, their families and all who were a part of the beginning, most living and some of blessed memory. We honor the past presidents and members of the Parish Council and Philoptochos. We honor our senior citizens and youth, our teachers, choir members, chanters, youth workers, volunteers in all ministry areas and staff, past and present. Finally, we honor our clergy. We thank our hierarchs, His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos and Bishop Kallistos of blessed memory, Bishop Anthimos and Metropolitan Isaiah who consecrated St. Catherine. We thank our founding pastor, Fr. Dean Talagan and Fathers Demetrius Nicoloudakis, Paul Fedec, Evan Armatas and Dino Sinos and their Presbyteres Argie, Despina, Gloria, Stacy and Rachel for their faithful leadership in ministry and support. We honor the memory of Deacons Christodoulos Vigil and Chris Zinis and Diakonissa Marguerite for their ministry and thank Diakonissa Claire for her ongoing service to the Lord.

On our celebration weekend of June 13-14, let us gather as one family, glorifying our Loving Lord Father, Son and Holy Spirit for His love and faithfulness.

SATURDAY, JUNE 13
• SAINT CATHERINE BIRTHDAY PARTY FOR CHILDREN: 10 am-12 noon with lunch, fun and games and Birthday Cake
• GREAT VESPERS AND PARISH MEMORIAL SERVICE: 5 pm presided over by His Eminence Metropolitan Isaiah with Visiting and Parish Clergy
• GRAND BANQUET: Cocktails 6pm, Dinner 7pm (Individual tickets $100)

SUNDAY, JUNE 14
• ORTHROS – 8:15 am
• HIERARCHICAL DIVINE LITURGY – 9:30 am
• PARISH CELEBRATION BRUNCH – immediately following Divine Liturgy (Love offering donation)

Please RSVP for each event to Church Office at 303-773-3411 or to Alina Buzdugan at alina@stcatherinechurch.org.

On behalf of Presbytera Marsha and our family I am so grateful to be your Pastor and thank our Good and Loving Lord for blessing us in this Ministry these past 12 years. Through the prayers of His most blessed Mother the Theotokos and our special protectress, St. Catherine the great Martyr, may our generation and all future generations be blessed and offer hymns to our Risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

In humility and with His Blessings, Fr. Lou