Dormition of the Blessed Theotokos Archive

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A Message From Fr. Lou – “Thanksgiving” …

A MESSAGE FROM FATHER LOU

Thanksgiving

 

With the beginning of the Ecclesiastical Year 2013-2014, we enter into the 30th year of the existence of our Saint Catherine Parish. Many who were baptized at Slaven’s Elementary School and some who were baptized after our Saint Catherine’s Temple was completed, have now baptized their own children under the protection of Saint Catherine the Great Martyr. The faithful of this Parish have accepted into the “communion of saints” faithful from various Orthodox backgrounds and pilgrims from a variety of Christian traditions and ancient faiths who have chosen to call Orthodoxy their home. We glorify our Lord for His Divine Presence, love and grace. We thank our Lady the Theotokos, and the Great Martyr Catherine for their intercessory prayers and protection. Finally, we thank our founding fathers and mothers and you the faithful who have accepted their leadership mantle to live eucharistically – in thanksgiving.

Evharisto – the root of Eucharist, which means “thank you”, is such a powerful word. Its core “charis” means “grace”. It’s prefix “Ev” means bless. When we therefore thank God – first and foremost – we “bless” our Loving Lord for the grace given to us. Now grace by definition is a free gift, undeserved, if you will. That free gift begins with our life itself and continues with everything that is in us and that we have. Of course, the Eucharist refers to Holy Communion as well. We therefore live in perpetual thanksgiving, in communion with God and one another. This state of being and the attitude of thanksgiving associated with it has at its core our healing from the fall of original sin – through God’s love and grace .

In this 30th Ecclesiastical year of our Saint Catherine Parish, we again offer ministry and participation opportunities for all our parishioners – young and old alike. These are outlined later in this publication. Please take a moment to see where there are ministries to serve your needs and areas where you might serve in thanksgiving to our Lord for the spiritual gifts you have received. If you have any questions about any ministry please refer them to the Ministry Leader, or Alina Buzdugan, our Ministry Teams Coordinator.

May we all have a most blessed and beautiful 2013-2014  Church Year celebrating 30 years of communion in Thanksgiving to our merciful and Loving Lord and God – Father Son and Holy Spirit.

This is the year of the Lord!

With His blessings, Fr. Lou

 

 

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As God Wills

A MESSAGE FROM FATHER LOU

My sisters, brother and I had the good fortune of growing up in the same town as my paternal grandparents. For the first ten years of my life or so, our maternal grandfather also lived in Cheyenne until his passing. If there is one phrase that I remember, perhaps above all others from my Yiayia and Papous, it was “Proto o Theos”, literally “First God” or “As God Wills”. Sentences would go something like this: “I will see you next summer, Proto O Theos”, or “Proto o Theos we will go fishing Saturday” or “I will fix you macaroni kapama (an incredible Greek tomato and meat sauce), “Proto o Theos”. You see my grandparents really took nothing for granted and realized that everything from the simple and apparently mundane to the complex in life is dependent upon God. From my grandparents to my parents and now to my siblings, the phrase “God willing” is a part of our regular vocabulary.

Indeed this is a part of our Orthodox Cultures. This, however, is not the case in our American – even Western European cultures. Even Christianity has often been negatively influenced to the point where “God-willing” is looked at negatively rather than positively. Please read what Mother Raphaela, the Abbess of Holy Myrrhbearers OCA Monastery in upstate New York recently said in her address to the graduates of Saint Vladimir Seminary: “…But we have a culture, even a Church culture where the phrase “as God wills” signifies a negative, fatalistic approach to life and who in their right mind would try to find that for any future?” She goes on to challenge the seminary graduates to live a life in personal relationship with God, so that His will be slowly but continually intertwined with their will, as they live a life of intimate relationship with Him and through Him with others.

If God’s will is to become our will it requires a commitment to relationship in love to God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God’s will is the beginning and the end, the Alpha and Omega. It is, however, not forced upon us. If God’s will is to become our will we must humbly choose to accept Him and then anything that He wills in our lives. “How we use this incredible portion of created time and space we call life, matters incredibly.” (Mother Raphaela, pg. 7) Our opportunity and responsibility is to use time and space – indeed our lives as opportunities for love, kindness, grace, forgiveness as reflections of the light of God’s glory in an alarmingly dark world.

As we enter the Fast Period of the Dormition of the Blessed Theotokos please join me in reflecting on God’s will in our daily lives. As we approach the end of the summer and the beginning of the New Ecclesiastical Year (September 1) please join me in a commitment of love to our Lord and God in Trinity and to one another. “Seek Ye first the Kingdom of God…” (Religious Ed. Theme for 2009-2010)
The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Love of God the Father and the Communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

With our Lord’s blessings,
Fr. Lou

(Note: Quotations and references to Mother Raphaela are from Essay and Notes, Volume 15, No.1 Summer 2009, Holy Myrrhbearers Monastery, Otego, NY.)