Project Mexico Basic Training - 11/24/13
"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood…”
Orthodox Basic Training Week July 15 - 21
Hosted by the OCA Diocese of the West
Clergy and lay-workers from around the diocese will join together in serving "the least of these my brethren". Over the week, we will construct several sturdy, weatherproof homes for families without adequate shelter. As if that weren't enough(!), through various talks and discussion groups we will explore in-depth practical ways we can participate in, and prepare ourselves for, service "from glory to glory" during the high-school and college years. Among the topics to be presented and discussed:
- Discerning the Call
- Vocations: Monasticism, Priesthood, Music, Iconography, Family Life as Sacred Vocation
- Surviving the College Years: Prayer, Morality, Debt, Community, Sacramental Life
- "The Fields are Ripe for Harvest": Missions Both Home and Abroad
Where do volunteers stay? Volunteers will need to bring tents (or arrange to borrow) and set up on the grounds of St. Innocent Orphanage. The orphanage is located on a beautiful 16 acre ranch near Rosarito, Mexico.
|110th Anniversary of St. Michael's, Pueblo - 11/22/13|
by Father Zechariah Lynch
The sixth hour just finished. Eight priests of the Rocky Mountain deanery, along with guest speaker Achimandrite Irenei, one deacon, and four subdeacons file out of the Sanctuary towards the back of the church to await His Eminence Archbishop Benjamin. A shy and nervous youngster of the parish awaits His Eminence in the open doors of the church with a bouquet. The church is small but lovingly built over 89 years ago. It may even have the world's smallest Narthex. The original church was destroyed in a massive flood in 1921, and the impoverished congregation at that time scraped all their funds together to rebuild - St. Michael's Orthodox church in Pueblo, Colorado. On November 8th, the Feast of the Archangel Michael and all the Heavenly Hosts, the community celebrated its 110th Feast Day.
In the not so distant past of 1903 St. Tikhon received a large group of hardworking Uniate Slavs back into the fold of Holy Orthodoxy.
As His Eminence ascends the stairs leading up to the church the choir begins to sing and a full Hierarchical Divine Liturgy commences. In the rather packed little Sanctuary the Rocky Mountain deanery clergy gather around their Archpastor and the boundlessness of Christ Jesus' Holy Body and Blood, the one thing needful. As the Psalmist says, “Behold, what is so good, or what is so fine, but for brethren to dwell in unity”
| ||2014 Conference Cruise to Alaska - 11/20/13|
ANCHORAGE, AK [OCA]
With the blessing of His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin of San Francisco and the West, and the support of Bishop-elect David (Mahaffey) of the historic diocese of Alaska, a cruise and conference at sea will be held September 6-13, 2014.
While exploring Juneau, Sitka, Glacier Bay, and other sites on the Holland America Westerdam, conference participants will attend a wide variety of daily lectures, services and workshops offered by Fr Michael Oleksa, a recognized authority on Alaskan history and spirituality, and Fr Laurent Cleenewerck, Rector of Saint Innocent Church, Eureka, CA, who is also an academic and author.
Detailed information, including rates and agenda, may be found at www.orthodoxcruises.com
Only 100 “seats” are available for this event, and registrations are accepted now on a first-come, first-serve basis.
|Celebration in Culver City - 11/09/13|
Fr John Tomasi, Fr Basil Rhodes and Fr Yousuf Rassam celebrated the altar feast of the Mission "Joy of All Who Sorrow" on Wednesday, November 6, 2013. Fr John's excellent homily was on the topic of how it is our responsibility and duty as Christians to bring joy to the sorrowing and broken people in the world. The joyous Divine Liturgy was followed by a festive repast in the parish trapeza.
It was a nice turnout for the Mission, in spite of the fact of the early weekday Liturgy. As there are now a good number of Russians attending the Mission, Frs Basil and Yousuf were able to use some Slavonic for them, as well as lead the singing of "Otche Nash" (Our Father). The small choir sang beautifully, utilizing a good deal of znamenny chant. The Mission choir recently recorded a Byzantine chant
CD of the complete Lamentations for Holy Friday night in English, which is available from their excellent and well-stocked bookstore.
|The Apostle on Stewardship - a reflection - 10/28/13|
We are in the season of annual meetings, budgets, new personal pledges for the coming year, etc. The following is a reflection on the words of St. Paul about giving that is offered with the prayer that it helps each of us in our meditation, prayer and commitment to our parishes and Church.
Father John Dresko
The concept of “stewardship” can be misunderstood in today’s Church. Although stewardship principles include giving money, it is much more than that. Stewardship is a Christian (and biblical) concept. In his second letter to the Corinthians (8:1-9:8), St. Paul writes a remarkable essay on what it means to follow Christ as a steward. Anyone claiming to live a Christian life must reflect on his words.
And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will. So we urged Titus, since he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. But just as you excel in everything — in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us — see that you also excel in this grace of giving. (8:1-7)
Christian stewards give “themselves first to the Lord.” True stewardship begins with the realization that Christ does not expect “something” from us — He expects everything. He told the rich young man to sell “everything,” give it to the poor, and follow Him. We begin a stewardly life by giving ourselves to the Lord.
But it is important to note that Paul exalts the Macedonians for their “rich generosity.” He also marvels in the fact that they, on their own, “pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service.” Generous giving of ourselves to the “service of the saints” (i.e., the life and work of the Church) is not something that is to be taken grudgingly, or as something to be minimized or avoided, but rather a privilege that should be embraced.
In holding up the Macedonians as an example, Paul then turns his attention to the Corinthians. They are excellent in many ways: “in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness,” even in love. But if they are excellent in those things, they must also be excellent in the grace of giving. Paul implies that they would be lacking as Christians if they ignored this aspect of their lives. As would we be lacking if we excel in a number of Christian virtues but are miserly in giving.
I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
And here is my advice about what is best for you in this matter: Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have. (8:8-12)