Parish News


Project Mexico Opens Registration for 2012 Summer Work Crews

Join us in building homes for the poor! Registration is now open for our 2012 Project Mexico summer work trips.

Project Mexico & St. Innocent Orphanage is a pan-Orthodox ministry that operates with the blessing of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops. Our orphanage for teenage boys is based in Rosarito, Mexico and is currently home to thirty-one boys who have histories of abuse and abandonment. During the summers, our homebuilding ministry builds sturdy, weather-proof homes for impoverished Mexican families in the area surrounding our orphanage.

This past summer over 300 volunteers from all over the U.S. and Canada built 14 homes for needy families in our area. Many came to serve the poor, yet received far more in return than that which they gave, calling their trip "life-changing" and "spiritually rejuvenating". We are currently planning our trips for next summer, and we ask that your parish consider participating in a homebuilding trip with our ministry. We can accomodate groups of any size and welcome high schoolers and college students as well as adults.

Go here for Information and Registration.

St. James of Westminster--The Making of a Mission

Young St. James' chanterYoung St. James' chanterAlmost a year ago now, an opportunity like no other was presented to a small group of people.  An e‐mail message sent by the then Parish Council President of St. James the Apostle (in Westminster, MD) was received by its parishioners stating that a change in leadership at St. James was imminent. 

New arrived priest Fr. Raphael with Bishop ThomasNew arrived priest Fr. Raphael with Bishop Thomas

What was not exactly clear at that time was how imminent. Within the next 24 hours, that message had become a reality. St. James was without a priest.

Living in our high-tech world, what followed immediately, and what seemed like for days, was a flurry of email activity amongst the parishioners. Some expressing anger, some expressing sadness, others asking, "What do we do next?"

That following Sunday, the church was full of emotion. Our little sanctuary was full with parishioners seeking answers.

Read the rest of the story and view parish photos HERE.

Bible Lecture Series with Fr. Paul Tarazi + October 28, 29

The First Annual Bible Lecture Series, featuring Fr. Paul Tarazi (ptarazi@yahoo.com), will be hosted at by Fr. Aaron Warwick (aaronwarwick@hotmail.com) and the congregation of St. Mary Orthodox Church in Wichita, Kansas, Friday and Saturday, October 28th and 29th.

Fr. Paul is a renowned author and speaker, and is Professor of Old Testament at St. Vladimir's Seminary in Crestwood, New York.

The topic will be The Epistle of the Holy Apostle Paul to the Ephesians. For details view the lecture series flyer or contact the office at St. Mary Church (stmarywichita@cox.net). The flyer explains, "The epistle functions as a farewell speech similar to the one he gave to the elders at the Ephesus Church before heading towards his death. As both a final testament and universal letter to all the Pauline Churches, Ephesians is rich in content and addresses all major issues related to Paul's mission to the Gentiles."

Third Special Tray Offering is in October

The Department of Statistics and Credentials reminds parishes that a significant portion of the funding that is required by the Archdiocese comes from the assessments and Special Trays which are paid by each parish to the Archdiocese on an annual basis. The final Special Tray Offering should be conducted on one of the Sundays in October, and is slated to collect financial contributions for the three Orthodox Seminaries who help to prepare future Antiochian priests. We ask that you contribute generously to support these seminaries and their most important role in the training of our future priests. Please note that the third Sunday in October is designated as Special Olympics Awareness Day, and our teens make a collection to support Special Olympics. Therefore the special seminary tray collection should not take place on the third Sunday of October.

Bishop Thomas Celebrates St. Mary Church's Nameday in Chambersburg, PA

After the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy.  Flanking Bishop Thomas, Fr. Ted Pulcini and Dn. Evangelos Prieston.  In the front row: altar servers Herman Makosky, Kosta Sideras, and Nicholas Kauffman; Sbdn. Joseph MerlinaAfter the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy. Flanking Bishop Thomas, Fr. Ted Pulcini and Dn. Evangelos Prieston. In the front row: altar servers Herman Makosky, Kosta Sideras, and Nicholas Kauffman; Sbdn. Joseph MerlinaAs the parishioners of St. Mary Church in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania were concluding their observance of the Dormition Fast in preparation for the Great Feast of the Dormition, their parish nameday, Bishop Thomas arrived in Chambersburg to celebrate with them.

Fr. Ted Pulcini, St. Mary’s pastor, drove His Grace into Chambersburg during the afternoon of Friday, August 12. That evening Bishop Thomas presided over the final Paraklesis service of the fast, leading a group of parishioners in their supplications to the Mother of God.

The next morning, Fr. Ted accompanied Sayyidna to the St. Seraphim Center, a FOCUS-affiliated ministry conducted by the parish to feed the needy in the Chambersburg area. The Center serves lunch to some 35 to 45 guests twice a week (on Thursdays and Saturdays), complementing the lunch schedule of the local Salvation Army. The Center will be observing its second anniversary this fall and is now well recognized as a welcoming community center in the Chambersburg area. Since last fall, the Center has also offered recycled articles of clothing, free of charge, to men, women, and children who need them. Bishop Thomas commended the work of the Center and gave his enthusiastic blessing to its continued efforts.

Virginia Magazine Features St. Patrick Orthodox Church

Recently, St. Patrick Orthodox Church was featured in the Warrenton, Virginia, Lifestyle magazine. Part of a series about local houses of worship, the colorful article presented the life of the community of St. Patrick in both text and photographs.

The author writes, "St. Patrick's Orthodox Church is strongly committed to being a vibrant witness of the Orthodox faith for their community. The congregation is made up of seniors, young singles and couples, families and many children, In Orthodoxy, the path of salvation is clear: we confess our sins regularly, we partake in our Lord's Body, we read (and sing) the Scriptures, we feed and clothe the poor, we fast, and we pray that we may be continually more filled with love for God and man."

Read the full article here.

Updated and Improved Taste & See Cookbook Released

The authors of the Taste & See Cookbook, parishioners at St. Elizabeth Orthodox Christian Church, have announced that the newly improved version is complete and ready for purchase and shipment.

This cookbook contains 500 all new recipes and is 66% larger than the original Taste & See Cookbook. 85% of the recipes conform to traditional Orthodox fasting guidelines.

The Taste and See website explains that  "a minimum of 10% of the funds raised will be donated to the Antiochian Women and their various charity efforts."

For more information about the project including ordering information, visit the Taste & See website.

St. George Church of Cicero, IL, Holds Convention Kick-Off Celebration

Thursday, July 21, proved to be a day of celebration for many reasons.  In addition to being the last day of a sizzling heat wave across the Midwest, an excitement filled the air in the courtyard of St. George Church, Cicero, Host Parish of the historic 50th Archdiocese Convention beginning this Sunday, July 24th.   Balloons and banners, posters and streamers, food and music, people young and old, witnessed a great announcement!  Fireworks lit up the sky brightening the smiling faces as they all heard: 

The Convention begins this weekend!  

The Committee gathered to celebrate several years of tireless planning and a very anticipated week-long journey called the Archdiocese Convention.  The full schedule is available at www.archdioceseconvention2011.org and awaits the entire Archdiocese.  

Metropolitan Philip Consecrates Church of the Virgin Mary, Alsip, IL

By Rev. Deacon Saed Rihani

May 27-29 was a weekend like no other! For months we prepared for this holy consecration event…not knowing what to expect. But we knew we had to be ready! We built a new iconostasis! We had new icons written for the occasion! We re-constructed the altar area to be suitable for Orthodox worship! And we built a new altar table! And now the weekend was upon us. Sayidna Philip was to consecrate the Church of the Virgin Mary in Alsip, Illinois!

Words cannot express the extent of our happiness at having His Eminence, Sayidna Philip consecrate our Holy Church. It was the wishes of our Pastor, the Rev. Father Mousa Haddad, and the entire congregation that he visit us. Also, since this would be his first visit to our community, it was befitting that he would consecrate our house of worship. Committees worked hard to prepare for this holy and historic visit. We welcomed Sayidna Philip and we were honored to have Sayidna Antoun also join us for this historic weekend. Also, we were grateful for the presence and assistance of Archdeacon Hans El-Hayek.

Bishop Thomas Visits St. Nicholas Church + Beckley, WV

His Grace chats with the St. Nicholas communityHis Grace chats with the St. Nicholas communityWith great joy the congregation of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Beckley, West Virginia and its priest, Fr. Samuel Haddad, were pleased to receive His Grace Bishop Thomas for a visit to the parish on the weekend of the Fourth Sunday of Pascha, May 13–15, 2011.

The busy weekend schedule got underway Friday evening when Sayidna met with the parish council. Members had the opportunity to tell His Grace about progress that St. Nicholas has made during the previous year, including the installation of a beautiful Christ Pantocrator icon written by iconographer Matthew Garrett, new carpeting for the church, and continued growth of the congregation. Parish council members also discussed the ongoing work of various parish organizations, including the Women of the Holy Myrrh Bearers. The women’s group operates a soup kitchen called Carpenter’s Corner on the first Monday of each month, offers financial support to the local crisis pregnancy center, helps gather food for a nearby food pantry, and undertakes many other charitable endeavors, seeking whenever possible to provide assistance to those in need. In addition, the Myrrh Bearers contribute substantially to the Parish Building Fund and support all these efforts through organizing and leading the parish’s annual baklava baking project.