Sunday, August 9, 2020

Poem for the Feast of the Apostle Matthias

Sometimes in the Byzantine Tradition we celebrate many things at once. It makes setting up for the services rather complicated, because the liturgical typikon (instruction manual for the daily liturgical services) prescribes that we pray particular sections of the texts for each of the things we are celebrating, but it is a joy to celebrate them all! Today is the 10th Sunday after Pentecost, so we celebrate the Resurrection with joy as we do every Sunday, and it falls during the post-festive period of the Transfiguration, so we continue to celebrate this great feast, and it is the feast of the Apostle Matthias! In honor of St. Matthias, here is a poem written by Sr. Natalia. Enjoy!


Fear of Being Chosen


O Matthias, what did you think,

what did you feel,

when you were beckoned forward?

Did your heart race at the idea

of joining ranks with those eleven?

Eleven different types of broken,

all seeking to be whole.

Did you fear the possibility

of secret brokenness revealed?


And did you also feel

the thrill of sure adventure,

after having seen the ups and downs

of the men whose eyes were now on you?

You’d seen their pain, their dying,

and in your heart felt a pull.

One thing you must have known,

known without a doubt:

being witness to the resurrection

would mean a life of miracles.


And when you heard your name called out,

and reality sunk in,

did you feel that joyful pain of knowing

that all now know that you are His?

Did your thoughts bounce back and forth

between death and resurrection?

And did you steal one more glance

at Joseph Barsabbas

and wonder, “Why not him?”


Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Save the Date for the Bridegroom's Banquet

Save the date for our annual benefit dinner, the “Bridegroom’s Banquet,” on Saturday, November 7, at a new location: St. Elias Melkite Catholic Church in Cleveland. There is no cost to attend the dinner, but registration is required (by October 26). Adults 21 and older may attend. Enjoy a buffet dinner, entertainment, and an evening with us and our guests. Learn more about and support our life of prayer and hospitality. Donations given at the event or designated ahead of time will be doubled by matching donors! If an in-person event is not possible, a live online event may be held. More information and registration will be available in August.


Sunday, June 21, 2020

Happy Father's Day!



Happy Father's Day to all biological and spiritual fathers! Thank you for your fatherly love, in calm times and in crisis. Thank you for your strong and tender care and for being an image of the Father's love for us!

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Spring/Summer Newsletter

We hope you enjoy the new issue of our newsletter, Pomegranate Blossoms. This issue shares the fruits of our reflection on the current pandemic situation, in the ways that it has affected the Church and as it has personally affected some of the nuns. We share photos that we received from families who benefited from our "Holy Week and Pascha in the Domestic Church" guide, ideas and resources for praying at home, book recommendations and personal reflections.
 
We hope you'll take some time to read it! God bless you!

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

New podcast begins with Sr. Natalia and Fr. Michael O'Loughlin

Sr. Natalia is the co-host of a new podcast that aired for the first time today, called "What God is Not."  Her co-host is Fr. Michael O'Loughlin, pastor of the Proto-Cathedral of St. Mary Byzantine Catholic Church in Sherman Oaks, California, who formerly participated in the popular Catholic podcast "Catholic Stuff You Should Know," while he was pastor of Holy Protection Byzantine Catholic Church in Denver. Fr. Michael introduced many Roman Catholics to Eastern Catholicism on the "Catholic Stuff" podcast, and now he and Sr. Natalia have begun their own Byzantine podcast, with a conversational style. 

The title is a reference to apophatic theology, which is often used in the Eastern Churches to talk about God by saying what He is not rather than trying to use our limited language and understanding to define what He actually is. For example, words such as "immeasurable" and "incomprehensible" are used in the Liturgy. We hope you enjoy the podcast!

Monday, June 1, 2020

Boys & Girls Camps Canceled

Sadly, we need to let you know that the Eparchy of Parma Boys and Girls Camps for the summer of 2020 have been canceled due to the pandemic. An online talk and discussion for teen girls may be scheduled for later in the summer. Check back here or visit www.parma.org for updates. Our hearts go out to all of the teens who had hoped to participate. We love you and we're praying for you! God is with you!

Monday, May 25, 2020

Preparing for Pentecost

In the spirit of our "Holy Week & Pascha for the Domestic Church" guide, here are some ideas for celebrating the great feast of Pentecost in your domestic church! Even though many of you may now be able to return to celebrating the Divine Liturgy and other services at your parish, there are still plenty of things that you can also do at home to incorporate the celebration of the feast into your daily life and therefore to enjoy a richer experience that permeates your whole being! Isn't that the gift of the Holy Spirit?--to be "everywhere present and filling all things!" May the Holy Spirit fill you with joy!

Decorate!

  • The color used in the Byzantine Tradition for Pentecost is green, the color of new life. Cut some greenery from your yard and decorate your icon corner, or even your dining room and/or other places in your home. Let these leaves remind you of the abundance of life that the Lord wishes to give us in Him, beginning now and continuing into eternity. Keep the decorations until the Saturday following Pentecost.

Pray!
Basic:

  • This Saturday evening, if Vespers is not offered at your parish or if you are unable to attend, pray a portion of Vespers, including the Old Testament readings, in your icon corner.  Great Vespers Booklet      Propers for Pentecost
  • On Sunday morning, attend Divine Liturgy at your parish OR pray along with a live-streamed Liturgy OR pray Typika in your icon corner.   Typika Service       Propers for Pentecost
  • On Sunday evening, pray one or more of the Kneeling Prayers (p. 17, 20 & 24), while kneeling in your icon corner. During the Paschal season, we do not kneel (in celebration of the Resurrection), but on the evening of Pentecost we may kneel again as we humbly welcome the gift of the Holy Spirit and enter back into a greater asceticism because we haven't reached our own final resurrection yet!

Advanced:
In addition to the above:

  • Pray the full Vespers service with propers for Pentecost.
  • On Sunday morning, pray Pentecost Matins, or a portion of Matins, before Divine Liturgy or Typika.   Matins Service       Propers for Pentecost (much of the music is difficult, so feel free to straight chant or recite)
  • You may also continue to use the propers for Vespers and Matins for your prayer during the whole week.
See our Holy Week & Pascha guide for more information and tips about praying at home.

Celebrate!
  • Each day this week, in addition to your daily routine of prayer, sing the Pentecost Troparion (Divine Liturgy propers p. 2) to begin your prayer before meals. The Feast of Pentecost continues until Saturday afternoon. 
  • Another hymn we can sing again (we refrain from singing it during the Paschal season and Ascension in anticipation of Pentecost), is Heavenly King (Divine Liturgy propers p. 1). It is good to begin our daily prayers with this prayer to the Holy Spirit, because we can't pray without the action of the Holy Spirit within us!
  • Get creative! Here is a fun idea for some cookies to make to remind you of the powerful fire of the Holy Spirit who inflames our hearts with love for God and each other! They are sugar cookies made with a heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut in half. Make yellow and red frosting and blend together in the middle of the cookie.
Share!
  • Share photos of your celebration of Pentecost with others, or tell other families/couples/individuals about your feast. If you are on Facebook, share photos on the Facebook group The Domestic Church, Byz-y at Prayer.
Learn More!
  • Visit God With Us Online to learn more about the Sundays, feast days and prayer of our Church.