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.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

The gift of monastics during the pandemic

Below is a beautiful letter by a bishop in Italy to monastics (in particular, fully cloistered ones) during this pandemic time. In actuality, it is a letter to everyone, pointing out the profound and timely lessons that monastics can teach us by the witness of their lives.

Before we get to the letter, here is a link to some videos and other resources for the Sunday of the Man Born Blind, and here is a quote from the liturgical typikon arranged by Fr. David Petras:
"Jesus anointed the eyes of the Man Born Blind, and he was enlightened, professing Jesus to be his Lord. He is an image of our baptisms, when we are enlightened out of darkness by the anointing of the chrism of the Holy Spirit. We remember the salvation of the Man Born Blind and our own enlightenment as we close the Feast of the glorious Resurrection of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ."


A letter by Bishop Aiello of Avellino:

Monastics’ gift to Italy

Letter to the nuns and monks:

We turn to you, sisters and brother monks, to ask for your prayers, to support your raised arms, like those of Moses on the mountain, in this time of particular danger and unease for our communities: by your persistent prayerful intercession, we acquire resilience and future victory.

You are the only ones who do not move a facial muscle in the face of the rain of decrees and restrictive measures that rain on us these days because what we are asked for, for some time you have always done it and what we suffer you have chosen.

Teach us the art of being content living  with nothing, in a small space, without going out, yet engaged in internal journeys that do not need planes and trains.

“Give us your oil” to understand that the spirit cannot be imprisoned, and the narrower the space, the wider the skies open.

Reassure us that you can live even for a short time and be joyful, remember that poverty is the unavoidable condition of every being because, as Don Primo Mazzolari said, “being a man is enough to be a poor man”.

Give us back the ability to savor the little things you who smile of a blooming lilac at the cell window and greet a swallow that comes to say that spring has come, you who are moved by a pain and still exulted by the miracle of the bread that is baked in the oven.

Tell us that it is possible to be together without being crowded together, to correspond from afar, to kiss without touching each other, to touch each other with the caress of a look or a smile, or simply … a gaze at each other.

Remind us that a word is important if it is reflected upon, ruminated within the heart for a period of time, leavened in the soul’s recesses, seen blooming on the lips of another, called a low voice, not shouted or cutting because of hurt.

But, even more, teach us the art of silence, of the light that rests on the windowsill, of the sun rising “as a bridegroom coming out of the bridal room” or setting “in the sky that tinges with fire”, of the quiet of the evening, of the candle lit that casts shadows on the walls of the choir.

Tell us that it is possible to wait for a hug even for a lifetime because “there is a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embraces,” says Qoelet. President Conte said that at the end of this time of danger and restrictions we will still embrace each other in the feast, for you there are still twenty, thirty, forty years to wait …

Educate us to do things slowly, solemnly, without haste, paying attention to details because every day is a miracle, every meeting a gift, every step a step in the throne room, the movement of a dance or a symphony.

Whisper to us that it is important to wait, postpone a kiss, a gift, a caress, a word, because waiting for a feast increases its brilliance and “the best is yet to come”.

Help us understand that an accident can be a grace and a sorrow can hide a gift, a departure can increase affection and a distance that can finally lead us to encounter and communion.

To you, teachers and masters of the hidden and happy life, we entrust our uneasiness, our fears, our remorse, our missed appointments with God who always awaits us, you take everything in your prayer and give it back to us in joy, in a bouquet of flowers and peaceful days. Amen.