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Saint Joseph Melkite Greek Catholic Church

130 North Saint Francis Cabrini Avenue Scranton, PA 18504


Rev. Protodeacon Michael Jolly
Administrator pro tempore
570-213-9344

Reader Michael Simon Parish Office 570-343-6092

E-Mail: Web: Webmaster:

scrantonmelkite@yahoo.com http://melkitescranton.org Sal Zaydon

December 11, 2011 Tone 1 and Orthros Gospel 4 Liturgy Schedule: Saturday Vespers 4pm Compline Weds 8:30PM

Sunday of the Ancestors Sunday Orthros 8:55 am Sunday Divine Liturgy 10:00 am

Liturgy Intentions:
December 11, 2011 Living and deceased members of Saint Josephs Ladies Society December 18, 2011 The souls in purgatory The Patchoski Family

Parish Notes:

Welcome back Father Jerome Wolfort who serves liturgy today . The Qurban used in todays liturgy was baked by Anna Clark. Ladies Society Holiday Luncheon will be held at 1PM today at La Trattatoria Restaurant on Moosic Street. Decorating the Sanctuary for the feast of the Nativity after Divine Liturgy December 18th For Melkites, the Nativity Fast began Saturday December 10. Congratulations to the Clark family on the birth of their new daughter.

Todays Icon: St. Daniel the Stylite of Constantinople

THE BISHOPS APPEAL: As we travel with the Virgin to Bethlehem where she will give birth to the greatest gift in human historyGods Only-Begotten Sonlet us remember our Melkite Church by which Christ comes to us. Please give an end-of-year, tax-deductible gift to the Melkite Church in America and support our Church in its vital mission. Help produce SOPHIA magazine, assist in the spiritual renewal of our parishes, support the vocation recruitment and the training of our seminarians, assist our missions, and give support to our elderly priests. Please give generously; YOUR Melkite Church needs YOU!

The Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom


Antiphons:
First Antiphon Through the prayers of the Mother of God Second Antiphon O Son of God, Who are risen from the dead Hymn of incarnation Third Antiphon Tone 2 Tone 2 Tone 4 Tone 1 Tone 1 Tone 2

Hymns:
Resurrectional Troparion Troparion of the Ancestors
Through faith, You have justified Your Ancestors, O Christ our God, and through them You have espoused in advance the Church set apart from the Gentiles. The saints rejoice in glory because, from the seed of these Ancestors, has come forth the glorious fruit, who gave You birth without seed. Through their intercession, O Christ God, save our souls

Troparion of St. Joseph Kontakion for the Preparation for the Nativity of Our Lord
Today the Virgin is on her way to the cave where she will give birth to the Eternal Word of God in an ineffable manner. Rejoice, therefore, O universe when you hear this news, and glorify with the angels and the shepherds, Him who shall appear as a Child being God from all eternity

Tone 2 Tone 3

Prokiemenon

Dn. 3:26,27

Blessed are You, O Lord, God of our fathers, and Your name is worthy praise and glorious forever. Stichon: For You are just in all You have done to us, and all Your works are true and Your ways right.

Reading from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Colossians 3: 4-11


BRETHREN, when Christ, our life, appears, then you too shall appear in glory. Put to death whatever in your members is of the earth: immorality, uncleanness, lust, evil desire, covetousness, which is a form of idol-worship. Because of these passions, Gods wrath comes upon the sons of disobedience and you yourselves once walked in them when they were your (way of) life. But now, you too put them all away; anger, wrath, malice, abusive language and foul-mouthed utterances. Do not lie to one another. Strip off the old man with his deeds and put on the new, one that is being renewed toward perfect knowledge according to his creators image (Cf. Gn. 1:26). Here there is no Gentile and Jew, no circumcised and uncircumcised, no Barbarian and Scythian, no slave and freeman, but Christ is all things, and in all.

Alleluia (Tone 4) Ps. 98:6, 33:18


Moses and Aaron were among His priests, and Samuel among those who called upon His name. Stichon: The just cried out, and the Lord heard them, and He delivered them from all their trials

The Holy Gospel according to St. Luke

14: 16-24

The Lord told this parable, A certain man gave a great supper, and he invited many. And he sent his servant at supper time to tell those invited to come, for everything is now ready. And they all with one accord began to excuse themselves. The first said to him, I have bought a farm, and I must go out and see it; I pray you hold me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am on my way to try them; I pray you hold me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. And the servant returned, and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant. Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor, and the crippled, and the lame, and the blind. And the servant said, Sir, your order has been carried out, and still there is room. Then the master said to the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and make them come in, so that my house may be filled. For I tell you that none of those who were invited shall taste of my supper.' For many are called but few are chosen.

THE SUNDAY OF THE FOREFATHERS


THE SUNDAY OF THE FOREFATHERS intensifies the countdown to the feast of Christs Nativity. During the Nativity Fast we celebrate the memorials of several Old Testament prophets Obadiah (Nov. 19), Nahum (Dec. 1), Habbakuk (Dec. 2), Zepheniah (Dec. 3), Haggai (Dec. 16), and Daniel (Dec. 17). Today we reflect on how the entire Old Testament period has been a preparation for Christ and how we are called to be ready for His ultimate triumph. Genesis, the first book of the Old Testament, begins with the stories of the creation and the fall of Adam and Eve. Genesis concludes their tragic story with these words addressed to the serpent: I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your offspring and hers; he will strike at your head while you strike at his heel (Gen 3:15). Many Fathers saw this as the first heralding of the Messiahs victory over sin and death (the proto-gospel). Satans seeming defeat of Christ on the cross is but a striking of His heel while Christs striking at his head is His ultimate defeat of Satan. It would take countless generations from the beginning of humanity, through the years of both Old and New Testaments and the subsequent history of this age for this event to be fulfilled. The Prophets Read in the Church At the time of the Hebrew kingdoms (the six or seven hundred years before Christ) prophets were periodically calling the people to trust in God despite the troubles of their nation. Despite conflicts with the Philistines or the Assyrians, and even in the midst of defeat and exile by the Babylonians and occupation by the Romans, the prophets encouraged the people to trust in God who would provide a deliverer. After the death and resurrection of Christ the apostles, inspired by the Holy Spirit came to see these prophecies fulfilled in a decisive way by Jesus Christ, who delivers all mankind not just the

Jewish people from its ultimate enemies, sin and death, not just foreign oppressors. Around the Old Testament prophecies of a deliverer the apostles built their preaching of the true Messiah (Anointed One) of God, Christ Jesus the Savior. What we call the Old Testament was the Bible for the early Church as well as for Judaism and its prophecies shaped the presentation of the incarnation in the New Testament. As the following quotations show, the apostles considered these prophecies as clearly pointing to the coming of Christ:

His Conception (Isaiah 7:14, cited in Mt 1:23) A virgin shall conceive and bear a son. The Place of His Birth (Micah 5:2, cited in Mt 2:6) - Bethlehemout of you shall come a ruler The Flight into Egypt (Hosea 11:1, cited in Mt 2:15) - Out of Egypt I called my son. The Slaughter of the Infants (Jeremiah 31:15,

and the revelation of those who are in Christ as well. I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the age to come. And so our celebration of Christ whether spread out throughout the liturgical year or experienced in each Divine Liturgy always directs Other prophecies were frequently cited as pointing to us to look ahead to His glorious second coming. Jesus as the Messiah: Numbers 24:17 - a star shall come forth out of An invitation demands a response are you Jacob interested or not? According to St Paul the response Isaiah 11:1 - There shall come forth a shoot from we are meant to give is to put off the old man with the root of Jesse its deeds and put on the new man, renewed after the Isaiah 60:5-6 they shall bring gold and image of Christ. We have already done so in frankincense baptism, Paul says, but we must continue to life according to the new life we have received, not the While there are no verbatim quotations of prophecies old one we have put aside. in Lukes infancy narratives, there are allusions to Old Testament scriptures throughout. In Luke 1:17, The Nativity Fast is a time set aside to reflect on our for example, John the Baptist is described by the record as new men and women, who have angel as going before him in the spirit and power of renounced lust, greed, wrath and the other deeds of Elijah. This alludes to Malachi 4:5-6 Behold I am the old man we find mentioned in Col 3:8-10. We sending to you Elijah the Thesbite before the great are invited to reaffirm our commitment to humility, and notable day of the Lord comes. These allusions, forgiveness and love (verses 12-14) as well as to and others throughout the Gospels, reflect the early refocus on the mystery of the Messiah, the Lord Churchs belief that the entire Old Testament leads Jesus, come to invite us to the great banquet. us to see Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God. The Ultimate Coming of Christ The Scriptures do not depict Christs birth as the ultimate point in the story of Gods dealings with us. Instead we are told to look ahead to that final stage in history. In the imagery of Lukes Gospel, there shall be a great banquet the triumph of the Messiah and many shall be invited to share in that feast. St Paul is a bit more direct: Christ shall appear, and when He does, you also will be revealed in glory with him (Col 3: 4). The great banquet is the final triumph of Christ which we proclaim in the Creed: He will come again with glory to judge the living and the dead

cited in Mt 2:18) - A voice was heard in Ramah His home in Nazareth (possibly Judges 13:5, cited in Mt 2:23) - He shall be called a Nazarene.

O Christ, we worship You, our eternal King. Being Lord and Master, You rescued the three holy young men from the fire and saved Daniel from the lions. You blessed Abraham, Isaac Your servant, and Jacob his son. You willed to be like one of us by choosing to be born from them, in order that, by accepting crucifixion and burial, You could save our forefathers who had sinned against You. Thus did You crush the powers of Death and raise those who had been long dead. Vespers Sticheron

John Chrysostom mentioned four kinds of deadness, some good and some bad. Asceticism helps us to The point of asceticism is a putting off of the old avoid the state where we could be walking corpses. man with his deeds (Colossians 3:9). The old man was crucified with Christ and buried with Him through baptism Let us then continue living this life; for many of those who (Romans 6:4-6). Thus, as Christ was raised from the dead by seem to breathe and to walk about are in a more wretched plight than the dead. For there are different kinds of the glory of the Father, so we should: deadness! Walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4) [1] One is deadness of the body, according to which Abraham was dead, and still was not dead. For God is not a God of the Be freed from sin (Romans 6:7) dead, but of the living (Matthew 22:32). Reckon ourselves dead to sin (Romans 6:11) [2] Another is of the soul, which Christ alludes to when He Not let sin reign in our mortal bodies that we obey its says, Let the dead bury their dead (Matthew 8:22). lusts (Romans 6:12) [3] Another, which is the subject of praise, is brought about We strive to do this because we are a new creation by faith, of which Paul said Deaden your members which are in Christ; old things have passed away; behold all things have upon the earth (Colossians 3:5). become new (2 Corinthians 5:17). But our habits and our life -styles sometimes dont change instantly. There is an aspect [4] Another, which is the cause of the previous one, takes to the Christian life where one learns Christ (Ephesians place in baptism. For our old man, he says, has been 4:22). The putting off of our former conduct, the old man crucified Colossians 3:6), that is, has been deadened. growing corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, the renewal Since then we know this, let us flee from the deadness by of the spirit of our mind and the putting on of the new which we die, even though alive [Item 2]. And let us not be man (Ephesians 4:22-24) is a learning experience that lasts afraid of that with which bodilyn death comes on [Item 1]. our whole life. The heretics Paul was dealing with tolerated a But the other two let us choose, where one is blissful, having lot of sin because spirituality meant something different to been given by God, the other praiseworthy, which is them. accomplished by ourselves together with God. David Just because one has been baptized and is faithfully pronounces Item [3] blessed, when he says, Blessed are they going to church doesnt mean one will be forever free from whose iniquities are forgiven (Psalm 32:1). Paul holds Item anger and every evil desire. Quite the contrary; now the [4] in admiration, saying, Those who are Christs have enemy will step up his attacks like he did in sifting Peter crucified the flesh (Galatians 5:24). But of the first two, (Luke 22:31, 54-62) or in decimating and vilifying Job (Job Christ declares Item [1] to be easy to hold in contempt, when 1:12-22, 2:6-10, 4:1-11, 10:15). When this happens we need He says, Do not fear those, which kill the body, but are not to get serious with the Christian life; and a little asceticism able to kill the soul. The other is fearful, for, He says, Fear Him that is able to destroy both body and soul in helps a lot. hell (Matthew 10:28). Therefore let us flee from this, and Paul lists a number of passions as examples of things that choose that deadness which is held blessed and admirable. need to be learned how to put to death:

Putting off the Old Man (Colossians 3:6-9)

Putting on the New Man (Colossians 3:10-14)

Fornication Uncleanness Passion Evil desire Covetousness

Anger and wrath Malice Blasphemy Filthy language Lying

The New Man is the Body of Christ (Ephesians 2:15, 4:24) and has other desires and cravings. Paul lists some of these desires:

Tender mercies Kindness Humility

Long suffering Bearing with one another Forgiving one another

For example, if one of our personal passions is the sin of Meekness Love gluttony, we can avoid feeding that lust by doing some controlled fasting and prayer. This is the principle for putting off the old man: deny our flesh the craving of its lusts. This is an entirely different agenda than the old man because Similar things work for other passions.

the New Man is renewed in knowledge according to the Image of Him who created him (Colossians 3:10). Christ is the Image of the Invisible God, the Firstborn over all creation (Colossians 1:15, 2 Corinthians 4:4, John 1:18, Romans 8:29). In the Body of Christ, there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free (Colossians 3:11), male nor female (Galatians 3:28), for we are all one (that is members of one Body) in Christ. Since there is one Body and one Spirit (the Holy Spirit), one Lord (that is, Jesus the Christ), one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of all, God the Father is above all, and through all and in us all (Ephesians 4:4-6). And just as Christ is in the Father and the Father is in Christ (John 10:38) and Christ and the Father are One (John 10:30), so the Body of Christ is one with Christ. [For more discussion on Union with Christ, see the Epistle lesson for the 25th Sunday after Pentecost Ephesians 4:1-6]. Ambrose of Milan stated that while the Father is the fountainhead of the Trinity and the Son and the Holy Spirit are in subjection to Him through the Unity of the Godhead, they are all one Nature. On the Cross, it was not the fullness of the Godhead, but our weakness that was brought into subjection. If we live after His image and likeness, we can also bring into subjection the lusts of the flesh, that the heart may have no care for riches, ambition, or pleasures. The benefit has passed, then, from the individual to the community; for in His flesh He has tamed the nature of all human flesh. Thus, As we have borne the image of the earthly, so also shall we bear the image of the heavenly (1 Corinthians 15:49). This thing certainly cannot come to pass except in the inner man. Therefore, laying aside all these: anger, malice, blasphemy, filthy language, let us, having put off the old man with his deeds, put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created Him (Colossians 3:8-10). And that you might know that when he says That God may be all in all (1 Corinthians 15:28), he does not separate Christ from God the Father. By saying, That God may be all and in all, he comprehended that the unity and equality of Christ with God the Father, for the Son is not separated from the Father. And in like manner as the Father works all and in all, so also Christ works all in all. If, then, Christ also works all in all, He is not made subject in the glory of the Godhead, but in us. But how is He made subject in us, except in the way in which He was made lower than the angels, I mean in the sacrament of His body? For all things which served their Creator from their first beginning seemed not as yet to be made subject to Him in that.

desires to be present with Christ as part of the New Man. In this life, the soul makes the dumb material flesh sensible by participation with it. The ancestors and family of Christ are good role models for us to follow when we consider all this. Everyone existing in this body should already be aware that he must be committed to that state and office, of which he made himself a sharer and an adherent while in this life. He should not doubt that in that eternal world he will be partner with Him, whose servant and minister he chose to make himself. As our Lord says, If any man serve Me, let him follow Me, and where I am, there shall My servant also be (John 12:26). Just as one gains the kingdom of the devil by consenting to sin, so also one attains the kingdom of God by the practice of virtue in purity of heart and spiritual knowledge. But where the kingdom of God is, there most certainly eternal life is enjoyed, and where the kingdom of the devil is, there without doubt is death and the grave. The nobler part of man, in which Paul shows that the image and likeness of God consists (1 Corinthians 11:7, Colossians 3:10), will become insensible when the burden of the body, with which it is oppressed in this world, is laid aside. Since it contains in itself all the power of reason, it makes the dumb and senseless material flesh sensible, by participation with it in this life. When the mind has put off the grossness of the flesh, with which it is now weighed down, it will restore its intellectual powers better than ever, and receive them in a purer and finer condition than it lost them. Paul recognized this, and he actually wished to depart from this flesh; that by separation from it, he might be able to be joined more earnestly to the Lord. So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:6). Therefore I am hard pressed, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better (Philippians 1:23). We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him (2 Corinthians 5:8-9). Gregory of Nyssa emphasized that to approach God, we need to become like God, as much as is humanly possible. Jesus had stated this by saying, Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48). Gregorys words were: No one can come near the purity of the Divine Being who has not first himself become such. He must therefore place between himself and the pleasures of the senses a high strong wall of separation, so that in this his approach to the Deity the purity of his own heart may not become soiled again. Such an impregnable wall will be found in a complete estrangement from everything wherein passion operates.

John Cassian spoke at length of the continuance of the soul Clement of Alexandria stated that the earthly Church is the after the death of the body, and included many examples. image of the heavenly; this is why we pray that the will of Since the soul contains the image and likeness of God, it God may be done upon the earth as in heaven (Luke 11:2).

at a large monastery at the village of Telanissae where St. Symeon the Stylite lived on a pillar. There, Daniel sought and received the blessing of St. Our venerable and God-bearing Father Daniel the Symeon. Stylite (from Greek stylos, "pillar") was an ascetic who lived for 33 years on a pillar near the city of In time, Daniel was found worthy of being raised to Constantinople. St. Daniel was a disciple of St. the rank of archimandrite and to the post of abbot. At Symeon the Stylite and followed his example after the age of 42, Daniel then left the monastery for Symeon reposed. He was a counsellor of the Jerusalem and while en route traveled to see Symeon emperors of the Eastern Roman Empire: Leo the the Stylite with whom he spent two weeks. While Great, Zeno, and Basiliscus. St. Daniel is continuing his journey to Jerusalem, Daniel met a monk on the road who convinced Daniel that he remembered on December 11. should instead go to Constantinople. In 409, a male child was born to Elias and Martha. The child came to Martha, who had been childless Upon arrival in Anaplus near Constantinople, Daniel for a long time, after she had vowed in her prayers took residence in the Church of the Archangel that if she had a child the child would be dedicated to Michael from which he had rid demons. Daniel was the Lord. Daniel was born in the village of Marutha greeted warmly by Patriarch Anatolius. Soon after in the region of Mesopotamia near Samosata. Since Daniel's arrival in Constantinople, Patr. Anatolius the child was born through the good will of God, fell seriously ill. He called Daniel and asked that they vowed that he should receive his name from Daniel offer prayers for him. These prayers were answered with the recovery of the patriarch. God.

Among Todays Saints

The child remained nameless until he was five years old when they visited a monastery and approached the igumen to provide a name for the child. The igumen opened at random one of his service books and found the name of the Prophet Daniel on the page. Thus, Martha's son received his name of Daniel. His parents asked the igumen if he would allow young Daniel to remain at the monastery. This he refused, noting that Daniel was still very young. Daniel remained with his parents until at the age of twelve when he left home for a nearby monastery without his parents' knowledge. At the monastery, the abbot reluctantly agreed to accept the persuasive Daniel into the brotherhood. Soon afterwards his parents found the young Daniel in the monastery and rejoiced in his joining the monastery. They asked the archimandrite to give Daniel a tonsure as a monk. Again the abbot hesitated because of his age. After Daniel persuasively demonstrated his readiness for a monastic life, the abbot assembled the brotherhood and bestowed on Daniel the robe of a monk.

After staying in Anaplus for nine years, Daniel received a vision of Symeon standing on a column above a huge pillar of cloud. Daniel was borne up to Symeon, who greeted Daniel with a holy kiss and declared to him, "Stand firm and play the man." After describing the vision to those around him, they counseled Daniel to mount a pillar and to take up the mode of life that Symeon had led. Several days later the monk Sergius, who was a disciple of Symeon, arrived in Constantinople bearing the news of Symeon's repose. Sergius had with him St. Symeon's leather tunic that he was to be give to Emperor Leo I. Since the emperor busy with affairs of state, Sergius was not able to present Symeon's tunic to him in the city. Sergius then decided to continue on the Monastery of Akoimetoi (The Sleepless Ones). En route, the sailors of the boat transporting Sergius related a story of Daniel's victory over demons that had previously destroyed boats passing on their route. Hearing this, Sergius changed his route to visit Daniel.

Upon meeting, Daniel related to Sergius his vision While accompanying his abbot on a call by their after had heard of the last days of the holy Symeon. archbishop to assemble in Antioch, the party lodged Hearing Daniel's vision, Sergius declared, "It is thee

rather than to the emperor that God has sent me, for here am I, the disciple of thy father; here, too, is his benediction." After this, Sergius handed Symeon's tunic to Daniel. Daniel accepted the tunic with tears, and Sergius now became a disciple of Daniel. Having accepted the tunic from the holy Symeon, Daniel had a pillar erected nearby, ready to assume the life of his mentor. Soon Daniel took his place on the pillar, remaining for varying periods of time on one or another of three pillars for remaining 33 years of his life. Many people came to Daniel's pillar, the sick and unfortunate as well as those seeking his blessing. All received help and healing from the holy Daniel. Among those who paid homage to the holy Daniel and sought his prayers were the Emperor Leo and Patriarch Gennadius, as well as members of the imperial court. The holy Daniel possessed the gift of gracious words as he guided many onto the path changing their lives. Reflecting on the many benefits that came through Daniel's prayers, the emperor requested of Patr. Gennadius that the holy Daniel be honored with the rank of priest. Initially, he did not consent to ordination, but after a prayer of ordination Daniel consented by receiving the Holy Gifts from Gennadius.

of the great fire in Constantinople. The sainted Daniel stood firm through all types of weather through all seasons. It was through his initiative that the relics of the St Symeon were brought from Antioch to Constantinople. Daniel defended the Church against the error of the Eutychians. In 475, during the reign of the Emperor Zeno, the senator Basiliscus, Leo's brother-in-law and a Miaphysite, usurped Leo's throne. As he had championed the Miaphysite position, Patriarch Acacius opposed Basiliscus, who then ventured to Daniel to obtain his blessing. Instead Basiliscus received Daniel's condemnation. With the Orthodox faith in question, Patr. Acacius begged that Daniel come down from his pillar and travel to Constantinople, to the Great Church, and confront Emperor Basiliscus on the question of his faith. Then, for the only time in his 33 years on the pillar, Daniel came down from it to travel to the Great Church, there to confront the emperor on his faith. Having received Daniel's condemnation and now in Daniel's presence, and among the faithful in Hagia Sophia, Basiliscus was asked to state his belief. With Abp. Acacius kneeling beside him, and in response to Daniel's counseling that they seek the way of peace, Basiliscus affirmed his orthodoxy.

Daniel returned to his pillar, where he remained until Among his prophesies was his prediction, that had his repose on December 11, 493. been made known to the emperor and to the patriarch,

Devotions and Readings for this week


Mon 12/12 Tues 12/13 Weds 12/14 Thurs 12/15 Fri 12/16 Sat 12/17 Spyridon the Wonderworker Eustrates, Auxentios,Eugene, Mardarios and Orestes Martyr Thyrces and his companions Martyr Eleutherios Prophet Haggai Prophet Daniel and the Three Youths Eph 5:8-19 1 Tim 5:1-12 1 Tim 5:11-21 1 Tim 5:22-6:11 1 Tim 6:17-21 2 Tim 1:1-2, 8-18 Gal 5:22-6:2 Jn 10:9-16 Mk 8:11-21 Mk 8:22-26 Mk 9: 10-34 Mk 9:9-15 Mk 9:33-41 Lk 14:1-11

What Can We Give Our Children for Christmas?


by Violet Leathers, Ph.D. According to the Gallup polls of the last decade, over 85 percent of parents believe that the home is the most important influence in the religious and spiritual development of a child. Only ten percent of the parents felt that the church was the most important and only two percent felt that the schools were most influential in their children's spiritual development. What transpires in our homes is critical to the needs of children according to these parents. It appears that most parents are willing to acknowledge their responsibility to provide this training for their children.

love. Yet today, we are faced with responsibilities as parents that divide us from our family life. We must hold jobs outside the home, provide for careers by becoming active in the workplace and community. We are constantly bombarded with tasks that keep us away from one another during the course of the week. Many authorities claim that the extended family is extinct, and the nuclear family [comprised of a father, mother and children] is about to become a notion of the past. Yet, when we remember our childhood, it is that sense of family that brings the smile to our lips and warmth to our heart. It is the quality of time we spend with our family that gives us a strong sense of family. It is the holiday season that offers us the time to build on our sense of family. Cherish this time together!

A sense of tradition is natural within the context of our Melkite faith, and for many of us, our ethnic backgrounds. The opportunity to share the sacraments The holiday season is an opportunity to continue to give during the Liturgy, feast day celebrations, and joining our children this gift. Each Christmas season, the media with our parish family in [times of] joy offer us many presents a barrage of new products we can consider for opportunities to strengthen our sense of tradition. The our gift-giving on Christmas Day. On Saturday mornings, hustle and bustle of Christmas preparations can only our children are deluged with new, electronic games and cloud the beauty of these family traditions if we take toys to make their lives more exciting. As parents, it is them for granted. It is not until we move to another city often difficult to choose which new item to give as a gift. or a family member passes away that we realize how Guilt often forces us into trying to keep up with our family members truly [fill and enrich] our lives. This neighbors, to make sure our children are not left out in Christmas perhaps we can make a commitment to share our efforts to provide all the material goods we can and savor those special traditions with our children for possibly afford to make their lives more meaningful. later years when memories will become more precious. However, we might consider what it is our children need that will last for many years to come. Children must cope with so much more than we did when we were young and they need a sense of security. In our family setting, we can provide our children with Our experience as children was at a much slower pace. gifts that will last, provide enjoyment and reflection in Today, children experience life so rapidly and they years to come, and allow them to know that during their encounter scientific advances that change their lives year growing years they were loved and valued as human by year. With so many choices and opportunities - but beings. Have you considered a larger dose of a sense of without guidance - they become confused and lost in the family, tradition, security, morality and spirituality? maze of growing into adulthood. Parents who can give The cost can be measured only in time spent to help their children a sense of security that helps them to make them develop these senses, but the gift might last a good choices and provides the knowledge that they will lifetime and hopefully continue on to the next be there to help them unravel life's puzzle, will raise generation. children better equipped to handle life as adults. A sense of family is a strong tie that binds us to those we Adults who are disciplined and ready to lead in our

homes and parishes [should] have a strong sense of morality. It is foolhardy to think we can allow our children to be exposed to choices without parental guidance to determine what is right and wrong. The media, again, offers our children a wide variety of situations to explore vicariously, but it also provides a norm for morality that is false and harmful. We can give our children a strong foundation for moral development by our example and communication so that their choices in life will bring them confidence and support in their pursuits as Melkite Christians. Our greatest gift to our children is the sense of spirituality that revolves around our Christian beliefs. It cannot be bought, wrapped, and placed under a tree only to be used on special holidays each year. If this gift is used only until the seasonal feeling passes and then packed away with the Christmas decorations for next year, we are depriving our children of a way of life. How can the Birth of Our Lord become a joy and celebration for the other days of the year? Perhaps, by seeing this sense of spirituality as a precious gift that - like fine gold - becomes more precious as it is used. This Christmas, we can expose our children to a major feast day that epitomizes the Christian spirit of giving and sharing and minimizes the commercial meaning of receiving. To give these gifts to our children takes a lot of patience, perseverance, and strong adherence to those beliefs of love and faith we know to be worthwhile as adults. Christmas is a wonderful time to enjoy children, family, and the traditions we have shared in our families since our parents [or grandparents] started them. We need only consider offering these special senses as diligently as we pursue our shopping for that special gift for Uncle John, Grandma Mary, or Aunt Helen. These gifts need not be ordered ahead of time; there are no colors or sizes to be concerned about; and they meet the individual needs of all children. When our children are grown, perhaps their gift will be to share with us that all their Christmas gifts were special to them as children, but they sensed most our love, security, family, tradition, morality, and faith. And, God willing, we will live long enough to see these gifts reflected in our grandchildren. Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

Saint Joseph Ladies Society


Annual Holiday Luncheon December 11 1PM La Trattoria

Emmanuel Moleben and Concert


Sunday December 11 3-6PM

Byzantine Franciscans, Holy Dormition Friary, Sybertsville 18251


Emmanuel Moleben is a prayer service for the fast time preparing for Christmas, the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ. Emmanuel means Godwith-us. While every child is a blessing, the Christ child was literally the presence of God among us. Prepare for Christmas with prayer and a concert of traditional Christmas music in English and Slavonic by the Cantors of Northeast Pennsylvania. Freewill offering. Reception following. For more information, call 570-788-1212.

Prayer Requests

Rev. Father Philip Azoon Rev. Deacon John Karam Rev. Seraphim Michalenko Rev. Basil Samra Rev. Peter Boutros Rev. Deacon Bryan McNiel Rev. Deacon Irenaeus Dionne Rev. Father David White

Parish Calendar
December 11 Ladies Society Holiday Luncheon 1PM La Trattoria Restaurant 18 Decorating the Church after Liturgy 24 Royal Hours 9:00 AM, Vespers for the Feast of the Nativity 4PM 25 Divine Liturgy for the Feast of the Nativity 10:00AM
Sacrificial Giving 12/4/2011 Candles Weekly Flowers $ 7.00 $ 818.00 $ 185.00

Marie Abda Marie Abda Marie Barron Joseph Barron Mary Sue Betress Chris Carey Nikki Boudreaux Dr. Frances Colie John Colie Ann Coury

Margaret Dillenburg Mark Dillman Karen Kane Niko Mayashairo Mary McNeilly Marie Patchoski Joanna Simon William Simon Dr. Thomas Zaydon

The Weekly Quiz


The Lord showed Jeremiah two baskets full of what fruit? Good and bad apples Bitter and sweet lemons Good and bad figs Pears
Last Weeks Answer Q. When Jesus left the synagogue in Capernaum, he entered into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Who was healed there? A. Simon's wife's mother.

All those Serving in our Armed Forces The Christian Community in the Middle East