February 28, 2021
Sunday of the Prodigal Son
Yes, it is that time again. Lent begins on Monday, March 15th, but we begin the preparations for the journey of “bright-sadness” by especially dealing with our hearts and our spiritual condition. In her wisdom the Church is a great aid to us, for the four Sundays before Lent carry special themes that enable us to examine ourselves.
The theme of the third Sunday before Lent is RETURN FROM EXILE and the Gospel lesson of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32) is read. We are taught by this lesson that even as we stray from God, a banquet is set for our return. And we find that nothing in this fallen world truly satisfies, and thus we find ourselves on a pilgrimage of repentance – returning to God.
I Corinthians 6:12-20: In our reading from I Corinthians we hear St Paul remind us that we have been bought with a price and that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit; therefore we should turn from immorality and glorify God.
Luke 15:11-32: The parable of the prodigal son as told by our Lord serves to illustrate how precious in the sight of the Lord is one who repents from his sin and is returned to the fold.
Troparion of the Resurrection: Let us believers praise and worship the Word, co-eternal with the Father and the Spirit, born of the Virgin for our salvation; for he took pleasure in ascending the Cross in the flesh, to suffer death, and to raise the dead by his glorious Resurrection.
Troparion of the Chains of St. Peter: O Holy Apostle, Peter, thou dost preside over the Apostles by the precious chains which thou didst bear. We venerate them with faith and beseech thee that by thine intercessions we be granted the great mercy.
Kontakion of the Prodigal Son: Foolishly I sprang away from Thy great fatherly glory, and dispersed in wicked deeds the riches that Thou didst give me. With the Prodigal I therefore cry unto Thee now: I have sinned against Thee, O compassionate Father. But receive me in repentance; make me as one of Thy hired servants, O Lord.
From Father John: In His Eminence, Metropolitan JOSEPH’s last communique regarding the restrictions for participation in the services at our churches, he stated that, we should follow the guidelines based on our local numbers with the virus. As our numbers locally are rising, we will be dropping back to 35 participants at liturgies (which includes the priest and chanters). I will continue to try my best to rotate, as fairly as possible, our members who are healthy and wish to come to the services. Thank you for your cooperation with these restrictions.
Please continue to follow the CDC Guidelines to limit contagion and the spread of the COVID virus.
ATTENTION: Please be reminded that both the Archdiocese and the Governor have issued directions which mandate that masks be worn while in public/group settings. If you are inside of the church, you must wear a mask. Only the chanters and serving clergy are exempted from this during services. Masks should be worn outside, too, if you are in close proximity to others. You have done well with this for the most part, but with a few lapses recently, I wanted to remind you of this essential precaution. — Fr. John
UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE: All services listed on the calendar will be available through streaming and webcast.
Sunday, February 28 (Sunday of the Prodigal Son )
8:50 a.m. — Orthros (webcast)
10:00 a.m. — Divine Liturgy (webcast)
Monday, March 1
Father John’s Day Off
Tuesday, March 2
Wednesday, March 3
6:30 p.m. — Daily Vespers
Thursday, March 4
Saturday, March 6(Saturday of the Souls)
9:00 a.m. — Orthros followed by Divine Liturgy
6:00 p.m. — Great Vespers (No Ninth Hour Prayers)
Sunday, March 7 (Sunday of Meatfare)
8:50 a.m. — Orthros (webcast)
10:00 a.m. — Divine Liturgy (webcast)
The Eucharist Bread …was offered by the Hendersons for the Divine Liturgy last Sunday and by the Algoods for the Divine Liturgy this morning.
Please remember that the schedule for prosphora is still in place as we will continue to serve the Divine Liturgy.
Eucharist Bread Schedule (NO Coffee Hour):
Eucharist Bread Coffee Hour
March 6 (Sat. a.m.) Katool Koliva: Karen Cooper
(Saturday of the Souls)
March 7 Schelver
March 14 Morris
March 21 Jones
March 24 (Wed. p.m.) Meadows
(Feast of Annunciation)
March 28 Davis
Also, please remember that we still need your tithes and offerings which may be placed in the tithe box at the back of the nave or be mailed to: St. Peter Orthodox Church, P.O. Box 2084, Madison, MS 39130-2084.
If you are ready to return to the services of our church, please let Fr. John know so that he can add you to the list of attendees. It is up to individuals to request attendance at the services. Fr. John attempts to be fair in allotting slots, but he does not make assignments or phone calls.
Please remember Fr. Joseph and Kh. Joanna Bittle, and their daughter Abigail, in your prayers.
Please remember the following in your prayers: Steve, Sheryl Chamblee; Aidan Milnor, the Milnor family; Sam and Lamia Dabit; Mary Greene (Lee and Kh. Sharon’s sister); Jay and Joanna; Fr. Leo and Kh. Be’Be’ and their family; Emad and Natalia Alaeetawi and their family; Tom and Kathy Willingham; Walt and Charlotte Wood; Anthony and Athena Zouboukos.
Continue to pray for Metropolitan Paul (who is also the brother of our Patriarch) and the Syriac Archbishop John of Aleppo who were abducted while on a humanitarian mission in Syria.
If you get sick, especially with the Corona virus, please let Fr. John know.
* We will celebrate the Saturday of the Souls with Orthros followed by Divine Liturgy next Saturday (March 6th), beginning at 9:00 a.m.
* Great Lent will begin with Clean Monday on March 15th. The schedule for the services of the first week of Lent are as follows:
Sunday, March 14 — Forgiveness Vespers at 6:30 p.m.
Monday, March 15 — Canon of St. Andrew of Crete at 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday, March 16 — Canon of St. Andrew of Crete at 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday, March 17 — Presanctified Liturgy at 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 18 – Canon of St. Andrew of Crete at 6:30 p.m.
Friday, March 19 – Akathist Hymn to the Theotokos at 6:30 p.m.
* We will celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation with Orthros followed by Divine Liturgy on Wednesday, March 24th, beginning at 6:00 p.m.
The new Icon Calendars are available on the table in the hall outside the nave. Please only take one per family.
Fasting Discipline for March
The traditional fasting discipline (no meat, dairy, eggs, fish, wine or oil) is observed on the first Wednesday and Friday of the month. Following Meatfare Sunday (March 7th) meat will no longer be eaten until Pascha. During the week following Meatfare Sunday, dairy products (milk, cheese, eggs, etc.) are permitted, even on Wednesday and Friday. Beginning with Clean Monday on March 15th, the traditional fasting discipline is observed on all days of the week until Pascha (except the Feast of the Annunciation on Marsh 25th and Palm Sunday on April 25th, when fish, wine and oil are permitted).
Major Commemorations for March
March 6 Saturday of the Souls
March 7 Sunday of Meatfare
March 9 Holy Forty Martyrs of Sebaste
March 14 Sunday of Cheesefare
March 15-20 First week of Great Lent
March 16 Christodoulos, Wonder-worker of Patmos
March 21 1st Sunday of Lent; Sunday of Orthodoxy
March 24 Feast of the Annunciation
March 26 Synaxis of the Archangel Gabriel
March 28 2nd Sunday of Lent; Gregory of Palamas
Tax letters were mailed recently. If you did not receive your letter for your 2020 donations, please contact Kh. Sharon as soon as possible.
Pledge Letters have been mailed out. Please return them to the church as soon as possible.
Instructions for streaming our services can be found on the parish website.
ead of ManHead of Maonasteries
Quotable: “Naked, small and helpless, you now pass on to the most difficult of all human tasks: to conquer your own selfish desires. Ultimately it is just this ‘self-persecution’ on which your warfare depends, for as long as your selfish will rules, you cannot pray to the Lord with a pure heart: Thy will be done. If you cannot get rid of your own greatness, neither can you lay yourself open for real greatness. If you cling to your own freedom, you cannot share in true freedom, where only one will reigns.
The saints’ deep secret is this: do not seek freedom, and freedom will be given youoly Spirit, goiven and sent by both the FFaa.”
Tito Colliander, The Way of the Ascetics
Worship: Sunday, March 7, 2021 (Sunday of the Last Judgement; Sunday of Meatfare)
Scripture: I Corinthians 8:8-9:2; Matthew 25:31-46
Celebrant: Father John
Due to weather there are no weekly announcements this weekend. We will have Vespers and Liturgy at the usual times, but please only come if roads on your route are safe to drive on. The services will be streamed and available on this website and YouTube.
Due to the continued road conditions, Vespers for Wednesday, February 16th has been canceled. We hope to resume our services with Great Vespers this Saturday evening. God be with you!