March 14, 2021
Sunday of Forgiveness
Sunday of Cheese Fare
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 Sunday before Lent is FORGIVENESS (cheese fare) and the Gospel lesson is Matthew 6:14-21 which teaches us both of forgiveness and of fasting. “To forgive is to put between me and my enemy the radiant forgiveness of God Himself. To forgive is to reject the hopeless dead-ends of human relations and to refer them to Christ. Forgiveness is truly a breakthrough of the Kingdom into this sinful and fallen world” (Great Lent, Page 28). And to fast is to first fast before God and not men so as to curb the desires and cravings of our fallen nature. This effort can help free us from the dictatorship of the flesh over our spirit, so we can more fully love and forgive.
May God be with us as we approach the Holy Season of Lent.
Romans 13:11-14:4: As we read from his letter to the Romans, St Paul encourages us to walk in the light and put aside the deeds of darkness, knowing that the time of salvation is near at hand. He also encourages us to accept those who are weak in faith and not to make personal judgments.
Matthew 6:14-21: The Lord Jesus in this portion of the Sermon on the Mount gives us instructions on forgiving others, on fasting, and on laying up treasures in our hearts.
Troparion of the Resurrection: Thou didst shatter death by thy Cross; thou didst open paradise to the thief; thou didst turn the mourning of the ointment-bearing women into joy, and didst bid thine Apostles proclaim warning that thou hast risen, O Christ, granting the world Great Mercy.
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 Cheese Fare Sunday: O thou who guidest to wisdom, and givest understanding and intelligence, the Instructor of the ignorant and Helper of the poor, strengthen my heart and grant it understanding, O Master. Give me word, O Word of the Father; for behold, I shall not refrain my lips from crying to thee, O merciful One, have mercy upon me who am fallen.
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, March 14 (Sunday of Cheese Fare )
8:50 a.m. — Orthros (webcast)
10:00 a.m. — Divine Liturgy (webcast)
6:30 p.m. — Forgiveness Vespers
Monday, March 15 (Clean Monday)
Father John’s Day Off
Tuesday, March 16 (Forty Martyrs of Sebaste)
6:30 p.m. — Presanctified Liturgy (NO Soup Supper afterwards)
NOTE: We are still limited on the numbers of attendees for services, so it is necessary to sign up for this service. Please text Fr. John for this.
Thursday, March 18
6:30 p.m. — Canon of St. Andrew of Crete
6:30 p.m. — Akathist Hymn to the Theotokos
6:00 p.m. — Great Vespers (No Ninth Hour Prayers)
Sunday, March 21 (Sunday of Orthodoxy)
8:50 a.m. — Orthros (webcast)
10:00 a.m. — Divine Liturgy (webcast)
NOTE: We will not be having a Pan-Orthodox vespers service that evening as we usually do. Instead we will do the procession with the icons at the end of the Divine Liturgy following the Prayer behind the Ambo. Those attending the liturgy that morning should bring their icons with them.
The Eucharist Bread …was offered by the Morrises for the Divine Liturgy this morning.
We welcome Marilyn Snell as our newest member to St. Peter.
Please remember that the schedule for prosphora is still in place as we will continue to serve the Divine Liturgy.
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.
Eucharist Bread Schedule (NO Coffee Hour):
Eucharist Bread Coffee Hour
March 14 Morris
March 21 Jones
March 24 (Wed. p.m.) Meadows
(Feast of Annunciation)
March 28 Davis
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.
Please schedule a time for your confession during the Fast. Also, please don’t wait to the last minute to do this, as it causes difficulties for Father John.
* Great Lent will begin tomorrow with Clean Monday. 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. (NO Soup Supper)
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.
* Stewpot dates for the coming year are JUNE 26 and November 6. More information will be available closer to time.
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.
Christian Education classes: Daniel Root is contacting parents about the possible resumption of classes. If you have not heard from Daniel, please get in contact with him.
Fasting Discipline for March
Beginning with Clean Monday on March 15th, the traditional fasting (no meat, dairy, eggs, fish, wine or oil) 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 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
The new Icon Calendars are available on the table in the hall outside the nave. Please only take one per family.
Instructions for streaming our services can be found on the parish website.
ead of ManHead of Maonasteries
Quotable: “Thus it does not pay to come to grips with the hard-to-master great vices and bad habits you have acquired without at the same time overcoming your small ‘innocent’ weaknesses: your taste for sweets, your urge to talk, your curiosity, your meddling. For, finally, all our desires, great and small, are built on the same foundations, our unchecked habit of satisfying only our own will.
It is the life of our will that is destroyed. Since the Fall the will has been running errands exclusively for its own ego. For this reason our warfare is directed against the life of self-will as such. And it should be undertaken without delay or wearying.”
Tito Colliander, The Way of the Ascetics
Worship: Sunday, March 14, 2021 (First Sunday of Lent: Sunday of Orthodoxy)
Scripture: Hebrews 11:24-26, 32-40; John 1:43-51
Celebrant: Father John