Sunday, December 15th, 2019

Sunday of the Forefathers

The Sunday that falls between December 11-17 is known as the Sunday of the Holy Forefathers. These are the ancestors of Christ according to the flesh,...click here for more.

Bishop Daniel’s Message for December

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This period of the Nativity Fast, the liturgical time which prepares us for Christmas, invites us to lift our gaze and open our hearts to welcome Jesus as we celebrate His birth in the flesh on Christmas Day. During these weeks of preparation we do not just live in anticipation of Christmas: we are also called to rekindle the anticipation of the glorious return of Christ — when he will return at the end of time — preparing ourselves, with consistent and courageous choices, for the final encounter with him. We remember Christmas, we await the glorious return of Christ, and also our personal encounter: the day in which the Lord will call us to Himself.

During these special grace-filled weeks of preparation, we are called to leave behind an automatic and routine way of life and to go forth into that which is new, nourishing hope and nourishing dreams for a new future. We are called to be mindful and to pray: this is how to live the time between now and Christmas. To be mindful and to prayerful is the attitude with which we should approach every day. Unfortunately, during this “holiday season,” we are often weighed down by an inner lethargy comes from always focusing upon ourselves and being distracted by our own life, with its problems, its joy, and suffering, but always turning around ourselves.  And this is wearying; this is dull, this closes us off to hope. Here lies the root of spiritual lethargy and laziness. The Nativity Fast invites us to a commitment to attentiveness, to look beyond ourselves, expanding our mind and heart in order to open ourselves up to the needs of our brothers and sisters who find themselves in so many types of need. This is a favorable time to open our hearts, to ask ourselves concrete questions about how and for whom we reach beyond ourselves and focus our lives.

The second attitude to have in order to best experience this time of awaiting the Lord is that of prayer. “Look up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near,” the Gospel of Luke cautions (Luke 21:28). This special time is about standing up and praying, turning our thoughts and our hearts to Jesus who is about to come. One stands when awaiting something or someone. We await Jesus and we wish to await him in prayer which is closely linked to vigilance. Praying, waiting upon Jesus, opening oneself to others, being mindful, not withdrawn in ourselves. But if we think of Christmas in the light of consumerism, of seeing what I can buy in order to do this and that, if we think of Christmas as a worldly celebration, Jesus will pass by and we will not find him.

In the Scriptures, the voices of the prophets are especially revealing to us. The Prophet Jeremiah speaks to the people who had been harshly tried by exile and who risked losing their very identity. We Christians too, who are also the People of God, run the risk of becoming worldly and of losing our identity, indeed of ‘paganizing’ or secularizing the Christian way of life. Therefore, we need the Word of God through which the prophet proclaims: “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfil the promise I made ... I will cause a righteous branch to spring forth for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land” (Jeremiah 33:14-15). And that righteous branch is Jesus. It is Jesus who comes and whom we await. May the Virgin Mary, who leads us to Jesus, who is our example of hopeful expectation and prayer, help us to strengthen our hope in the promises of her Son Jesus, in order to enable us to understand that through the ups and downs of history, God always remains steadfast and uses even our own human weakness to manifest his mercy.

As we recall the great mystery of Christ’s birth in the flesh and hear the Gospel stories of Joseph and Mary’s journey to Bethlehem, of the Star, Shepherds, and Angels, let us join the Heavenly Host in singing glories to God, let us imitate the Shepherds who go to Bethlehem to see the promised sign, that newborn child lying in a manger.  Let us imitate the Wise Men on their journey, seeking our only true goal: Jesus Christ and life lived in Him.

As we celebrate the Lord’s Nativity and as we enter the New Year, be assured of my prayers and best wishes for you, your families and friends, and all your dear ones.

With love in the Newborn Savior,

+Bishop Daniel

Upcoming Calendar
  • 14

    Dec

    Saturday
    5:00 Great Vespers
    Fast: wine & oil
  • 15

    Dec

    Sunday
    9:00 Divine Liturgy
    Fast: wine & oil
  • 21

    Dec

    Saturday
    5:00 Great Vespers
    Fast: wine & oil
  • 22

    Dec

    Sunday
    9:00 Divine Liturgy
    Fast: wine & oil
  • 28

    Dec

    Saturday
    5:00 Great Vespers
    Fast free
  • 29

    Dec

    Sunday
    9:00 Divine Liturgy
    Fast free
  • 4

    Jan

    Saturday
    5:00 Great Vespers
    Fast free
  • 5

    Jan

    Sunday
    9:00 Divine Liturgy
    Fast: wine & oil
(Printing Instructions)

HOLY LAND PILGRIMAGE

with His Grace Bishop Daniel

Oct. 26th - Nov. 3rd, 2020

Click for Details

 

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Pilgrimage to Alaska 2020

Click for details

Orthodox Church in America

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On Sunday, August 4, 2019, His Grace Bishop Daniel of Santa Rosa presided at the Divine Liturgy at the Church of the Icon of the Mother of God “Joy of All Who Sorrow” in Moscow... Click here to view

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Parish News

December Newsletter

DECEMBER ANNOUNCEMENTS

Thu, Dec 12th:  St Herman,

Vespers, 6:00 p.m.

Fri, Dec 13th:  St Herman,

Divine Liturgy, 9:00 a.m.

 

CHRISTMAS SCHEDULE:

Sat, Dec 21st:  Church decorating, 10:00 a.m.  Vespers, 5:00 p.m.

Sun, Dec 22nd:  Divine Liturgy, 9:00 a.m.

Tue, Dec 24th:  Great Compline, 5:30 p.m.

Holy Supper following Compline

Wed, Dec 25th:  Divine Liturgy of the Nativity of Christ, 9:00 a.m.

 

 

HOLY SUPPER: Again this year we look forward to celebrating the Christmas Eve Holy Supper with our parish family.  We come together as a family of faith to remember and to celebrate the mysteries surrounding the Birth of the Lord Jesus Christ in the City of David.  This simple and beautiful celebration also gives us the opportunity to invite our non-Orthodox family and friends to witness the love we share with one another as we celebrate the Feast of the Nativity.  The Holy Supper takes place following the evening Compline service (5:30 p.m.)  Those who are able are asked to contribute in some way to the festivities, especially by providing a (fasting) dish to share with others.  For more information about how you can participate, please see Marty Gala.

CONFESSIONS: Everyone seems to be busy at this time of the year: busy traveling, busy working, busy getting ready for Christmas, busy making or purchasing gifts.  As the Feast of the Lord’s Nativity draws near, do not forget to also prepare yourself spiritually before receiving the Holy Gifts on Christmas morning.  An essential part of our spiritual preparation is the confession of our sins and receiving the Lord’s forgiveness.  Confessions are heard before the Divine Services or by arrangements with Bishop DANIEL, Father David or Father Thomas.

CHURCH DECORATING: Please mark your calendars and plan on joining in decorating our church on Saturday, December 21, at 10:00 a.m.  Plan on being a part of the joy as we come together to adorn the church for our celebration of the Lord’s Birth.  The more, the merrier!

NEW YEAR’S DAY:  We begin the New Year by invoking God’s blessing upon our families, our parish, the Church, and the world.  Divine Liturgy (Feast of the Circumcision of Christ and Commemoration of Saint Basil the Great), 9:00 a.m.

TIME FOR THANKS:  As we enter the season of the Lord’s Nativity, we pause and give thanks for the many blessings we have received throughout the year, especially the blessings received because of the generosity in time, talents, and treasures of our parish community.  There are too many people to name individually.  The Lord knows you all…  But please be assured of the gratitude of Archbishop BENJAMIN, Bishop DANIEL, Father David, Father Thomas, Father Mihai, Father Nicholas, Deacon John, all the clergy and faithful of our parish community.  May the Lord Himself, He Who is “God with Us,” be your reward!

Food Pantry Collections: 

We glorify Christ when we assist those who are less fortunate. In order to glorify Christ the church community is collecting boxes and canned food for the less fortunate, especially at this time of the year. Please feel free to speak with Bishop Daniel about contributing non-perishables items.  Please bring your donations and place them in the boxes which are available in the church hall.  Collected food items will be shared with Saint Mary’s Food Bank, Phoenix.

 

What shall we offer Thee, O Christ,
Who for our sakes hast appeared on the earth as a man?
Every creature which Thou hast made offers Thee thanks.
The angels offer Thee a song;
The heavens, their star;
The wise men, their gifts;
The shepherds, their wonder;
The earth, its cave;
The wilderness; the manger;
And we offer Thee a virgin mother.
O Pre-eternal God, have mercy on us!

The Mission of The Orthodox Church in America, the local autocephalous Orthodox Christian Church, is to be faithful in fulfilling the commandment of Christ to “Go into all the world and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…”

Learn More >

The Holy Scripture is a collection of books written over multiple centuries by those inspired by God to do so. It is the primary witness to the Orthodox Christian faith, within Holy Tradition and often described as its highest point. It was written by the prophets and apostles in human language, inspired by the Holy Spirit, and collected, edited, and canonized by the Church.

Daily Readings >

Holiness or sainthood is a gift (charisma) given by God to man, through the Holy Spirit. Man's effort to become a participant in the life of divine holiness is indispensable, but sanctification itself is the work of the Holy Trinity, especially through the sanctifying power of Jesus Christ, who was incarnate, suffered crucifixion, and rose from the dead, in order to lead us to the life of holiness, through the communion with the Holy Spirit.

Today's Saints >

Saints Peter & Paul Orthodox Church
1614 E Monte Vista Road
Phoenix, Arizona 85006