Bulletin for 14 Nov 2021 – St Philip the Holy Apostle

O Holy Apostle Philip, Intercede with the merciful God

That He may grant our souls forgiveness of sins.

Patronal Feast of St Philip the Apostle, Twenty Fifth & Twenty Sixth Sunday after Pentecost.

Saint Philip the Holy ApostleThis Sunday marks a milestone in the life of St Philip’s Byzantine Catholic Church here in Sacramento. We celebrate today our Golden Jubilee!

As we look back we thank God for the many blessings bestowed upon us as a parish family. The parish had its humble beginnings on Florin Road at what is now the Ukranian Parish of St Andrew. We have been blessed with different pastors who have each left their mark on the parish. Fr Jan has gone before us and we will remember him and all the other deceased parishioners and benefactors with a Panachida after today’s Liturgy.

The last 50 years of blessings is also a pledge of many more blessings to come and so with confidence and gratitude we look forward to another 50 years of witness to Christ as we seek to bring about the Kingdom among and around us.

Today’s celebration is smaller and at the same time more personal as we hope to have a more formal celebration on the last Sunday of May, May 29, 2022. We hope too that at that moment Fr Francis will be able to join us as he plans a trip to America.

Today is our Patronal feast day and we can look at St Philip as a model and mentor. His name is Greek and would suggest to us that he was loved by the Lord. He shines as an example because whenever he is mentioned in the Gospel he brings someone to Christ. Today’s Gospel shows us as Philip the one who persuaded Nathaniel to come to the Lord. Apostles are those who are sent out on a mission. As we get closer to the New Year of 2022 we should see ourselves as sent out on a Mission to bring others to Christ. Philip brought his friend Nathaniel whose life was changed after his encounter with Christ.

We know that St Philip was a man of charm, for we are told that towards the end of the Master’s life, the Greeks wanted to see Christ. Knowing his charm and that he was a ‘conduit,’ a channel, to Christ, the Gentiles sought his efficacious intercession. And speak to the Lord they did due to the introduction given them by St Philip. Therefore, let us ask ourselves if we bring people to Christ?

We also can see the great desire of Philip to know and love God asking Christ, (St Jn 14v8) who at the Mystical Supper had shared all knowledge with his Apostles, to show them the Father. Philip’s great yearning is met with the gentle reproach of Christ: “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father?’

Christ tells us that this is eternal life to know Him and the One who sent Him. We can imagine how St Philip was transformed by the answer he received.

St Philip then sees in the mercy and goodness of Christ the mercy and goodness of the Fatehr. Do we like St Philip, look back at the words and miracles of Christ which reveal his Father to us in our daily lives? Indeed, let us look back at the last 50 years and see the work of Christ and the touch of the Father in our lives as individuals, as parish and as Church!

*** *** * *** ***

Alas, all good things come to end and we are entering the period of the Philip’s fast. FILIPOVKA – fast before CHRISTMAS The Christmas Fast/ Saint Philip’s Fast/ Filipovka begins on Nov. 15. This is the forty days of preparation for the Nativity of Our Lord on December 25. It continues through Christmas Eve, which is a day of strict fast and abstinence. It is named after Saint Philip, because it begins on his feast day.

“Forty” has great significance in our religious history, from the forty years of Israel’s wandering in the desert to be purified so as to enter into the Holy Land, to the forty days of Great Lent before Easter. In America, the regulations of this Fast are not strict, as it falls during the winter. Abstinence remains in force for Friday, and is strongly recommended for Wednesday and if possible, also Monday. Christmas Eve remains a day of strict fast: no meat, no dairy, one main meal, which is the Holy Supper in the evening.

Let us set ourselves to focusing more on Jesus, and much less on the sparkle and glitter of the pre-holiday feasting. Training for Body, Mind and Spirit. For Saint Paul, Christian discipleship is like an athletic contest in an arena, which requires both training and effort. This is the root of the Christian understanding of asceticism and praxis. The season of advent is a time for a deeper interior conversion to Christ by embracing the four forms of Christian praxis. Below are some suggestions for ways to put into practice the four forms of Christian praxis or asceticism during the Nativity fast.

  • Prayer. Spend at least 15 minutes in the morning and evening in prayer each day. Pray the Jesus Prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.” 100 times a day. Display an icon of the Nativity in the prayer corner of your house or room and spend 10 minutes each day meditating on the saving mysteries surrounding the story of Christ’s Birth. Receive the Mystery of Repentance (Confession) at least once during the fast. Use the prayer guide with family or friends.
  • Fasting. Abstain from meat products on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays. Fast from certain foods, such as soda, alcoholic beverages or candy. With each meal, eat only an amount that is sufficient for nutritional needs, without feeling full. Fast from select forms of entertainment (television, movies, radio, internet, novels, etc.).
  • Almsgiving. Give your time, talent and/or treasure to a parish outreach or a special charity. Clean out your house of any excessive items or possessions and share them with the poor and needy. Purchase gifts for homeless or needy children or families.
  • Love. Meditate on the Ten Commandments or the Beatitudes and identify one or two of these to put into practice each week. Examine your conscience each night, asking for forgiveness from God or others as needed. Find opportunities to share your faith with others.

Like Great Lent, the fast of the Nativity is a journey. ‘Come, O ye faithful, and let us behold where Christ is born. The fast of the Nativity is our journey into something new and marvelous, which comes from God but to which we must approach of our own volition. The gift of a new land and great blessings was freely given by God to Abraham, but in order to obtain it, ‘Abram went, as the Lord had told him’ (Gen 12.4)

Announcements

  • Tithes and Donations. Last Sunday, we received in tithes $, donations $, gift shop $, hospitality $, candles $.  Thank you for your generosity, may God bless you always. The collection amounted to $.
  • Hospitality after Sunday Liturgy. If you wish to help out please put your name to the signup sheet.
  • Mystery of First Confession: If you have a child ready to make his or her first confession please see me and I will start by instructing those who need it. This shouldn’t take too long, about 5 weeks and after that I hope that we will be able to relaunch Catechism for the children after Sunday Liturgies. Parents are invited to sit in on the classes, so as to be able to help their children with the homework. Also as part of ‘Safe Environment’ there will be another adult present.
  • Youth Group: After having spoken at the bi-weekly youth group with parishioners from 4 parishes and 4 Rites, I will continue to host a talk followed by ‘fun and games.’ There were about 20 or so youth. The meetings are mentored by Abouna Hezekiah (Melkite) and now by me. For details contact me or Tim Del Castillo. Ages range from early to late teens.

Next Sunday November 21st . Father Christopher will return to Clear Creek Abbey for an annual visit to his Abbot and Abbey. Next week we welcome Fr James as our celebrant. On the weekend of November 21 I will also be filling in at St Basil the great Parish in Irving, Texas where I had committed myself to preach a retreat in the Tyler diocese with Bishop Strickland. I will return on Saturday November 27. Thus we will have a depleted Liturgical schedule (see below).

Please also understand that this is my last foreseeable break until May. As I said last week I will meet with Deacon Tim and our Cantors to see if we can mix up the Schedule in an effort to attract people to evening services, given that we will have more cantors in the near future. I am hopeful that we can attract visitors and friends at mid-week services.

Liturgical schedule

Sunday, Nov. 21 -The Entrance of the Theotokos

26th Sunday After Pentecost

9:30 AM Divine Liturgy – Tone 1

Cantor: Amy Seyfried

Reader: Tim Delcastillo

Sunday, Nov. 28 – 27th Sunday After Pentecost

8:30 AM Confessions

9:30 AM Divine Liturgy

Tone 2

Cantor: Oliver Bardin

Reader: Richard Agaroff

For Confession, please call Fr. Christopher for an appointment, or come 30 minutes before or after scheduled services. If you desire Spiritual Direction then please see Fr Andrews for an appointment during the week so as to allow everyone an opportunity on Sundays for Confessions. Please consider those traveling from long distances.

Fridays in general are days of penance and fasting, we observe abstinence for meat foods. Let us remember one another as we offer our prayers and sacrifices to the Lord.

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Bulletin for 7 Nov 2021 – Twenty Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

O Holy Apostle Philip,

Intercede with the merciful God

That He may grant our souls forgiveness of sins.

Twenty Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

This Sunday we read two miracles in the account of the Gospel. The first miracle as it were is interrupted by a second miracle – the healing of the woman with the hemorrhage. Both of the miracles display great faith.

The first is that of a pagan Centurion, a Roman Occupier, who without the structure of the Law, is still through his natural good sense and good faith, able to see that Christ is a messenger of God. The Centurion confides in him and asks for the cure of his only daughter. What a wonderful love we see between a father and his daughter in a time when all signs of paternity are taken as if they were evil. It is striking that the kind hearted gentile evangelist takes the time to mention this cure and the faith of an upright pagan. The message being that God works outside of his chosen people.

This message is hammered home in the Epistle where we read that through Christ we are made one New People, we are the New Israel where there is no distinction between Greek and Jew.

St Paul in his Epistle will highlight not just the unity but the elevation given to us. In a historic time when slavery was quite a normal part of civilization all are made equal in Christ, all share the same dignity. Indeed, among the Saints there are no class distinctions as we are all member of each other and we work for the common good that in all things Christ may be reign and be glorified.

HemmorrhissaIn the second miracle of the poor woman cured of her hemorrhage we admire her faith. St Luke points out her dire state having spent so much of her money on fake cures. Christ marvels at her and says that he felt the power leave him. On the face of it this is crazy as dozens of others were pushing him at the same moment. Yet the God-Man read her heart. At first, almost with shame having been discovered for what she did, this woman of faith comes forward only to be rewarded for her intrepid faith.

We ourselves touch Christ. We receive him at Holy Communion, we are touched by the mysteries (sacraments) we receive where Christ infallibly touches us and enters our lives.

Do we see the continuation of this touch over time and space through Christ and his Church and the great gifts that are given to us? Do we share that same eagerness and faith of the centurion and the sickly woman to have our lives changed by the encounter.

xxx xxx x xxx xxx

Announcements

  • Fr Christopher: Since the cottage was not quite ready there was no moving of furniture. However a large moving truck has been made available for free and the move is postponed. Many thanks to those who volunteered and who will help in the near future.
  • Dr. Bill Carnazzo: Last Sunday at about 7.30 pm Dr. Bill Carnazzo rendered his beautiful soul to his Lord. Dr Carnazzo was a generous benefactor to St Anne’s in San Luis Obispo and also personally to me over the years that I had labored in California. As a sign of respect Fr Milan Kasperek (Las Vegas) and Fr James Lane (Fontana) will travel to his funeral. Along with Fr Michael Bezrucha (San Luis Obispo) there will also be the two Frs, Sebastian and Hezekiah Carnazzo (both Melkites.) I will travel down on Wednesday after the 6.30am Divine Liturgy and return for Friday’s 5.30 Akathist. Kindly keep the ever faithful and cheerful Bill and his family in your prayers.
  • Tithes and Donations. Last Sunday, we received in tithes $, donations $, gift shop $, hospitality $, candles $ and miscellaneous $. Thank you for your generosity, may God bless you always. The collection amounted to $.
  • Hospitality after Sunday Liturgy. If you wish to help out please put your name to the signup sheet.
  • Mystery of First Confession: If you have a child ready to make his or her first confession please see me and I will start by instructing those who need it. This shouldn’t take too long, about 5 weeks and after that I hope that we will be able to relaunch Catechism for the children after Sunday Liturgies. Parents are invited to sit in on the classes, so as to be able to help their children with the homework. Also as part of ‘Safe Environment’ there will be another adult present.
  • Youth Group: After having spoken at the bi-weekly youth group with parishioners from 4 parishes and 4 Rites, I will continue to host a talk followed by ‘fun and games.’ There were about 20 or so youth. The meetings are mentored by Abouna Hezekiah (Melkite) and now by me. For details contact me or Tim Del Castillo. Ages range from early to late teens.
  • Next Sunday November 14th: A milestone. We will celebrate in a modest way the Golden Jubilee of the Parish. More official celebrations will take place in May. Join us in thanksgiving for the many blessings and graces bestowed upon us as a parish as we look forward to the next 50 blessed years bringing about the kingdom in ourselves and around us, as beacon of light and hope, that seeing our good works other may glorify their heavenly Father!

Liturgical schedule

Wed Nov 10 – 6:30 a.m. – Divine Liturgy.

Fri    Nov 12  – 5.30 p.m. – Moleben of the Holy Cross

Sun  Nov 14 –  8:30 a.m. Confessions. 9:30 AM Divine Liturgy.

        Tone 8 – Cantor: Tim DelCastillo  – Reader: Victor Pacheco

For Confession, please call Fr. Christopher for an appointment, or come 30 minutes before or after scheduled services. If you desire Spiritual Direction then please see Fr Andrews for an appointment during the week so as to allow everyone an opportunity on Sundays for Confessions. Please consider those traveling from long distances.

Fridays in general are days of penance and fasting, we observe abstinence for meat foods. Let us remember one another as we offer our prayers and sacrifices to the Lord.

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Bulletin for 31 Oct 2021 – Twenty third Sunday after Pentecost

O Holy Apostle Philip,

Intercede with the merciful God

That He may grant our souls forgiveness of sins.

Twenty Third Sunday after Pentecost

This Sunday we read the Gospel where the devil departs a man and the legions of devils, as a mercy to them, enter a herd of swine. The father of lies and the murderer from the beginning acts true to who he is, and no sooner have the devils entered the swine, they cast themselves over a cliff and that us the end of them.

There are so many lessons we could learn. Firstly, we see the company the devil enjoys: dirty pigs. The soul which is in good order and which turns to God in an effort to come closer to Him through a life of prayer and asceticism, is not the soul wallowing in filth. The Holy Spirit makes us living temples. Temples are sacred places, remind us that praise echoes in our souls and that Saints are people whose lives focus on godliness. Temples are places of beauty and uplifting. This would describe the disposition of the soul of a Saint.

Secondly, sin is destructive. A person who has a vice has at the same time a very unhappy and un-centered life. Most often there are multiple vices in the truly vicious. Tis is the kingdom divided which Christ speaks of, and where there is no peace.

Thirdly, the devil tempts us with empty promises. The lure of sin is enticing, but after the fall we always acknowledge that the fleeting pleasure was a mirage. We are left with shame and remorse… albeit that moments before it all seemed so wonderful. It is Christ alone who offers what builds us up, to the point that we can think of St Irenaeus who says that the “glory of God is man fully alive.”

Fourthly, why did the devils ask the mercy of occupying pigs before killing themselves? Theologically the devil has no power except what God permits him in time to do. Once time is ended and in eternity his lot is fixed: self-hatred and suffering. The devil would sooner work havoc and spend the “time” doing it, rather than suffer the eternal flames. This is an important thought when we can be tempted by so much gloom and doom around us. Ultimately we are saved, restored and made whole in Christ.

Lastly, the herdsmen trafficking in pigs? This is not an occupation a Jew should be involved with. Is it really a great loss, (from the perspective of an observant Jew), that these unclean animals were no longer peddled? There are plenty of evils in our society that we should be glad to see the end of, and which we should not support as evil in themselves. And yet, the only complaint from the villagers, is that there is no more money to be made from these swine. Thus we have plenty to ponder.

xxx xxx xxx xxx x

Fr Christopher: This coming week: I would ask those willing and able to see me today in order to organize the moving of furniture to my future residence. I would like to start moving furniture this coming Saturday at noon and if necessary make one trip next Sunday. I believe the bigger items will get moved (bed, table and sofa) and that the smaller items could be moved over time if necessary in a pick-up. Honestly, two trips should suffice. If you are able to help, your presence would be much appreciated.

Announcements

  • Tithes and Donations. Last Sunday, we received in tithes $, donations $, gift shop $, hospitality $, candles $ and miscellaneous $. Thank you for your generosity, may God bless you always. The collection amounted to $.
  • Hospitality after Sunday Liturgy. If you wish to help out please put your name to the signup sheet.
  • Mystery of First Confession: If you have a child ready to make his or her first confession please see me and I will start by instructing those who need it. This shouldn’t take too long, about 5 weeks and after that I hope that we will be able to relaunch Catechism for the children after Sunday Liturgies. Parents are invited to sit in on the classes, so as to be able to help their children with the homework. Also as part of ‘Safe Environment’ there will be another adult present
  • Youth Group: After having spoken at the bi-weekly youth group with parishioners from 4 parishes and 4 Rites, I will continue to host a talk followed by ‘fun and games.’ There were about 20 or so youth. The meetings are mentored by Abouna Hezekiah (Melkite) and now by me. For details contact me or Tim Del Castillo. Ages range from early to late teens.
  • Parish council meeting: We will have a meeting next Sunday October 31. The agenda will include: Golden Jubilee, May preparations and upkeep of church given the recent rains and interior flooding. Input and participation is most welcome.

Liturgical schedule

Wed Nov 3rd 6:30 a.m. – Divine Liturgy.

Fri    Nov 5th  5.30 p.m. – Moleben of the Holy Cross

Sun  Nov 7th  8:30 a.m. Confessions. 9:30 AM Divine Liturgy.

        Tone 7 – Cantor: Amy  – Reader: Richard Agayoff

For Confession, please call Fr. Christopher for an appointment, or come 30 minutes before or after scheduled services. If you desire Spiritual Direction then please see Fr Andrews for an appointment during the week so as to allow everyone an opportunity on Sundays for Confessions. Please consider those traveling from long distances.

Fridays in general are days of penance and fasting, we observe abstinence for meat foods. Let us remember one another as we offer our prayers and sacrifices to the Lord.

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