Sunday Before Christmas – Sunday of the Holy Fathers

December 20, 2009

…Yet all these, though approved because of their faith, did not receive what had been promised. God had foreseen something better for us, so that without us they should not be made perfect. (Hebrews 11:39-40)
The Holy Fathers were eminent Saints of the Old Testament that had some relation to the earthly origin of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. They lived after the proclamation of the Decalogue by Moses. Some of them were great Saints, and some besides being Saints were also prophets. The Church honors Moses, Josue, King David, Susanna, and the great prophets who foretold the coming of the Messias. The feast presents some admirable models of faith and hope from the Old Testament that her faithful may follow them in loving and serving the Savior for Whom the Saints of the Old Testament were waiting. (My Divine Friend)

Philip’s Fast (Pylypivka)
From earliest times, the feast of Christmas was given equal rank with the feast of the Resurrection (Easter). For this reason the Typicon looks upon the Nativity of Christ as another Pasch (Easter). In old typicons and liturgical Psalters, under the 25th of December, there is this note: “The Pasch, a three day feast.” Thus, just as the faithful prepared themselves for the feast of the Pasch with prayer and fasting, so too, they prepared themselves for the coming of Christ the Savior with the Christmas fast. (Julian J. Katrij, OSBM, A Byzantine Rite Liturgical Year)
Philip’s Fast (Pylypivka), the pre-Christmas fast which begins with the feast of Saint Philip (November 14th), is a 40-day period of spiritual preparation for the celebration of the Nativity/Theophany cycle. At one time a period of strict fasting, it has now been abrogated in favor of voluntary fasting, works of penance and almsgiving. (Typikon)

Sat. Dec. 19 – 4:00 p.m. Divine Liturgy, Blessing of Prosfora Breads, Myrovania †John & †Mary Waslasky – Hall & Waslasky Families
Sun. Dec. 20 – 8:30 a.m. Divine Liturgy – God’s Blessing for Parishioners
Mon. Dec. 21 – NO SERVICES
Tues. Dec. 22 – NO SERVICES
Wed. Dec. 23 – NO SERVICES
Thurs. Dec. 24 – 10:15 p.m. Christmas Eve – NATIVITY OF OUR LORD Compline, God is with us, Blessing of Bread & Oil, Solemn Divine Liturgy, Myrovania with Holy Oil
Divine Liturgy – Deceased of the Mykulyn & Proch Families – Mykulyn Family
Fri. Dec. 25 – 9:00 a.m. Christmas Day – Divine Liturgy, Myrovania – God’s Blessing for Parishioners
Fri. Dec. 25 – 6:30 p.m. Synaxis of the Theotokos – Divine Liturgy, Myrovania – Health & Well Being of Nellie S. Golden’s Family
Sat. Dec. 26 – 4:00 p.m. †Mary Endrich Mudrak – Mary Anne Mudrak
Sun. Dec. 27 – 8:30 a.m. Divine Liturgy – God’s Blessing for Parishioners
Divine Liturgies for St. Vladimir (Edwardsville)
Saturday 6:00 p.m. English – Sunday 10:30 a.m. Slavonic

WELCOME – To all who are tired and need rest; to all who mourn and need comfort; to all who are friendless and need friendship; to all who are discouraged and need hope; to all who are hopeless and need sheltered love; to all who sin and need a Savior; and to whomsoever will,
this Church opens wide its doors in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ To all who are worshipping with us today – WELCOME!
LITURGY REQUESTS – We ask that if you have dates on which you would like a liturgy offered that you make those requests as early as possible. Request for liturgy dates will be assigned in the order in which they are received. Contact the rectory office to make your requests.
STAYING IN TOUCH – If there is anyone who is regularly unable to attend liturgy but would like to keep in touch with what’s going on in the parish, please contact the rectory office about receiving a copy of the bulletin through the mail.
PROSFORA BREADS – These small loaves, meant to be divided and shared at your Holy Supper (Sviaty Vechir or Villia), will be blessed and distributed at liturgies this weekend.
ON FASTING – The Eve of the Nativity is traditionally a day of strict fasting, abstinence from meat and eggs and dairy products is encouraged.
BLESSING OF HOMES – For the parishioners this will be taking place, weather permiting after the Feast of the Epiphany. Father Orest will see those who are home-bound first, making a pastoral visit with the Holy Sacrament and blessing their homes. Please call Father Orest at the rectory to make arrangements to have your home blessed as well.
BIRTHDAY GREETINGS – Birthday Greetings to Michael Demko (12/20) and Ann Marie Lawzano (12/23). May God grant them long life, good health and happiness. MNOHAYA BLAHAYA LITA!
CHRISTMAS CAROL SING-ALONG – Our thanks to the Choir and to everyone who helped out with the Sing-Along last Sunday. Once again a most enjoyable time was had by all.
THANK YOU – The children and teachers of the religious education program wish to thank all those who helped with their pyrohy project last week.
CHRISTMAS DECORATING – Flowers will be arranged on Tuesday, December 22nd at 6:30 p.m. All are invited to participate.
CHILDREN’S PROCESSION – Children attending Christmas Eve Liturgy are invited to participate in the procession before the Divine Liturgy bringing the Christ Child to the Manger.
RELIGIOUS EDUCATION – Religious Education Classes will be on Winter Break. Classes will resume again in February 13, 2010.
PARISH SIGN DONATIONS – Plans are being finalized for our new parish sign. The sign will be roughly 2 feet by 5 feet, double sided and installed in front of the church. Renderings of the sign are posted on the bulletin board in the back of the church. Our thanks to Walter and Marian Melnyk for their contribution of $100. If you’d like to make a donation to help defray the cost, please place your donation with the collection using a Supplemental Envelope from the back of the Church and label it “Parish Sign”.
RUMMAGE SALE – Our Annual Rummage Sale will be held in March 2010. Items are now being accepted. Please bring your sellable items to the school hall before or after liturgies.
PROFITS REPORTED – At the Activities Committee meeting this week the follow were reported for recent events. Rummage Sale, Gross Income $4,119.73, Expenses $799.70 for a NET INCOME of $3,320.03. Turkey-Fest, Gross Income $4,698.08, Expenses $1,538.24 for a NET INCOME of $3,159.84. Fall Pyrohy Sale, Gross Income $2,625.25, Expenses $296.40 for a NET INCOME of $2,328.85. These proceeds will be transferred to the parish account to help with general expenses.
GIVING FOR 2009 – With only a few weeks left in 2009, there is limited time to make your donations for this fiscal year, and to make sure that your dues have been paid. Please take this opportunity to bring your dues and yearly giving up to date either by dropping an envelope in with the collection in the next few weeks or by mailing them directly to the rectory office.
ANNUAL VOTIVE CANDLES – Donations are now being accepted for Annual Votive Candles. If you wish to donate to defray the cost for a votive candle for 2010 please contact the rectory.
2010 ENVELOPES – The church envelopes for 2010 are available in the lower level of the church. Please take a moment to pick-up your envelopes. We apologize for any errors that may have been made regarding the list for envelopes. If you were omitted please contact the parish office.
CALENDARS AVAILABLE – Calendars for 2010 are available in the lower level of the church. Please pick up your copy before or after liturgy. Our thanks to Simon S. Russin Funeral Home, Inc. for sponsoring the calendar again this year.
RENOVATION FUND – Should you wish to make a contribution to this fund please use the “Special Collection for Renovations to the Church Complex” envelopes that are available in the back of the church.
CONCERT/SING-ALONG – The Holy Year Choir of the Transfiguration of Our Lord Ukrainian Catholic Church in the Hanover Section of Nanticoke will present it’s Christmas Concert and Sing-Along on Monday, December 28 at 7:00 PM, at the church on Center Street.  The choir is directed by Dr. Richard Barno.  A complimentary buffet will follow.  Please plan on attending and bring a friend!
CEMETERY RULES & REGULATIONS – Out of respect for all parish families and their deceased members, these rules and regulations were designed for the uniform appearance, ease of maintenance, safety, and cleanliness of our cemetery. Please give your full co-operation. Thank you.
All decorations, including unplanted and artificial flowers, must be removed before March 31 or be subject to removal. Christmas decorations must be removed by January 31. All stone, metal, and other borders around monuments or memorials are prohibited. Only low borders, one inch above ground level, are permitted in front of hillside graves in order to prevent erosion. No shrub or tree planting is allowed. Loose stone and / or gravel are prohibited on any grave plot. Persons causing any damage to cemetery property will be liable. No dumping on the cemetery grounds or beyond the perimeter. No walking pets through the cemetery. No trespassing on cemetery property after hours. Cemetery hours are 7:00 AM to sundown. These Rules Effective Immediately.
CATHEDRAL CAROLS – Annual Festival of Christmas Carols will be held on Sunday, January 10, 2010 at 3 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Philadelphia. Choirs from different parishes will participate. Everyone is welcome.
MALANKA 2010 – The 6th Annual Ukrainian New Year Dinner Dance – MALANKA – will take place on Friday evening, January 15, 2010, 6:00pm to 1:00am at St. Vladimir Parish Center, 428 North Seventh Avenue, Scranton. Michael Trusz and Kathleen Izak are serving as chairman and cochairman respectively. Tickets are $40 and can be obtained by calling Dr. Michael Labuda at 820-7105. Dinner buffet will include borchsh, holubchi, chicken Kyiv, kobasa, pyrohy and more, along with a cash bar. Dancing to the internationally known orchestra Fata Morgana and a late night champagne toast are also included.
125 YEARS – TRANSFIGURATION CHURCH SHAMOKIN – Transfiguration of Our Lord Ukrainian Catholic Church of Shamokin, is celebrating its 125th anniversary on Aapril 25, 2010. To celebrate this historic event, they will be publishing a DVD. This DVD will detail the rich history of the parish and its founders. To be part of this DVD, please consider placing an ad, which could be a congratulatory or memorial wish for the parish. The deadline for ad submission is February 1, 2010. For further information please call; Mary Ann Charnosky, Adt Manager at (570) 648-7155.
SLOATSBURG JUBILEES – During the next two years the Sister Servants of Mary Immaculate will be celebrating two milestones in their history, the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the American Province, under the patronage of the Immaculate Conception and 75 years of ministry in the United States. As part of these celebrations the Sisters are embarking on a project to build a shrine to Blessed Josaphata (their foundress) on the grounds of their home in Sloatsburg. The small chapel will be a place of prayer, open year round, where people could come to light candles and pray to Blessed Josaphata for her intercession before God. Memorial Pavers for the walkway leading to the chapel will be sold to help defray the costs of the construction. Forms to sponsor those pavers are also available in the back of the church. Construction is well underway and paver space is limited, so get your form in soon.
On December 20, 386 or 388, St. John Chrysostom in a sermon on the anniversary of the death of the Martyr, Philogonius, Bishop of Antioch, announced to his faithful that in this year for the first time Antioch will be celebrating the feast of the Nativity of our Lord on the 25th of December, independently of the feast of the Theophany. He also added that this feast “can without mistake be called the mother of all the feasts”, for, “from it,” he goes on to say, “the Theophany, the holy Pasch, the Ascension and the Pentecost have their origin and foundation. If Christ had not been born in the flesh, neither could he have been baptized, and we would not have Theophany; had he not been crucified – we would not have the Pasch; had he not sent the Holy Spirit – we would not have the Pentecost. Thus, from the Nativity of Christ, all the other feasts flow like different streams from the same source. This feast justly occupies first place not only because of this, but also because the event which this day commemorates is, of all events, the most worthy of wonder.”
Truly, Christ’s Nativity is the most significant event in the history of the human race. This event inaugurated the Christian Era and became the point of reference from which we date the events of world history. (Julian J. Katrij, OSBM, A Byzantine Rite Liturgical Year)

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