Special Services in May
On Sunday, May 13, Fr. Chrysostom Arthur from St. Seraphim Cathedral in Dallas will celebrate the Divine Liturgy at the Archangel Gabriel Mission in Azle. Service will start at 10:00 am, with the Hours being read at 9:40 am. We encourage those who are able to join our brethren in Azle, for this “Sunday of the Blindman,” (the last Paschal Sunday), and for Mother’s Day.
In addition, on Wednesday night and Thursday morning, May 16 and 17, we will celebrate services for the Feast of Ascension at 7:00 pm and 10:00 am, respectively. Along with special hymns, Great Vespers will include three Old Testament Readings, a Gospel Lesson, and Litiya (blessing of the wheat, wine and oil).
And then finally, on Saturday night and Sunday morning, May 26 and 27, we will celebrate services for the Feast of Pentecost at 6:30 pm and 10:00 am, respectively. Pentecost is also known as Trinity Sunday in Orthodoxy. It is the celebration of the giving of the Spirit, the birthday of the Church, and the final act that places a “seal” upon Christ’s ministry and God’s saving dispensation. Again, Great Vespers will include three Old Testament Readings, a Gospel Lesson, and the Litiya. The Liturgy on Sunday will be followed by the three traditional kneeling prayers of Pentecost. The week after Pentecost is fast free.
Special Parish Meeting Convened, April 22
On Sunday, April 22 (Sunday of the Myrrbearers), a Special One Topic Parish Meeting was convened during Coffee Hour, to offer a proposal on a New Temple and Site Plan for everyone’s consideration and approval. Michael Hoffer (our Architect) was in attendance as well, to make the presentation and to address any technical questions that might arise.
The meeting was relatively brief, but everyone present voted to support the project. Plans were sent to His Eminence Archbishop Alexander who approved the design in less than 48 hours. Again, we thank everyone for their input and support. There is still a great deal of work before us, but we do look forward to the day that groundbreaking will commence.
Special Features of the Paschal Season
The week following Pascha is called Bright Week, by the Church. It is a period of unique Resurrection joy, manifested outwardly by the faithful in diverse ways. The Resurrection season, however, is definitely not limited only to one week. For forty days after Pascha, until Ascension (this year May 17), the faithful recall in songs and greetings the joyous news that ‘Christ has trampled down death by death, bestowing life upon those in the tombs.’ Clergy and altar servers continue to wear their brightest vestments, and everyone stands (rather than kneels) in prayer, both at home and in Church. The practice of standing in prayer during the Paschal Season serves to stress our belief that in Christ we are already resurrected beings, residents on earth yet citizens of Heaven. The faithful actually continue this practice until Pentecost (this year May 27), when after Liturgy for the first time since Holy Week we kneel during three special prayers that are read from the ambo by the clergy.
The five Sundays following Pascha emphasize, through the appointed Scripture readings and hymns, (1.) post-resurrection appearances of Christ; (2.) the Church’s early life and missionary endeavors (Epistle readings are taken from the Book of Acts); and (3.) aspects of baptism, through which we ourselves have died and risen with the Lord to a new life in God (Gospel readings are taken from the most “sacramental” of the Gospel accounts, that of John theTheologian or Evangelist).