Message from Fr Gary March 2016

The recent drought and the threat of “El Nino” have given me the opportunity to reflect on Great and Holy Lent. Every Spring I give thought to what I’m going to give up for Lent, as if taking something away from my everyday routine or diet is going to help my spiritual growth. Lenten spiritual growth should be compared to the care of a garden. There are very few things to take away from a garden to keep it healthy. Actually, it is imperative to add items, and of course, when a weed appears we quickly pluck it. The health of the garden relies mostly on what is added to it. This is how we should approach Great and Holy Lent.

Year after year we talk about what we are “giving up” for Lent: meat, dairy, television, rock music, video games, etc. Removing certain items from our lives is a good practice and an integral part of a productive Lenten Season, but the things we give up are similar to weeds. Merely plucking the weeds does not insure the health of the garden. It takes hard work! The garden needs good soil and adequate sunlight and water to grow. Much like our souls require a steady course of prayer, almsgiving and Holy Scripture to do the same. We are not going to mature in our Faith by simply altering our diet.

It is just as important to consider what we are going to add in to our Lenten regimen as it is to purify our bodies and environment by giving things up.

Imagine willing a garden to grow without the proper amount of water, sunlight and good soil. You can grab a cold glass of lemonade and beg the seeds to mature as you stand by idly, or you can roll up your sleeves and give the garden what it needs to succeed. The same is true of our souls. During the forty plus days of Lent, how are we imagining the appearance of our souls? We have the opportunity to tend to our souls and let them grow full and strong, or we can stand by and risk them becoming barren and dry.

Lent is a time for discipline, but it’s also a joyful time in which we open our hearts and souls so that God can sow the seeds of faith that will grow and give us strength for the challenges we face throughout the rest of the year. Let us examine our hearts and souls, making sure we pluck the weeds that we find, but giving even more energy to ensuring adequate resources for growth in our faith, and in our love for each other.

O Lord and Master of my life! Take from me the spirit of laziness, faint-heartedness, lust of power, and idle talk. But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to Your servant.

Yes, Lord and King! Grant me to see my own errors and not to judge my brothers and sisters, for You are blessed unto ages of ages. Amen.

Lenten Prayer Of St. Ephrem The Syrian

REGULAR, PROMPT ATTENDANCE AT DIVINE LITURGY ON SUNDAYS Regular indicates consistent attendance and prompt means being on time. We are on time for soccer games, work and school, and few of us would pay $10 to walk into a movie 20 minutes late. It is time for us to re-devote Sunday as a day of worship, literally The Lord’s Day. We should be at church no later than 9:45 am on Sundays.

DAILY PRAYER In order for our community to be focused on Christ, each of us, individually, needs to be set on Christ. Each day should begin with an intimate and personal conversation with Christ; TRUE PRAYER for at least ten minutes in the morning and ten minutes in the evening. Prayer should also be offered before meals. As you pray over your food, think about offering thanks to God for the blessings in your life, and also remember those less fortunate.

GIVING OUR TIME Join, sign-up, or assist with a ministry of the Church. Cheerfully offering time to the choir, Philoptochos, Sunday School, or one of our many fundraisers can bring a great feeling of connection to the Church and satisfaction to your life.

EDUCATING OURSELVES IN THE WORD OF GOD Reading the Gospels and meditating on God’s Word is essential to Christian growth. Come to our Orthodox Study Classes and read the Bible daily.

FORGIVENESS Mend relationships that, for one reason or another, have deteriorated. Ask for and seek to of-fer forgiveness. Do not wait for the other person to extend the olive branch; offer reconciliation and pray for those with whom you’ve been in conflict.

In Christ’s Service,

Fr. Gary

Fr Gary

TODAY - FEBRUARY 28th
USHERS: George M, Tom, Deb & Bo
 
TODAY’S ACOLYTE: Team 4
Jacob - Captain, Nicholas - Asst. Captain
Alex, Andreas, Alexander, Peyton & Zachary
 
COFFEE HOUR SPONSOR:
Walt Zmed & Anya Zemliakova

Memorial: Walt Zmed & Anya Zemliakova Family

Walt's Parents
Presbytera Persida Zmed - 1 Year
Very Reverend Father George Zmed

Anya's Grandparents
Valentina Zemliakova and Vasiliy Zemliakova

Anna Galanis Alexiades’ Mother
Eleftheria (Liberty) Galanis ~ 4 Years


May Their Memory Be Eternal



The Lord’s Prayer Schedule
As Well as in English & Greek
1st Sunday of the Month: Spanish—Nick Varnava
2nd Sunday of the Month: Arabic—Lucy Morcos
3rd Sunday of the Month: Romanian –Christina Burus
4th Sunday of the Month: Russian—Anya Zmed
5th Sunday of the Month: Only English & Greek





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            UPCOMING CHURCH EVENTS           

 
?Sunday, February 28th
Orthros 9 AM
Divine Liturgy 10 AM

Sunday School After Communion
 
?Tuesday, March 1st
NO Paraklesis
NO Orthodox Study

?Wednesday, March 2nd
Boy Scouts & Cub Scouts 6:30 PM
Choir 6:30 PM

?Thursday, March 3rd
Daughters of Penelope 7 PM
Festival Meeting 7PM


?Saturday, March 5th
SATURDAY OF SOULS
Orthros 9 AM
Divine Liturgy 9:30 AM
Conejo Mountain Cemetery 11:30AM

Choir Practice 11 AM

 
?Sunday, March 6th
Orthros 9 AM
Divine Liturgy 10 AM

Sunday School After Communion
 
2015 Stewardship Donation Statements
HAVE BEEN SENT
We apologize for the delay in sending 2015 Stewardship Donation Statements and understand their importance in preparing your tax returns. If you have not received your statement or if you have an urgent need or problem, Please contact Dr. Bob Gonzalez, Parish Council Treasurer at 805-987-8895 or Nick Mirras at 818-913-1568. Thank you for your continued patience.

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I Corinthians 6 : 12 — 20

 
BRETHREN, "all things are lawful for me," but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful for me," but I will not be en-slaved by anything. "Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food" -- and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who joins himself to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, "The two shall become one flesh." But he who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Shun immorality. Every other sin which a man commits is outside the body; but the immoral man sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body and in your spirit which belong to God.
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Luke 15: 11 — 32
 
THE LORD SAID THIS PARABLE, "There was a man who had two sons; and the younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me the share of the property that falls to me.' And he divided his living between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took his journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in loose living. And when he had spent everything, a great famine arose in that country, and he began to be in want. So he went and joined himself to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have fed on the pods that the swine ate; and no one gave him anything. But when he came to himself he said, 'How many of my father's hired servants have bread enough and to spare, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired servants.' And he arose and came to his father. But while he was yet at a distance, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' But the father said to his servants, 'Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet; and bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry; for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.' And they began to make merry. Now his elder son was in the field; and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants and asked what this meant. And he said to him, 'Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has received him safe and sound.' But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, 'Lo, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command; yet you never gave me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your living with harlots, you killed for him the fatted calf!' And he said to him, 'Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to make merry and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.'"
 
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                     ANNOUNCEMENTS                   
 
Orthodox Study Series
NO MEETING THIS WEEK
NEXT MEETING Tuesday - March 8th
Paraklesis 6 PM & Orthodox Study 7 PM
Topic: The Book of Revelation
Studying Chapters 13 & 14


 
Donor Wall Mock-Up: George Joannou needs to know if there are any family name corrections needed on the wall in the Narthex (by the large Cross). If you need a correction in spelling, your family name is missing or you want to add your family please contact George Joannou by May 31. After that date, the names will be set and our Donor Recognition plaque will be professionally manufactured. Contact George at 805-231-8696 or via email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
 


Save the Date Sunday, March 27th
Independence Day of Celebration
Fish Luncheon
After the Divine Liturgy
Here at St Demetrios

Please contact Niki David at 805-444-2827 or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more details.
 
 
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                      ANNOUNCEMENTS                    

Coffee Hour: The coffee hour is a traditional perk of going to church. It means getting to talk to some folks you’ve missed all week and guzzling some caffeine, and if we are especially blessed, a snack or two! We can take for grant that once a week community of people who might be different from ourselves, but still family enough to guarantee good conversation. That opportunity to gather should not be missed! We invite you to join us for coffee hour today. If you would like to sponsor a coffee hour please contact Jody (805) 402-3696 or via email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Upcoming available dates March 6, April 10 and 17.

PLEASE NOTE: IN ORDER TO CREATE KOLIVA AND BREAD FOR ARTOKLASIA FOR A PARISHIONER, ARRANGEMENTS MUST BE CONFIRMED AND PAID BY THE PRIOR TUESDAY OF THE DESIRED SUNDAY DATE OR THE REQUEST WILL BE MOVED TO THE NEXT AVAILABLE SUNDAY. COST IS $100 AND IS PAYABLE BY CASH, CHECK OR CREDIT CARD TO COVER THE LABOR & TIME INVOLVED. IF YOU MAKE AND BRING YOUR OWN KOLIVA THERE IS NO CHARGE. THANK YOU.

Project Mexico Pantry Partners Collection: Please place your items in the donation box located upstairs TODAY. Please help support the boys by donating items from their wish list or financially to this worthy cause! As I am sure you can imagine when caring for 22 boys, there are many mouths to feed, clothes to wash, and bathrooms to clean to say the least! Please help ensure more than just the survival of these boys and young men. Please visit the St. Demetrios’ website at www.saintdem.org Please contact Tim McGuire at 818-522-8290 or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more details. Thank you all for your generosity and all you do in building hope for these youngsters without families.


2016 St. Demetrios Directory is Coming!! In order to for us to capture your correct information please subscribe online or fill out the paper survey in February’s Myrrh-Bearer or this week’s bulletin insert. The deadline to turn in your information is March 1. Proofs will be available Sundays - April 3, 10 & 17  for review and directories will be available May 1st!

 
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                    ANNOUNCEMENTS                   
 
Do you know of a parishioner who is ill that is in need of a
visitation? Please contact Father Gary by calling the church
office 805-482-1273 or his cell directly 805-443-3376 to
notify him of a parishioner that needs a visit or a prayer!

 
NEW CHURCH OFFICE HOURS:
EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY
ARE AS FOLLOWS:
CLOSED MONDAYS
TUESDAY—FRIDAY 8AM—12PM (NOON)
THANK YOU!

 
2016 AHEPA Scholarship: Know a child or a grandchild entering college? The AHEPA Family of Ventura County is offering a scholarship! Applications are available in the Narthex. Contact Frank Gankas at 805-390-2909 or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

2016 Bible Challenge: Join Father Gary by reading the bible this year! If you can’t be physically fit at least be spiritually fit. Pick up a Bible reading card in the Narthex.


St. Demetrios is on Facebook! Join in the conversation or catch up on the latest happenings here at St. Demetrios at https://www.facebook.com/SDGOCCam

 
NEXT WEEK-  (March 6th)
USHERS: George J., John P., Ari & Joanne
TODAY’S ACOLYTE: Team 1
Leo- Captain, Peter - Asst. Captain
Dean, Cody, Christos, Demetri & Lucas
 
COFFEE HOUR SPONSOR: Open
 
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Sunday Bulletin February 21st 2016
TODAY - FEBRUARY 21st
USHERS: Keith, John G., Cally & Ryan G.
 
TODAY’S ACOLYTE:Team 3
Gavin- Captain, Michael S- Asst. Captain
Sean, Christopher, Austin, Myles & Michael

 

COFFEE HOUR SPONSOR: AHEPA

Memorial: Dimitri N. Lazarou - 2 Years
Husband of Julie

Micki "Demetra" Pulos - 40 Days

May Their Memory Be Eternal

Father Gary has been promoted to the office of Economos. Please congratulate him on his accomplishment!



The Lord’s Prayer Schedule
As Well as in English & Greek
1st Sunday of the Month: Spanish—Nick Varnava
2nd Sunday of the Month: Arabic—Lucy Morcos
3rd Sunday of the Month: Romanian –Christina Burus
4th Sunday of the Month: Russian—Anya Zmed
5th Sunday of the Month: Only English & Greek




Thanks to all those on behalf of the Parish Council and Father Gary that came out to participate at yesterday's St Demetrios Clean Up Day! You make this parish awesome and beautiful!

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UPCOMING CHURCH EVENTS

 
▪Sunday, February 21th
Orthros 9 AM
Divine Liturgy 10 AM

Special Recognition Sunday for FDF Participants
Sunday School After Communion

 
▪Monday, February 22nd
Parish Council Meeting 6:30 PM

▪Tuesday, February 23rd
Paraklesis 6 PM
Orthodox Study 7 PM

▪Wednesday, February 24th
Boy Scouts & Cub Scouts 6:30 PM
Choir 6:30 PM

▪Thursday, February 25th
AHEPA 7 PM


▪Saturday, February 27th
Choir Practice 10 AM
 
▪Sunday, February 28th
Orthros 9 AM
Divine Liturgy 10 AM

Sunday School After Communion
 
2015 Stewardship Donation Statements
We apologize for the delay in sending 2015 Stewardship Donation Statements and understand their importance in preparing your tax returns. We experienced a vacancy in our Bookkeeper position in December which has been filled by a very qualified individual, Ingrid Poehler. With the much appreciated assistance of Nick Mirras and Ingrid’s hard work, we expect to have the Statements ready for distribution by the end of February. Please contact Dr. Bob Gonzalez, Parish Council Treasurer at 805-987-8895 or Nick Mirras at 818-913-1568 if you have an urgent need or problem. Thank you for your continued patience.

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II TIMOTHY 3 : 10 — 15

 
TIMOTHY, my son, you have observed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions, my sufferings, what befell me at Antioch, at lconion, and at Lystra, what persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. Indeed all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceivers and deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
 
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LUKE 18 : 10 — 14

 
The Lord said this parable, "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get.' But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me a sinner!' I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted."

 

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ANNOUNCEMENTS
 
Orthodox Study Series
NEXT MEETING Tuesday - February 23rd
Paraklesis 6 PM & Orthodox Study 7 PM
Topic: The Book of Revelation
Studying Chapters 11 & 12


 
Donor Wall Mock-Up: George Joannou needs to know if there are any family name corrections needed on the wall in the Narthex (by the large Cross). If you need a correction in spelling, your family name is missing or you want to add your family please contact George Joannou by May 31. After that date, the names will be set and our Donor Recognition plaque will be professionally manufactured. Contact George at 805-231-8696 or via email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
 


Save the Date Sunday, March 27th
Independence Day of Celebration
Fish Luncheon
After the Divine Liturgy
Here at St Demetrios

Please contact Niki David at 805-444-2827 or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more details.
 

Coffee Hour: We cordially invite you to join us for treats, laughter, and the support of a community brought together by the desire to love one another as Christ loved us. AHEPA is sponsoring a light lunch today. Contact Jody @ (805) 402-3696 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for available dates: March 29th, April 10,17 and beyond.

PLEASE NOTE: IN ORDER TO CREATE KOLIVA AND BREAD FOR ARTOKLASIA FOR A PARISHIONER, ARRANGEMENTS MUST BE CONFIRMED AND PAID BY THE PRIOR TUESDAY OF THE DESIRED SUNDAY DATE OR THE REQUEST WILL BE MOVED TO THE NEXT AVAILABLE SUNDAY. COST IS $100 AND IS PAYABLE BY CASH, CHECK OR CREDIT CARD TO COVER THE LABOR & TIME INVOLVED. IF YOU MAKE AND BRING YOUR OWN KOLIVA THERE IS NO CHARGE. THANK YOU.

Project Mexico Pantry Partners Collection: As I am sure you can imagine when caring for 22 boys, there are many mouths to feed, clothes to wash, and bathrooms to clean to say the least! Please help ensure more than just the survival of these boys and young men. A donation box will be located in the church to collect items on an ongoing basis beginning TODAY. See today's bulletin insert for supplies or go St. Demetrios’ website at www.saintdem.org Please help support the boys by donating any of the items below or financially to this worthy cause! Please contact Tim McGuire at 818-522-8290 or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more details. Thank you all for your generosity and all you do in building hope for these youngsters without families.


2016 St. Demetrios Directory is Coming!! In order to for us to capture your correct information please subscribe online or fill out the paper survey in February’s Myrrh-Bearer or this week’s bulletin insert. The deadline to turn in your information is March 1. Proofs will be available Sundays - April 3, 10 & 17  for review and directories will be available May 1st!

 
ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

FUNDRAISER DINNER: Please join us to celebrate the achievements of our youth groups at FDF and the elevation of Fr. Gary Kyriacou to Economos by Archbishop Demetrios. Our gracious friends at Cut 360 (formerly Napa Tavern) will host the event on Saturday, February 27th. The Chef's Endless Tasting Event includes 7 premium meats. The cost is $20 per adult and $10 per child and proceeds will benefit the St. Demetrios Building Fund. Seating times will be tiered at 6pm, 6:30pm & 7pm to accommodate everyone. Join the fun!!!

SPECIAL RECOGNITION SUNDAY! Congratulations to the FDF Participants! The kids at St. Demetrios really represented our church well, both on and off the stage. In dance, they won 4th place in the Events-Jr category , Received Special Achievement and won 3rd place in the Choral Competition! WELL DONE!
 
NEXT WEEK-  (February 28th)
USHERS: George M, Tom, Deb & Ted S.
 
TODAY’S ACOLYTE: Team 4
Jacob - Captain, Nicholas - Asst. Captain
Alex, Andreas, Alexander, Peyton & Zachary
 
COFFEE HOUR SPONSOR: Walt Zmed & Anya Zemliakova

Memorial: Walt Zmed & Anya Zemliakova Family

Walt's Parents
Presbytera Persida Zmed - 1 Year
Very Reverend Father George Zmed

Anya's Grandparents
Valentina Zemliakova and Vasiliy Zemliakova

May Their Memory Be Eternal

 
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FDF Faith • Dance • Fellowship • 2016

Last weekend our family had the privilege of participating in FDF. For those who are not familiar with FDF, it is an annual event for the Greek Orthodox youth and adults in our Metropolis to gather, celebrate, and compete in folk dancing and music showcasing different areas of Greece. We celebrate Liturgy and life together. This event draws over 3000 participants and is a showcase of many months of hard work.

This past June our son Alexander announced he was determined to join the dance group at St Demetrios for the 2015/2016 season. I will admit as his mother I silently thought “no way.” Alexander is not someone you would immediately think of as a competitive dancer. He was born with a rare condition that placed him in a body that doesn’t often agree with his mind in what he wants to do. He is alive today as a result of several miracles and modern medicine. While he remains on this side of heaven, we as his family are privileged to serve him in ways many of us would take for granted.

None the less the dance instructors agreed to let him into the group and went about to make FDF a reality for Alex. When the weekend finally arrived he was more excited to dance than he was for Christmas. I wish I could accurately convey the look of sheer joy on his face as he was dressed in his costume and joined his friends on stage. No, he didn’t dance many parts of the suites, nor was he physically capable of doing all the steps correctly, but that night he was a dancer.

The name of our group is Agape, which means love in Greek. Much love outside of family has been poured into our small (well, not so small anymore) son. My sincere thanks go to Fr. Gary and Pres. Christie Kyriaccou, Kerri Broude, Stella Kalivas, and Christina Joannou for making Alexander’s dream a reality. I’d like to also acknowledge the countless small deeds of kindness that make being a village such as this such a joy. To those kids and adults who pushed his wheelchair, offered a helping hand, made introductions, and simply treated him as a normal 12 year boy I’d love to hug you all and thank you.

May the Holy Trinity Guide and protect you now and always.

With Love,
Sara Gyurkovitz

Message from Fr Gary

Fr Gary

Christ-Centered Parish


I learn a lot of interesting things at committee meetings. At one meeting, when discussing the newsletter of our parish, The Myrrh-Bearer, someone frankly said, “Nobody reads that.” That person is either right or wrong depending on how much further you go into this message. At our most recent Parish Council meeting, a parish council member, politely, combined the conversation about healthy church finances with the status of our relationship with Christ.

It wasn’t me, I wasn’t preaching, it was one of YOUR ELECTED OFFICERS, that was sharing this thought. I was mesmerized by his conviction; I looked around at the other members and they were too! The Holy Spirit was present. His inspiration moved us to take the conversation about Parish financial health to a new level.

“Every year we consider ways to raise money. What fundraisers can we hold? How will we meet our obligation to the Metropolis and Archdiocese? How can we motivate better giving? Instead,” he went on, “How can we serve Christ? How can we instill a deep love for Jesus, in every member, young and old, so that our Parish becomes financially healthy and shows greater concern for how Christ-Centered we are as a group?”

It was refreshing to hear a leader of our community express these thoughts. I have offered them in the past, but it is cliché for the priest to say it, because I’m supposed to. A group begins to reexamine the metric for success when a respected member of the Parish Council looks intently at his peers and says, “Are you concerned for your salvation?” If we look at our challenges through the lens of salvation, that is, how what we do will enhance our relationship with Christ, a new perspective is born.

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