Message from Fr Gary May 2016

Map It

Preparing for a fishing expedition, I handed a copy of a map of the lake to each of my boys. It was a copy of an original and an old one at that. You could see the residue that accumulated on the copy print after print after print. We gathered our supplies, some tackle, snacks, drinks and a variety of activities to help us with our patience.

After approving the snacks and activities one of the boys asked an important question. While pointing to the map he asked, “Where are we going to fish?” “Right there,” I said touching the map and pointing to a corner of the lake. He responded, “How do we get there?” “Well,” I said, “you follow this road and turn left up over here.” “And how do you know that? Have you been there before?” “No,” I said, “never been there. We’ll follow the map.” “Who drew the map, Dad?” “Someone who knows the lake.”

Finally, I understood his point! He wanted to know why I was placing my faith in this map, trusting that it would help us to our destination. When we finally arrived at our fishing spot, we sat there for half a day and caught nothing, nada, zilch, not a bite! But all the while as we sat, waiting, I kept thinking about the exchange outside the Outpost earlier that day. Our Orthodox Faith is like a map. It helps us stay on track and helps lead us towards our destination, which is the entrance into God’s Kingdom.

This life is not the end of our existence, merely the introduction to a never-ending, everlasting, eternal life with our Lord in His Kingdom. Do we take full advantage of the benefits our map (the Orthodox Faith) offers us? Or do we frame it for all to see, to enjoy its beauty, never really getting our hands on it, to study it, crinkle it and learn from it.

Orthodoxy offers us the greatest expression of Christianity. Through the study of Holy Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the determination to live a Sacramental Life, we have the tools to reach our destination. But do we compartmentalize our lives and wear our Church clothes on Sunday and take them off the rest of the week, not giving it another thought until the next Sunday?

In Psalm 37:23 we read, “The Lord guides a man in the way he should go and protects those who please Him.” The Bible offers us a guide for life circumstances. It teaches us how to deal with anger, with our enemies, how to help others, and how to live like Christ. From the Tradition of the Church, our Church Fathers tell us in the Didache (The Teaching, an early manuscript of Christian writings) there are two ways to live: “One of life, and one of death, and there is a great difference between them.” The Didache goes deep into the teachings of Christ, expanding upon them, reminding us of the two great commandments, “Love God and love your neighbor as yourself.” Living Sacramentally is an essential aspect of imitating Christ. Everyone of the seven sacraments offers us the opportunity to restore our relationship with God (The Father, Son and Holy Spirit). Baptism, Christmation, Eucharist, Unction, Marriage, Confession, and Ordination are all avenues towards the same location (note that marriage and ordination are the only two sacraments that are optional, Baptism and Chrismation are offered once and for all time, but as Orthodox Christians we are required to regularly participate in the Eucharist -communion, Confession and Unction.) The Sacraments reestablish our bond and connection with God. It is a way to secure of our spiritual foundation.

No one builds a house without blueprints and it would be foolish to set out on a journey without first considering the destination. Every now and then we need to reset our compass and make sure we are on the right path.

Where are we going and how do we get there are great questions. The answers are found in our Orthodox Church; Holy Scripture, Sacred Tradition and a Sacramental Life. Let’s reset and set your sights on the purpose of our being, finding communion with God in His Kingdom.

In Christ’s Service,

Fr. Gary

Fr Gary

Aristotle Qutami

President’s Message: Aristotle Qutami May 2016

Χριστός Ανέστη! Christ is Risen!

I pray the light of Christ's resurrection continues to guide us all in our works here at St. Demetrios and beyond. Thank you to all who attended Services during Holy Week, which culminated in a spectacular Easter celebration. I hope you found the services as fulfilling as I did.

Many parishioners dedicated a great deal of time and effort to prepare for Easter and I'd like to take the opportunity to recognize a few people (and I apologize in advance, if I missed anyone). I'd like to thank:

-Keith Valle and the entire team who completed the amazing Iconostasis in time for Holy Week.
-All who helped decorate the Epitaphio as well as those who coordinated and participated in the procession on Good Friday.
-All the children who attended the Good Friday retreat and the volunteers who made it happen.
-All who served as Lightbearers, Myhrrbearers and Acolytes and those who helped them prepare.
-Those who helped with clean up and set up.
-To those who prepared the Red Eggs and brought in the white rose petals.
-All who donated towards the items on the “Holy Week Needs” list.
-Our beautiful Choir under the direction of Sarah Gyurkovitz, as well as all of our Chanters and Readers.
-Tim Harmantzis and every volunteer who graciously contributed to the Agape Picnic.
-The entire Parish Council and all others who served as Ushers.

WE ARE BLESSED WITH VERY GENEROUS PARISHIONERS!

Last but certainly not least, I'd like to thank Fr. Gary, who did an amazing job during the multitude of services, which he tirelessly lead with passion and love.

We're lucky to have such an amazing Priest, who beyond our Parish has been recognized with special distinction in our Metropolis, Archdiocese, and even our Patriarchate. At the end of May, Fr. Gary will accompany our ecclesiastical Hierarchs on a visit to the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. Additionally, from early July to early August, he will be serving in the Ionian Village ministry in Greece. It's an honor for Fr. Gary to have been selected to attend these events and a great testament to his contributions to the Church. Please join me in congratulating Fr. Gary and making sure he knows he has the full support of our Parish.

In Christ’s Service,

Ari Qutami

L

ast night, during the Bridegroom Service (Holy Tuesday) members of the St Demetrios Choir performed a special Hymn they had been working on since January. It was so beautifully done, we were lucky enough to record it.

The Hymn of Kassiani is done only once a year and is based on today's Gospel Reading for Holy Wednesday, Matthew 26:6-16 which speaks of a woman who anoints Jesus with expensive oil. ‪

Holy Wednesday
The Gospel according to Matthew 26:6-16
When Jesus was at Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment and she poured it on his head, as he sat at table. But when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, "Why this waste? For this ointment might have been sold for a large sum, and given to the poor." But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, "Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. In pouring this ointment on my body she has done it to prepare me for burial. Truly, I say to you wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her." Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, "What will you give me if I deliver him to you?" And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.



Performed on Holy Tuesday 4/26/2016

Message from Fr Gary

Fr Gary

The Cure for Disappointment


We have all experienced disappointment in life. Disappointment is bred from a variety of matters, from the most trivial to the most crucial. We have been disappointed by a friend or family member. The outcome of our favorite sports team in the World Series can add disappointment to our lives. We may disappoint ourselves by not properly preparing for a test at school or a project at work. We encounter disappointment, for the most part, because things just don’t go the way we want or expect them to. There is a cure for disappointment.


There are three important realizations to make about disappointments and understanding their influence in our lives. First, disappointment is inevitable. Everything and everyone, in every situation, at some point or another, will eventually provide us with a good dose of disappointment. A close friend, a loving family member, and even your parish priest will disappoint you some way, somehow sometimes. When our expectations are not met we feel disappointment. Second, realizing...


Continue Reading