Message from Fr Gary March 2017

Focus On Christ This Lent


In an article entitled, The Abomination of our Fathers, Rev. Stephanou writes, “The church appears to be very busy, but in things that are secular and that engage her time in activities of this world." Rev. Stephanou then cites the words spoken by Christ to Martha, “You care and are troubled by many things, but there is need only for one thing. (Luke 10:41)” The one thing is Christ!

As Great Lent 2017 dawns, it is important that we take an inventory of our Spiritual investment. How focused on Christ are we as a Community? It seems that we can focus on budgets, financial statements, festivals, and dinner dances, but how do we fare when it comes to worshiping, glorifying and praising our God? Do we strive to fully please God in our actions? Are we focused?

Recently, during a Sunday Morning Liturgy, the Church was full and I mentioned to the Acolytes, prior to an entrance, how pleased I was to see the Church full in the middle of the winter and, also, admitted that I didn’t recognize one third of those attending. It was a joyful moment! The Liturgy continued and we glorified God in prayer and song.

In the Gospel of St. Matthew (Matt. 14:22-34), Peter asks Christ to allow him to join our Lord on the turbulent sea and walk on the water towards Him. Christ commands Peter to, “Come!” As Peter walks on the water, he loses focus and begins to sink. As Peter kept his eyes on Christ he was able to accomplish an amazing feat, a miracle! But when Peter lost his focus this physical world began to swallow him up. His focus was blurred by the stress and cares of the physical world and he began to sink! Christ, too, tells Martha, “there is need only for one thing.”

One thing . . . . CHRIST! Serving Him! Glorifying Him! Committing ourselves to Him! How well do we do these things? This community is blessed with so many brilliant professionals that share their talents with the Church Administration to help run a terrifically organized operation. It is apparent by the level of this professionalism how our Church excels. Oh, but how I wish on the last day we were judged by the quality of our Festivals, the dignity of our financial statements and the detailed precision of our budgets! Do not misunderstand me, these things are important, they keep the lights on and keep us afloat. It is imperative, though, that we evaluate our priorities in Christ! Why do we have a festival? Why do we have financial concerns? What is our budget for? To glorify Christ! To serve Christ! To show our commitment to Christ!

Starting with me, your Priest, let’s reset our focus this GREAT LENT! Let us reset our direction and let’s start to look deep within ourselves for spiritual growth and wellness. Here are some suggestions for our “Community-wide” LENTEN focus on Christ:

Regular and prompt attendance at Sunday Divine Liturgy. Regular indicates consisted attendance and prompt means being on time. We are on time for our soccer games, for work and school, and never pay $10 to walk into a movie 20 minutes late. It is time for us to reset Sunday as a “Day of Worship,” literally, “The Lord’s Day.” Services begin at 9:00 AM with Orthros. Orthros is a wonderful service, you should attend, but if you cannot, please arrive at 9:45 to prepare for Divine Liturgy.

Daily Prayers. 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! Ten minutes in the morning, ten minutes in the evening. Prayer should also be offered before meals. As you pray over your food, 2 things should be included: 1.) Offering thanks to God for the blessings in your life, and 2.) A remembrance of the less fortunate.

Volunteer! Join, sign-up, or assist with a ministry of the Church. Consider joining our Choir, Philoptochos, teach Sunday School, or offer your time to help plan and organize one of our many fundraisers.

Educate yourself 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 after Pre-Sanctified Liturgy on Wednesday evenings and read the Bible daily.

Forgiveness. Mend relationships that for one reason or another have deteriorated. Ask for and seek to offer forgiveness. Do not wait for the other person, you be the mature one and offer reconciliation.

It is easy for us to make ourselves feel busy and active in a Church with so many things and events happening, but the purpose of these “things” and “events” are to help us grow in Christ. Mother Teresa once walked out of a Christian conference on Mission and Evangelism in utter disgust. When asked why she left in the middle of the presentation, the saintly woman kindly responded, “Enough talk, let’s get to work.” Enough talk.

5 things to do this Lent:
1. Attend services, and be on time.
2. Daily Prayer
3. Volunteer
4. Read the Bible
5. Offer forgiveness


In Christ’s Service,

Fr. Gary Kyriacou

Fr Gary

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Sunday Bulletin

Message from Fr Gary

Fr Gary

Four in Three


Ecclesiastes is one of my favorite books of the Bible. We find classic lines like, “To everything there is a season,” or “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity!” Taken as a whole, the Book of Ecclesiastes is full of wonderful wisdom. During my time at the seminary, a beloved priest professor would encourage us to read the entire book from beginning to end whenever we felt overwhelmed with the pressures of life. This tool served me well as a student, and has become a valuable tool in my ministry to Christ’s Church. A Priest witnesses all the emotions of life. You rejoice at the birth of a child and you mourn with the passing of a loved one. Ecclesiastes verbalizes this sentiment well.


In the past three weeks, I have participated in four funerals. Four beloved individuals left this world in the hope of the resurrection. Two funerals were for 30 something year old’s and two funerals were for 80 something year old’s, yet their loved ones shed the equal number of tears at each of the funerals. All four individuals left behind the same thing, a lasting memory of the relationships developed. Their grieving loved ones mourn their physical losses.


In late February, we lost Kevin, a 33 year old loving husband, father of two, son and good friend. Kevin battled stage 4 oral cancer for 16 months before leaving this life. During his last days, as he prepared to die, he taught those around him how to live! His love for baseball inspired a road trip, with his father, to San Francisco to see his beloved Giants play, and the holidays gave him the opportunity to express his love for his family and friends as they showered him with their loving sentiments. I stood, in rapt amazement, watching his beautiful young wife, with her their two year old child in her arms, sharing cherished memories. She made us laugh and she made us cry, but she reminded us that our hope as Christians is in our Lord’s Resurrection.

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