December 2020 Newsletter
Christ is among us!
May this letter find you and your household in His grace and peace.
As experienced in the Liturgy last Sunday, November 29, the Church has begun to focus intensely on the preparation for the Nativity of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus the Christ! The Kontakion sung on November 29th will be heard on all the Sundays until Christmas:
Today the Virgin is on her way to the cave where she will give birth to the eternal Word of God in an ineffable manner. Rejoice therefore, O Universe, when you hear this news, and glorify with the angels and the shepherds, Him who shall appear as a new child, being God from all eternity.
With the Church incorporate that hymn into your on personal prayer and that of your domestic church in preparation for the Feast.
Not only do various prayers of the Divine Liturgy prepare us for the great Christmas event, but also the Church invites us to fast. There is something most natural for the human person to fast. Our contemporary secular culture is want to fast for social justice causes and for physical health. More so, every natural and supernatural religion has incorporated fasting in preparation for some major event, usually in anticipation of an encounter with the divine. The Antiochian Church too has guarded judiciously fasting in her liturgical life. The two greatest feasts in the liturgical year are the Resurrection and the Nativity. In both of them, God encounters the human person. Each feast is preceded by a period of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. The traditional Antiochian fast began on November 15 and the Melkite modified fast begins on December 10th. Fasting from food is a personal ascetical practice. If you are unaccustomed to fasting perhaps begin by giving-up meat on the Wednesdays and Friday leading up to December 25th. If that is your current practice then increase the non-meat days.
As the Church prepares to celebrate the Feast of the Nativity, the month of December includes several other great liturgical/sanctoral events. The two preceding Sundays to December 25th: December 13th and December 20th will have a special theme: Sunday of the Forefathers Sunday before our Lord – Genealogy. There is also the Paramony of the Nativity celebrated on December 24th. In addition, leading up to December 25th the Church celebrates the Great-Martyr Saint Barbara and our Father Saint John Damascene on December 4th, the important Eastern Wonderworker, Saint Nicholas of Myra on December 6th, and the Maternity of St. Ann on December 9th.
♦ December 9th is the Feast of the Maternity of St. Ann. The Divine Liturgy will be celebrated at 7:00 P.M. on Tuesday, December 8.
♦ The next Melkite Outreach Night is scheduled for the second Friday of December, the 11th. The evening will begin at 7:00 P.M. at Saint Basil’s Parish with a special Advent prayer service followed by catechesis and fellowship. Please bring with you the Guide to the Domestic Church published by Sophia Press and a dish or drinks to share. The DFW Outreach 2021 Liturgical and sanctoral calendar will be made available that night.
♦ The Melkite Divine Liturgy for the Great Feast of the Nativity is scheduled at 11:00 A.M. on December 25th.
♦ Online-giving is now available. Go to: https://www.melkitecatholicdfw.org and click on the word Giving in the menu bar. While a basket will be placed in front of the icon of Christ each Sunday for people’s offering, since we do not have our own church, and in light of the COVID-19 restrictions, the preferred way to give money would be online. People are able to make either a one-time gift or a recurring gift (which is better for financial stability). Also, in general, online-giving is a more secured way to donate.
♦ As announced last week, the typicon will be emailed each week. The typicon has the particular readings and hymns for the upcoming Sunday or Feast Day. Beginning this week, an additional guide will be included: The Domestic Church Prays. It will contain the upcoming week’s daily liturgical readings, the saint of the day and the proper antiphons for that day. As your spiritual father, I exhort you to incorporate them into your own personal prayer and that of your domestic church. Critical to one’s spiritual maturation is cultivating a domestic church, a house filled with prayer and charity. A parish is strong if the domestic church is strong. A domestic church is strong if the parish is strong. We will speak much more about this on December 11.
♦ Mikhael, our residential Melkite seminarian, graciously began an Outreach Facebook Page. Please visit it and share it with your family and friends: https://www.facebook.com/MelkiteGreekCatholicDFWOutreach.
A NOTE OF GRATITUDE:
My heart gives thanks to God for the joy of His Merciful Divine Love and your support – by prayer, words of encouragement and physical presence. It is a true blessing to have a place to worship with a liturgical assembly, and thereby manifesting on earth the Kingdom of God. It is a blessing to see each of you every Sunday or on a feast day. The Lord is working; and it is evident.
It bears repeating, the life of a parish is never a one man’s project, all the more when it comes to beginning a parish. It is first God’s work but then it is also the Church’s work as the Body of Christ. That said, it is with profound gratitude that I thank and acknowledge the following persons:
♦ Deacon Tareq – for his assistance at the altar and sharing with us his experience as a Melkite.
♦ Father Chris for allowing us to use both the sacred temple and Hall of Saint Basil.
♦ Richard and Joe for singing the necessary parts of the liturgy.
♦ Mikhael for serving and reading.
♦ Jeannine for taking the time to learn and then bake the qorban used for the Divine Liturgy.
♦ Greg Houston for designing and keep-up the webpage.
♦ And each of you for your families who attend the Liturgies and Melkite Outreach evenings and your financial support.
I, a sinner, ask your forgiveness and prayers,
In Christ our Lord,
Fr. Marc Mallick