St. George
Serbian Orthodox Church
Carmichaels, PA

Bulletin 266 - January 26/February 8, 2004

Chronicle of St. George Serbian Orthodox Church
Diocesan Bishop - His Grace Bishop Dr. MITROPHAN
Parish Priest - Fr. Rodney Torbic
296 Old Route 21
Carmichaels, Pennsylvania 15320

January 26/February 8, 2004
Sunday of the Prodigal Son
No. 266

James 1:6

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed with the wind.

Services This Past Week

February 1 - Thirty one people came for Divine Liturgy.
February 2 - Two people came for Matins and First Hour. The Vesper service was read.
February 3 - Matins and First Hour were read. One person came for Ninth Hour and Vespers.
February 4 - One person came for Matins and First Hour. Two people came for Ninth Hour and Vespers. Fr.Rumen Stoychev also served.
February 5 - One person came for Matins and First Hour. Three people came for the Akathist to Jesus Christ and the Akathist to St. Panteleimon.
February 6 - Two people came for Matins and First Hour. Two people came for the Akathist to the Mother of God, Joy of All Who Sorrow and Vespers.
February 7 - Five people came for Matins and First Hour. One person came for Ninth Hour and Vespers.

Services This Coming Week - Call to Confirm Weekday Schedule

Today - Divine Liturgy is at 10:00 AM each Sunday except on Pascha when it is earlier.
Morning services - Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday at 6:30 AM. Divine Liturgy - Thursday at 10:00 AM
Monday - Divine Liturgy at Holy Trinity Mission-Fairmont at 10:00 AM.
Afternoon Services - Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday at 4:30 PM. Thursday at 6:30 PM.
No services Friday afternoon or Saturday. Friday morning time to be determined on Thursday.
Radio broadcast each Sunday afternoon at 12:15 on WMBS, 590 AM, Uniontown.

Remember Monastery Marcha with Prayers and Contributions

Important Dates

Today - Sunday of the Prodigal Son
February 12 - Synaxis of the Three Holy Hierarchs
February 13-14 - Diocesan Assembly, St. Petersburg, Florida.
February 14 - Memorial Saturday. Antefeast of Presentation
February 15 - Feast of Meeting of the Lord - Meatfare Sunday
February 16 - St. James, Archbishop of Serbia
Febraury 21 - St. Sava II of Serbia
February 29 - Sunday of Orthodoxy

If you are too busy to are too busy!

Parish Life

Thank you to parishioners staying to watch the video on Stewardship last Sunday.
Thank you to all helping with the Kolo baking project this past week.
Thank you to Tom Hunter for recording the radio broadcasts for February.
Thank you to the additional parishioners coming to church services on weekdays.
Stan Brozik has scholarship applications for high school seniors of Serbian heritage.
Continue to pray for the men and women serving the military and their familes.
Continue to pray for parishioners and friends of the parish who are homebound, in care homes, in hospitals, rehab centers, jails, prisons or treatment centers.
Special collection today for students at St. Sava School of Theology, Libertyville. St. Sava School of Theology is the only theological school under the auspices of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the United States and Canada.
Three people came for Adult Class this past Thursday. Discussion focused on Bible reading practices of Orthodox Christians. Class again this Thursday evening following the service.

A Thought from Vesna Meinert *

Our camp is so loved by our children. It has given them many wonderful memories, which they will carry with them as they grow into adults. Help us build a better program and camp. We want to insure that Shadeland will continue to make lasting memories for next generation of campers as well.
*(The Path of Orthodoxy, January 2004 )

Remember the Students at St. Sava School of Theology, Libertyville

To Consider

The effect of the parable of the Prodigal Son on generations of believers.
The changed lives due to the parable of the Prodigal Son.
The time remaining until the beginning of Great Lent.
The seriousness of getting ready for Great Lent.
The importance of caring for the soul.
The deliberate attention given to the care of the soul.

Recent Activities of Parish Priest

February l - Visited parishioner in Greene County Memorial Hospital, Waynesburg. Visited parishioner in Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh.
February 2 - Went to Diocesan Center-Mars.
February 3 - Attended staff conference for Orthodox Christian, Brownsville Hospital. Went to Monroeville to see Very Rev. Dragoljub Malich. Blessed one home in parish.
February 4 - Blessed two homes in parish.
February 7 - Blessed two homes in parish.

From the Desert fathers

An old man said, "Rising and walking and sitting, if God is before thine eyes, there is naught in which the Enemy can affright thee. If that thought abides in a man, the strength of God shall cleave to him."

Sunday of the Prodigal Son, 2004

Luke 15:11-32

Then He said: A certain man had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, "Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.' So he divided to them his livelihood. And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have filled his stomach with 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, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants." And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' But the father said to his servants, 'Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' And they began to be merry. Now his elder son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, 'Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.' But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. So he answered and said to his father, 'Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf with him.' And he said to him, 'Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.'"

The joy of the present parable is the reunion of father and son. The son that went to a far country was restored to wholeness in the family. He was welcomed with love and forgiveness by his father.

Christians departing from the ways of God and repenting experience forgiveness from God. Repentant sinners learn firsthand the love of God. Descriptive words are not sufficient substitutes for personally having the weight of sin lifted from one's life.

The Mystery of Holy Confession and the Mystery of Holy Communion enable repentant sinners to experience divine love and forgiveness.

Jesus Christ went to the Cross on the Holiest of Fridays centuries ago. The power of the Cross is evident in the words of the Holy Apostle Paul. St.Paul told the Corinthians: "I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified." (I Cor.2:2)

St. Paul was transformed from a persecutor of Christians to a preacher of the faith. (Gal.1:23-24). When we turn to Christ with the greatest degree of seriousness, we are transformed. We become whole in Christ. We are united with Christ.

The father of the prodigal son could have been harsh. He could have sent the wayward son packing. He could have denied him access to the family home and property. The door at the family home could have been closed.

The father in the present parable exemplies the love of God. The father speaks of the son with a resurrectional perspective.God's love is welcoming. God's love is forgiving. God's love is healing.

The Holy Orthodox Church is moving with certainty towards Great Lent. The Holy Orthodox Church summons wayward believers to return to God with all earnestness.

Believers first know the joy of Christ in the baptismal waters. Believers continue to know this joy when they are faithful to Christ.

The joyous reception given by the father in the present parable is a reminder of the banquet table of the Lord. At each Divine Liturgy, believers have the opportunity to come forth for the Precious Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

Today's Gospel reading reassures the hesitant sinner that God is welcoming. Time is passing quickly. We do not know the moment when Christ will return and begin to judge the living and the departed. We do not know if the Second Coming will find us in a repentant state or in the depths of sinfulness.

Today's Gospel message is impetus for each believer to heed the words of the Lord: "Repent, and believe in the Gospel." (Mk.1:14)

Great Lent is two weeks away. The Holy Orthodox Church expects believers to voluntarily and whole heartedly to join in the journey of Great Lent.

The Church readies believers for the journey with these days of preparation. Attentive Orthodox Christians value the services and the teachings of the Church each day. Attentive Orthodox Christians work to keep their lives in conformity with the ways of the Church.

The Orthodox Christian identity carries with it responsibilities and joys. The Cross and the Resurrection are inseparable. Believers cannot expect the benefits of the Christian life without being dilligent in living the Christian life. Let us repent and return to the ways of God.
St. George Serbian Orthodox Church, Carmichaels, Pennsylvania.
Sunday of the Prodigal Son.
St. Xenophon and his wife Mary, and their two sons, Arcadius and John.
January 26/February 8, 2004

Fr. Rodney Torbic

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