THE SUNDAY MESSENGER
August 20, 2023
Second Sunday after Assumption
In the absence of Fr. Hakob who is in Armenia, we are pleased to inform our faithful that our guest celebrant today will be Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, Diocesan Legate and Ecumenical Director of the Eastern Diocese. Please join us to welcome him and hear his pastoral message for us. Asdvadz Oknagan, Srpazan Hayr.
Scripture and Feast Day Notes
From Today’s Readings
Luke 1:39-56 Upon hearing from the angel Gabriel that her cousin Elizabeth is pregnant, Mary hastens to visit her. At the sound of Mary’s voice, Elizabeth’s baby, who will be John the Baptist, “leaps in her womb” and Elizabeth herself is filled with the Holy Spirit and calls out in the surprise and overwhelming emotion of the moment: “Blessed are you and the child you will bear!!” Mary then joyfully sings a song celebrating God’s mercy, His exalting of the lowly, and His overturning of human pride. Discuss/reflect: What quality of Mary’s faith is described in verse 45? Perhaps this is the most important characteristic of an apostle, the very one that was the basis for God’s calling Mary and the Twelve. Do you share in this quality?
Zechariah 2:10-13 Preaching after the Jews’ return from their exile in Babylon (he himself was born in that exile), Zechariah is an apocalyptic visionary, and his ministry hastened the rebuilding of the Temple. In these verses, he shares the Lord’s promise to dwell again among them, uniting land and people in holiness. Discuss/reflect: “Shout and be glad,” the Lord proclaims (v.10) as He declares His return. In v.13, Zechariah asks us to “be still!” before God. Do both of these responses to His presence make sense to you? When and where do they figure in your life?
2 Corinthians 6:16-7:1 St. Paul quotes directly from the Old Testament laws of purification (Leviticus 26:12) and the prophets (Isaiah 52:11, Jeremiah 32:38, Ezekiel 37:27) in advising the faithful of Corinth: Since God has promised his return to dwell among us in a covenant of love and belonging, we need to purify ourselves in preparation for that day. Discuss/reflect: What does it mean to you that you are the dwelling place of God, a temple of the living God (v.16)? How might this impact your behavior?
Tuesday, August 22, is the Feast of Sts. Joachim & Anna
Never mentioned by name in the Gospels, Mary’s parents’ story comes to us chiefly from an apocryphal gospel, the Infancy Gospel of James, written c. 145 AD. According to James, Joachim and Anna were a righteous and wealthy couple who were childless. The beautifully told account of their ordeal of rites and prayers to gain God’s favor and, finally, their daughter Mary, is one of passionate faith and touching human emotion. The couple promise her to the Temple out of gratitude and turn her childhood bedroom into a “sanctuary” (Infancy Gospel of James 6:4) keeping her food, drink and habits faithful to ancient tradition. When Joachim advises they take her to the Temple when she is two, Anna convinces him (he promptly agrees) to wait a year so that they may be with her that much longer and their sweet girl not miss her parents. Theirs is a tender story, driven by love for and faith in God.
Reflection: Consider these two humbly faithful saints; pray for the difficult task of parents across the globe.
NOTICE: Renovations have started in the two bathrooms near the elevator. They are unavailable for use and are expected to reopen by September 3rd. Pardon the inconvenience while we make the area better for everyone. Thank you.
Requiem Services: For Hennadiy Airapetov who was born on July 3, 1950. This is the 2nd anniversary of his Eternal Rest. Requested in loving memory by his daughter Dina Sinelnikov.
Coming In The Fall – New Mission Sponsored by ACE
Please join us this Fall to create a “sisterhood” for the women of our church who have lost their husband or life partner. Whether your loss is recent or long ago, we want to learn from one another for spiritual, social, and informational growth to enrich our lives despite our losses. More information will follow. For questions, please call Lucy Aghazarian, 215-901-7642 or email her firstname.lastname@example.org.
Far Update: Ayo has just launched its new project #HikingForAll! ARI, a local mountaineering group, and Arvestaran, a center for children with special needs, have teamed up to design a hiking program specifically tailored for children on the autism spectrum. This is a first of its kind initiative in Armenia, where inclusion is slowly blossoming. In addition to trips, the team will organize trainings to ensure that more Armenian guides can work effectively and in a dignifying manner with kids with special needs. Nature is for everyone! Learn more and contribute to the movement here: www.weareayo.org/home.
Attic Treasures – Bazaar 2023: Please do not bring your Attic Treasures to the church until September 15th. While we appreciate the donations, we ask you to store them at your homes as we do not have a storage area. Thank you.
Aug 27 – Guest Celebrant will be Father Mamigon Kiledjian
Sept 10 – Blessing of Grandparents
Sept 17 – Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
Sept 21 – Armenian Independence Day
Sept 21 – Zoom Book Club
Sept 24 – Church School Begins
- 10:30 am – Registration for Christian Education Classes and Language Education Classes starts in the Fellowship Hall lobby
- 11:15 am – Christian Education Classes begin.
- 12:15 pm – Pizza Party for students
Oct 1 – Feast of the Holy Cross of Varak
Oct 1 – 10:30 – Armenian Language Classes begin
Oct 1 – 11:15 am Christian Education Classes continue