– INVOCATION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Chicago, IL - As the bell tolled to begin the Divine Liturgy, this Sunday was viewed as a new beginning from several perspectives: an opportunity to celebrate the Eucharist and our Savior; the beginning of a new ecclesiastical year within our Church and the beginning of a new school year - with the opportunity for the education of our children.
The Gospel's for this Sunday were reflective on the topic of serving our Church (there were two Gospel's - one for the Nativity of the Theotokos, the other, the 14th Sunday after Pentecost). Serving our Church through Stewardship of Time, Talents and Treasures provides us with the opportunity to care for our Church's current and future needs. But as the Gospel indicted, we cannot be like Martha and focus our effort on the "earthly" but instead, to be like Mary and focus on the "heavenly."
This theme carried directly into our preparation for the Church School year, with the Invocation of the Holy Spirit and the blessing of the children with Holy Water. Excitement was in the air for this special service as well as a new beginning - another wonderful opportunity to prepare our children for the future - as it relates to every aspect of their lives - but a preparation that will focus on the building for the heavenly kingdom (our salvation) not the earthly.
What is so critical is that as parents, we focus on our children, their attendance at both Church and Church School, and their understanding of our faith (as it all begins in the home). We also must be like Mary and focus our efforts on the heavenly so that our children will have a good foundation for their lives.
We use this oportunity to remind parents that the religious education truly begins in our home, and that we will be hosting an Orthodox Family Workshop on Saturday, November 22, 2008 from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. (Main speaker Anthony Vrame, PhD - Director of Religious Education for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Ph.D in Christian Education from Boston College, Dr. Vrame has published and lectured on a number of topics and was formerly Director of the PAOI, where he taught graduate level courses in a number of Orthodox Christian subject areas.)