Monthly Pastoral Message from Fr. Christ

PASTORAL MESSAGE

 

 

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Fr. Christ's Pastoral Message

 

Friends,                                                                                             September, 2014

 

What a wonderful and blessed summer we had at St. Luke's!

           

          We kicked off the summer season with the first gathering of the new Young Married Couples group of our Church initiated by the Family Enrichment Initiative.  This first gathering was a Wine & Cheese Social that was graciously chaired by Paul and Kristen Chryssikos on June 6th.  Paul and Kristen created a warm and inviting evening of fellowship, so much so, we went beyond the expected concluding hour.  Over 50 young married parishioners filled our courtyard.  Candles, music, new friends, a cool evening with great ambiance left us with a memorable evening.  Thank you Paul & Kristen and we look forward to the next gathering.

          Throughout the summer months, the Senior Men & Women groups met regularly as did our Orthodox Forum/Bible Study group.  Following our Sunday worship, we were also blessed to have James Markellos and Antigone Gabriel pep up our morning with coffee and refreshments.  Religiously they came early every Sunday morning and prepared a wonderful reception for all of us after the Divine Liturgy.

          The summer activities came to a close just recently with a very successful Vacation Bible School during the week of August 11th.  Directed once again by Niki Thompson, the week was filled with song, dance, crafts, games and quiet time with me in Church as we prayed and learned about Jesus Christ.  With 40 little ones attending, several young teens and parents who assisted, we remain grateful to Niki for creating this opportunity for our kids.

          Ushering in the Fall season, we are blessed to begin seeing the spiritual transformation of our Church proper. Our Chair, Paul Mattis and I have been working hard these summer months on the project. Our world renowned Iconographer, George Papastamatiou, will begin his God-given talent in the Altar with the icon of Christ distributing Holy Communion.        

          Scheduling activities and events for the 2014-2015 season over the last couple months, I am very encouraged and excited for this period of continued spiritual growth, outreach and fellowship for all of our parishioners and groups. 

 

With brotherly love and pastoral blessings,

+Fr. Christ

 

 

SUMMER PASTORAL MESSAGE

 

Beloved,

What a glorious couple of summer months we have at hand.  We begin with the month of July as we celebrate the birth of our Nation on the 4th of July. That celebration is followed by the much anticipated Biennial National Clergy-Laity Congress which is held in our backyard in Philadelphia.  St Luke parishioners are participating in numerous ways beginning with the herculean task of co-chairing the entire Congress by Michael Karloutsos.  

Parish Council President, Anthony Palmieri, has been appointed coordinator for the historic Hierarchical Divine Liturgy taking place at the St George Cathedral July 6th.  Tony will bring good order for ushering well over a thousand people where 13 Bishops of our Holy Archdiocese and a Patriarchal representative will be present.  Assisting Tony will be Alexis Bové, Cary Limberakis, Andrea Papadopoulos and John Touring. The following Altar Boys from St Luke also have the honor of serving in the Altar during the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy: Nick Peters, Eli Papadopoulos & John Papadopoulos. Alexis Limberakis will be organizing the fellowship hour following the Liturgy.  Veronica Crisp generously has provided 2 buses to take parishioners to the Liturgy.  This wonderful gesture by Veronica allows our parishioners to participate in what very well may be a once in a lifetime opportunity.

St Luke will also be hosting a pastichio booth (yes, the delicious pastichio prepared by John Solomon we serve at the festival) for guests at the Monday evening Cultural/Social event at the Waterworks Restaurant which was graciously opened to us by Michael Karloutsos.  Good food, music and entertainment will be enjoyed by all present. Max Armenti, Evi Karros, Nikoletta Karros, Karros, Chris Palmieri, Eli Papadopoulos, Alexi Peters and Aris Tsingiropoulos from our GOYA will be representing St Luke in a joint dance troupe performance made up of youth from all parishes.  

Many of our parishioners are members of the VFW Eleftheria Post 6633.  These brave men and women who served our country with pride will be honored as the color guard and will be presenting flags at the formal National Assembly of Philoptochos on July 6th.

Our Ladies Philoptochos is intimately involved with hosting events, preparing food and organizing events for the Clergy Laity with President Alexis Limberakis and many of our Ladies Philoptochos assisting.

Finally, our very talented and gifted Serena (Benedetti) Pantazopoulos will grace us at the Grand Banquet.  The highlight social event of the entire Congress is the Grand Banquet at the Marriott on July 9th.  Serena's beautiful soprano voice will fill the Grand Ballroom as she leads us in singing the National Anthems of Greece and the United States of America.

Finally, our formal parish delegates for the Clergy Laity are your truly as the Presiding Priest, Tony Palmieri as President of the Parish Council, Alexis Bové & Dr. Cary Limberakis as Parish Representatives.  Formal Philoptochos delegates are Deme Peters, Alexandra Perrot and Betty Tsarouchis as Philoptochos representative and Alexis Limberakis as a National Board member.

What a wonderful opportunity available to us all, right in our back yard.  The most important part of the Congress however, are the many workshops and sessions available to all those present.  All of our youth workers and group leaders should take advantage of these opportunities to help our many Church ministries.  Complete schedule can be found here: http://clergylaity.org/.  There is no charge to attend the workshops nor do you need to be a delegate.  

After a busy July, we are given a pause with the 15 day fast for the Falling Asleep of the Theotokos.  We are invited during the 15 days of August to pray, listen and worship with the beautiful Supplication/Paraklesis which is offered for our edification.  Follow the Ecclesiastical Calendar and join us for this most beautiful gift we have as Orthodox Christians.  Even though it is only 45 minutes long, it is one of the more melodic and uplifting services of our Church.

August also offers our youth an opportunity to have fun!  Chaired by Niki Thompson, our Vacation Bible School takes place the week of August 11th.  Our youth will have fun playing games, growing in their faith while spending time with me in learning about Christ and His Church, and enjoying all the activities Niki has prepared for them.  Reach out to Niki and register your kids today for what will be a week of playing and praying!  More information can be found in the Epistle.

Friends, as I wish you a blessed summer and hope you can find moments to rest, I also encourage you to remember God on Sundays.  Wherever your travel plans take you, be sure to find a local Church to give thanks to God for His many blessings.

 

Peace and blessings from Above to you and yours,

Rev. Father Christ Kontos, Protopresbyter