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Some Advice from our Parents Sessions

by Dn. Mark Oleynik

Advice: You can hardly go anywhere without getting it from someone or something, whether it be from the magazine rack at the checkout line, the millions of self-help books, the television shows that are on 24/7, or your co-workers, neighbors, and family. Just open the browser on your computer or phone and you could miss several meals getting immersed in trying to find the best way to get a fast start in the morning to how to get a good night’s rest—and everything in between. Even more, we are mostly being given advice without asking. (Good thing most of the time, it’s free.)

The right place to start looking for good advice is in your Bible since Paul tells Timothy that all scripture is “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). You can also look to your elders, clergy, and to people whom you respect and have something in common.

During one of our Parents Sessions, parents were asked to provide what advice they would give to other Orthodox Christian parents for raising a child. Here are some of their pearls of wisdom:

  • Pray more for them and with them every day.
  • Support your spouse.
  • Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know what you are doing.
  • Look for comfort and answers in the Bible.
  • Pause: you don’t need to answer every question immediately.
  • Stay in touch with the Church, your faith, and trust God.
  • Teach by example.
  • There will be many bumps in the road.  Think ahead.
  • Make the Church relevant and alive to them every day.  
  • Don’t worry about small things worry about eternal things.
  • Listen carefully to everything kids say and teach them to listen to others.
  • Go to church as much as possible and as often as possible.
  • When bad things do happen, assess if it will be important in ten minutes and/or in ten years.
  • Use the saints as examples of real heroes. 
  • Love regardless.
  • Trust your kids.
  • Make every opportunity an opportunity for kids to realize others needs before their own.
  • Simplify your life and enjoy your children.
  • Read Scripture at mealtime.
  • You create normal for your children. Icons, prayers, church aren’t weird or counter-cultural when your child is immersed in the life of the Church.
  • Let your children be themselves. 
  • God’s love is unending—make sure you child understands no matter what God will still love him or her—and so will you. 
Editor’s Note: Parents Sessions are held monthly after the Liturgy. Topics discussed focus on the challenges and joys of raising Orthodox Christian children in a secular world. All parents are invited (your child need not be enrolled in Sunday School.)

Parishioners Join a Half Million in Promoting Life

Year after year every January hundreds of thousands come to the nation’s capital to give a voice to those who do not have one—the unborn.

This year’s March for Life was historic, however, as for the first time ever, the sitting vice president appeared in-person. Quoting Philippians 4:5, Vice President Mike Pence shared his optimism for the pro-life cause, exhorting the crowd to “Let this movement be known for love, not anger; … compassion, not confrontation… [T]here is nothing stronger than gentleness.”

Following the rally, more than a dozen from Holy Trinity and the Chapel joined His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon, head of the Orthodox Church in America, and several Orthodox hierarchs, clergy, and laity in praying for the victims of abortion, before making the two-mile trek from the White House to the Supreme Court. 

Holy Trinity’s support of life doesn’t end with this annual event. Throughout the year, our parish partners with the State College Pregnancy Resource Clinic to educate and encourage men and women to make informed life choices. 

View photographs of Holy Trinity’s and the Chapel’s participation in the March.
View a time lapse of the approximately 500,000 people to attend the March.

Updates on our Rector, Father John Reeves

January 29, 2017
Zacchaeus Sunday

It was announced today in the bulletin that Fr. John will return to his office in Trinity House on a limited schedule this coming week. Hours will vary (you can check this post on the website for updates). Earlier this week, on January 23, Father underwent a second PT scan. His results were clear, meaning no cancer has returned. He still receives adjuvant therapy three times per week as maintenance, which can unfortunately result in a range of adverse side effects. As such, he still needs your prayers. Thank you!

December 19, 2016
Forefeast of the Nativity of our Lord

During the Reader’s Vespers in preparation for the Nativity beginning December 19 and continuing daily through December 23, Fr. John heard Confessions off to the side. Although we will return the “new normal” after the Feast of Confessions being heard by Fr. David Smith on most Wednesdays and second and fourth Saturdays, we thank God for this important next step in Father’s healing process.

November 20, 2016
Forefeast of the Entry into the Temple of the Most Holy Theotokos

Welcome Back, Fr. John! It was a joy to have Father back officiating at the Divine Liturgy today. While we are excited to have Father back serving each Sunday, we ask for your understanding and prayers this Nativity Fast as he is still unable to offer pastoral appointments of any kind.

Fr. John has given parishioners who regularly confess to him a blessing to seek other priests for Confessions during this time. Fr. David Smith is available for Confessions most Wednesdays and on the second and fourth Saturdays after Great Vespers. If these times don’t work for you, please contact the church office and we will make every effort to connect you with another priest.

14599749_10211009067807299_1116349840_oOctober 7, 2016
Martyr Sergius in Syria

After four weeks of intensive daily chemotherapy Fr. John rang the bell at the Shaner Cancer Pavilion indicating and celebrating that the most difficult part of his treatment is over. He gets the next two weeks off before beginning the in-home portion of his treatment.

While it’s still too early to know when Father will be up to returning to parish life, we give glory to God for bringing him this far! Thank you so much for praying for him and 14625564_10211009070167358_827649453_ohis family during this difficult time.

October 1, 2016
Protection of the Most-Holy Theotokos

Father John writes in his monthly article in the Trisagion newsletter:

Words do not suffice to express my gratitude for all the prayers and best wishes sent my way since my recent illness, not to mention the many gifts of food brought by the house… I appreciate everyone’s understanding why I am not up for visits during this first, intensive round of chemotherapy. It is a daily infusion of interferon as adjuvant therapy to stimulate my immune system to resist any future bouts of cancer. This phase lasts for a total of four weeks… Pray now for my continued healing.

September 8, 2016
Nativity of the Most-Holy Theotokos

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A day after being surrounded by the love and prayers of his beloved brother clergy and members of his parish family, Father John received test results from his oncologist and learned his prognosis.

All signs show the effectual operation of the Holy Spirit through your prayers—there is no evidence that the cancer has spread beyond his neck. This is the best possible news Father John could have received today. Since the cancer did not metastasize, Father John will begin a year of adjuvant (preventative) therapy using interferon to suppress the formation of any new tumors.

Father gives glory to God and thanks everyone who attended the unction service and who have been praying for him. He continues to covet your prayers for strength and healing as he recovers from the neck surgery and begins chemotherapy.

As communicated in prior announcements, the parish’s clergy and supply priests will maintain the liturgical schedule at both Holy Trinity and the Chapel of the Holy Spirit. Father will take this month to rest and monitor his response to treatment with the goal of serving and maintaining a limited schedule in October.

September 1, 2016
St. Simeon/Church New Year (Indiction)

Father John writes in his monthly article in the Trisagion newsletter:

[My] new ministry, as I see it, is to lead you, this parish, in the midst of my potentially life-threatening illness. While it is not one I that intended, or would have chosen, it is one that now I welcome. I welcome it because I believe that God has put this challenge before me, to be the ultimate confirmation of my calling and priesthood, to strengthen me and to strengthen you… This is where I find myself, called to confess existentially what I have professed intellectually and theologically over the years, and thereby to continue leading you to the Kingdom of God, as well.

August 29, 2016
Beheading of St. John the Forerunner

The entire parish is invited to attend the Mystery of Holy Unction for Fr. John on Wednesday, September 7 at 12:30 p.m. For those coming from work and other commitments, budget approximately 90 minutes for the service. This is an opportunity for many of us to pray alongside Father as we ask our Lord to heal Father’s body and soul.

Please keep the Archpriest John in your prayers this week as he undergoes tests to determine if the melanoma was fully removed by the surgeon or if it has spread beyond his neck. For those wishing to pray at home the Akathist to St. Nektarios of Pentapolis, Patron Saint of Cancer Sufferers, a link is provided here. The same akathist will be prayed corporately after each 5:30 p.m. Wednesday Vespers for those able to stay.

August 27, 2016

Diagnostic tests have been scheduled to take place Tuesday, August 30 and Wednesday, August 31 to determine if the melanoma was fully removed by the surgeon or if it has spread beyond his neck.

Fr. David Smith and supply clergy will celebrate the Sunday Divine Liturgy through the month of September to give Fr. John an opportunity to both heal from the surgery and begin whatever course of treatment is prescribed. Confessions will be heard at Holy Trinity on alternating Saturdays beginning today, August 27 and by appointment.

Please check or subscribe to the parish’s online calendar to see the latest service schedule (updated daily).

August 24, 2016

As you may of heard, Fr. John Reeves had neck surgery performed at Mount Nittany Medical Center last Friday. During the procedure a growth was discovered and removed. Diagnostic tests are still pending to determine the prognosis, but initial results have confirmed the presence of melanoma. Father and his family ask for your fervent prayers as he recovers from the surgery and awaits news of the disease’s extent and recommended course of treatment.

Holy Trinity’s TLC ministry is coordinating 30 days of meals to support Father’s family as they administer care. If you would like to participate, please click here or email tlc@holytrinity-oca.org for more information. Food may be delivered to the house (a drop off area has been established in the Reeves’ garage) but please do not ring the bell so Father can rest.

In the interim, pastoral emergencies will be handed by Fr. David Smith; Dn. Alexander Cadman will coordinate parish administration. Please send requests through the Parish Office (office@holytrinity-oca.org or 814-231-2855). Thank you.

August 21, 2016

Father John is recovering from minor neck surgery that was performed at Mount Nittany Medical Center on Friday, August 19. While he has agreed to receive meals, he has also requested that we respect his need for time to recover as he is quite fatigued and would prefer to limit visitations at this time. If you wish to participate, please select a date and indicate the type of meal you plan to bring, so we can coordinate our efforts.

Schedule Your Portrait Session for the ’17 Directory

Holy Trinity is updating its Parish Directory in time for Pascha 2017, and our goal is for all individuals and families in the parish to be included.

Unlike three years ago, photography will be professionally done through Lifetouch. All participants will get a free copy of the directory along with an 8” x 10” portrait. Photography will take place in the Parish Hall Thursday-Saturday February 9-11, 2017. Morning, afternoon, and evening sessions are available on a first come, first served basis. Appointments are required.

For your convenience, all photography and portrait viewing will take place in the Parish Hall with no sitting fee. You will have a variety of poses taken. One pose will be selected for the directory. In addition to your complimentary 8″ x 10″, you will have the opportunity to purchase additional portraits on the day of your portrait session.  Lifetouch’s portrait price lists are available in the church office for those would like them prior to photography.

Be sure to take advantage of the opportunity to be professionally photographed. To schedule a time for you or your family, click here. You may also sign up in the Narthex following each Sunday Divine Liturgy in January or call the church office at (814) 231-2855 for assistance.

Join Holy Trinity at the 2017 March for Life

Help fill our vans for the 44th annual March for Life!

Holy Trinity and the Chapel of the Holy Spirit are currently accepting reservations in the Narthex and by email for the annual one-day pilgrimage to Washington, D.C. in support of the unborn. Our vans will depart Friday, January 27 at 6:30 a.m., and return around 10 p.m. RSVPs are required by Tuesday, January 24 so appropriate transportation can be secured.

College students and youth (with their parents) are especially encouraged to attend. As in previous years, all transportation costs are fully sponsored by Holy Trinity.

January 22, 2017 marks the 44th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in the United States, and Orthodox Christians from across the US will be among those gathering in the US Capital on Friday, January 27 to participate in the annual March for Life. [Due to the inauguration of President-Elect Donald Trump, this year’s March will be held one week later than usual. Sanctity of Life Sunday, however, will not be affected, and will be observed on January 15.]

His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon will join other Orthodox Christian hierarchs, seminarians, and clergy and faithful from around the country in the annual March, which will conclude with the celebration of
Memorial Prayers for the victims of abortion near the US Capital.

The theme of this year’s March is “The Power of One.”

The March will begin at noon on the grounds of the Washington Monument. The delegation from Holy Trinity and the Chapel with gather with fellow Orthodox Christian participants at the “Orthodox
Christians for Life” banner, which will be prominently displayed to the right of the stage near Constitution Avenue, between 15th and 17th Streets North West. Metropolitan Tikhon and other hierarchs will be
present on the stage for the opening prayers and presentations prior to the March.

Metropolitan Tikhon also will offer the benediction at the annual Rose Banquet on the evening of the March. General information on the March and the banquet—including details on making reservations—is available on the March for Life web site. Information on Orthodox Christians for Life is also available.

Additional information will be posted on the OCA web site as it becomes available.

About the Parish’s Listing on Google

On December 20, 2016, Holy Trinity was informed by Google that the parish’s website, holytrinity-oca.org, was hacked by a third party. Holy Trinity’s web host confirmed on December 21 that a hacker exploited a vulnerable plugin in order to add a redirect code within the server’s main configuration file. 

This action did not result in any of the parish’s webpages being modified (so visitors accessing the website were not adversely affected), but it did cause the listing on Google’s search engine to be inundated with false listings and redirects to a marketing company claiming to be associated with the Japanese Olympic Committee. 

The vulnerability was completely remedied on December 21 and additional security measures were taken to ensure malicious injections would not happen in the future. We are currently working with Google to correct our listing and apologize for any inconvenience. The process may take up to two weeks.

The website remains safe to access and navigate despite the warning on the Google listing. For more information, please contact the webmaster.

Update—January 3, 2017: Holy Trinity’s Google listing has been restored as of January 1, 2017. The search listing does erronously indicate that the site is not mobile friendly and Holy Trinity has asked that that label be reconsidered. That request may take a few weeks to process as well.

Traditional Holy Supper to be Served Christmas Eve

Holy Trinity Parishioners enjoy a final Lenten meal together before the Feast of Christmas.

On Christmas Eve beginning at 4:30 p.m., the parish will sponsor a traditional Holy Supper and everyone is invited.

(The custom of the “holy supper” comes from central Europe and parts of Russia and provided the family a time to gather and share the last meal of the Fast prior to attending the evening liturgical services.)

There are traditionally twelve Lenten foods served (representing the twelve Apostles) such as barley, honey, stewed prunes, pierogi, sauerkraut, potatoes, garlic, Lenten bread, and mushroom soup.

Please consider preserving (or starting) this family tradition by attending and sharing with your parish family a favorite Lenten food.

Sign up in the Parish Hall or online so that we may have an accurate count. Also, please email Mka. Kelly Oleynik if you have any questions and/or would like to assist with this event.

Ministry Groups to Enjoy Fellowship this Weekend

Several of Holy Trinity’s ministry groups will spend this Friday and Saturday engaging in several activities together in preparation for the Feast of the Nativity. On Friday night, teens and preteens in the Orthodox Youth Association will wrap gifts as a service project. Then on Saturday, men will have breakfast; women will decorate the church, exchange cookies, and have lunch; and the Choir and the Sunday School will conduct rehearsals in the afternoon. Scroll down for the complete schedule and for more information.

Christmas: Will it Be a Joy or a Letdown?

by Dn. Mark Oleynik

IMG_0378Many years ago, I had a conversation with a friend the day after Christmas and he said something which surprised me. He sadly said, “There is nothing more done than Christmas.” This was surprising because he was the most joyful and outgoing person you would ever want to meet—and a real ambassador of Christ. I learned much later that it was at that precise time he was going through a personal tragedy and that year Christmas was quite difficult for him. Fortunately, in time his pain eased and he was back to his old self. But I never forgot his words and what they meant to him that day.

In preparing for the Nativity of our Lord, most parents try to teach their children to be joyful givers. But we all know a child’s focus on Christmas is on “getting the gifts” and it’s probably likewise true for many adults. Most assuredly, parents do their best to provide at least some of items from their child’s wish list not to mention gifts for their spouse, parents, and friends. But when the presents are all unwrapped, the Christmas meal is over, and the house is probably turned upside down from the children and all the guests—do you feel kind of let-down? Do you feel Christmas is done?

In just the few short weeks preceding Christmas emotions are built up to a fever pitch: the shopping and baking, the plans to be made, and the endless commercials for the latest-and-greatest, all mixed in between the innumerable Christmas movies. To top it off, research shows that for many Christmas is one of the saddest times of the year. Not only sad memories of those who are no longer with them—but often the tragedies witnessed both in their families and in the world at large provide stark contrast to joy of the season. So, given the combination of too much emotion, too much excitement, too much to eat and to drink, and just the general chaos of the season…is it any wonder you might feel a slight letdown?

Certainly you and your family will receive wished-for presents, but will you receive the real gift at Christmas—the gift of Christ Himself? His peace, and joy, and presence in whom we find the only lasting source of Life. The true gift giver on this  and every day is Christ, but you must include Him on your Christmas list—invite Him to be the most important part of your life and your family’s life. Amidst all of the worship and singing of our grace and our customs, plan to take personal and family time and ask the Savior, “Lord, come and dwell with my family and me this day. Be by our side so that we may know and walk with you throughout all our days.”

If you have eyes to see it, the world is flooded with His joy. If you have the heart to receive it, your life will be touched by His. And if you have faith to live it, He will be with you all your days, and all your hours. For behold, truly we all have been given good news of great joy – for unto us, if we will receive Him, is born into our hearts Christ the Savior. And if we will receive this gift for Christmas, all our days will be blessed.

So what do you really want to receive this Christmas? What will you allow God to give you this Christmas? Will it really be the gift of Himself—or in all the busyness of the season will you not take the time and really ask Him.

It’s up to you. At the end of it all, Christmas can just be “done” … or it can be done rightly.

Angels Appearing this Month
Plan to stay after the liturgy on Sunday, December 18 for the annual retelling of the story of Christ’s birth by our Church School. Our students will once again present a living icon based on the Nativity scriptures, complete with angels, shepherds, wise men, and assorted animals. You will not want to miss it!

 

Women’s Night Out Postponed

Tomorrow’s (Thursday, October 6) Women’s Night Out has been postponed to a later date to avoid conflicts with other events going on in and around State College that evening. We apologize for the inconvenience.

The next scheduled event for the Women’s Ministry is the annual “Women’s Coffee and Tea.” It will take place on Saturday, October 29 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the home of Matushka Kelly Oleynik (125 Wildernest Ln., in Port Matilda). Ladies of all ages are invited. To RSVP or for more information, please email women@holytrinity-oca.org.

For a full calendar of services and events, visit holytrinity-oca.org/calendar.