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Final Leg to the Journey to Pascha Commences

This week we invite you to be transformed into eyewitnesses and direct participants in the awesome events of the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. For a daily guide of the various services that will be celebrated at Holy Trinity this week, see Journey to Pascha, courtesy of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

New Arrival at Holy Trinity

We are pleased to announce the arrival of George Thomas Biberdorf, newborn son of Fr. Basil and Mat. Dea.  He was born Monday, April 11 weighing 8 lbs. 11 oz. Many years!

Matthew 25 Collections Due This Sunday

This Sunday is the last day of collection for our Matthew 25 Lenten outreaches: Donations are being solicited for a Clothing Drive, with donations to go to the St. Vincent de Paul Society of State College, a Food Drive, with donations to go to the Food Bank of the State College Area, and a Gift Card Drive (e.g., Wal-Mart, Target) so temporarily homeless residents at Housing Transitions can purchase necessities. Thank you for your generosity.

Yesterday’s Mission Vespers a Huge Success

Thank you to everyone who provided service and hospitality at yesterday’s Mission Vespers. Several generous volunteers baked desserts, prepared the meal, bought drinks, set up our Parish Hall, served our guests, and stayed to clean-up afterwards. Because we have several leftovers, Wednesday’s post-Presanctifed Liturgy dinner will not be “potluck” but instead will feature the leftover soup, coleslaw, drinks, and bread. If you wish to bring an item, please bring a small complementary side dish or dessert.

Parish to Hold Annual Work Day Saturday

Many hands make light work! We will have an opportunity to prove this quotation true this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. when Holy Trinity holds its annual All-Parish Work Day to prepare and beautify our temple for Pascha. There will be a variety of tasks — both indoor and outdoor — for volunteers of all skill levels. A light lenten breakfast will be prepared courtesy of the Men’s Fellowship. See you Saturday!

Annual Summer Conference to Explore Women’s Vocations

YONKERS, NEW YORK – “Women Disciples of the Lord” is the theme for St. Vladimir’s Seminary’s annual summer conference to be held June 17-19. The gathering—which seeks to foster a creative, and inspiring encounter through lectures, panel discussions, and workshops—is especially for women, laity, and clergy interested in broadening lay vocations and ministries in the Church. Email tpenkrat@svots.edu for more information.

The Journey

by Konstantin Kucheryavyy

Konstantin, pictured top-left, and fellow Penn State OCF member Jennifer McClure rebuild a collapsed rock wall for a North Carolina resident with their fellow team members.

Saint John Climacus wrote that, when a person decides to [do] a good deed, the devil puts three pits before him/her. The first pit is external circumstances that prevent the deed from being done. The second pit is concerns about personal gains when doing the deed. Finally, the third pit is a feeling of vanity when/if the deed is done… Very often I [couldn’t] even jump over the first pit.

[I] suddenly realized… I am doing so little to help people from the town I currently live in. Of course, I might always say that [it is because] I am a foreigner in this town and this country, and helping people is not my primary concern. I will not be honest, though. Even when I lived in Russia, I was not doing much to help the people around me. Of course, I had an excuse for that too… For any other argument I [had] tons of other excuses readily available.

Up until recently I felt reluctant to publicly express my Orthodox beliefs. At first I thought it was because I felt uncomfortable just in the US because people here are generally unaware of Orthodoxy. But last summer, when I travelled home, it was the same story. I felt as if I was leaving two different lives: in one life I was attending church, participating in sacraments, praying every morning and evening, keeping fasts, etc.; in the other life I was sort of concealing my religion.

Even when I was planning to go to this mission trip, I kept telling people that I am going to travel to the Appalachian Mountains just for the sake of sightseeing. Possibly, I was afraid that people would think that I am a fanatic. I was afraid to be misunderstood. Or, maybe, I was ashamed. This duality of my life was causing discomfort inside of me. The discomfort was near to unbearable when

I was recalling Mark 8:38: “If anyone is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when He comes in His Father’s glory with the holy angels.” Still I could not do anything about it.

I believe that this trip helped me to overcome the fear of being misunderstood… Maybe one of the evening talks—which we were having every evening during the trip—contributed to that. I remember that at some point we were discussing problems we encountered during the day and how we were able to resolve them. The leitmotif of this discussion was the phrase “So what?”…

Konstantin attempts to teach some Russian phrases to newfound friends from the Detroit area.

So, [if] I am afraid that people will not understand or share my religious views—as a matter of fact, a lot of people do not understand [or] share my religious views—so what!? There is nothing extraordinary about this fact. Christianity has been dealing with misunderstanding from the very beginning.

If magical things can happen to me, the Appalachian Mountains mission trip was one of them. Could I ever imagine a better beginning of Great Lent: Wonderful people around me, thrilling views of Appalachian Mountains, devoted prayer, thought provoking discuss-ions, and a lot of fun and fooling around?

I was unplugged from my normal routine with all its economic models, news reports, deadlines, and rush. I was unplugged only to touch reality. The feeling of the reality was so acute, that for long periods during the trip I was able to release all those pains, silly fears, and guilt of the past and the future. Maybe that is why it was so incredibly hard to get back to “normal” life upon returning…

Truly, it takes a long trip to start noticing obvious things in one’s backyard. Thank God right now nobody is trying to torture me for my beliefs. It is my love for Christ in people which should motivate me in my public expression of my beliefs. It should be my tiny mission to show people the right way.

For the Record: March 2011

Souper SundayBaptism

  • Arissa Victoria, baptized March 5, daughter of Gregory and Raquel Arampatzis, sponsored by Mark and LeeAnna Mokluk

Farewell

  • Rebecca Toroney, now in Chicago after receiving a Doctorate in Chemistry from PSU.

Your Generosity

  • $1,350 to IOCC for Japan relief; $690 for Housing Transitions and the Food Bank of the State College Area through “Soup-er Sunday”; $291 for foreign and domestic missionaries. Thank you!

 

In Japan, Clergy Safe; Most Churches Miraculously Still Standing

TOHOKU, JAPAN – The magnitude 9.0 earthquake and resulting 30-foot tsunami that struck northeast Japan on March 11 ravaged an active Orthodox community here. One bishop, five priests, and two deacons serve an Orthodox population numbering more than 1,500 in this region. As of March 25, all but four parishioners have been accounted for including all of the clergy. According to the Eastern Japan Diocese, five Orthodox reposed in the Lord from the tragedy. May their memories be eternal!

Of the five churches in the region that were located along the coast, miraculously all but one were spared: Two churches escaped damage from the tsunami, the waters stopping within meters of the temple; two other churches were flooded but experienced no structural damage. Only Annunci-ation Chapel in Yamada was completely destroyed.

International Orthodox Christian Charities (iocc) and the Orthodox Church in Japan continue to serve an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 people who have been displaced by the earthquake and tsunami in coastal areas that remain largely inaccessible because of the damage and lack of fuel.

 

Sanctifying Technology in Parish Life

by Dn. Alexander Cadman

We cannot escape technology. Handheld devices give us access to more information than can be contained in any library, social networks reinvent the world and how we interact… even the simplest automobile has more computer power than the system that guided men to the moon.

Earlier this semester during our weekly OCF dinner and discussions, we explored the effects of technology on this generation and its relation-ships, noting true friendship is based on self-sacrifice and suffering with our neighbor, sharing trials until death. The all-too sanitized glimpse we get into the lives of others from Facebook, though neither “Pandora’s Box” nor “Prometheus’ Gift,” can’t provide the saving bonds we long for. We all committed to sanctify it by praying through our friend lists and status updates, and giving thanks to God for the many connections He provides.

In the parish as a whole, we are discovering new ways to bless electronic resources, like the weekly This Week email (contact the Parish Office to subscribe) and “digital” bulletin (i.e., “HTOC-TV”), video conferencing at ministry meetings, and mobile scheduling (on Fr. John’s iPhone, no less!). In April we look forward to further enhancements, including a totally redesigned holytrinity-oca.org and the transmission of audio from the amvon and Choir into the Narthex.