As is our custom at St. Luke, each January a general parish meeting is
held to inform and involve the parish in all the decisions and plans for the coming year.
A detailed document is prepared in advance containing reports from all of the parish
council and ministries so that these reports do not have to be presented at the meeting.
This allows time for the budget to be discussed and approved and any special concerns or
reports to be addressed.
Diane Wilzak is in charge of our script program and presented a report
to the meeting. With limited participation last year we were able to raise a modest
amount of cash thru our purchases. It is hoped that this year we will be more involved
and increase this amount significantly. In the script program, parishioners purchase gift
certificates and use them for their everyday purchases and a percentage is returned to the
church. All are encouraged to participate as it costs nothing extra but benefits the
Jim Lewandowski is in charge of our safety ministry and gave a report
on the upcoming security and safety plans. Among the topics reported on were the sledding
issue, security systems, background checks for those involved with the youth, and a
cooperative project with the forest preserve for a meditation area. Also members were
encouraged to join the security team. Anyone interested may contact Jim directly.
Fr. Andrew was invited to the annual Vasilopita (St. Basil Sweet Bread)
celebration by Maria Pappas, Cook County Treasurer. The Service of blessing was held at the
Cook County Building on 118 North Clark Street in Chicago. His Eminence Metropolitan
Iakovos of the Greek Orthodox Diocese of Chicago presided. Among the dignitaries were the
Consul General of Greece, Gabriel Coptsides, World President of the Council of Hellenes
abroad, Andrew Athens and the Vice President of the American Region of the SAE.
In this picture, we see Metropolitan Iakovos blessing the St. Basil Bread.
Symbolism of the Vasiopitta
The Vasilopitta. One of the most joyful traditional family celebrations
is the cutting of the Vasilopitta on January 1, St. Basil's Day. We all sense the thrill
of anticipation of being the lucky one to find the coin in the piece that is cut for us.
In the Fourth Century, St. Basil the Great, pioneered the establishing
of various philanthropic institutions, which developed into a small city honoring his name,
known as "Vasillias." Wishing also to distribute money to the poor of his Diocese in a
discreet manner, St. Basil commissioned some women to bake sweetened bread, in which he
placed gold coins. Thus, the recipients cutting the bread were most surprised to find
the coin, which had buying power to sustain them for quite some time.
This tradition commencing in Cappadocia of Caesarea late in the 4th
Century, is very much alive in our Orthodox homes each year on January 1st. On New Year's
Day, the head of the household will make the sign of the cross on the Vasilopitta in the
Name of the Holy Trinity. Firstly, he will cut a circular piece from the center in honor
of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the center in our life. Then he will cut the first wedge
in honor of our Holy Mother, St. Mary the Theotokos. The next piece is cut in honor of
St. Basil. Then he cuts pieces for himself and for all the members of his family. The
one who finds the coin is considered the blessed one for the year.
P.a.s.s. visits St. Luke
St. Luke has supported P.a.s.s. (Pregnancy Assistance South Suburban)
for over 10 years with donations and gifts. As part of their out reach PASS sends speakers
to instruct parents and teens on issues related to teen pregnancy and abstinence. The photo
shows Miss Kathy DeVeries teaching a class to parents on how to raise abstinent children.
She began her presentation showing a rose and removing peddles as examples of what little
is offered in a marriage by someone before marriage who is promiscuous.
On Sunday, January 19, representatives from PASS (Pregnancy Aid for the
South Suburbs) presented an informative talk for our young adults and parents. The various
Bible verses they referenced reminded us of how precious each life is in the sight of our
Creator and that our bodies are vessels of the Holy Spirit.
St. Luke's choir director, Maria Vrame held a get together for all the
choir members to thank them for all their hard work during the past year. We would be
remiss if we did not thank Maria for all that she does getting this group ready to praise
God in song. Thanks also to Maria for the wonderful food and evening.
Ordinations and Blessing of the New Building
This Sunday, Bishop Job visited St. Luke Parish to celebrate Divine
Liturgy and bless the new building. Before Liturgy began two ordinations were preformed.
Here the Bishop blesses Joe Bauml who is being ordained as a reader.
During the ceremony, the Bishop removes small pieces of hair from three
locations in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Below our new reader
chants a passage from scripture.
A vestment is placed on the new reader as the ceremony concludes.
Next Bishop Job ordained John Verderber as a sub- deacon. Above the Bishop blesses John. While below a sash is placed over his vestment.
The ceremony concludes as the Bishop prays over John.
Following these ceremonies, Divine Liturgy is celebrated. Above we see the reading of the Gospel, while below Bishop Job address the congregation.
With the conclusion of Divine Liturgy, Bishop Job awarded certificates
of recognition to Mike Bauml, Steve Hansen, Aristea Zekios, and Luba Johnson for their
work involved in the parish and the construction of the new building.
After dismissal, the Bishop began to bless the new building starting in the entrance.
Bishop Job went thru the entire structure blessing it with Holy Water.
The children went to their classrooms to await the Bishop, who blessed
each classroom with the children present. Above we see the children in one classroom
waiting while below we see the Bishop blessing a classroom.
The adults meanwhile gathered in the new fellowship hall and once the Bishop was finished with the classrooms, he came and blessed that as well.
Our Lay Chairperson, Ken Stevens began the dinner that followed with a
short speech. As can be see below he was speaking to a packed house. Additional tables
and chairs had to be brought in for the overflow.
One of our parishioners presented our new reader and sub-deacon each with a gift of a hat designating their new ranks.
Following dinner Ken, presented Father Andrew with a plaque on behalf of all of us at St. Luke's. Below Father Andrew received a standing ovation.
Father Andrew spoke concerning the new building and all the work that
had gone into it. He cautioned us that we must now look to the future and try to
understand God's will for us in the future. He asked Bishop Job to speak concerning this.
Bishop Job related that St. Luke is a beacon of orthodoxy. He taught
that in Christ, there are no endings and only beginnings. For us at St. Luke this must be
only a beginning and that he believes that what we have done in the past will be a mere
shadow of the souls that we will affect in the future. He reminded us that the building
will be only a building unless we fill it with people, the Love of Christ, and continue to
do his work. This was a fitting end to a wonderful day at St. Lukes.
Children's Sermon and Great Blessing of Water
Father Andrew spoke to the children today concerning baptism and holy
water. He explained how Christ by being baptized purified the water so that it could make
us all clean spiritually. Following the sermon, he asked the children to help him and
began the service of the Great Blessing of Water.
At one point in the service, Father spoke the words, "For You are our
God, Who by fire and water, through Elijah, freed Israel from the errors of Baal." At this
point the children dipped their lighted candles into the water. This was done three
times. Next Father Andrew spoke the words, "As the same God, O Master, now sanctify also
this water by Your Holy Spirit," Then he blew air on the water. This was also done three
times. Following this the Cross was plunged into the Holy Water three times while the
choir sung the Troparion for the day. See picture below.
New Year's Eve Celebration
Immediately following the Vesperal Liturgy, St. Luke held it's first
reservation only New Year's Eve Party in the recently finished fellowship hall. Father
Andrew started things off with a prayer.
Our Lay Chairperson, Ken, called everyone to order and proposed a toast for the coming year. See pictures above and below.
Dinner was a catered affair and the food was delicious. Eveyone had a great time as can be seen by this series of pictures. Balloons, hats, and
party favors were provided as well.
One of our parishioners served as the disk jockey and people got into the swing of things on the dance floor.
Above and below we see the music appealed to all age groups.
The party went on into the night as St. Luke parish welcomed in the new
year. It was a wonderful evening and people were already talking about next year's
party. These two parishioners reflect the spirit of the occasion. We would like to wish
eveyone a happy and blessed new year.
Vesperal Liturgy And Blessing of St. Basil Bread
On New Year's Eve a Vesperal Liturgy was held. Following the Liturgy a
loaf of St. Basil bread was blessed. A golden coin was baked in the bread and slices were
distributed to all present. The person getting the golden coin as tradition has it is
supposed to have a blessed new year. Below we see Father Andrew blessing the loaf of bread.
After the blessing Father Andrew sliced the bread above and below we see him distributing it to those present.
As they eat their bread everyone searches for the golden coin. This
year Jim, the head of our security ministry received the golden coin. Here we see Father
Andrew, Jim and the golden coin. We hope that Jim has a blessed year.