St Luke Welcomes The Holy Virgin Mission
As part of it's goal to be an evangelistic parish St. Luke Parish has welcomed the Holy Virgin Mission and is currently sharing our building with them. The Holy Virgin Mission is attempting to begin their own parish in the Palos/Orland Park Area and for the time being is conducting their Sunday Liturgy at 12:30 P.M. at the St Luke Parish building. The services are being conducted half in English and half in Arabic. We at St. Luke Parish welcome our brothers and sisters in Christ and wish them success in their mission.
Today following Liturgy, St. Luke Parish celebrated the feast called Epiphany or Theophany which means shining forth or manifestation. The emphasis in the present-day celebration is on the appearance of Jesus as the human Messiah of Israel and the Divine Son of God, One of the Holy Trinity with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
Thus, in the baptism by John in the Jordan, Jesus identifies Himself with sinners as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:20), the "Beloved" of the Father whose messianic fate it is to redeem men from their sins (Luke 3:21, Mark 1:35). And He is revealed as well as One of the Holy Trinity, testified to by the voice of the Father, and the Spirit in the form of a dove. This is the central epiphany glorified is the feast day, the Holy Trinity. (Taken from Worship, The Orthodox Faith Vol. II by Fr. Thomas Hopko)
In the above picture we see Father Andrew blessing water in a font. There is a hose in the font bring water from our well. This is accordance with the liturgical directions instruct that water be blessed at a source such as a river, lake, ocean, and in this case a well.
Above we see Father Andrew holding the cross high above the holy water, while below we see him plunging the cross into the water. He does this three times symbolizing the Baptism of Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. During this the congregatition sings the troparion for the day.
TROPARION: WHEN YOU, LORD, WERE BAPTIZED IN THE JORDAN, THE WORSHIP OF THE TRINITY WAS MADE MANIFEST. FOR THE VOICE OF THE FATHER BORE WITNESS TO YOU, AND CALLED YOU HIS BELOVED SON. AND THE SPIRIT, IN THE FORM OF A DOVE CONFIRMED THE TRUTHFULNESS OF HIS WORD. O CHRIST OUR GOD, YOU HAVE REVEALED YOURSELF AND HAVE ENLIGHTENED THE WORLD, GLORY TO YOU!
At specific times during the service the bells are rung. Here we see Lynn in position to watch the service and ring the bells at the appropriate times.
At dismissal, Father Andrew blesssed each parishioner with Holy Water.
Great Blessing Of The Water
Today St. Luke held a service for the Great Blessing of the Water and remembered Christ being baptised in the Jordan. Here we see Father Andrew blessing the water and plunging the cross into the water three times. Now that the water has been blessed, Father Andrew will go to the homes of each parishioner that wishes and bless their home as well.
Following the service, Father Andrew blessed each parishioner with holy water and everyone had a drink of the holy water as well for healing of soul and body. Many parishioners took holy water home as well in special containers.
A Benediction For Our Troops
Fr. Andrew was asked as a retired Air force Chaplain to give the invocation and benediction at a deployment ceremony at Midway Airport for the Illinois National guard who are being deployed to Iraq. In the photo he is giving the benediction.
Let us pray to the Lord
And may the blessings of the Lord be upon you who are about to be deployed and your families that you will take courage and may your hearts be strengthened, placing your trust in the Lord knowing that your grateful nation will be praying for your safe return. Amen
1st Battalion 106th Aviation Illinois Army National Guard.
The Honor Guard for the event is from the Lincoln Way Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol of which Fr. Andrew is the chaplain.
Children's Sermon On The Heart
In today's sermon, Father Andrew told the children that in the Bible when they talk about a good heart they are not talking about the beating heart in your body but about your conscience. He showed them different color hearts. A grey one which symbolized a shadow heart for those who hear God's word, but don't do anything about it. A brown heart which represented a greedy heart for those who thought only of themselves. Finally a red heart, which represented a good heart for those who do the work of the Lord. Then he had all the children pray with him to ask God to give them good hearts so they could do the work of our Lord.
New Year's Eve Celebration
Following Vesperal Liturgy, many of our parishioners retired to the new fellowship hall for a New Year's Eve Celebration.
While dinner was being prepared, an assortment of appetizers were availiable.
Father Andrew took the stage to bless the meal and he was followed by Lay Chairperson, Ken Stevens, who proposed a toast.
As everyone took their seats it was time for dinner.
Our kitchen minister, Peter, prepares to serve dinner which consisted of Prime Rib, Chicken Kiev, double baked potatoes, green beans, and salad.
Luba, our community team leader and organizer of the event calls everyone to eat.
Following dinner, there was karoke singing and dancing. Here we see Father Andrew and Mary singing a duet.
Not wanting to let the adults have all the fun, some of the children joined in.
For a while the children took over the stage and stole the show.
Deacon Andrew proves that even deacons can do karoke.
Jim didn't want to be left out of the fun and sang a duet with Mary.
Soon June decided to croon.
We were also treated to a song from the Men And Women In Black.
Ethnic dancing was also a party of the festivies.
The little ones had fun of their own finding different uses for the many ballons.
Alway safety conscious a fire department truck was on hand in case there were any proplems. However there were none and a great time was had by all. We at St. Luke Parish would like to wish all a Blessed and Safe 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 sweet bread (Vasilopita) 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. Here we see Father Andrew blessing the loaf of bread.
The parishioners then came forward to get their bread with hopes that the coin would be found within.
Would it be the littlest one present who gets the coin?
Wait a minute, Maria thinks see has found something in her bread.
It was official, Maria got the lucky piece of bread this year. Here we see Maria and Father Andrew with the coin.
Here is a closeup of the coin which has a picture of St. Basil the Great on it.