3-10-23 Bulletin



  • Friday, March 10th, 6:00pm, Salutations to the Theotokos.
  • Saturday, March 11th, 5:30pm, Great Vespers with Confessions following.
  • Sunday, March 12th, 8:30am, Matins; 9:30am, Divine Liturgy followed by Church School & Coffee Fellowship.
  • Sunday, March 12th, 6:00pm, Deanery Vespers at St. Nicholas in Kenosha WI.
  • Tuesday, March 14th, 6:00pm, “Orthodoxy 101” Tradition & Spirituality, Livestreamed.
  • Wednesday, March 15th, 6:00pm, Presanctified Liturgy followed by Lenten dinner (combined with other parishes).
  • Friday, March 17th, 6:00pm, Salutations to the Theotokos.
Ups & Downs in Prayer

Prayer is the most needful and natural of all human abilities, more natural to us than eating and drinking, or breathing, even.

When unceasing prayer arises and abides within the human heart “all is well.” And “all is well” because the deepest and most powerful effect of prayer is how it unites us to God in a manner that is beyond any “logical” definition. Indeed, here is a mystery deeper and far richer than any human experience that is merely fleshly, cerebral, psychological, or emotional. Because when one has glimpsed even just a small bit of genuine prayer, “crumbs from the Master’s table,” (Matt. 15:27) then all is light, peace, joy, gratitude, and love.  “For the kingdom of God is not food and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17). Just as Moses “turned aside” to see the Burning Bush, believers are simultaneously confirmed in their faith by these many little epiphanies of grace that are revealed in a life of prayer. In their pure and unceasing prayer, many of the saints (Macarius of Egypt, Seraphim of Sarov) thus shone with the uncreated light of Christ. Those who fail to discover or recover prayer remain stuck in a flat, joyless, “one story universe.”

But for all believers, this higher and richer experience of authentic prayer will inevitably come with a price. Because simply put, following Christ means allowing oneself to become “poor in spirit” (Matt. 5:3), which does not mean to be deficient of the Holy Spirit, but to become wholly vulnerable to and naked before God by being stripped of every worldly affection and security. Only then is the heart wide open to the Lord, without anything blocking His way (riches, possessions, relationships, etc.). Poverty of spirit is a standard prerequisite to all prayer. Without it, no one feels the need to pray and prayer subsequently becomes a dead, empty formality.  For these people honor me with their lips but their heart is far from me” (Matt. 15:8).

It is also important to know that prayer will never be something static, but will always be in flux. Over the course of a single day one’s experience of prayer will ebb and flow, and it will be necessary to accept this up-and-down aspect of prayer as something that exists on account of our own human weakness and sinfulness. Our minds and hearts will be distracted and the inner fire of prayer will be dampened and extinguished. Along with this, there will be periods of time, weeks and months most likely, where the believer will go from the highest peak of prayer to the lowest, deepest valley. There will be times, that is, when we may experience the ecstasy of prayer and “move mountains” (see Mark 11:23), Knowing that it is not we who pray but literally “the Holy Spirit Who intercedes for us” (Rom. 8:26). These are moments when the heavens open and when one knows for sure that God’s Kingdom really exists.

Yet, there will be times, too, where those who strive for prayer will feel completely abandoned by any graceful consolation for weeks and perhaps even months at a time.  Here is the experience of a terrible loneliness and despair like none other. The heart will become hollow and gloomy and the words of prayer will turn to ashes in one’s mouth. Such an apparent forsakenness is not far from what the Lord Himself experienced while hanging on His cross:  ”My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?”(Matt. 27:46).

All of the saints perfected by grace over a lifetime of striving experienced, countless times over, this “long, dark night of the soul.” They were each tested by God. They each needed to become another Elijah in the wilderness, hopeless and alone, in a state of sorrow that defies the imagination.   ”Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than any of my fathers.”  (1 Kings 19:4). Many beginners in prayer reach this first test and find it far too painful. Such a startling flip between the fullness vs. absence of grace is more than they can bear. And it’s unbearable because they have yet to learn true humility and patience.

Yet those who continue in the way of the Lord and fight for a life of prayer, learn, eventually, that these “wilderness experiences” and tests are the Lord’s way of not only furrowing down deeper into the heart, but a way of hungering and thirsting for God that reveals the essence of every human person. Only when one cries out in prayer “longitudinally,” for the whole of the human lifespan, faithfully and unremittingly no matter how full or empty one inwardly feels, will the Lord turn prayer into the kind of bliss that is a foretaste of the Kingdom to come.

”Lord teach us to pray!” (Luke 11:1).

Fr. Paul Jannakos

Lenten Family Meditations: Week 3

Theme: Humility vs. Pride

Memorization Text:

“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Prov. 16-18).

Family Reflection (Read all together).

A virtue is a good disposition and habit that we see in the life of Christ and that we seek to practice in our own personal lives. And the greatest of all the virtues is humility. But how do we define humility? By saying that it is the cultivation of a meek and lowly spirit. Humility does not mean “thinking less of ourselves,” but “thinking of ourselves less.” (CS Lewis). Humility means keeping an eye out for the sinful desire to always put ourselves first and to think of ourselves as being better than other people. We see this is the example of the Pharisee in the parable of the Publican and the Pharisee.

In the proverb text (above) we learn how pride, which means thinking of ourselves as being greater than we are, leads towards “destruction,” meaning falling into sin. Those who exalt themselves will be humbled by God, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

So, we learn how to practice humility in a number of simple ways: 1st by coming to holy confession on a regular basis and confessing (out loud) our sins, 2nd by admitting our mistakes and by being willing to learn from them, 3rd, by asking for forgiveness of others for our offenses, and 4th, by accepting good criticism. (Bad criticism is characterized by a spirit of anger and pettiness on the part of those who criticize).

Finally, we also know that our Lord Jesus Christ showed us the greatest humility by “lowering” Himself to His suffering and death on a cross. And because of this, Christ was “exalted” by His Father by being obedient.

Questions (Discuss these together). 

Where in the Gospels do we see Jesus being humble?

In what kind of ways do we sometimes try to put ourselves before others?

How well do we accept good criticism?


COMBINED PRESANCTIFIED LENTEN DINNER: On Wednesday, March 15th, our parish will host the Southwest Orthodox Parishes for the Presanctified Liturgy. We will cater the meal, but we are asking everyone in the parish bring a Lenten Dessert. (We are preparing to host approximately 100 people…)

ANCIENT FAITH VIDEOS FOR KIDS: Ancient Faith Radio is now producing videos for children that can be accessed on both Facebook and Instagram. Parents are encouraged to share them with their kids! https://www.facebook.com/ancientfaithkids?mibextid=ZbWKwLhttps://instagram.com/ancientfaithkids?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=

YOCAMA 2023! Mission Trip Dates for this summer: New Mexico – Navajo: July 22-28th, 2023; Montana – Blackfeet: July 29th – August 4th, 2023. For more information and to register, contact  michaelynsloan@gmail.com.

St. LUKE BOOK CHAT: Our St. Luke Book Chat ministry will begin anew, the next meeting will take place on Saturday, March 18th at 4:00pm in the Conference Room.

LENTEN CONFESSIONS: Fr. Paul would like to remind everyone in the parish about taking the time to adequately prepare for a private confession at least once during the Lenten season. He is available both before and after all the services. Special times may also be scheduled by emailing pjannakos@gmail.com. 

NEW DIOCESAN APP: The Diocese of the Midwest has created a new APP for our “Smartphones.” Invitations were sent out to all members of the parish. This app can be only accessed through the “APP STORE” on I-Phones and the “PLAY STORE” on Androids. If you would still like to download the APP contact Fr. Paul at pjannakos@gmail.com.

IOCC KENTUCKY TRIP: Michaelyn Sloan will be leading a team from St. Luke to participate in the IOCC Kentucky mission trip on the week of March 20-25th. For more information, contact Michaelyn at michaelynsloan@gmail.com. See flier above.

MARCH MONTHLY CHARITY: Our St. Luke monthly charity for the month of March will be the ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN MISSION CENTER. Please be generous!

DIOCESAN PARISH ENGAGEMENT SURVEY Our parish has been selected to participate in a Diocesan initiative to gauge the level of Laity Engagement. We are asking everyone to participate in this that is being managed through the Diocese of the Midwest via Survey Monkey. All responses are anonymous. Please be thoughtful, honest, and candid when you complete the survey The survey results will be used to identify ways to strengthen and grow engagement in our parish community. Thank you for devoting your time and providing candid input. Click HERE to take the survey.

NATIONAL ORTHODOX BABY SHOWER – March 25th!: This event is a nationally-coordinated diaper drive/baby item drive to support women in our communities and help them choose life by partnering with local pregnancy resource centers. The Baby Shower takes place during the month of March to coincide with the Feast of the Annunciation, with items being collected March 19-26. Pregnancy Resource Centers are nonprofit organizations that exist all over the country to provide medical, educational, material, and support services to countless abortion-vulnerable women and men every year, helping them to choose life. For more information, contact MaryJo Werbianski.

LUBA’S KITCHEN ANNOUNCEMENT: This is a reminder of the duties of coffee hour hosting. Below are key bullet points pertaining to this ministry. HERE are the guide lines. Debbie has made a signup sheet. The food costs and time/energy of hosting are greatly decreased. The fellowship team is looking for weekly coverage for prepping coffee hour and cleaning up afterwards.For many, many months the bulk of coffee hour duties has fallen on Crys and Matthew, with some volunteers at times. The current process is efficient and as mentioned, less costly to serve as a host as the church bears the bulk of the food costs. Thank you for your participation in this weekly ministry. Matthew, Crys and Debbie

DRIVERS FOR ELIJAH’S CHARIOT: Elijah’s Chariot – if you would like to help us drive our elderly to Church for services please let Tammy Tsiones know. Click here to sign up: DRIVERS FOR ELIJAH’S CHARIOT SIGN UP.

BOOKSTORE SALE DOWNSTAIRS: Our bookstore sale will now offer the books downstairs in the parish hall for a free will donation. The proceeds from the free will offering for the rest of the books will go to Holy Resurrection monastery.

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