We are entering the busy holiday season and also our Orthodox Nativity fast. Let us observe our fast and prepare to confess and at least once partake of the precious Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us find a way to combine our busy life and our faith and continue to be good Orthodox faithful during the months of December/January. We can do this, but we need a strong will and obedience.
The best time for confession is on the eve of the Liturgy, after vespers, on Saturday evening or on the eve of a Holy Day since the celebration of the Christian Sabbath and the Holy Days start in the evening. All faithful, and especially if a person wants to commune, should attend the evening service and the Holy Liturgy. Confession on Sunday Morning is only if you have family needs, job, distance, health or other important reason. Confessions on a Sunday and/or Holy Day Morning will start at least 30 minutes prior to the Liturgy. Please do not come to confession 5 minutes before the Liturgy begins! If the eve before you prepare to commune does not work for you and you cannot make it early enough before the Liturgy, you can always make an appointment with your priest for your confession at another time.
Before communion, please make sure you spiritually and physically prepare, make peace in your heart and read all your pre-communion prayers from your prayer book. Prayers should be read by all who communed after the Liturgy. Remain in church after you receive blessed bread, take a copy of the post-communion prayers which are in the reader's stand and wait until everyone in the church has received blessed bread, prosphora. Wait until the priest says, “Glory to Thee our God, Glory to Thee” 3 times. After this, everyone who communed should read the prayers together and loudly. It would be best if one person leads the prayers.
You are welcome to take one of the Orthodox books from our library home to read during the Nativity fast and return it when you are done reading it. Please see Fr Aleksandar if you need a recommendation for the book.
After the Divine Liturgy and after receiving the prosphora is the time to solemnly leave the House of God. Any type of loud conversation and laughter in church is forbidden especially when people who are reading the prayers after communion are trying to concentrate and pray. We are all happy to see each other and like to visit, and the perfect place for that is after church during coffee hour. Loud conversations in church before the liturgy starts and/or after the liturgy should never happen.
Throughout the Western and Eastern Christmas Seasons, please shop at our St. George the Great Martyr Bookstore (located in the lower level of our church) for hostess gifts, stocking-stuffers, and other lovely and meaningful gifts. Proceeds from the bookstore benefit our Church School children with Orthodox and faith-based gifts at Christmas, Easter and other occasions, and help defray costs of activities.
On Sunday, January 27, 2019, our parish will hold a St. Sava Celebration beginning with Holy Liturgy at 10 A.M. Then, the Slava Ritual with the cutting of the bread (kolač) in the St. George Social Center at 12:30 P.M. A luncheon and program will follow featuring our Church School students reciting Deklamacije. All St. George parishioners are kindly asked to attend.
Occasionally, we see dates in religious books, bulletin or calendars like June 4 / 17 or September 1 /14 and we may get confused about why we have two dates. The first number is the church calendar date and the second is the date according to our old Julian calendar, which is always 13 days behind. The celebration of the Birth of Jesus Christ is December 25 /January 7. This means the church calendar states the Nativity of Christ is December 25, which is true but for us who follow the Julian calendar December 25 is actually January 7, again because we are 13 days behind.