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Bishop Neofitos Kongai Presentation, Sunday, May 28, 2023

Bishop Neofitos Kongai will be visiting St. Mary’s on Sunday, May 28, and will celebrate the Liturgy. Afterwards he will offer a brief talk and slide show on his newly-formed Orthodox Diocese of Eldoret and Northern Kenya. His Grace is raising awareness and financial and spiritual support for the diocese and its philanthropic work.

Neophytos Kongai was born in 1970 in the village of Kesengei, in the Nandi district of Kenya. He holds a degree from the “Archbishop Makarios III” Patriarchal Academy in Kenya. He was ordained Deacon on 13 September 1998 and Priest on 27 of the same month from the then Metropolitan Seraphim of Kenya, now of Zimbabwe and Angola. On 27 February 2005, he was consecrated as Archimandrite by His Eminence Makarios of Kenya. In the same year he was awarded a post graduate title in Theological Studies from the Theological College of the Holy Cross in Boston. In 2007 he was tonsured a monk at the Holy Monastery of the Transfiguration in Veroia.

2023 Chicago Metropolis Junior Olympics, Sat/Sun, May 27-28

St. Mary’s brings a group of Senior GOYAns to the Junior Olympics every year. The Junior Olympics of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago dates back to 1981 and has grown into the largest single gathering youth in the Metropolis, filled with family-friendly activities. From its inception, the Junior Olympics has been hosted by SS. Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church, Palos Hills, IL. The 2023 Junior Olympics will be held at SS. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church and Stagg High School, Palos Hills, IL. Parish participation forms will be due by April 21, 2023, and online individual registrations will be due by May 22, 2023.

    Vacation Church School, Mon-Fri, June 12-16, 2023, 8:45 AM – Noon
    The Fruits of the Spirit

    Join us for a fun-filled tropical adventure as we learn about the wonderful fruits that the Holy Spirit gives us. We will have crafts, singing, gym activities, snacks, and interesting lessons! Questions: Contact Dena Tortorelis or Krissa Rovolis or email [email protected]

    • For ages 4 yrs old (and potty trained) through going into 6th grade.
    • Middle/High School students and Adults needed to help.
    • Register HERE.
      Oratorical Festival Logo
      CONNECT Orthodox Young Adult Conference, Fri Sept 29-Sun Oct 1, 2023 Mpls

      The Connect Conference is for Orthodox young adults in their 20s and 30s. Through learning, fellowship, and worship, the goal of the conference is to better connect us to our faith, the Church, and each other. Format includes keynote addresses, breakout sessions, worship times, and fellowship.

      • Conference Theme: Christ’s offer of Refuge. “Come to Me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
      • Presenters: Mother Macrena, Dan Christopulos, Fr Joshua Makoul, Fr Seraphim Majmudar.
      • Registration opens July 17, 2023
      • Location: Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel
      • Sign up for our mailing list, or connect with us on Facebook and Instagram

      News & Events at St. Mary’s

      Check the monthly Messenger, weekly Church Bulletin, and Church calendar for all upcoming events. Below are some special major events that we have planned.

      Memorial Day Cemetery Service, Lakewood Cemetery, Sunday May 28, 2023, 12:30 PM

      Service at St. Mary’s section. Write down names to commemorate. Note Time Change!

      Greek Dance Practice Resumes in June 2023, Mondays, 6:00 PM

      Greek Dance practice will resume in June and continue through the summer months with the final rehearsal in September before Taste of Greece. All youth of St. Mary’s ages 6 to 18, plus any Greek Dance young adult alumni are welcome to join and perform at the festival, Sept 8-10. Please contact Tessie Bourdamis by May 31 to register students or for more information.

      Summer Camp 2023, Saturday, July 1 to Friday, July 7, Camp Wapo

      Summer Camp is hosted by St. Mary’s Greek Orthodox Church in Minneapolis, MN, and welcomes Pan-Orthodox participation in attendance, staffing and in the planning of our programs.

      • Who: Campers entering 3rd – 12th school grade in the Fall of 2023
      • Where: Camp Wapo
      • When: Saturday, July 1 to Friday, July 7 2023

      The 2023 Summer Camp Scholarship Essay Contest is open to our entire Pan-Orthodox Community entering grades 6-12. Two Camp scholarship rebate coupons will be awarded in memory of Presvytera Mary Coniaris and James H. Zubulake. Camp registration fees will be rebated to two contest winners following Summer Camp. If you have received a scholarship from your parish, you may still compete. If you win the scholarship, your prize will be applied to the scholarship account of your home parish and your great work will allow a young person in your parish to experience camp next year!

      Twins Game Outing, Sunday, July 23, 2023, Noon

      Grab your glove and come on out to the ball game! The Twins will be crushing the White Sox at 1:10 PM. St Mary’s will provide a bus to and from Target Field, departing from St Mary’s at Noon. Tickets are $32 and our seats are in Section 102. St Mary’s will purchase the tickets so we can all sit near each other, but you are responsible to reimburse St Mary’s for the ticket(s). This event is open to all parishioners! To reserve your spot, please RSVP to Jon Klein (Jon<at> by Sunday, June 25. Tickets are first come, first served, so don’t delay!

      Taste of Greece, Friday Sept 8 – Sunday Sept 10, 2023

      More information is available at the Minneapolis Greek Festival website.

      CONNECT Orthodox Young Adult Conference, Friday Sept 29 to Sunday Oct 1, 2023 in Minneapolis

      The Connect Conference is for Orthodox young adults in their 20s and 30s. Through learning, fellowship, and worship, the goal of the conference is to better connect us to our faith, the Church, and each other. The format of the conference includes keynote addresses to the group, breakout sessions in smaller groups with time for Q&A, worship times including the Divine Liturgy, and plenty of opportunities for fellowship.

      Go to the Connect Website for more information!

      Recent Events

      Church School (K-12) Fall Festival, Sunday, October 30, 11:30 am -1:00 pm

      Calling all K-12th graders! Join us for a Fall Festival with games, crafts, and a lot of fun in the Terrace Room during the General Assembly!

      Philoptochos Sunday, Oct 30, 2022

      On Sunday, Oct 30, Philoptochos will celebrate Patron Saints Cosmas and Damion with an artoclasia, a special collection for the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and by hosting the social hour.

      Blessing of the Animals, Saturday, Oct 29, 2022, 10:00 AM in South Parking Lot

      Gather up the pets, grab the kids, and come to the church on Saturday, October 29, for the Blessing of the Animals at 10:00 a.m. in the south parking lot. We’ll begin with a beautiful service of blessing, followed by treats and  socializing.

      Guest Speaker for Heartland Girls' Ranch, Tuesday, October 25, 7:00 PM

      Everyone is invited to the  Philoptochos meeting to hear our guest speaker from Heartland Girls’ Ranch, a residential group home in Benson, MN. The ranch provides housing, supportive services, mental health support, equine (horse) and other therapeutic programming and a dedicated school for girls.

      Orthodox Game League Night, Saturday, October 22, 7:00 PM, Lecture Room

      Do you enjoy playing cards and/or board games? Join the gang on Saturday, October 22, 7:00 pm, in the Lecture Room for fun and fellowship with fellow Orthodox Christians from throughout the Metro area. Please bring a snack to share. Beverages will be furnished. Contact Nikki Beauchamp with any questions.

      Sr GOYA Service Project, Wed Oct 12, 2022, 6:15-8:00 pm

      Senior GOYA Service Project; meet at the Wehr House. Fun, food, and fellowship. Be sure to bring warm clothing for outdoor activities!

      Family Camp, Fri Oct 7 – Sun Oct 9, 2022

      Family Camp took place on October 7-9 at beautiful Camp Courage in Maple Lake, MN. Fr. Andrew Jaye and David Benson shared unique perspectives on prayer! Family Camp is a great way to introduce young campers to the idea of camping and a great chance to reacquaint campers to summer camp friends.

      Women’s Book Club Discussion, Thursday October 6, 2022, 7:00-8:30pm, In-Person at Church or Remote Call-in

      The Women’s Book Club discussion of Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis was held Thursday, October 6, 7:00-8:30pm. This was a hybrid event, with in-person discussion at church in the Fireside Room, and a call-in option for remote participation. All women are welcome. To have your name added to the list, contact Katherine Boosalis ([email protected]). The book is available for purchase in the church bookstore.

      Philoptochos to Cook & Serve a FOCUS Dinner, Sunday Oct 2, 2022

      Philoptochos cooked & served dinner for FOCUS Minnesota guests-in-need on Sunday, Oct 2. FOCUS reports that 200 to 250 meals are being served each Sunday evening, punctuating the need in the community at large. We served chicken, pork, potatoes or rice, carrots, a tossed salad, rolls, and cookies. Carol Smith, Chair.

      Mission Take Heart to Visit St. Mary’s – Sunday Oct 2, 2022

      Missions and Outreach brunch with two presenters from Mission Take Heart. Learn how to help persecuted Christians get their businesses established once again by using training and micro loans. Serving the persecuted involves the entire body of Christ.

      Men’s Retreat at the Karos’ Cabin, September 16-18, 2022

      The St. Mary’s Men’s (age 18 and over) Retreat returned at the Karos’ cabin! Fr. Tim Sas joined us for the weekend. Weather dependent activities included fishing, hiking, tennis, basketball, pickle ball, and our annual bonfire. The Guest Speaker was Fr. Cyprian Sas, brother of Fr. Tim Sas.

      Altar Server Workshop, Sunday, August 28, 2022 after Divine Liturgy

      New and current altar boys met with Fr Tim and Fr Paul after Divine Liturgy for an orientation on preparing for and serving in the the altar.

      Twins Baseball Outing, Sunday, August 21, 2022

      Game Starts at 1:10 pm – Bus Leaves St Marys at 12:00 Noon. Grab your glove and come on out to see the Twins play the Rangers on Sunday, August 21, at 1:10 p.m.! St. Mary’s will provide a bus to and from Target Field, departing from St. Mary’s at 12:00 noon. The tickets are $20, which includes a hot dog and a soda, and are on a first come, first served basis.

      FOCUS Minnesota Festive Event, Thursday August 18 2022, 6:30 – 9:00pm

      Don’t miss this year’s FOCUS Minnesota’s annual Festive Event, celebrating 12 years of service to our community, at St. Mary’s Greek Orthodox Church. This year’s theme is Focus on the Heart – and the very heart of our shared ministry is the prayers and the support we receive from the church communities. Even through the last few difficult years, working together we have been able to steadfastly keep up our work, on behalf of our entire Orthodox community, to minister to the poor. Thank you so much. It would be an honor to see everyone at this event, to update you on the work of FOCUS, to share with the whole Orthodox community of the greater Twin Cities what they have been able to accomplish with God’s abundant mercy and blessings, and the support of the churches. Buffet with wine and beer bar.

      Twin Cities YAL Boat Cruise, Thursday Evening, August 18, 2022

      Young adults (ages 18-35) are invited aboard the Magnolia Blossom on Thursday evening, August 18, to dance the night away as we cruise down the Mississippi River!

      Summer Reading Book Club for Jr GOYAns (Rising 6th–8th gr) Wed, Aug17, 2022, 5:30-7:00pm

      All Junior GOYAns are welcome to join our Summer Reading Book Club led by Presvytera Alexandra Houck. The Junior GOYAns will be reading The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis and meet to discuss the book and examine the Christian messages within the book.

      The Dormition of the Theotokos Feast Day - Sun & Mon Aug 14&15, 2022

      Philoptochos will host both a Lenten meal after Vespers on Sunday evening, August 14, and the coffee hour after morning Liturgy on Monday, August 15. Please stop by our table after church on Sundays to volunteer to help at these events or provide treats for the morning reception and help us celebrate our parish feast day!

      Dormition Retreat - Sunday August 14, 2022

      Our Dormition Retreat for kids entering Kindergarten through 12th grade will take place on Sunday, August 14, from 10:45 AM (following Communion)-12:30 PM. This year the retreat will look a little different. Following Communion on Sunday, we will meet in the Terrace Room and breakout into a couple different groups where we will decorate the Kouvouklion, have a lesson about the Theotokos, and some hang time. A snack and light lunch will be provided.

      Women's Book Club - Thursday, August 4, 2022, 7:00 - 8:30pm. Lecture Room.

      The next book club discussion of The Forgotten Desert Mothers by Laura Swan will be Thursday, August 4, from 7:00-8:30 p.m., in the Lecture Room. The book is still available in the bookstore. If you’re unable to attend in person, we can set up a conference call to join the discussion. Please contact Katherine Boosalis or Dka. Alexandria Kalina to make this request.

      Taste of Greece Festival Volunteer T-Shirt Contest - Deadline July 31, 2022

      Hey kids! — Don’t miss out on the First Annual Volunteer T-Shirt Design Contest! Show off your creativity with your original design, drawing, or phrase of what you feel represents the Taste of Greece! View the flyer for more information.

      • The contest is open to youth in grades K-12.
      • Individual entries: one per person OR sibling entries: one per family.
      • Themes: Greek Heritage | Greece | St. Mary’s Church | Taste of Greece Festival.
      CrossRoad, July 23 - August 2, 2022, Chicago IL

      CrossRoad is a ten-day academic summer institute that prepares high school juniors and seniors to make big life decisions and invites them to connect with the Orthodox Christian theological and spiritual tradition in a deep and meaningful way.

      The Telos Parish Workshop, Sunday, July 17, 2022, 11:45a.m.-3:00 p.m. Terrace Room.

      Create a Beautiful Future with Young Adults at St. Mary’s!
      St. Mary’s is a part of the Telos Gamma Process to engage and energize young adults in our community. We invite all parishioners to this kick off workshop to give insights and reflect on what is unique and wonderful about St. Mary’s and imagine together how the parish can become a home where young adults thrive and contribute to the community. We will be catering a pastitsio lunch from It’s Greek to Me so please let us know how many to expect by Tuesday, July 12. We are also working to provide childcare during this workshop.

      The Telos Project Vision: The young adults in our parishes often struggle to understand why they should remain Orthodox, or even Christian. They wrestle with questions of identity, vocation, and relationships. They want to connect with the Orthodox Church, but they don’t always know how. To this end, we [the telos community team] are dedicating the next five years to discovering new ways of engaging young adults ages 23–29 in Orthodox parishes. Based out of the Office of Vocation & Ministry at Hellenic College Holy Cross, the Telos Project has invited fourteen pilot parishes to participate in Telos webinars, conferences, and other resources as they embark on designing new ministries for and with the young adults in their communities. These parishes, in turn, will share their learning with us and with the Church more broadly, helping shape Hellenic College Holy Cross curriculum and future leaders of the Church. Read more here.

      Day of Service (formerly Days for Girls), Wednesday, July 13, 2022, 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. Lecture Room

      Volunteers working for any portion of the day… Projects may include making pillowcases for Shriners Hospital and Reach and Restore, boxer shorts for FOCUS, pads for Days for Girls kits, and nightshirts for the Sojourner Battered Women’s Shelter. Many types of tasks will be needed. If you want to sew on your own machine, feel free to bring it. Contact Chair Sofia Johnson with questions. Sponsored by St Mary’s Philoptochos.

      St Mary’s Summer Camp – Saturday, July 2 – Friday, July 8, 2022

      Summer Camp 2022 was held at Camp Wapo .

      Vacation Church School – June 13-17, 2022

      This year we explored Superheroes-Super Saints! Classes were held each day from 8:45 am to 12:00 noon, Monday-Friday. VCS is always for children 4 years old (and potty trained) through those entering 6th grade in the fall. We had helpers/crew in 7th-12th grades as well as adults.

      YAL Spring Retreat – May 20-22

      The Twin Cities Y.A.L. hosted young adults at the 2022 Spring Retreat on May 20-22. Our theme of “Balance” was led by Steve Wehr.

      “Walk with Christ to the Cross” – St. Mary’s Holy Friday Retreat, Friday, April 22, 2022, 10:30 am – 1:20 pm

      An engaging day at Church in which children learned about Holy Week, the Crucifixion, and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

      • We had lessons, crafts, lunch, stations in the church, and gym time to help get the wiggles out – even the big kids!
      • Attended the Descent from the Cross Vespers beginning at 1:30 pm.
      • Pre-K (4 yrs old) – 12th Grade.
      Lazarus Saturday Family Service Day, Saturday, April 16

      • Matins – 9:00 a.m. • Divine Liturgy – 10:00 a.m.
      The Service Day projects followed a time of fellowship after Liturgy and included cleaning and preparing the church for Holy Week and plaiting palm crosses. It was a joy-filled day! At midday we joined together for a potluck lunch. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were provided for the kids.

      St John Chrysostom Oratorical & Fine Arts Festival – Sunday, April 10

      Four excellent presentions were delivered to St Mary’s congregation and judges following the Memorial Prayers of the Divine Liturgy. Talents in other categories were on display in the Great Hall. The Saint John Chrysostom Oratorical and Fine Arts Festival is a longstanding tradition that provides a unique opportunity for our youth both to learn about their faith and to display their talents in the areas of Speech, Essay, Poetry, Iconography and Vocal Solo (new category as of 2019). The winners in each category will advance to the Chicago Metropolis event which will be held Bright Saturday, April 30, 2022 from 9am-2pm at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, Milwaukee, WI. The Oratorical Committee members will introduce and judge the Speech and Vocal Solo categories on Bright Saturday. As in previous years, the Essay, Poetry and Iconography categories will be judged earlier that week.

      Fanari Retreat – Saturday, April 2, 2:00-8:00 p.m.

      5th-12th graders from the Minnesota Greek Orthodox churches came together to attend the Fanari Retreat. The retreat was a day in the life of camp, and included: worship, Orthodox Life, games, song night, and much more! This regional retreat had seven satellite locations (including here at St. Mary’s) throughout the Metropolis, each following their local COVID-19 guidelines. All 5th-12th graders were invited to attend. Following the retreat, the 5th-8th graders went home (8:00 p.m.), and the 9th-12th graders were invited to stay for a lock-in. We woke up in time to attend Orthros at 8:30 am, and the lock-in officially ended at the end of the Divine Liturgy.

      Camping Ministry Sunday, March 20

      Camping Ministry Sunday, the second Sunday of Great and Holy Lent. The primary purpose of this event to emphasize the impact of camping ministries for the Metropolis faithful, which are celebrating their anniversaries this year:
       St. Mary’s Camp (70 years)
       Fanari Camp (50 years).

      • Sharing the encyclical from His Eminence Metropolitan Nathanael
      • Having St. Mary’s Camp alumni briefly speak about the importance of Camping Ministry.
      • Hosting a table during the fellowship hour with materials about our upcoming Summer Camp at Camp Wapo July 2-8, 2022. Camp Staff will be on hand to answer any questions.

      Winter Camp, Friday, March 11 – Sunday, March 13, 2022

      Winter Camp at St. Croix with St. Mary’s OCA. The theme was Baptism and Salvation. We discussed the sacrament of Baptism and our Orthodox understanding of Salvation. Also enjoyed fun activities like body sledding down icey hills. For those in grades 6-12.

      Tuesday, December 14 – Senior Citizens’ Christmas Party

      The Christmas season was kicked-off with the Senior Citizens’ Christmas Party on Tuesday, December 14. Social time began with appetizers, punch, and wine. The lunch menu was salad, garithes with manestra (shrimp with manestra in a special tomato sauce), a special Christmas dessert, and coffee. Our own Elena Biessener performed holiday favorites and other delights. The afternoon concluded with Bingo, complete with prizes.

      December 12 – Farewell Luncheon Honoring Fr. George

      The Parish Council, Fellow Clergy, Church Staff, Philoptohos, and parishioners honored Fr. George for his dedicated service to St. Mary’s.  In just over seven years, Fr. George has impacted each of our lives and been a loving and faithful presence. We will miss him and his family and wish them continued joy as he begins his service at Holy Apostles in Westchester, Illinois.

      December 5 – Harvest Pack

      Parishioners packaged breakfast meals for food shelves following the Divine Liturgy. 

      Saturday, November 13 – Appreciation Glendi for Parishioners

      A fun time was had by all! In appreciation of your Time, Talent and Treasure, the St. Mary’s Parish Council and Stewardship Committee invited parishioners to this annual event of dinner, dancing and fellowship.

      Thursday, November 11 – Wine & Cheese Reception to Benefit IOCC

      Two powerful presentations! Please continue to support IOCC’s global humanitarian work. International Orthodox Christian Charities offers emergency relief and development programs to those in need worldwide, without discrimination, and strengthens the capacity of the Orthodox Church to so respond.

      Sunday, November 7 – Stewardship/Ministry Fair at St. Mary’s

      Please continue to learn about the many ministries of St. Mary’s supported by our stewardship commitments. There is something for everyone!

      Sunday, October 31 – Celebrate Fr. John’s 25th Year!

      This was a wonderful celebration of Father John’s 25 years in the Greek Orthodox priesthood on Sunday, October 31. Festivities included a lunch and program honoring Father John as spiritual leader, confidante, and friend to parishioners at St. Mary’s and parishes around the country.

      Saturday, October 30 – Blessing of the Animals

      Pets were blessed in the south parking lot at 10:00 am.

      Thursday, October 21 – FOCUS MN Fundraiser

      A wonderful evening together of reflection on the blessings the past year brought us and look to a future with continued service. For more information and how you can support, go to

      Sunday, October 3 – Luncheon with Bishop Neofitos

      Interested in supporting Bishop Neofitos in his work to build a building for a girls’ school or dig a well? Over $5,000 has been raised so far. Join us in supporting this worthy cause! Click here to make a donation via Venmo or our online giving site. Include a note that your donation is for “Bishop Neofitos.” You may also want to follow Bishop Neofitos’ good works on Facebook.

      Saturday, October 2 – Town Hall with Metropolitan Nathanael
      1:00 – 3:00 pm in the Great Hall. Join us as we welcome His Eminence to Minnesota for a discussion among the faithful. Live stream and in-person participation.