An Enormous Thank You to Greg and his Taste of Greece Management Team, all the Volunteers, Vendors, and other Workers, and of course to everyone who attended to make our 2022 Festival a Huge Success!

News

Archdiocesan & Chicago Metropolis news of the Greek Orthodox Church of America

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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.

Choir Rehearsals Resume, Wednesday September 21, 2022, 6:30 – 8:00pm, Choir Loft

Current members… ASSEMBLE!
Prospective members… do you sing well, do you read music, do you play well with others? Two out of three? You may be worthy! Please go to our Choir Page for scheduling, policies, general information, and contact [email protected] ASAP!

Intro to Orthodox Christianity Catechism Class – Tuesdays, Sept 13 – Nov 29, 2022, 7-9pm

The Minnesota Eastern Orthodox Christian Clergy Association (MEOCCA) hosts two 12-week catechism classes throughout the year beginning in September and January. Fall 2022 classes will be held on Tuesday evenings in-person or online via Zoom. For Fall 2022 Class Info and Registration, view and download the Class Schedule & visit the MEOCCA website.

Church School Begins on September 18, 2022

Church School begins with family worship in Divine Liturgy at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday mornings. The students proceed to class following Holy Communion. Classes end at 11:30.

Our program strives to educate our most precious resource, our children. Students are taught about our Orthodox faith including teachings of our Lord, prayers, hymns, doctrine and the lives and teachings of the saints and holy fathers and mothers.

Infants through 2 year olds have a short class in the nursery along with their parents. 3 year olds through 12th grade meet in classrooms on the southwest side of the church. Classes are held September through May. There is no fee, however, we ask that families join as pledging members of St Mary’s. Register Students HERE.

Growing Young Assessment: Telos Gamma – Please complete the online survey by Sunday September 18, 2022

In order to help us better understand the culture of our church, we are inviting all parish members to complete this brief online survey. This survey is based on the work of the Fuller Youth Institute, specifically the research presented in the book Growing Young: Six Essential Strategies to Help Young People Discover and Love Your Church. Your participation and feedback are greatly appreciated!

National Church Music Sunday, October 2, 2022

National Church Music Sunday is a day we set aside particularly to honor the contributions of local Choir Members, Psaltai, and Music Educators who serve their churches through the hymnology of our Orthodox Church. In addition, it is a day when we recognize the work of the diocesan Choir Federations as well as the National Forum of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians, who through their music ministry, strive to enhance the development of church choirs, church musicians, and liturgical music at diocesan and archdiocesan levels.

Mission Take Heart to Visit St. Mary’s – Sunday October 2, 2022 after Liturgy.

Are you interested in learning more about Orthodoxy around the world? Join us on Sunday, October 2, after Liturgy, for a Missions and Outreach brunch with two presenters from Mission Take Heart and 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.

Please RSVP for this brunch by contacting David in the Church Office. To learn more about Mission Take Heart, please visit their website.

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

Philoptochos will provide dinner for FOCUS Minnesota guests-in-need on Sunday, October 2, and invites all interested parishioners to participate. FOCUS reports that 200 to 250 meals are being served each Sunday evening, punctuating the need in the community at large. We will serve Greek chicken, potatoes or rice, carrots, a tossed salad, rolls, and cookies. Volunteers will prepare the entrée, vegetable, and salad in St. Mary’s kitchen on Saturday and Sunday. We are  asking for donations of rolls and cookies to be dropped off either October 1 or 2 in the kitchen. Our volunteer/donation request is as follows:

  • 7 volunteers to prepare the entrée, salad and vegetable in St. Mary’s kitchen on Saturday, October 1.
  • 7 volunteers to finish baking the entrée and vegetable and prepare the salad on Sunday, October 2.
  • 6 volunteers to bring 4 dozen rolls to the kitchen on Saturday or Sunday, October 1 or 2.
  • 16 volunteers to bring 4 dozen cookies (homemade or store-bought) to the kitchen on Saturday or Sunday, October 1 or 2.
  • Up to 8 volunteers to transport food, dish out food and serve dining guests at FOCUS HQ in St Paul.

Please help if you can. Volunteer online SIGNUP HERE or at the Philoptochos table after Sunday liturgy. Please direct questions to Carol Smith, Chair, 952-210-8618, [email protected]

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 will be held Thursday, October 6, 7-8:30. This will be a hybrid event, with in-person discussion at church 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.

Family Camp, Friday October 7 – Sunday October 9, 2022

Family Camp takes place on October 7-9 at beautiful Camp Courage in Maple Lake, MN. Take a break from the world and spend time with Orthodox families from around the Twin Cities. Fr. Andrew Jaye and David Benson will share unique perspectives on a topic that could benefit us all…young and old! 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. Programming is available for children 4 and older. Registration is now closed.

Testimonial Dinner for Tessie Bourdamis, Saturday October 22, 2022, 6:30pm, Bloomington Hilton Hotel

Everyone is invited to attend the Testimonial Dinner for Tessie Bourdamis on Saturday, October 22, 6:30 p.m., at the Bloomington Hilton Hotel, 494 and France Ave S, Bloomington, MN 55437. Tessie is being honored as the National Daughters of Penelope, Penelope of the Year!

  • The cost is $60.00 per person. Please make your check payable to DOP Chapter 35
  • Mail your check to: A Legeros, 813 E 145th St, Burnsville, MN 55337-4623
  • Please RSVP no later than Friday, October 14

Blessing of the Animals, Saturday, October 29, 2022, 10:00am in South Parking Lot

God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good. —Genesis 1:25
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. You won’t want to miss it! All pets (and people) are welcome.

Philoptochos Sunday, October 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.

Stewardship Appreciation Glendi, November 12, 2022

Details will be coming soon!

Women’s Pilgrimage to St. Paisius Monastery. January 24-28, 2023

The Annual Pilgrimage to St. Paisius Monastery is set for Tuesday, January 24-Saturday, January 28. There is room for 11 (first come, first served). We fly to Phoenix and then take the 3½ hour drive to Monastery. The price, which includes airfare and ground transportation, is $550 (the price may go down based on how many attend). There is no charge for the monastery stay, but freewill donations are highly recommended. A firm commitment is needed by Wednesday, October 19. Please call Sandra Anderson, 612-940-8933, for more information and to make your reservation. Visit St. Paisius Monastery for more information about the monastery.

2023 Western Region Family Basketball Tournament, Dates TBD


St. Mary’s hopes to host in 2023, probably in February. The Hyatt Hotel will be able to host our participants.
Tournament Website

Recent Events

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).

Including:
• 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 FocusMN.org

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.