Newly Ordained Deacon Luke Randy Twito. AXIOS!


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.

St Mary’s Summer Camp – Saturday, July 2 – Friday, July 8, 2022
Eligible Campers are those entering 3rd – 12th school grade in the Fall of 2022

Summer Camp 2022 will be held at Camp Wapo from Saturday July 2nd to Friday July 8th 2022! Camp questions can be emailed to [email protected]

Day of Service (formerly Days for Girls), Wednesday, July 13, 2022, 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. Lecture Room
Please come 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. Questions? Contact Chair Sofia Johnson at [email protected] . Sponsored by St Mary’s Philoptochos.

Summer Reading Book Club for Junior GOYAns (Rising 6th – 8th graders)
Wednesday, August 17, 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. If a Junior GOYAn is interested in reading the book, please sign up on this Google Form.

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. RSVP to [email protected] by Aug 10.

Taste of Greece, September 9-11, 2022
Philoptochos is managing the bake sale once again. Baking Dates are listed in the weekly bulletin and e-mails; everyone is welcome to come for part or some of the days to assemble, bake, and enjoy great fellowship. Volunteer at the Philoptochos table during the Sunday coffee hours or watch for our online volunteer link.

  • Saturday, July 9 – Melomakarona
  • Thursday and Friday, August 4 and 5 – Koulourakia
  • Tuesday, August 23 – Frying Thiples
  • Friday, September 2 – Honeying Thiples

Bake sale chairs are Cathy Forchas and Paulette Hastings. Let them know your bake sale ideas.
Taste of Greece Website.

Men’s Retreat at the Karos’ Cabin, September 16-18, 2022
We are excited to be back with our St. Mary’s Men’s Retreat at the Karos’ cabin! This retreat is for all men at St. Mary’s over the age of 18. We are also pleased to announce that Father Tim Sas will be joining us for the weekend. This can be a beautiful time of year up north. God willing, we will have good weather to fish, hike, play tennis, basketball, pickle ball, and have our annual bonfire. We can also hang out, read, and simply have fellowship with one another. We will be using tents if there is over-flow from the cabin, organized by Andy Theodotou.

  • Your check for $75, made out to St. Mary’s (memo: men’s retreat), confirms your spot for the weekend. First come, first served.
  • Speaker TBD.

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

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
Pre-K (4 years old) through 12th Grade.
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.

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
6:30-9:00 pm, Food! Music! A Celebration of Our Work!
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.