August 2009 letter
August is the month of the fast of Virgin Mary, which we all look forward for, remembering the celebration of the holy vespers which includes the hymns and praises for the mother of God. The fast ends with the feast of assumption of her body on August 22nd (Misra 16th). We would like to take this opportunity to remind you of the 7 feasts that our church celebrates for Saint Mary, which are in the following order according to the Coptic calendar:
1) The feast of the entrance of Saint Mary into the temple in Jerusalem on December 12th (Kiahk 3).
2) The feast of her departure on January 29th (Tubah 21). According to the tradition our Lord Jesus Christ came to her with a host of thousands and thousands of angels, and comforted her. Then she gave up her pure spirit in the hand of her Son and God, and He took her spirit to the heavenly mansions after she blessed the disciples who were waiting around her.
3) The feast of her apparition in the church of Zeiton on April 2nd (Baramhat 24th), in the year 1968.
4) Her birthday on May 9th (first of Bashans).
5) the commemoration of the first church to be built in the name of the Virgin Lady in the city of Philippi on June 28th (Baunah 21st).
6) The Annunciation of St. Joachim with her birth on August 13th (Misra 7th).
7) The assumption of her body on August 22nd (Misra 16th), when the disciples discovered that her tomb was empty, they fasted and prayed and finally on this day it was revealed to them.
In addition, we commemorate St. Mary on the 21st of each Coptic month.
As the yearly tradition, our church will have daily vespers and hymns in the second week of her fast, and enclosed is the schedule of masses during the two weeks as well as the topics of vespers’ sermons. This year we have chosen to discuss the verse “I am …”.
As for our church news, we finalized the renovation of the bathrooms, and started construction in a second crying room in the church to fit the increasing number of children.
Asking your prayers for our church, the priest, servants and all its services and activities, may the blessing of St. Mary and St. Mercurius be with us all. Amen.
Fr. Youssef Halim
Belleville, August 1, 2009