Harvey Hesse

Church Address 125 Academy Street Belleville, NJ 07109

December 2010 letter

Dear brethren,  A few days ago we began the Nativity fast, which runs until Christmas. This fast is to celebrate the Incarnation of the Word of God, who took the body of our humanity, and was born of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God. We believe it is appropriate here to recall some sayings of the holy church fathers on the Incarnation and the birth of Jesus Christ:

v     “God saw that mankind worshiped created things, so He did not attract us by force, but wore created flesh to capture us by what is from our image. Blessed is He who came into what is of us and engaged us in that which is His. You are born of humanity physically, and humanity was born from you spiritually …” (St. Ephraim the Syriac).

v     “Divine plant is the Word of God, who dwelt in the womb of St. Mary the Mother of God, and He dwells in each believing soul to be born from Him spiritually which is salvation” (St. Makarios).

v     “God has become a man so that man can become Divine” (St. Athanasius).

v     “The wise men were the first of gentiles. Shepherds were the Israelis and the Magi gentiles, the former are relatives and later far, and both went quickly to the “cornerstone”. Christ was not revealed to the wise or the righteous … because ignorance was a dominant feature of the shepherds, and non-righteousness on the Magi. But the “cornerstone” collected both to Himself, He came to choose the ignorant, and to call sinners to repentance …” (St. Augustine).

v     “Magi searched for Him, and when they found Him in the manger, they gave Him their sacrifices in silence, rather than to engage themselves in invalid arguments. You also search for Him, if you find Him, open your treasures and offer Him your deeds, rather than drowning in a sea of troubling questions” (St. Ephraim the Syriac).

May this holy fast be a blessing to our lives and our church, keep our brothers in Egypt safe from all evil, and give support and health to our beloved father Pope Shenouda.

For the church news, we would like to remind you that the feast of the martyrdom of St. Mercurius the intercessor of our church will be on Saturday, December 4. On this occasion, the service will be as follows:

1)     Vesper prayers on Friday, December 3 at 7.30 pm followed by a spiritual night and mass.

2)     Mass on Saturday, December 4: the first Saturday in month (English mass) at 8.30 am

3)     Vesper prayer on Saturday, December 4 at 7.30 pm in the presence of HG Bishop David who will anoint the relics of St. Mercurius.

4)     The Divine Liturgy on Sunday, December 5 at 8.30 am headed by HG Bishop David.

Please remember the church, the priests, the servants and their services always in your prayers, and may the blessings of St. Mary and St. Mercurius and the blessing of the Nativity fast be with us always, Amen.