November 2006 letter
November of each year marks the start of the Nativity fast; which starts on the 25th of the month, as well as Kiahk’s night praises with its joyful hymns.
This year, Nativity fast starts right after thanksgiving. It’s very pleasant to thank God for His many blessings that we have experienced throughout the year, reminding ourselves with the saying of one of the fathers: “no blessing is without abundance except the one without thanks”. That is why the church, guided by the Holy Spirit, has taught us to start all of our prayers and services with the prayer of thanksgiving. This is an important teaching that we should apply to our personal life as: starting our day and work by the thanksgiving prayer. Also, we shouldn’t go to sleep without thanking the Lord for all of his blessings that He granted us, our families, and our loved ones during the day. By this, we will be practically obeying what St. Paul said: “giving thanks always for all things to God the Father” (Eph. 5: 20).
We also thank our Lord for granting health to our beloved Pope Shenouda after his surgery in Cleveland, and for his safe arrival to Egypt to celebrate his 35th anniversary on November 14th. May the Lord grant him good health and keep him for us many years to come.
We will soon celebrate the feast of St. Mercurius, the intercessor of our church. On Saturday December the 2nd, we will have vespers with the presence of H.G. Bishop David who will anoint the relics of the martyr. The following day His Grace will also pray the Sunday liturgy with us. On December the 4th (feast day), we will have liturgy from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. May God bless us with the prayers of our martyr.
During the Nativity fast, liturgy schedule will be as follows: Wednesdays from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., Fridays from 4:00 to 6:30 p.m., in addition to the English teaching liturgy on the first Saturday of the month from 8:30 to 11 a.m..
About our church news, the baptism room is ready, and H.G. Bishop David has baptized in it for the first time last month.
Please remember the church, its priest and all its servants and services always in your prayers. May the blessings of St. Mary, St. Mercurius, and the coming fast be with us all.
Fr. Youssef Halim
Belleville, November 14, 2006