November 2007 letter
As November approaches, we anticipate many joyful events:
1) Thanksgiving on the 4th Thursday of the month.
2) The beginning of the Nativity fast.
3) The celebration of the martyrdom of the Saint Abu Sefein.
Joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Gal 5: 22-23). Those who experience it also experience Jesus’ work and salvation in their lives. If the source of joy is external and not from the Holy Spirit living inside us, then our Lord Jesus would not have said, “And your joy no one will take from you” (John 16: 22), for then all of our hardships would easily remove the joy from us.
Saint Paul’s epistle to the Philippians was filled with joy and the word “joy” and its derivatives were repeated up to 16 times. Surprisingly this epistle was written from his jail in Rome. He even says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” (Phi 4: 4). Where dose this joy come from during this very hard time of his? Saint Paul explained in this epistle, “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death” (Phi 3: 10). This is the cause of his joy that he bears suffering with Christ who suffered for us, in his imprisonment and pain for others he is likened to Christ who bore the pain for all people. May our Lord fill our hearts and homes with spiritual holy joy, so that the world and all its troubles would not remove it from us.
For our church news, as we informed you in the last letter about the house for sale next to the church. Through the blessings of Saint Mary and Saint Mercurius we bought the house on October 18th with loans from the loving congregation which we will return them in set time as promised. Attached is a picture of the new house and an invitation by college youth to support this project, which they take as their responsibility for the service of the church. To support their efforts the yearly banquet will be held on Sunday, November 18, and a festival in celebration of St. Mercurius on: 24th & 25th of November, and 1st & 2nd of December.
We are also approaching the feast of the great martyr St. Philopateer Mercurius the intercessor of our church, which is celebrated on the 25th of Hatour (December 5th). We will celebrate it on Saturday, December 1st, with vesper prayers in the presence of H.G. Bishop David, as His Grace will anoint the relics of St. Mercurius. The following day, His Grace will pray the Holy mass on this occasion.
Please remember the church, the priest, the servants and their services always in your prayers, and may the blessings of St. Mary and St. Mercurius be with us always, Amen.
Fr. Youssef Halim
Belleville, November 1, 2007