Presvytera Alexandra Houck created The Children's Word bulletin so children will know they are not only welcome in church, but even more, an essential part of the Church family. She hopes the weekly bulletin will be just one more way we can make kids feel at home in church. Presvytera Alexandra is a graduate of Duke University and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. Her husband, Fr. Jason Houck, is a priest at St. Mary's Greek Orthodox Church in Minneapolis, MN. Presvytera Alexandra and Fr. Jason have three small children: Lydia, Paul, and Silas. Presvytera Alexandra grew up attending Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Asheville, North Carolina with her nine siblings.
Have you ever found some money on the ground? Maybe a coin or two in the dirt, or a dollar bill on the floor somewhere? Most people would get excited about that, and they would snatch that money up!
Today we hear a Gospel reading about something else that’s valuable! The story we hear is about a rich man who lived a very easy and comfortable life: good food, good drink, a fancy house, lots of servants to help with anything he wanted. At his gate, another man, named Lazarus, lived. He lived a very hard life: no food, no drink, no shelter, nobody to help him. This story is about how God wants us to help people who need help. But that rich man wouldn’t help poor Lazarus. He kept all his wealth to himself.
The wonderful Saint John Chrysostom wrote lots of sermons about this parable. He knew how important it is to help the poor and needy. St. John told his listeners that, over and over again! In one sermon, St. John calls poor Lazarus “a pearl in the mud.” You know, a pearl is something so valuable. It is like a jewel, and it’s worth a lot of money. This poor Lazarus (and other needy people too!) are like “pearls in the mud,” because even when they don’t look that way, they are valuable to us. When we help them, we grow closer to God. And that’s the most valuable thing in the world!
So, we might be happy to find a quarter on the ground. But let’s be extra happy to have a chance to help the poor too!
SAINT NEKTARIOS: THE HEALER OF CANCER
Did you know that saints really do understand our problems? How can they understand? Because they lived here on earth, too. Sometimes they even had some of our same problems, too!
Many, many people love Saint Nektarios. This saint died almost 100 years ago. When he was alive, St. Nektarios started a convent, a place where nuns could live and pray. The nuns loved him very much, and they were so sad when the saint died. “Who will take care of us now?” they asked. But then the nuns found out something. Bishop Nektarios was still with them, and he was still helping them! Now he was helping them from heaven.
Saint Nektarios still helps us, too. You can pray to him for lots of things. Lots of people pray to him to help against the terrible disease of cancer. St. Nektarios listens to these prayers especially, because he suffered from the same disease! He asks God to heal people from cancer, or to take away some pain. You can pray to St. Nektarios, so he will ask God to help the sick person in some way.
You can read about many, many miracles that St. Nektarios has given, by the power of God. If you know somebody who suffers from this disease, you can ask our loving saint to help!
We celebrate St. Nektarios this Friday, November 9th (Nov. 22nd, OC)
Welcome to “The Children’s Word,” a weekly ministry of the Orthodox Christian Network. Each week, Presvytera Alexandra Houck writes this little newsletter for young parishioners! You will find age-appropriate articles, stories, and activities in every edition. The newsletter is provided in PDF format so that you can easily download and print it, and share it with your parish, church school, homeschool, family, and friends.
Each issue includes a message on the Sunday Gospel lesson and on one of the saints for the week. You’ll also find a coloring page and other activities. It is designed for a 8.5 x 14 page, so it can be printed and folded.
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