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.
Can you think of a time you needed somebody’s help? Maybe you asked for help with school work, or tying your shoes, or carrying something heavy. We ask for help when we know somebody else is better than we are at something—with school work, with tying our shoes, or carrying things.
Today is the great feastday of Pentecost. Today’s the day we remember how our God gave His Holy Spirit. God the Father promised He would send a helper after Jesus had left the world and gone to heaven. This helper is the Holy Spirit!
Our Helper (the Holy Spirit) is God Himself. And our Helper is better than we are at lots of things. Our Helper, the Holy Spirit, will help us when we feel kind of weak. The Holy Spirit helps us to pray and to stay strong in our faith. The Holy Spirit helps us to learn more about God. The Holy Spirit helps us remember about our Lord, Jesus Christ, so we can try to be like Him too.
We can ask for help from our Helper, the Holy Spirit. Do you know that we have a special prayer to the Holy Spirit? It starts, “Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth…” When we pray that prayer, we are asking for help from the Holy Spirit!
SAINT JOHN OF USTIUG: A “FOOL FOR CHRIST”
You probably have never heard of Ustiug. It’s in Russia, 12 hours north of Moscow. Today, if you’ve heard of it, it’s probably because of this saint, Saint John of Ustiug.
Saint John was a kind of saint called a “fool for Christ.” Usually, it’s not good for somebody to act like a fool. But some saints really acted like fools. Some of them tried to act crazy. Some of them did silly things. Saint John prayed all through the night. Then, when the town woke up, Saint John walked around the town. No shoes. Hardly any clothes. Sleeping in garbage.
It wasn’t a surprise that people laughed at him and made fun of him. But the people noticed Saint John, didn’t they? And that was the whole point of being a “fool for Christ.” They noticed him, and some people learned that the most important thing was to be close to Christ—not clothes, not money.
Even though people laughed at Saint John, God did not laugh! God gave Saint John the gift of healing. Lots and lots of miracles happened because of Saint John’s prayers. After he died, people told stories of things the saint had done for them, and there is a special church service especially to Saint John.
We celebrate St. John on Tuesday, May 29th (June 11th, 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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