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 had a birthday party and invited some of your friends? Who was on your list? Were they all from your class or sports team? Were they all boys or all girls? Did they all live in your same town? Chances are, your friends had something in common with each other.
In today’s Gospel reading, we hear about a Roman authority who came to find Jesus. His servant was sick, and he knew Jesus could heal him. He didn’t expect Jesus to come and touch the sick man. He knew He could just say the word, and he would be healed! He really had great faith, but the funny thing was that the Roman authority wasn’t even Jewish, like Jesus was! That’s why Jesus praised this man: “Truly, I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.”
When you have a party, you usually invite people like you, but our Lord invites everybody to be with Him. He says, in the Gospel today, “Many will come from east and west…in the kingdom of heaven.” Heaven will be full of all types of people, because our Lord invites them all. God invites us all, but remember, we have to take His invitation! We take His invitation when we follow our Lord. We take His invitation when we believe in Him, like the man in the Gospel today!
SAINT JUVENALY: THE FIRST MARTYR IN AMERICA
Have you ever noticed that we celebrate a saint’s nameday? Usually, it’s the day that the saint died (so you’d think you’d be sad), but we celebrate. We’re happy! That’s because we know the person is with Christ, our Lord. So we know he or she is happy too!
Today we celebrate a saint who lived here in America (in Alaska, but before Alaska was part of the United States). Saint Juvenaly
was a priest and monk who came from Russia to teach people about Jesus Christ. He worked very hard…in a very hard place to live. Thousands of native Eskimos came to believe in Christ, and they were baptized. Sometimes, Juvenaly would go to a village, and the native people there would believe in our one, true God right away. Other times, they would not believe. Sometimes they would even get angry at Juvenaly and the other missionaries. They would send him away.
In the year 1796, Juvenaly was killed by some of the native people. Nobody knows for sure what happened, but we do know that Ju-venaly was killed because of his faith in God. He is called a martyr.
The hymn for Saint Juvenaly starts like this, “Today Alaska rejoices and America celebrates.” That’s because we know Saint Juvenaly is celebrating too…life with Jesus Christ forever!
We celebrate the feastday of Saint Juvenaly on July 2nd (July 15th OC).
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