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 five small children: Lydia, Paul, Silas, Philip, and Sarah. Presvytera Alexandra grew up attending Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Asheville, North Carolina with her nine siblings.
Today we hear the Gospel story of the Prodigal Son. Do you remember that story? Do you remember the young man who left his family and wasted all of his money? But then do you remember what happened when he came home to his father?
Well, he threw a huge party! That father looked out and saw his son coming home. He ran out to meet him, and he said, “Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet; and bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry; for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.” Later we hear that there was lots of music and dancing!
This story shows us how our Lord wants us to turn back to Him, when we have done the wrong thing. We can always remember this story and the joy that the father has when his son comes back to him. Our Lord has that same joy for us! He wants us to be with Him. Even if we have done everything wrong (like the young man in the story), God is full of joy when we turn back to Him!
SAINT NICHOLAS PLANAS: A modern saint
Do you have a photograph of your patron saint? Probably not! Most of the saints of our Church lived before cameras were invented. But on Wednesday, we will celebrate the feastday of Saint Nicholas of Athens. And we do have a photograph of him! He died less than a hundred years ago, in 1932.
Saint Nicholas was a very simple priest. He wasn’t very well educated, but God loved Nicholas for his strong faith and his own love for God. St. Nicholas didn’t have much money, but when somebody would give him gifts or money, he would quickly give it to the first poor person he saw. So then, poor people would wait for him because they knew he was a generous man!
St. Nicholas served as a priest for more than 50 years, and he never missed a Liturgy! People knew that St. Nicholas was a holy man, so they asked him to pray for them. Nicholas would write the names down and stuff them in his pockets. Then at Liturgy, he would pray for thousands of people who asked for his prayers!
Now St. Nicholas is a saint in heaven, and he will still listen to our prayers, even if we all ask him for help!
We celebrate the nameday of St. Nicholas on Wednesday, March 2nd.
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