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 read stories about battles long ago? Do you know what a soldier would carry into battle? Special armor, a helmet, a belt, and more. All these things protect a soldier when he has to fight.
The epistle reading today tells us about all these things, but we hear about them in a different way. The epistle tells us to “put on the full armor of God” so that we can protect ourselves against all the bad things in the world. \
Saint Paul also tells us to “take up the shield of faith.” Do you know what a shield does? It blocks everything—the arrows, the bullets, the spears—so a soldier doesn’t get hurt! Sometimes we have to protect ourselves from bad things too.
When we have a strong faith in God, it’s like we have a shield! Our strong shield of faith protects us from temptations—wrong things we might want to do. Our strong field of faith keeps all that bad stuff away from us—like when we want to be mean to somebody, or laugh at something that isn’t good, or cheat, or be disrespectful, or watch a movie that isn’t right for us, or more. When we have a strong faith in God, all those things bounce right off! Our faith protects us from these temptations. So let’s try to have a strong shield!
SAINT PORPHYRIOS: “CHRIST IS OUR FRIEND!”
Have you ever been scared of somebody who turned out to be not so scary? A teacher? A priest? Even somebody who became your friend?
Today we celebrate a saint who died just 27 years ago. He was declared a saint just 5 years ago! Saint Porphyrios was a very humble man. He was very poor as a child, and only finished 2nd grade. But still, Saint Porphyrios was a very wise man because he had the wisdom of God!
Saint Porphyrios was a joyful man, even though he was in pain a lot. He knew that God wants us to be joyful too. God doesn’t want us to be scared of Him. Once, Saint Porphyrios said, “This is the way we should see Christ. He is our friend, our brother. He is whatever is good and beautiful. He is everything. Yet, He is still a friend and He shouts it out, ‘You’re my friends, don’t you understand that?…I am not threatening you. I love you. I want you to enjoy life together with me.’”
For 33 years, Saint Porphyrios worked as a priest in the little chapel at a hospital in Athens, Greece. He comforted many, many sick people there. He spoke to their families. He helped people who were even dying. And everywhere, Saint Porphyrios always gave them that good news from Christ: “I love you. I want you to enjoy life together with me.”
We celebrate St. Porphyrios Sunday, December 2nd (Dec. 15th, 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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