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.
Do you ever think about what you want from God? It’s good to pray to God and ask Him for health, for strength, to help you be better at things. But did you ever wonder what God wants from YOU?
Today is the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee—You know, the day we hear the Gospel reading about the two men who went into the temple to pray. One of them was proud and bragging. The other (the one we want to be like) “would not even lift up his eyes to heaven…” but he said “God be merciful to me, a sinner!”
Not too long ago, a saintly and very humble man lived in Greece. His name was Elder Paisios (now he’s a saint). Lots of people knew he was a holy man, so they would ask him for advice. They wanted to know how they could become holy, too! St. Paisios would always tell people how important it was to be humble—like the man in the Gospel today.
“The only thing Christ is asking us is our humility. The rest is taken care of by His grace.” We don’t want to show off and try to make ourselves look great. We want to put others first. We want to be humble. That’s it! If we can be humble, God will take care of everything else. What God wants from YOU is that you are humble. God will help us with everything else!
Saint Ana of Novgorod: The Right Kind of Princess
Almost every little girl likes to talk about princesses—where they live, who they marry, what kind of fancy things they have. Tomorrow, we will remember a princess who used all of these things to show her love for God.
Saint Anna was born in Sweden, and her name was Ingegard at first. When she grew older, she married the Great Prince Yaroslav. He lived in Kiev (a city in Ukraine today) and he was a strong Christian, too. Anna and Yaroslav wanted the great city of Kiev to be a Christian city. They wanted the people to know about our one, true God. They built a huge and beautiful church called Saint Sophia’s Cathedral. It is right in the middle of the city, so people can’t miss it. Soon, lots of people were being baptized as Christians, too.
Saint Anna was a great mother too. She had 10 children and she taught them to love God, just like she loved Him, too. Later on, Saint Anna lived in another important city—Novgorod (which is now in Russia). She helped build a great church there too, along with her son, Prince Vladimir.
We celebrate St. Anna tomorrow, Feb. 10 (Feb. 23, 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.
Photo Credit: Pravmir.com
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