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 have a brother or a sister or maybe a cousin? What do you do with him or her? You probably play together, eat together, read together, talk together, work on things together, and more! But what’s the most important thing you do together?
In today’s Gospel reading, we hear about two brothers who were working together. Peter and Andrew were fishermen, and they were helping each other throw a fishing net into the sea. Jesus came to these two brothers and said, “Follow me,” and they did follow Him. They left everything and followed the Lord!
The apostles Peter and Andrew had probably done a lot of things together in their lives. They probably played together too. They talked together, ate together, lived together, and more. But what was the most important thing these two brothers did together? They followed our Lord, Jesus Christ!
When you are together with your family, you do lots of things, but the most important thing you do together is to follow Christ. Always remember that you and your brothers or sisters or cousins can help each other grow close to Christ together—just like Saints Peter and Andrew did in today’s Gospel!
FOLLOWING CHRIST IN CHINA: THE HOLY NEW MARTYRS OF CHINA
Where do saints come from? Well, from all over the world! People all over the world have loved our Lord, Jesus Christ very much, and that is exactly how somebody becomes a saint.
Tomorrow we celebrate the nameday of a group of saints from China. A little more than a hundred years ago, the Orthodox Church in China began to grow and grow. Faithful Orthodox Christians from Russia went to China to teach the people about the one, true faith. Then the Church began to grow even more.
Sadly, not long after that, a big fight happened in China. Some Chinese people did not like things that didn’t seem Chinese. This Orthodox faith seemed like a new thing to them. So, these rebels did some awful things to the Orthodox Christians in China. They burnt down their churches, and they burnt down their houses. They even killed many of the Orthodox Christians there, including the priest, Father Mitrophan, and his family. These Chinese Orthodox Christians are saints because they loved God so much. They said they were on Jesus’s side, even though they knew they would be hurt and even killed.
But remember, we celebrate these saints tomorrow, because now they are with Christ forever!
We celebrate these saints of China on Monday, June 11 (June 24, 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: Bible Odyssey
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