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 been sad about something, and somebody tried to make you feel happier? That is a very nice thing for somebody to do!
In today’s Gospel reading, we hear about a woman in a very sad situation. She had a right to be sad! She was a widow, so her husband had died. But in the story, her own son had died too. You can imagine that she was very sad. But can you guess Who came to comfort the poor woman?
The Gospel tells us that Jesus came to this city where the woman lived, and “He had compassion on her and said to her, ‘Do not weep.’” “Don’t cry.” He touched her son’s body, and He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” Then, the young man sat up and spoke. Our Lord had raised him up from being dead.
Of course, we know that there is a lot of sadness in the world. But our Lord Jesus Christ came to take away that sadness. He came to make us feel happier…not just today, but forever! He came to bring us real joy!
In the Gospel today, we hear how the people in the story were all so sad at first, but at the end of the story, they glorified God. They were amazed and joyful. God wants to give this joy to us too. Let’s pay attention to all the wonderful things He does for us!
SAINT JONAH OF HANKOW, CHINA: Protector of Orphans
Have you ever felt sorry for yourself? Maybe you had a bad day. Maybe you have problems at home or at school. Maybe you felt sorry for other reasons, too.
Saint Jonah lived about a hundred years ago. He had lots of reasons to feel sorry for himself. He lost both of his parents when he was just eight. Later on, Jonah became a monk in an important monastery in Russia. But, when he was there, a big revolution made things awful for him. The communists, who were in charge, didn’t like Christians. They beat him up, made him sick, and sent him to prison.
Saint Jonah finally was freed from prison, and he left Russia. He went to Northern China to get away from it all. When he was there, he could have felt sorry for himself. Things weren’t good. But Saint Jonah knew he had work to do. He wanted to help the people there. He wanted to tell them about Jesus Christ. He built an orphanage for poor, orphan kids to live in. He built a school to teach them. He built a dining hall to feed them.
Saint Jonah reminds us that when things are hard for us, we can still do work for God and His church and His people! Sometimes, the hard things in our lives can help us make things easier for people who have hard times too. Remember, Saint Jonah was an orphan, and he helped orphans!
We celebrate St. Jonah tomorrow, Monday, Oct. 7th (Oct. 20, 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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