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.
Have you ever taken a train, or have you watched a train chugging down the tracks? A train has to stay on the tracks to get to where the people want to go.
Next week, we will start a journey too. Where do we want to go? We want to get to our Lord’s Resurrection on Pascha (Easter). We start Lent so that we can stay on track, so we can get to Pascha, and so we can grow closer and closer to God. We will pray more, go to church more, help each other more, and read our Bibles more, but hurt people less, and eat fancy foods less. We do these things so that we can stay on track. If we go off track, maybe we won’t get to where we want to go!
We know we want to stay on track and grow closer to God, but did you know we want to help other people to stay on track too? In today’s epistle reading, Saint Paul tells the new Christians to help other Christians stay on track too. Christians should help others grow close to God too. We have to always think about other people. We have to make sure we are setting a good example for others. We have to remember that other people might be watching us to see what we do and what we don’t do during Lent. So, let’s all try to stay on track this Lent, and we can help our friends stay on track too!
VALENTINE’S DAY IN JULY? ST. VALENTINE OF ROME
This week, you’ll probably have lots of heart-shaped candy, flowers, and balloons, but did you know Valentine’s Day is a feastday in our Orthodox Church? You and your school class will have your parties on February 14th, but our church celebrates this great saint on July 6th!
Who is St. Valentine, and why do we think of hearts and flowers and cards and love when we hear his name? Well, St. Valentine lived hundreds of years ago, in the 3rd century, in the city of Rome. We don’t know a lot about him, but here is one story about the saint.
Valentine lived during a time when many people lived as secret Christians. They had to hide their faith because if they didn’t, they would be hurt or killed by the emperor. One emperor, Emperor Claudius, made a rule that said that soldiers could not be married. He wanted the soldiers to be loyal to him, not to their wives and children.
St. Valentine, who was a priest, did not think that was fair. He secretly performed marriages for young Christians who wanted to get married. When Emperor Claudius found out about all this, he was furious! Before long, this evil emperor sentenced Valentine to die. St. Valentine was a great Christian, who knew what true love really is. He was happy that he would finally be with Christ in Heaven.
We celebrate St. Valentine in July, but we can remember him this week too!
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: English-Language Thoughts
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