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 special job you do around the house? Maybe cleaning up the table after dinner, or picking up toys, or vacuuming the carpet? Maybe you do a job that is just for you, and other family members have other jobs just for them.
In today’s epistle reading, we hear about the very special jobs that the apostles had. We hear how the apostles were busy telling people about God, and about our Lord. They had an important job to spread the good news of our Lord’s resurrection.
But at the same time, the apostles also had another job to do, and that was to help the poor, giving them food and what they needed. They were so busy, that they couldn’t do it all! That’s why they gave some other people this special job. They picked seven men who loved God and were full of wisdom—the first deacons! These first seven deacons helped the poor and gave them what they needed. Then the apostles could keep doing their very important job too—spreading the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We all have special jobs to do, even at church. Let’s remember what the apostles did, and remember that each one is important!
THE PIRATE WHO BECAME A SAINT: SAINT BARBAROS
Sometimes kids like to pretend to be pirates, but real pirates are pretty scary. You wouldn’t want to meet one!
This week, we remember a pirate who became a saint! This saint was part of a fierce band of pirates who did their awful “work” around the Greek islands, Italy, and northern Africa. Finally, after many years of robbing, the people had had enough and they fought the pirates. This soon-to-be-Saint Barbaros was the only one who escaped. After that, he lived by himself for a while, and he still did awful things.
Once, he was going to destroy a little church called St. George, but when we went there, something else happened. The people were having Divine Liturgy, and this old pirate finally knew that he couldn’t keep doing these wrong things. He fell at the feet of the priest and confessed what he did wrong. Soon, he became a monk and he spent the rest of his life praying and changing his ways. He became a very holy man.
At his grave, many miracles have happened. Our Church calls him Saint Barbaros, “the myrrh-gusher” because sweet-smelling myrrh perfume comes from it! With these miracles, God shows that He forgave Barbaros and that now he is on God’s side!
We celebrate Saint Barbaros on Wednesday, May 15th.
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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