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.
What would you do if you had an hour free to do whatever you wanted? How about a weekend, or even a whole summer break? How would you spend your time? Reading books? Napping? Playing video games? Sometimes we might want to spend our time in a good way, but when it comes down to it, we waste our time on silly things.
Today is the Sunday of the Prodigal Son. You remember that Gospel reading, don’t you? The young man wasted all his money on things he shouldn’t have. He might have wanted to spend his money on good things, but when he had the money in his hands, he wasted it all, every single bit of it! He didn’t have any money left for something he really needed—like food.
You’d probably never do what that young man did, but sometimes we do waste things, don’t we? We might waste food, clothes, or money, but the biggest thing we waste is TIME! God wants us to spend our free time in a good way, but lots of times we waste it. We might spend too long watching TV, or playing video games, or other things. (Your parents might waste time too, but just on other things!) Then, we don’t have any time left to use on something we really need— like praying to God and trying to grow closer to Him.
Let’s try to use our free time on things that God likes—like reading the Bible, praying to our Lord, helping and visiting others, and more!
HOW DO YOU BECOME A SAINT? SAINT ANTHIMOS OF CHIOS
Have you ever wondered how somebody becomes a saint? Is there a checklist of things he or she has to do? Well no, not really. A saint is somebody who loves God and is close to Him. In our Church, we have lots of saints, and they all became saints for different reasons.
Who makes a saint? Well, God does! We might call somebody a saint, but only God makes him one.
On Wednesday, we celebrate the nameday of Saint Anthimos, a holy man who lived on the island of Chios, in Greece. He died in 1960, and the Orthodox Church declared him a saint. But the interesting thing is that lots of people called him a saint before that! People put his photograph right near their icons. Even after he died, people prayed to him to help them, just like we pray to our saints for help. The people knew Saint Anthimos was a saint long before it was “official.”
Saint Anthimos was a simple man, a shoemaker. He became a monk and then a priest, and then he started a women’s monastery in Chios. That monastery grew and grew because so many people wanted to be around this holy man. Saint Anthimos died almost 60 years ago, but do you know something? People still want to be with this holy man who is now called a saint. And when we pray to saints like Saint Anthimos, we really are with them!
We celebrate the nameday of Saint Anthimos on Wednesday, February 15th.
Photo Credit: The Archdiocese of Canada
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