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 wished you could stay home on Sunday morning? Maybe you thought to yourself, “I could just pray on my own. God will listen to me from there.” Sometimes grownups might think that to themselves too!
In today’s Gospel reading, we hear how our Lord, Jesus Christ, wants us to be close to Him—not just with our prayers, but by really touching Him! The Gospel story tells about a woman who had been sick for 12 years. Over the years, she had spent all her money on doctors, but nothing could help. When she saw Jesus walking by, she knew He could help her. She touched the Lord’s clothing, and she was healed…all better after 12 years of sickness! With a touch, she was healed.
As Orthodox Christians, we know that God wants us to be close to Him. Our Church gives us lots of ways we can grow close to the Lord just by touching Him or touching His saints. When we receive Holy Communion, we touch Him. When we kiss the relics (the holy bodies) of saints, we touch the saints. When we receive Holy Unction, we touch something holy that can heal us. God wants us to come close to Him and to touch Him! So let’s come close when He invites us to touch Him!
THE HOLY GREAT MARTYR: SAINT MENAS OF EGYPT
Would you give up a medal, or something you were very proud of? That’s what our holy Saint Menas did!
Saint Menas held a high rank in the Roman army. When the emperors started to fight against Christians, Saint Menas gave up his soldier’s belt, something that he must have been proud of. He wouldn’t serve those evil emperors. Later on, the rulers found him and decided to punish him because Menas bravely declared he followed our one, true God. Saint Menas is called a great martyr, because he was killed for his Christian faith. God saw his bravery and love for the Lord, and He rewarded Menas with an even higher rank—a place in heaven!
So many Christians love Saint Menas because he loves God and because he listens to our prayers. He is a special saint we can pray to if there is a war (because he was in the army, after all). About 60 years ago, during the awful World War 2, the evil German (Nazi) army was about to start a battle in Egypt. They stopped at a place called El Alamein (which means “the place of Menas”). There was an old church to Saint Menas there too. Saint Menas appeared to the German troops that night, just as he looked in the icons. The soldiers were so frightened. After that, the Germans began to lose the war. Saint Menas helped the good guys win the terrible World War 2!
Let’s pray to Saint Menas for peace in the world! You can also pray to Saint Menas if you need help finding something that was lost.
We celebrate the feastday of St. Menas on Friday, November 11th.
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