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 been in a big cafeteria—maybe at school or at a restaurant? Did you ever stop to listen to how noisy it is when everybody is talking at once, all saying different things? Now, have you ever been to a concert, when the singers all use their voices together? It sounds beautiful!
Today, in the epistle reading, Saint Paul tells us how we can use our voices together to glorify God! He writes, “May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
When we come to church, we want to all glorify God together! Saint Paul reminds us to “live in harmony” before we come close to God. So, before we receive Christ’s Body and Blood in Holy Communion, we want to show God that we “live in harmony with one another” first. If we had a fight with somebody—like a family member or a friend—we should say we are sorry first. If we are mad at somebody, we should patch things up before we come for Holy Communion. If we don’t like somebody, maybe we can make things right first. That way, we really are living “in harmony with one another” and together, “with one voice,” we can all glorify God!
SAINT IRENE CHRYSOVALANTOU: PRAYING FOR MIRACLES FROM GOD!
What do you do when your plans change? Do you get upset, or do you think of another plan? Saint Irene grew up in a wealthy and important family. She was even supposed to marry the Emperor, but when she got to Constantinople, he was already married! She wasn’t sad though. Lots of men asked her to marry them, but instead, St. Irene went to live in the Monastery of Chrysovalantou. She gave away her money and her things to the poor, and she decided to become a nun.
As a nun, St. Irene tried to be like Christ—always humble and loving to other people. She became close to God because she talked to Him often in prayer! St. Irene had many miracles happen. Sometimes at night, St. Irene would go out into the garden to pray. Once, another nun couldn’t sleep and went out there too. She saw St. Irene praying, and she was floating above the ground. Three trees were even bowing down to her! In the morning, the nun told the other sisters. They no- ticed that there were handkerchiefs on the tops of the tall trees!
Now St. Irene still works many miracles because she is so close to God. She especially helps people who cannot have children. Many times, the family finally has a child and names him or her Chrysovalantou or Chrysovalanti!
We celebrate the nameday of Saint Irene on July 28th (August 10th, OC).
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