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.
Tomorrow is the very first day of Great Lent. We have a long way to go before Easter, and a lot to do before we get there! We want to prepare ourselves for that awesome feastday, and the Bible today tells us just how to do it.
By now, we all pretty much know the right thing to do as Christians, don’t we? We know we should pray more, be kind to others more, help the hungry and the poor more, listen to God more by reading the Bible, fast more, and so on. But did you know that we should try to do all these things IN SECRET?
That’s right! In today’s Gospel, we hear about how we aren’t supposed to tell everybody about it when we fast. So in Lent, we shouldn’t say, “Oh, I’m so hungry! I haven’t been eating the treats I usually eat.” Instead, we should keep it a secret.
And that goes for other good things we do, too. If we donate money, nobody else should know about it. If we pray, we close the door to our room so nobody can see. Then, guess what! The Bible also tells us what will happen when we do this. “Your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” God knows our secrets and He knows when we are doing good things. When He sees what we are doing, He will reward us!
LISTENING IN: SAINT EUDOCIA THE MARTYR
Have you ever eavesdropped, and heard something you probably shouldn’t have? Maybe you heard your parents talking about your birthday surprise. Maybe you listened to two classmates talking about YOU. Listening in is hardly ever a good idea. But for St. Eudocia, it was!
St. Eudocia was a very early saint—She lived just about a hundred years after Christ lived! At first, Eudocia was not a Christian, and she was definitely going down the wrong path. She made lots of mistakes. But one day, a holy man, Germanos, came to stay at the house of her next-door neighbor (who was a Christian). As Eudocia was trying to sleep, she could hear Germanos singing psalms from the Bible. He was also reading some prayers, asking for forgiveness.
St. Eudocia really couldn’t sleep then. She started to think about all the mistakes she made. The next day, she began to turn her life around. She was baptized. She gave her valuable things away to the poor. She prayed all the time. She changed everything. Soon, she became very holy, and even gave up her life for Christ when the governor found out she was a Christian.
We celebrate the nameday of Saint Eudocia this Wednesday, March 1st.
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