Newsletter. Themes of 2nd Sunday of Lent, svc schedule, prayer requests, more.


St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas
Electronic Newsletter
March 7/20, 2011
2nd Sunday of Great Lent / St. Gregory Palamas


The services for this 2nd Sunday of Great Lent have two major themes: our Lord's parable of the Prodigal Son and the memory of St. Gregory Palamas.

We heard the parable of the Prodigal Son at the Divine Liturgy 2 weeks before Lent began, and the theme is repeated in the texts of the services throughout the fast, especially during this week. This parable is to a very great degree the theme of Great Lent.

Each one of us is the prodigal son. We have been endowed with the greatest of blessings by God our Creator and given the possibility to grow in love and joy merely by trusting in Him and obeying His commandments. No ability, no strength is needed on our part, merely a willing and obedient heart.

St. Gregory's memory is a testimony to the greatness of the blessings that God has promised us. Not only can we have peace, joy and happiness, but all of this comes — amazing Gift! — through intimate fellowship with God our Creator Himself. We can see Him, we can know Him closely, and empowered by His grace we can become like Him. Our hearts can become pure, loving and joyful, with no darkness at all!

But like the prodigal, we have despised — and continue to despise — this amazing gift and have preferred to take our inheritance — our nature created in God's own Image — and squander it on harmful things. We have taken each of the great gifts he has given us — reason, kingship over creation, and the capacity for love, zeal, and anger among many others — and used each one of them against God, causing evil and hatred to increase on the earth rather than love and joy.

And so, like the prodigal we have found ourselves in a faraway country, cut off from God because of our own choices, forced to feed swine — that is, to continually nurture the passions which stand as a wall between us and happiness. Let us, then, use this holy time of the Fast to come to our senses, return to our Father, and call out to Him, "I have sinned against heaven and before Thee," but have mercy on me, Compassionate Father, and call me back again! And He will.


During each of the next few weeks, we will be serving the Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts on Wednesday night. This is an important lenten service which is very spiritually profitable.

Because the Divine Liturgy is a festal service of thanksgiving, it is inappropriate to serve it on weekdays of Great Lent, when the Holy Church directs us to focus entirely on repenting of our sins. But the grace of the Holy Mysteries is a powerful aid in our struggle against our sinful passions, so the Church has appointed this special service so that we might partake of the Holy Mysteries more often. In addition, the service has several beautiful and compunction-ate hymns that inspire in us a spirit of repentance and prayer. Whether or not you are able to prepare to receive the Holy Mysteries, please plan to attend as many of these services as possible.

Please look at our calendar of services for the remainder of Lent, and make your plans now to attend as many services as you can, for the good of your soul. In particular, you should plan if at all possible to attend the services in the 5th week of Lent (April 4-8) — including the Feast of the Annunciation — and during the week of our Lord's Passion (April 18-24).

Our new facility brings with it many new maintenance and upkeep tasks. Matushka Marina and Reader David Hawthorne need volunteers to help get all the work done.If you can give a few hours of our time to help care for God's house, please contact Matushka Marina, Reader David or Deacon Nicholas and we'll tell you how you can help.

We have updated our list of things our parish needs. If you or somebody you know wish to supply one of these items, please contact us.

Prayer Requests

For the Health and Salvation.

  • Kateryna (Kayla) Bayda.
  • Alexander (Yuliya Guzman's father)
  • David and Elizabeth Ash.
  • Priests Jean and Grégoire and all the faithful and suffering of Haiti.
  • The suffering people of East Japan.

For a more complete listing, please see our parish prayer list. Anyone can make requests.

Schedule of Divine Services in the Coming week

Saturday 3/19 Commemoration of the Departed.        

  • 2:30PM Parish Council Meeting
  • 4PM Confession
  • 5PM Vigil

Sunday 3/20

  • 10AM  Divine Liturgy
  • 12:45PM Church School
  • 6PM at St. Barbara's in Ft. Worth. – Pan-Orthodox Vespers

Monday 3/21

  • 7:30PM Vespers for the Holy 40 Martrys of Sebaste

Wednesday 3/23

  • 6:00PM Lenten Hours
  • 7:00PM Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts

Friday 3/25

  • 7PM Small Compline with the Akathist Hymn to the Theotokos
  • 8PM Pannykhida

Saturday 3/26. Commemoration of the Departed.   

  • 4PM Confession
  • 5PM  Vigil

Sunday 3/27


Our ongoing calendar of services is posted here, including entries for the remainder of Great Lent:

Our "Redeeming the Time" blog usually has at least several posts a week –

Fasting in the Coming week

Throughout Great Lent, we abstain from all animal products, wine and oil on weekdays. Wine and Oil are allowed on weekends. Fish is allowed on Palm Sunday and on the Feast of the Annunciation.

Archival copy:


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