Ruh-Roh!

Last night at GOYA we were roaming around the front of the Cathedral grounds cleaning up stones that had been tossed from the roof when the snow was cleared (there is a layer of stones on the flat sections of the roof).  At one point I was lingering near the sundial and started to point out to Harry V. the gnomon and dial of what most people assume is merely a decoration.  In fact the dial is angled and calibrated to tell time correctly – I checked this out when I first arrived here in Worcester.  I noticed, though, that there was a crack near the base of the column holding up the dial, and I soon discovered the column was sheared all the way through – mark this up as yet another casualty of the huge snowstorms we had this winter – no doubt piles of snow and fatigue caused this shearing.  Harry lugged the broken piece into the building for safekeeping, and the House Committee is already on the job of fixing it in time for Holy Week.

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April 13th, 2011 by Fr. Greg

A Visit From Fr. Athanasius Akunda

My old schoolmate Fr. Athanasius is visiting from South Africa, where he has started and serves many missions as well as a tremedous HIV/AIDS ministry.  You can catch him at presanctified and salutations services this week as well as Sunday at the Cathedral.  He visited with our GOYA tonight – below is a picture of him with some of the GOYAns.  There is a lot to talk about concerning this saintly man, so I will concentrate on one thing – the HIV/AIDS ministry.  South Africa is a place where five million (out of fifty million) are HIV-positive, and that is just the ones who report it.  The church’s ministry there concentrates on two things – ministering to those afflicted with AIDS, and trying to prevent the spread of this containable disease.  Father, in his talk to the GOYAns, talked about the importance of faithfulness.  The South African government has in recent years given out condoms and taken other such actions to try to stop the spread of HIV.  Numbers have risen despite, or perhaps because, of these efforts, with an increase in risky behavior.  Father emphasized that condoms and other measures are creations of man and therefore imperfect, whereas faithfulness to a partner comes from God and is thus perfect.  I have never thought of things in these terms – we were all enlightened and inspired by Fr. Akunda.

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March 15th, 2011 by Fr. Greg

Services

We kicked Lent off yesterday with, as mentioned, the first Cathedral compline service in a long time.  The service is pretty simple from a rubrics standpoint, but we did not have a chanter and I thought – oh no!  I will have to chant.  We then had the very pleasant surprise of Fr. Ephraim showing up.  He and I alternated on the chanting, and his presence allowed me to cense during “Lord of the Powers” while he sang.  The service was subdued and beautiful, and I am looking forward to next week.

We do a lot of services during Lent.  The rotation this year is compline on Mondays, liturgy of the presanctified gifts on Wednesdays (alternating among the 4 Worcester-area churches) and Salutations on Friday, plus of course Sunday services.  Tomorrow we will be at St. Nicholas in Shrewsbury for service followed by the usual potluck.  His Eminence Archbishop Nicolae will be there, so we are all pretty excited about that.  Next week the service is at the Cathedral, and Fr. Akunda, here on a visit from Africa, will celebrate the liturgy.

One of our traditions at the Cathedral is to have no meetings the first week of Lent (and during Bright Week as well).  Fr. Dean does this so we get the message that it is not “business as usual”.  I bent the rules a bit this year – GOYA met tonight for a church service, which I figured made it ok :).  We did an abbreviated compline service, with the GOYAns reading most of the parts, followed by a forgiveness exercise, where everyone goes through a line, embraces each other and asks for forgiveness.  We then retired to the Founders Court for vegetable snacks and lenten Halva.

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March 8th, 2011 by Fr. Greg

GOYA Ball

Our youth basketball program at the Cathedral continues to grow – this year we are fielding two teams in the Catholic Diocese of Worcester league.  The boys had a bit of a rough weekend but the White squad ended the day today with a hard-fought victory while the Purple team lost a heartbreaker.  Normally I sit on the bench for the games but late Sunday afternoon/early evening we had both teams playing their games at the same time.  Here is a picture from my vantage point:

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January 9th, 2011 by Fr. Greg

4000 Holes In Blackburn, Lancashire

This was today: Woke up, did the run-around with the girls, including dropping Vaia off at preschool at the Cathedral, then rolled to Boston for liturgy for the feast day of the Metropolis followed by a clergy meeting (where I was, as a last-minute replacement, one of the featured speakers) and a luncheon (which I skipped).  In the meantime Fr. Dean celebrated a funeral at the Cathedral and then rolled to Boston for hospital visits.  I had a 40-day blessing for Jill and young Andrew (on his name day) and then went to Holy Trinity to give a reflection at the annual hospice memorial program.  Fr. Dean did a self-examination thing with the GOYAns  and then went to an event at the Coral.  I returned to the Cathedral and “supervised” the GOYAns making an additional batch of lollipops and candy to sell this weekend.  I then went to the event at the Coral.  Now I am home and am pretty much toast.  I will, as promised, write in some detail about my presentation on “The Absent Parishioner” on Wednesday.

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November 30th, 2010 by Fr. Greg

Tuesday

Today was a typically wild and wonderful September day at the Cathedral.   The Tuesday/Thursday preschool sessions started, and so Vaia had her first day of school.  By all accounts it was a success, and Prez and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Vaia had no first-day jitters, either – she pretty much dismissed us as soon as she entered the classroom and got down to business, and she is looking forward to Thursday.  The seniors took a bus trip to Foxwoods for a fun day.  There weren’t any big winners but all enjoyed lunch, shows, shopping and some light slot machine action.  The younger kids started Greek School today (older kids go on Monday and Wednesday) and construction continued apace.  George K. started putting in the bathroom tiles today – they are going to look fabulous.  There were some hospital visits and other runnings-around as well.  Finally, I met with our new GOYA officers and we plotted out the next three months in GOYA activities.  Pictures:

Some wood that will soon be going up – Ray, the construction manager, said there is way more on the way:

Two sides of the stage in the Church Hall (what we are now calling the area below the Cathedral) – most of it is now a Greek School/Sunday School classroom, while a small part behind the curtain allows for the altar boys to cut the prosphora, etc.

Another view of the foyer area:

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September 21st, 2010 by Fr. Greg

GOYA 2010/2011

GOYA met last night for the first time this fall, and it was a good mix of fun and service.  It was also an adjustment – our big room will all of the couches is now about half the size it was and, well, the couches are history, since they were all falling apart.  Jim V. directed the group in moving stuff around on the stage and in the church hall, and they were rewarded for their hard work with food.  We then had elections.  Everyone seems excited for a fun and busy year.  Here are our new GOYA officers:

President – Maria Parafestas

VP – Georgia Varetas

Treasurer – Helena Kiritsy

Secretary – Kostas Karamanakis

Congratulations to them all.  Here are a few photos of construction – this is a view of what you would see if you came in the back entrance with the auditorium on the right and the the bathrooms and foyer ahead to the left:

And here is the preschool classroom all set up:

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September 15th, 2010 by Fr. Greg