• Youth Hermit Falls Hike. April 9, 2016.
  • Spiritual Talk with Deacon Elias Kashou. June 3, 2016.
  • Sunday of the Relics. Project Faith in Youth. February 21, 2016.
  • Knights of the Holy Sepulchre. March 4, 2016.
  • Evangelization Summit at Christ Cathedral. October 5, 2016.
  • Holy Cross Parish Meeting. February 2, 2016.
  • Alpha Sessions at St. Vincent de Paul Church. April 12, 2016.
  • Sunday School Graduation on Pentecost Sunday. May 15, 2016.
  • Youth Group Hike at Mount Rubidoux. Riverside, CA. February 20, 2016.
  • Spiritual Discussion with Deacon Elias Kashou. April 1, 2016.

2017-05-28-Bulletin for Sunday

Holy Cross Melkite Catholic Church Bulletin. Sunday, May 28, 2017.
Sunday of the Fathers of Nicea. Sixth Sunday After Easter. On this day, the Church celebrates the memory of the three hundred and eighteen God-bearing Fathers who attended the First Ecumenical Council of Nicea (325), in the course of which the Catholic doctrine of the Holy Trinity was defined. Arius (280-336), an arch-priest of Alexandria, had taught the heresy that the Son was not equal to the Father, being neither of the same essence nor infinite nor eternal; that He was a creature, the most perfect creature of God, but yet not God, and that consequently his Mother was not the Mother of God.
Athanasius, Archbishop of Alexandria, opposed these errors with all his might. He eloquently exposed the true teaching, that the Word of God was indeed God in reality, and that through the incarnation He became a real man. The controversy raged throughout the Roman Empire, throwing it into a state of turmoil. Emperor Constantine decided to submit the matter to the judgement of the Universal Church, and so he called a general council that convened in Nicea. From the discussion came the Nicean Creed in which the answer to Arianism is expressed in the following passage: “I believe in Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages, God of God, Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten not made, of one substance with the Father.”

May 28. Commemoration of the Holy Hieromartyr Eutiches, Bishop of Melitene. Eutiches was a disciple of the first Apostles.

Jesus said “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die’ ” (John 11:26). The Holy Cross Melkite Catholic Church Community offer our condolences to the family of the servant of God, Joseph Gammoh who was born on September 11, 1953 in Salt, Jordan and reposed in the Lord on May 17, 2017 in Long Beach, California. We extend our condolences to the entire family and in particular his former wife Tahani (Abu Houran), his son Brian Gammoh, his siblings Edward (Salwa), Haitham (Amira), Moufid, Asmahan Sayegh (+Issa), Linda Ayoub (+Awad), and Rene Samawi (Hicham).
The funeral was on Wednesday, May 22, 2017 at 12 noon. The internment and mercy meal followed, all at Westminster Memorial Park Mortuary 14801 Beach Blvd, Westminster, CA 92683 (714) 893-2421. The family invites everyone to a Divine Liturgy in Joseph’s memory on Sunday, May 28, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. and a mercy meal to follow, both at Holy Cross Melkite Catholic Church 451 West Madison Avenue Placentia, CA 92870-4537 (714) 985-1710. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Holy Cross Melkite Catholic Church (www.holycrossmelkite.org/donate). May his memory be eternal.

Sunday, June 11. Youth day at Mission San Juan Capistrano. Parents are welcome.
10:30 a.m. Meet at Holy Cross Church. 10:45 a.m. Leave Holy Cross Church.
11:45 a.m. Lunch. Bring snacks and a bag-lunch.
1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m. Spiritual discussion in one of the classrooms.
2:15 p.m. Tour and visit Mission Basilica San Juan Capistrano. 31520 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675. (949) 234-1360.
3:00 p.m. One hour tour of Mission San Juan Capistrano. (949) 234-1300. www.missionsjc.com
4:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Walk around or visit the bookstore.
4:45 p.m. Leave San Juan Capistrano.
5:30 p.m. Youth Music practice at St. Kilian’s
6:30 p.m. Divine Liturgy. The Melkite Eastern Catholic Community at Saint Kilian’s Roman Catholic Church. 26872 Estanciero Drive, Mission Viejo, CA 92691.

We began minor renovations around the Church to keep our building and facilities looking clean, up to date, and beautiful. Prior to Palm Sunday we placed 38 hanging flower baskets around the entire perimeter of the Church, hall, offices, and classrooms. We are also planting roses at the parking lot walkway to the Church and changing all the broken concrete bumper blocks around the entire parking lot. Within a week all the florescent lights in all the rooms will be removed, new recessed canister lights will be installed, and we will paint the ceilings and walls in all the classrooms, offices, bookstore, crying room, church entrance, and hall kitchen. The week after we will begin work on a prayer garden near the exterior cross that will have a 4 foot fence with roses around the inside perimeter. We will also be purchasing new exterior benches as most of the ones we have are broken or termite infested. We will need some manual assistance to put up the fence, plant the rose garden, and paint the classrooms. If you would like to volunteer or make a financial contribution to any of these projects please contact the office. Thank you very much for your faithful support and encouragement. “O Lord, bless those who love the beauty of your house.”

Choir practice. Please join our choir practice every Sunday at 10:30 a.m. at Holy Cross Melkite Catholic Church to review the regular hymns of the Divine Liturgy and learn new ones. Everyone is welcome.
The choir practice for the Melkite Eastern Catholic community at Saint Kilian’s Roman Catholic Church (26872 Estanciero Drive, Mission Viejo, CA 92691) will be at 7:00 p.m. on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month. The upcoming choir practices are on Thursday, May 11, Thursday, May 25, Thursday, June 8, and Thursday, June 22. Parish center. Room 6.

Vacation Bible Camp at Holy Cross Church for children ages 5-12. Register Now.
When: July 17-21 2016. 9:00 - 12:30 p.m.
Where: Here at our Parish! 451 West Madison Ave. Placentia, CA 92870.
What: Maker Fun Factory, children experience God’s Word in surprising and unforgettable ways. Each day, leaders reinforce one simple Bible truth – which makes it easy for the children to remember and apply the message to real life situations.
Registration fee: $40 per child if paid by Sunday, June 25, 2017. $50 if paid after this date.
Please make checks payable to: Holy Cross Church. We also need youth, young adult, and parent volunteers. To help us order and prepare the materials please register your child as soon as possible.
If you have any questions, comments, or concerns please contact the church office at (714) 985-1710 or email Rosemarie Nasr at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Registration and volunteer forms are available at: www.holycrossmelkite.org/vbc

Listen or download Melkite audio links at www.holycrossmelkite.org/melkite-hymns
We have uploaded many Melkite hymns for the Divine Liturgy and other important services. To practice or become more familiar with our beautiful liturgical hymns you can download or listen to them by clicking on the above link.

Your Sunday donation envelopes are mailed to you every two months. These envelopes are dated with your envelope number on the back. The next mailout also contains the July and August Church calendar. Please contact the office if you are not registered or did not receive your envelopes. Thank you.

American Arabic Educational Foundation. Scholarships Available! Apply Now! Graduating High School Seniors. The scholarship requires that the applicant be a graduating high school senior or equivalent, planning to enter either an academic or vocational school the term following the granting of the scholarship, and that the recipient be a resident of one of the following California Counties: Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, or Ventura; be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States; and be of Arabic Heritage. College and Graduate Students: Applications may be submitted by college and graduate students. The above eligibility and qualifications apply. The applications must be returned no later than June 15, 2016. Applications can be obtained by emailing Donald P. Meena at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Holy Cross Young Adults Group. We are going to plan social and religious activities to build our Young Adults Community at Holy Cross Church. Come join our life changing group. Feel free to bring your friends and family. Ages 21-35. Meet at Holy Cross Church every first Sunday of the month after the Divine Liturgy.

Holy Cross Church Sunday School (Eastern Christian Formation). The last class was on Sunday, May 14 and the graduation was on Sunday, May 21. Thank you to all the teachers for their hard work in preparing the classes and for their great care in teaching the children.

Holy Cross Youth Group Spiritual Meetings take place every Sunday following the Divine Liturgy.

Axios. Axios. Axios. He is worthy. He is worthy. He is worthy. Protodeacon Bryan McNeil will be ordained to the Holy Priesthood at the hand of the Most Reverend Bishop Nicholas Samra for the service of the altars of the Eparchy of Newton on Saturday, May 27, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. at Saint Joseph Melkite Catholic Church. 241 Hampshire Street. Lawrence, MA 01841. Congratulations and greetings may be sent to Deacon Bryan at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (978) 314-1962. Let us pray for him as the grace of the Holy Spirit comes upon him.

Bishop Nicholas Samra assigned Melkite Seminarian Neven Peša to Holy Cross Church from June 9-August 9, 2017. We thank Bishop Nicholas for entrusting our parish to provide Neven a summer experience of parish life before he returns to his third year of studies. Please pray for Neven as he continues his discernment for the priesthood of service to God and His people. The Spring 2017 edition of Sophia: The Journal of the Eparchy of Newton (47:2, page 38) contains an article written by Neven. The full text is below.

“My Seminary Journey” By Neven Peša (second-year seminarian). “Follow Me; I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”
I am a Melkite seminarian at the Byzantine Catholic Seminary of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Pittsburgh, PA. My first seminary year flew by very fast and now I am halfway through my second year, finding myself nicely settled in the rhythm of seminary life.
We are now 12 seminarians here, living in a building that housed 110 seminarians in its glorious heyday some 50 years ago. But I do enjoy the quiet that this affords, allowing for less distraction and greater focus for prayer and study. It allows for a quasi-monastic environment that can give a boost to one’s spiritual life in a short period of time.
My heart goes out to other young men for whom hearing one’s voice and finding one’s identity may be very challenging amid the hustle and bustle and noise of the world. Living in this seminary environment teaches me more and more that God’s voice is a still, small one that oftentimes needs both exterior and interior quiet to be heard more clearly. Whilst in prayer in the quiet of my small room, I sometimes feel the Lord speaking to my heart, saying, “Follow me,” who am “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”
Through this, I realize all the more that everything proceeds from his love and begs my willing response: to want to live in his presence, to want to keep his commandments, to want to hear his teaching, to want to live and die like Him, to desire to love as He loves, and to want to serve all whom He loves.
Alongside our formal studies and our communal liturgies, I have found more time for personal prayer and for personal reading, seeing the necessity of balancing the formal formation of my intellect with personal piety. I cannot help but notice how my studies feed into my prayer life and how, in turn, the prayer life enlivens my studies.
Seminary life has also helped me see the need for physical activity. The temptation for every seminarian is to study, study, study and travel from one chair to another. And there is always more to learn and study! But this can also be taxing on the body. I have had to make a conscious effort to develop an exercise regimen that includes walking, recreation, and some general levity. Thankfully, the seminary environment allows for this. Our seminary building sits along the edge of a large park. We also have an exercise room and bowling alley in the basement.
This second year will be focused on my further balancing and growing in these dimensions of seminary life and incorporating all the rest that it entails; I will be allowing Christ, through my formators, seminary brothers, and environment, to help further mold me into who I really am in God—helping me become who I am meant to be, and allowing me to grow in his love, in the service of his Church.

Vocation Awareness. Our young people want the reality of a relationship with Jesus Christ, which is demanding in a way that attracts them if presented in its fullness. There are signs of hope in the new generation of young adults for vocations to serve the church but their discernment depends largely on the dedication of those around them. Catholics need to identify and support with renewed intensity the things that are producing the greatest fruit for the Church’s next generation of religious: weekly Liturgy, conversation about faith in the home, Bible study, retreats, and participation in parish ministry...and done with the joy of resurrection. We have an opportunity here at Holy Cross to attract our young people when we take their questions about life seriously and give their situations a deeper values than they get in the superficial areas of their existence. We know what lasts and what will protect and heal them in the future.

Vocation View. Saint Paul urges Christian readers to live a life of communion, in mutual love, and in the love that God has given us. Jesus teaches us the importance and implications of that life of loving communion. Who shall preach and teach it to us today? Pray for an increase of vocations to the priesthood and monastic life and encourage possible candidates.

A Prayer for Vocations. O Lord God, in every age, You invite men and women to hear Your call to serve You and the Church. We bow before You now, asking that You call forth more persons to serve our Melkite Church in America. Give us priests, deacons, monks and nuns, who will lead and guide your holy people. By Your will, bless us with vocations so that we continue to be the church which You called us to be, centuries ago. Let all hear Your voice inviting them to care for and serve Your people. Strengthen us in being disciples of Jesus Christ, Your Only-begotten Son and fishers of men. Inspire in us the spirit and pride of Antioch, our holy heritage. We ask You, O Lover of mankind, to raise up men and women who appreciate what they have received from You and who want to be generous in their service, willing to offer their lives and all their gifts, to serve others, to give You glory, thanksgiving and worship, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and always and forever and ever. Amen.

The Melkite Eastern Catholic Community at Saint Kilian’s Roman Catholic Church. Please invite your family and friends and remind everyone in the area to join us. We will meet in the hall at 5:45 p.m. to review the hymns and the Divine Liturgy will begin in the Church at exactly 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 11, 2017 at Saint Kilian’s. 26872 Estanciero Drive, Mission Viejo, CA 92691 (off Marguerite Parkway).
2017 dates: Sunday, June 11, Sunday, July 9, Sunday, August 13, Sunday, September 17, Sunday, October 8, Sunday, November 12, Sunday, December 10.
If you live or know anyone who lives in the area surrounding Mission Viejo please give us their contact information so that we can keep everyone informed on upcoming events. Please send contact details to the parish office at (714) 985-1710 or email a list of names to Father François at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain” (Psalm 127:1).

Receive the emailed weekly Holy Cross Church Bulletin and Homily. If you or someone you known would like to receive the emailed weekly parish bulletin or homily please sign up at: https://www.holycrossmelkite.org/parish/mailing-list or contact the office at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (714) 985-1710. Please also let us know if you are on our list but have changed your email.

If you would like to view or receive the daily Arabic or English Epistle and Gospel readings go to: http://www.melkites.org/en/readingsXML.htm

View the great spiritual resources available at Melkite Eparchy of Newton’s website: www.Melkite.org

Do you want to be inspired and learn more about your Catholic Faith? Listen to Immaculate Heart Catholic Radio on 930 am. For further information visit www.ihradio.com or call 1-888-887-7120.

Thank you for your ongoing generous donations:
Monday, May 1 collection: $910 in 33 envelopes (average of $27.57 per envelope) + $147 (cash) + $100 (candles) = $1,157.
Monday, May 1 building fund deposit: $3,080.
Saturday, May 6 collection: $176
Sunday, May 7 collection: $1,849 in 40 envelopes (average of $46.23 per envelope) + $144 (cash) + $117 (candles) = $2,110.
Friday, May 12 building fund deposit: $3,314.76.
Sunday, May 14 collection: $1,240 in 33 envelopes (average of $37.57 per envelope) + $157 (cash) + $141 (candles) = $1,538.
Sunday, May 14 Saint Killian’s Melkite Divine Liturgy collection: $410 in enveloeps (average of $51.25 per envelope) + $11 Cash = $421.
Wednesday, May 17 building fund deposit: $3,325.
Wednesday, May 17 Charity donation: $660.
Wednesday, May 17 Festival donation: $500.
Sunday, May 21 collecton: $2,200 in 42 envelopes (average of $52.38 per envelope) + $156 cash + $76 (candles) = $2,356.
Wednesday, May 24 building fund deposit: $1,263.
Wednesday, May 24 donation to Adopt a Child program at Saint George Melkite Catholic Church in Zibabdeh, Palestine: $600.

Total deposits in the past months: March 2017: $22,515; April: $43,411; May: $20,500.76.

Sample Holy Cross Church Expenses:
$118.63 paid on April 3, 2017 for Printer services.
$200.00 paid on April 7, 2017 for Gardening services.
$272.17 paid on April 7, 2017 for Our Sunday Visitor donation envelopes and mailout.
$78.75 paid on April 10, 2017 for Golden State Water Company.
$450.62 paid on April 10, 2017 for Edison Electricity.
$8,536.00 paid on April 11, 2017 for Catholic Mutual Group Insurance.
$157.97 paid on April 20, 2017 for Republic Trash Services.
$50.16 paid on April 26, 2017 for Sparketts Water Services.
$311.62 paid on April 26, 2017 for Cleaning services.
$297.19 paid on April 26, 2017 for Our Sunday Visitor donation envelopes and mailout.
$622.85 paid on April 29, 2017 for Edison Electricity.

Hymns: (See www.holycrossmelkite.org/melkite-hymns for Audio Recordings)
Troparion of the Resurrection (Tone 6). The angelic powers appeared at Your tomb, and the guards became as dead men, and Mary stood by the Sepulcher seeking Your spotless Body. You despoiled Hades and yet were not tempted by it, You met the Virgin O Bestower of Life. O Lord Who rose from the dead glory to You.
Troparion of the Ascension (Tone 4). You ascended in glory, O Christ our God, and gladdened Your disciples by the promise of the Holy Spirit. Through Your blessing they were confirmed in their belief that You are the Son of God, the Redeemer of the world.
Troparion of the Fathers (Tone 8). O Christ our God, You are infinitely glorified, for You established our Fathers as radiant stars on earth: You led us to the true faith though them. O Most Merciful One, glory to You!
Troparion of the Holy Cross (Tone 2). O Lord, save your people and bless your inheritance. Strengthen our Public Authorities in every good deed and protect your nation with your Cross.
Kondakion of the Ascension (Tone 6). After fulfilling for us Your plan of redemption and joining the things of earth with those of heaven, O Christ our God, You gloriously ascended without abandoning us, but remained with us forever and reassured all who love You by telling them: “Behold, I am with you: no one has power against you.”

Epistle: Acts of the Apostles 20:16-18, 28-36. Christos Cantartzoglou will read this Sunday’s Epistle. Full reading below. If you would like to read the Epistle please contact the office.
Gospel: John 17:1-13. Full reading below.

Today’s Divine Liturgy is celebrated for
the repose of the souls of:
Joseph Gammoh (May 17, 2017), George Hanna (May 3, 2017), Hans Van Ness (April 28, 2017), Karimi (Saghbini) Saikali (April 28, 2017), Antoine Salim El-Hage (April 16, 2017), Mary Jane Labrucherie (April 14, 2017), Nassif Ayoub (April 5, 2017) Graham Kerr (February 16, 2017), Hanna Ibrahim (May 23, 2015), Ibtisam Emsis Nesheiwat (May 29, 2000), Khader Emsis (October 27, 1993), Labebeh Ibrahim (May 25, 1965).
the health, safety, and salvation of:
Rodger & Diane Aeschliman, Stacy Bladdel, Becky Bode, Johny Boulos, Linda Raya, Margo Sawalha, Marie Semaan, Sayf Tashman, Yasmeen Tashman, Ray Woods.
For vocations to the priesthood, monastic life, and lay parish ministries.
For peace in Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, and all the troubled regions around the world.

Scripture Memory:
“Paul said to them: ‘Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God which he obtained with the blood of his own Son. [29] I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; [30] and from among your own selves will arise men speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.’ ” (Acts of the Apostles 20:28-30)

“When Jesus had spoken these words, He lifted up His eyes to heaven and said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son that the Son may glorify You, [2] since You have given Him power over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom You have given him. [3] And this is eternal life, that they know You the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:1-3)

Thursday, May 25.
7:00 p.m. Divine Liturgy. Feast of the Ascension of our Lord into heaven. Holy Cross Church.

7:00 p.m. Choir practice for the Melkite Eastern Catholic community at Saint Kilian’s Roman Catholic Church. 26872 Estanciero Drive, Mission Viejo, CA 92691. Parish center. Room 6. Second and fourth Thursdays of each month.

Saturday, May 27.
4:30 p.m. Confession.
5:00 p.m. Vespers (Evening prayer).

Sunday, May 28. Sunday of the Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council at Nicaea.
9:30 a.m. Orthros (Morning prayer).
10:30 a.m. Choir practice.
11:00 a.m. Divine Liturgy in memory of Joseph Gammoh. Mercy meal to follow in hall.
12:15 p.m.-1:15 p.m. Youth Ministry spiritual discussion for all in grades 9-12.

Saturday, June 3.
10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. St. Joseph Center Spirituality Building Open House. Meet the staff of Emmaus Spiritual Ministries and Loyola Institute for Spirituality, tour the new building, and learn about the various ministries. Light refreshments will be served. Loyola Institute for Spirituality. 714-997-9587. www.loyolainstitute.org - Emmaus Spiritual Ministries. 714-744-3172. www.emmausspiritualministries.org - Location: Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange. 480 S. Batavia Street Orange, CA 92868-3907

5:00 p.m. Divine Liturgy in Arabic.

Sunday, June 4. Pentecost Sunday.
On the first Sunday of each month you may use your building fund envelope (or a specially marked envelope) and deposit it in the regular collection. Thank you for your continued generosity as we move closer to our parish goal of a new hall and church building.
9:30 a.m. Orthros (Morning Prayer).
10:30 a.m. Choir practice.
11:00 a.m. Divine Liturgy in English. 40th day memorial for Hans Van Ness (April 28, 2017). Mercy meal to follow in the hall.
12:15 p.m.-1:15 p.m. Youth Ministry spiritual discussion for all in grades 9-12.
12:15-1:30 p.m. Young Adults Group for ages 21-35.

Thursday, June 8.
7:00 p.m. Choir practice for the Melkite Eastern Catholic community at Saint Kilian’s Roman Catholic Church. 26872 Estanciero Drive, Mission Viejo, CA 92691. Parish center. Room 6. Second and fourth Thursdays of each month.

Saturday, June 10.
10:00 a.m. Baptism of Jonathan, son of Victor & Giselle (Behnan) Kabbany.
3:30 p.m. Baptism of Emma Margaret, daughter of Ricardo & Nadia (Lutfi) Orozco.
4:30 p.m. Confession.
5:00 p.m. Vespers (Evening Prayer).

Sunday, June 11. Sunday of All Saints.
9:30 a.m. Orthros (Morning Prayer).
10:30 a.m. Choir practice.
11:00 a.m. Divine Liturgy.

Youth day at Mission San Juan Capistrano. Parents are welcome.
10:30 a.m. Meet at Holy Cross Church.
10:45 a.m. Leave Holy Cross Church.
11:45 a.m. Lunch. Bring snacks and a bag-lunch.
1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m. Spiritual discussion in one of the classrooms.
2:15 p.m. Tour and visit Mission Basilica San Juan Capistrano. 31520 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675. (949) 234-1360.
3:00 p.m. One hour tour of Mission San Juan Capistrano. (949) 234-1300. www.missionsjc.com
4:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Walk around or visit the bookstore.
4:45 p.m. Leave San Juan Capistrano.
5:30 p.m. Youth Music practice at St. Kilian’s
6:30 p.m. Divine Liturgy. The Melkite Eastern Catholic Community at Saint Kilian’s Roman Catholic Church. 26872 Estanciero Drive, Mission Viejo, CA 92691.

Monday, June 12.
Traditional start date for the Apostles’s fast in preparation for the feast of Saints Peter and Paul on June 29, 2017.

Tuesday, June 13.
3:00 – 9:00 p.m. House blessings.

Wednesday, June 14.
3:00 – 9:00 p.m. House blessings.

Thursday, June 15.
3:00 – 9:00 p.m. House blessings.

Friday, June 16.
3:00 – 9:00 p.m. House blessings.

Saturday, June 17.
3:30 p.m. Baptism of Elias, son of Jacob & Halie (Herrera) Nesheiwat. Congratulations.
4:30 p.m. Confession.
5:00 p.m. Vespers (Evening Prayer).

Sunday, June 18. Second Sunday after Pentecost. Father’s Day.
9:30 a.m. Orthros (Morning Prayer).
10:30 a.m. Choir practice.
11:00 a.m. Divine Liturgy.
12:15 p.m.-1:15 p.m. Youth Ministry spiritual discussion for all in grades 9-12.
3:00 – 9:00 p.m. House blessings.

Monday, June 19.
3:00 – 9:00 p.m. House blessings.

Wednesday, June 21.
3:00 – 9:00 p.m. House blessings.

Thursday, June 22.
3:00 – 6:00 p.m. House blessings.
7:00 p.m. Choir practice for the Melkite Eastern Catholic community at Saint Kilian’s Roman Catholic Church. 26872 Estanciero Drive, Mission Viejo, CA 92691. Parish center. Room 6. Second and fourth Thursdays of each month.

Friday, June 23.
3:00 – 9:00 p.m. House blessings.

Saturday, June 24.
4:30 p.m. Confession.
5:00 p.m. Vespers (Evening Prayer).

Sunday, June 25. Third Sunday after Pentecost.
Second collection for the Universal Church Collection (Combines Peter’s Pence and Catholic Relief Services).
9:30 a.m. Orthros (Morning Prayer).
10:30 a.m. Choir practice.
11:00 a.m. Divine Liturgy.
12:15 p.m.-1:15 p.m. Youth Ministry spiritual discussion for all in grades 9-12.
3:00 – 9:00 p.m. House blessings.

Tuesday, June 27.
3:00 – 9:00 p.m. House blessings.

Wednesday, June 28.
7:00 p.m. Divine Liturgy. Eve of the feast of Saints Peter and Paul.

Saturday, July 1.
5:00 p.m. Divine Liturgy in Arabic.

Sunday, July 2. Fourth Sunday after Pentecost.
On the first Sunday of each month you may use your building fund envelope (or a specially marked envelope) and deposit it in the regular collection. Thank you for your continued generosity as we move closer to our parish goal of a new hall and church building.
9:30 a.m. Orthros (Morning Prayer).
10:30 a.m. Choir practice.
11:00 a.m. Divine Liturgy in English.
12:15 p.m.-1:15 p.m. Youth Ministry spiritual discussion for all in grades 9-12.
12:15-1:30 p.m. Young Adults Group for ages 21-35.

Thursday, July 6.
3:00 – 6:00 p.m. House blessings.
7:00 p.m. Choir practice for the Melkite Eastern Catholic community at Saint Kilian’s Roman Catholic Church. 26872 Estanciero Drive, Mission Viejo, CA 92691. Parish center. Room 6. Second and fourth Thursdays of each month.

Friday, July 7.
3:00 – 6:00 p.m. House blessings.

Saturday, July 8.
4:30 p.m. Confession.
5:00 p.m. Vespers (Evening Prayer).

Sunday, July 9. Fifth Sunday After Pentecost.
9:30 a.m. Orthros (Morning Prayer).
10:30 a.m. Choir practice.
11:00 a.m. Divine Liturgy.
12:15 p.m.-1:15 p.m. Youth Ministry spiritual discussion for all in grades 9-12.

5:45 p.m. Music practice in the hall.
6:30 p.m. Divine Liturgy. The Melkite Eastern Catholic Community at Saint Kilian’s Roman Catholic Church. 26872 Estanciero Drive, Mission Viejo, CA 92691.

Saturday, July 15.
4:30 p.m. Confession.
5:00 p.m. Vespers (Evening Prayer).

Sunday, July 16. Sunday of the Fathers of the First Six Ecumenical Councils.
9:30 a.m. Orthros (Morning Prayer).
10:30 a.m. Choir practice.
11:00 a.m. Divine Liturgy.
12:15 p.m.-1:15 p.m. Youth Ministry spiritual discussion for all in grades 9-12.

Monday-Friday, July 17-21. Holy Cross Church Vacation Bible Camp.
9:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Vacation Bible Camp.

Thursday, July 20.
7:00 p.m. Divine Liturgy for the feast of the Holy Prophet Elias at Holy Cross Church.
7:00 p.m. Choir practice for the Melkite Eastern Catholic community at Saint Kilian’s Roman Catholic Church. 26872 Estanciero Drive, Mission Viejo, CA 92691. Parish center. Room 6. Second and fourth Thursdays of each month.

Satuday, July 22.
4:30 p.m. Confession.
5:00 p.m. Vespers (Evening Prayer).

Sunday, July 23. Seventh Sunday After Pentecost.
9:30 a.m. Orthros (Morning Prayer).
10:30 a.m. Choir practice.
11:00 a.m. Divine Liturgy.
12:15 p.m.-1:15 p.m. Youth Ministry spiritual discussion for all in grades 9-12.

Saturday, July 29.
4:30 p.m. Confession.
5:00 p.m. Vespers (Evening Prayer).

Sunday, July 30. Eighth Sunday After Pentecost.
9:30 a.m. Orthros (Morning Prayer).
10:30 a.m. Choir practice.
11:00 a.m. Divine Liturgy.
12:15 p.m.-1:15 p.m. Youth Ministry spiritual discussion for all in grades 9-12.

3:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Prepare meal in the Holy Cross hall kitchen for Isaiah House Catholic Worker’s Women’s shelter.
4:30 p.m. Carpool to Isaiah House (316 South Cypress Avenue, Santa Ana. http://occatholicworker.org).
5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Set up, serve meals, visit with the women, and clean up.

Monday, July 31.
7:00 p.m. Paraclisis (prayer of supplication) in preparation for the Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God.

Wednesday, August 2.
7:00 p.m. Paraclisis (prayer of supplication) in preparation for the Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God.

Friday, August 4.
7:00 p.m. Paraclisis (prayer of supplication) in preparation for the Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God.

Saturday, August 5.
5:00 p.m. Divine Liturgy in Arabic.

Sunday, August 6. Transfiguration of Our Lord.
On the first Sunday of each month you may use your building fund envelope (or a specially marked envelope) and deposit it in the regular collection. Thank you for your continued generosity as we move closer to our parish goal of a new hall and church building.
9:30 a.m. Orthros (Morning Prayer).
10:30 a.m. Choir practice.
11:00 a.m. Divine Liturgy In English.
12:15 p.m.-1:15 p.m. Youth Ministry spiritual discussion for all in grades 9-12.
12:15-1:30 p.m. Young Adults Group for ages 21-35.

Monday, August 7.
7:00 p.m. Paraclisis (prayer of supplication) in preparation for the Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God.

Wednesday, August 9.
7:00 p.m. Paraclisis (prayer of supplication) in preparation for the Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God.

Thursday, August 10.
7:00 p.m. Choir practice for the Melkite Eastern Catholic community at Saint Kilian’s Roman Catholic Church. 26872 Estanciero Drive, Mission Viejo, CA 92691. Parish center. Room 6. Second and fourth Thursdays of each month.

Friday, August 11.
7:00 p.m. Paraclisis (prayer of supplication) in preparation for the Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God.

Saturday, August 12.
4:30 p.m. Confession.
5:00 p.m. Vespers (Evening Prayer).

Sunday, August 13. Tenth Sunday After Pentecost.
9:30 a.m. Orthros (Morning Prayer).
10:30 a.m. Choir practice.
11:00 a.m. Divine Liturgy.
12:15 p.m.-1:15 p.m. Youth Ministry spiritual discussion for all in grades 9-12.
5:45 p.m. Music practice in the hall.
6:30 p.m. Divine Liturgy. The Melkite Eastern Catholic Community at Saint Kilian’s Roman Catholic Church. 26872 Estanciero Drive, Mission Viejo, CA 92691.

Monday, August 14.
7:00 p.m. Divine Liturgy for the Eve of the Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God.

Tuesday, August 15.
7:00 p.m. Divine Liturgy for the Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God.

Saturday, August 19.
4:30 p.m. Confession.
5:00 p.m. Vespers (Evening Prayer).

Sunday, August 20. Eleventh Sunday After Pentecost.
9:30 a.m. Orthros (Morning Prayer).
10:30 a.m. Choir practice.
11:00 a.m. Divine Liturgy.
12:15 p.m.-1:15 p.m. Youth Ministry spiritual discussion for all in grades 9-12.

Thursday, August 24.
7:00 p.m. Choir practice for the Melkite Eastern Catholic community at Saint Kilian’s Roman Catholic Church. 26872 Estanciero Drive, Mission Viejo, CA 92691. Parish center. Room 6. Second and fourth Thursdays of each month.

Saturday, August 26.
4:30 p.m. Confession.
5:00 p.m. Vespers (Evening Prayer).

Sunday, August 27. Twelfth Sunday After Pentecost.
9:30 a.m. Orthros (Morning Prayer).
10:30 a.m. Choir practice.
11:00 a.m. Divine Liturgy.
12:15 p.m.-1:15 p.m. Youth Ministry spiritual discussion for all in grades 9-12.

Saturday, September 2.
5:00 p.m. Divine Liturgy in Arabic.

Sunday, September 3.
On the first Sunday of each month you may use your building fund envelope (or a specially marked envelope) and deposit it in the regular collection. Thank you for your continued generosity as we move closer to our parish goal of a new hall and church building.
9:30 a.m. Orthros (Morning Prayer).
10:30 a.m. Choir practice.
11:00 a.m. Divine Liturgy In English.
12:15 p.m.-1:15 p.m. Eastern Christian Formation/Sunday School for children in kindergarten to grade 8.
12:15 p.m.-1:15 p.m. Youth Ministry spiritual discussion for all in grades 9-12.
12:15-1:30 p.m. Young Adults Group for ages 21-35.

Holy Cross Church Festival. Friday, September 8- Sunday, September 10, 2017.
Friday, September 8.
7:00 p.m. Wine and Dine Fundraiser.

Saturday, September 9.
1:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. Holy Cross Church Festival.
4:30 p.m. Confession.
5:00 p.m. Vespers (Evening Prayer).

Sunday, September 10.
9:30 a.m. Orthros (Morning Prayer).
10:30 a.m. Choir practice.
11:00 a.m. Divine Liturgy.
1:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. Holy Cross Church Festival.


Readings for Sunday, May 28, 2017.
Epistle: Acts of the Apostles 20:16-18, 28-36. (Sunday of the Fathers of Nicea)
PROKIMENON (Tone 7)
Blessed are You, O Lord God of our fathers, and Your name is worthy of praise and glorious forever.
Stichon: For You are just in all You have done to us, and all Your works are true and Your ways right.

READING From the Acts of the Apostles
In those days Paul decided to sail past Ephesus so as not to waste time in Asia. For he was hurrying as much as he could in order to reach Jerusalem for the day of Pentecost. From Miletus, however, he had sent an invitation to Ephesus for the presbyters of the church. And when they had come to him, he said to them, (20:28) “Be careful about yourselves and the whole flock over which the Holy Spirit has placed you as bishops, to herd the Church of God which He has redeemed through His own blood. For I know this, that after I am gone fierce wolves will get in among you and will not spare the flock. And from among you, some men will rise, speaking perverse doctrines, to draw away the disciples after them.

“Watch, therefore, and remember that for three years, night and day, I did not cease to warn with tears every one of you. And now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the Word of His grace, Who is able to edify and to grant you an inheritance among all His blessed ones.

“I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or clothing. You, yourselves, know these hands of mine have provided for my needs and those of my companions. In all things, I have shown you that by working in this way you should help the weak, and remember that the Lord Jesus said in person, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” And after saying this, he knelt down and prayed with them all.

ALLELUIA (Tone 1)

The God of gods, the Lord has spoken and summoned the earth
from the rising of the sun to its setting.
Stichon: Gather His faithful ones around Him, those who have made a covenant with Him through sacrifices.

Gospel: John 17:1-13.
The Holy Gospel according to St. John the Evangelist
At that time Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come! Glorify Your Son, that Your Son may glorify You, even as You have given Him power over all flesh, in order that to all You have given Him, He may give everlasting life. Now this is everlasting life, that they may know You, the only true God, and the One You have sent, Jesus Christ. I have glorified You on earth; I have accomplished the work You have given Me to do. And now do You, Father, glorify Me with Yourself, with the glory that I had with You before the world existed. I have manifested Your name to the men You have given me out of the world. They were Yours, and You have given them to Me, and they have kept Your word. Now they have learned that whatever You have given Me is from You; because the words that You have given Me, I have given to them. And they have received them, and have known as a fact that I came forth from You, and they have believed that You did send Me. I pray for them; not for the world do I pray, but for those whom You have given Me, because they are Yours; and all things that are Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine; and I am glorified in them. And I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, keep in Your name those You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those You have given Me, I guarded; and not one of them perished except the son of perdition, in order that the Scriptures might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to You and these things I speak in the world, in order that they may have My joy made full in themselves.”

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Mobile: (714) 403-8455. www.MelindasHomes.com, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Holy Cross Melkite Catholic Church.
451 West Madison Avenue, Placentia, CA 92870-4537
Telephone: (714) 985-1710.
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Parish Web site: www.HolyCrossMelkite.org
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/HolyCrossMelkite
Youtube Page: www.youtube.com/HolyCrossMelkite
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HCMelkite

Pastor: Father François Beyrouti.
Electronic mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - Cellular phone: (714) 914-1710

Pastoral Associate: Deacon Elias Kashou.
Office Manager: Tony Helo.
Parish Hall Rental: Hala Nakhoul (714) 920-6180.
Choir director: Reader Saad Tashman.
Sunday School / Eastern Christian Formation Program: Every Sunday after the Divine Liturgy from September-May. Pre-School to Grade 8.
Our Lady’s Society: Iman Lutfi (714) 595-7999.

LITURGICAL SCHEDULE
SATURDAY: 4:30 P.M. Confession. 5:00 P.M. Vespers (Evening Prayer).
SUNDAY: 9:45 A.M. Orthros (Morning Prayer). 11:00 A.M. The Divine Liturgy.

ARABIC DIVINE LITURGY: 5:00 p.m. Saturday before the first Sunday of the month. In 2017: May 6, June 3, July 1, August 5.

ENGLISH DIVINE LITURGY: 11:00 a.m. First Sunday of the month. In 2017: May 7, June 4, July 2, August 6.

HOLY DAYS AND WEEKDAYS: Please check the bulletin.

THE HOLY MYSTERIES
MYSTERIES OF CHRISTIAN INITIATION: The three Mysteries of Baptism, Chrismation and Holy Eucharist are always celebrated together in one ceremony. One month notice is required and one baptismal preparation meeting is required with the priest.
MYSTERY OF HOLY CROWNING: Six month notice, an initial meeting with the priest, marriage preparation sessions, and a wedding license are required. You must be an active member of the parish.
MYSTERY OF HOLY CONFESSION: Saturday at 4:30 p.m.
MYSTERY OF HOLY ANOINTING: Available for anyone who is ill.
PLEASE NOTE: There is no charge for the celebration of the Sacramental Mysteries, however, it is appropriate to offer a gift of thanksgiving. Therefore the Parish Advisory Council suggests an offering of $200 for Baptisms; $500 for Weddings; $300 for Funerals; and $100 for a Memorial Service.

HALL RENTAL POLICY.
MERCY-MEAL ON THE DAY OF THE FUNERAL: No charge for registered parishioners of Holy Cross Church who regularly use donation envelopes.
MERCY-MEAL FOR THE 40th DAY OR OTHER MEMORIALS: $200.00 for parishioners.
A PARTY WITH MUSIC, FOOD, AND DRINKS (up to 5 hours of use): $400.00 for parishioners + $100 insurance payable to the diocese. $500.00 for non-parishioners + $100 insurance payable to the diocese.
DAMAGE/CLEANING DEPOSIT: $200.00. Refundable if the hall is left in the condition it was given to you.
SECURITY FEE: $125 charge will be added to cover security for 5 hours.
A MEETING (Use of the chairs and tables only. No use of the kitchen, oven, or refrigerator). $75 / hour for parishioners. $100 for non-parishioners.
ADDITIONAL CHARGE FOR A RENTAL OVER 5 HOURS: $100 / hour.

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2017-05-21. Homily. Fr. François Beyrouti. Personal, prayer, persecution, and perseverance.

Sunday, May 21, 2017. Homily. Fr. François Beyrouti.
Personal, prayer, persecution, and perseverance.
Sunday of the Man Born Blind.

If you know someone who would like to subscribe to the homily or bulletin list please send them this link:
https://www.holycrossmelkite.org/parish/homilies 

PROKIMENON (Tone 5) You, O Lord, will keep us and preserve us always from this generation.
Stichon: Save me, O Lord, for there is no longer any holy man, for truthfulness has vanished from among the children of men.

A Reading from the Acts of the Apostles (16:16-34).
In those days it came to pass that as we the disciples were going to pray, we were met by a girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her masters much profit by her soothsaying. Now, she was following Paul and us, and kept crying out loudly, “These men are servants of the most high God, and they announce to you a way of salvation!” This she did for many days. But Paul could not stand it, so he turned and said to the spirit, “I order you in the name of Jesus Christ: get out of her!” And it went out of her that very moment. But seeing that their hope of profit was gone, her masters seized Paul and Silas and dragged them to the market-place before the authorities; and bringing them to the magistrates, they said, “These men are disturbing our city. They are Jews, and they advocate practices it is not permitted for us to adopt or observe, since we are Romans.” And the crowd opposed them too, and the magistrates tore off their cloaks and ordered them to be beaten with rods. And after inflicting many blows on them, they threw them in jail, ordering the jailer to keep them under safe guard. And he, receiving this command, consigned them to the inner jail and fastened their feet in the stocks. But at midnight, while Paul and Silas were singing hymns to God, the prisoners listened to them. And suddenly, there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the jail were shaken, and at once all the doors flew open and everyone’s chains came loose. But when the jailer woke up and saw all the doors of the jail open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, thinking the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried out in a loud voice, saying, “Do not hurt yourself, for we are all here!” Then calling for a light, he ran in, and trembling with fear, fell at the feet of Paul and Silas. And he let them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you shall be saved together with your household.” And he spoke to him the word of the Lord, and also to all his household. And he took them at that same hour of the night, and washed their wounds; and he himself was baptized, and all those of his household immediately after. And taking them into his house, he set a table before them, and rejoiced with all his household over his faith in God.

ALLELUIA (Tone 5) Ps.88: 2, 3
Your favor, O Lord, I will sing forever; from generation to generation, my mouth will proclaim your faithfulness.
Stichon: For you have said, “My kindness is established forever.” In heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness.

The Holy Gospel according to Saint John the Evangelist (John 9:1-38).
At that time as Jesus was passing by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who has sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither has this man sinned nor have his parents, but the works of God were to be made manifest in him. I must do the works of the one who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world I am the Light of the world.” When he had said these things, he spat on the ground and made clay with the spittle, and spread the clay over the man’s eyes, and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam (which is interpreted ‘sent’).” So he went away, and washed, and returned seeing. The neighbors therefore and those who had seen earlier that he was blind began saying, “Is not this the man who used to sit and beg?” Some said, “It is.” But others said, “He only looks like him.” Yet, the man declared, “I am the one.” They therefore asked him, “How were your eyes opened?” He answered and said, “The man who is called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.’ And I went and washed, and I see.” And they asked him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.” They took the man who had been blind to the Pharisees. Now, it was a Sabbath on which Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. Again, therefore, the Pharisees asked him: how he received his sight. But he said to them, “He put clay upon my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” Therefore some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner work these signs?” And there was a division among them. Again therefore they said to the blind man, “What do you say of the one who opened your eyes?” But he said, “He is a prophet.” he Jews therefore did not believe of him that he had been blind and had got his sight, until they called the parents of the one who had gained his sight, and questioned them, saying, “Is this your son, of whom you say he was born blind? How then does he now see?” His parents answered them and said, “We know this is our son, and that he was born blind; but how he now sees we do not know, or who opened his eyes we ourselves do not know. Ask him; he is of age, let him speak for himself.” These things his parents said because they feared the Jews. For already the Jews had agreed that if anyone were to confess him to be the Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. This is why his parents said, “He is of age; question him.” They therefore called a second time the man who had been blind, and said to him, “Give glory to God! We ourselves know this man is a sinner.” He therefore said, “Whether he is a sinner, I do not know. One thing I do know, that whereas I was blind, now I see.” They therefore asked him again, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” He answered them, “I have told you already, but you did not listen. Why would you hear a second time? Would you also become his disciples?” They heaped abuse on him therefore and said, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know God spoke to Moses; but as for this man, we do not know where he is from.” In answer the man said to them, “Why herein is the marvel, that you do not know where he is from, and yet he opened my eyes. Now we know God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshipper of God, and does his will, him he hears. Not from the beginning of the world has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” They answered and said to him, “You were altogether born in sins, and do you teach us?” And they turned him out. Jesus heard they had turned him out, and when he had found him, said to him, “Do you believe in the Son of God?” He answered and said, “Who is he, Lord, that I may believe in him?” And Jesus said to him, “You have both seen him, and he it is who speaks with you.” And he said, “I believe, Lord.” And falling down, he worshipped him.

Homily.
It is exciting to see things grow. How happy do you feel when you see flowers that you planted bloom? The colors on your flowers always seem nicer than most other colors and they definitely smell more fragrant than anything else you have ever smelled. How about a fruit tree you planted? Nothing tastes better than a fruit from a tree that you put in the ground with your own hands. When you get a chance to savor the fruit, you enjoy the taste and you also enjoy the feeling that some small thing you planted has grown and produced something big.

However, a plant does not grow by itself, it requires good soil, the right amount of sunlight, and enough water. Other things in our life that grow also require the right environment. Our bodies do not grow without the right nourishment and our personality does not grow if we do not make the right decisions.

The sections from the Acts of the Apostles that we read during the forty day period after Easter focus on the life and growth of the early Church after the death and resurrection of Jesus. The followers of Jesus miraculously went from fear to exceptional courage as they proclaimed their faith to everyone. This growth took place under a unique environment. Just like trees only grow with the right amount of water and nourishment so too the faith grew with a very specific kind of nourishment.

But what is the nourishment that the early Church received that resulted in such amazing growth? How did a group of scared men and women, who were hiding behind closed doors after Jesus died, end up changing the entire world with their courage and faith?

There are four important words that can summarize the amazing growth of Christianity: Personal, prayer, persecution, and perseverance.

The first word is “personal.” Jesus was very personal with everyone he met. In today’s Gospel, Jesus took a personal interest in the man born blind. Jesus touched him, spoke with him, cared for him, and healed him. Jesus was also personal with everyone He met during His life and even after He rose from the dead He maintained a personal relationship with His disciples by appearing to them many times, by spending time with them, and by eating with them.

Saint Luke tells us in the Acts of the Apostles: “To the apostles he presented himself alive after his passion by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days, and speaking of the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3). This personal relationship that they had with Jesus convinced them that He was real and that His message was real.

The second important aspect of the growth of our faith is “prayer.” We see an example of this in the blind man’s response to Jesus: “He said, ‘Lord, I believe’; and he worshiped him” (John 9:38).

In the Acts of the Apostles the early followers of Jesus always gathered to pray. Today’s reading begins: “as we were going to the place of prayer” (Acts 16:16). Also when they wanted to heal the girl they prayed “in the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 16:18). And when they were thrown in jail we read that until midnight “Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them” (Acts 16:25).

The third important aspect of the growth of Christianity is “persecution.” We are used to want things that are more comfortable. We want a chair that is more comfortable, a car that is more comfortable, a house that is more comfortable, a job that is more comfortable, and unfortunately we sometimes also want a faith that is more comfortable.

We overlook that although God is comforting faith in God is not comfortable, especially when we are standing up for what is right. The early Church embraced suffering and persecution but often we in our lives fear and run away from all discomfort.

In a letter Pope Francis wrote called The Joy of the Gospel he says: “The great danger in today’s world, pervaded as it is by consumerism is … the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures and a blunted conscience” (paragraph 2).

Isn’t it true that in our society, pleasure and comfort have become more important than sacrifice and self-control? How different this is from how the first Christians lived who felt it was a great blessing when they were expelled from the synagogues, criticized, beaten, put in jail, and even killed.

Today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles gives us an example of persecution against Paul and Silas. “The crowd joined in attacking them; and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. [23] And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, charging the jailer to keep them safely. [24] Having received this charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks” (Acts 16:22-24).

The apostles were not afraid of persecution because they focused on witnessing to everything that God had done for them. In his letter to the Romans, Saint Paul says: “we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, [4] and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, [5] and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5).

Persecution killed Christians but it did not kill Christianity. Persecution strengthened the faith and the early Church was proud to proclaim: “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of Christianity.” For three hundred years those who were not Christians but who saw Christians being beaten and killed for their faith also became convinced that Jesus was worth following, living for, and yes also dying for.

Today we continue to see the persecution of Christians throughout the world. We also see various kinds of persecution in our daily lives. If you believe in Jesus you will be criticized and even mocked at work, at school, and among your family and friends.

For example, the Christian belief in marriage as a lifetime commitment between one man and one woman is regularly mocked in the press, at universities, and in other settings. Why? Because commitment itself is not highly valued. A common attitude that is reflected in many songs is that one night is more than enough. For example, one popular song puts it: “Are you gonna stay the night? Doesn’t mean we’re bound for life.” (Zedd “Stay the Night.”)

Today, persecution for our faith comes in various forms and we have to know what we believe, why we believe it, and be ready to defend it.

In addition to a faith that is personal, regular prayer, and persecution, the early Christian community also persevered.

We see an example of perseverance in both of today’s readings. Perseverance proves that our faith is authentic. If we cannot persevere through difficulties it shows that we never really believed at all. A farmer perseveres despite periods of drought and we need to persevere in our faith despite any of the daily challenges we face.

Yes growth is exciting. We can be proud that Christianity is larger than any other religion in the world. We can also be proud that with over 1.2 billion Catholics, we are the largest of all Christian groups, but this growth did not come accidentally. Personal, Prayer, Persecution, and Perseverance, these four words were at the heart of the growth of Christianity and are still the foundations of an authentic faith.

Just as plants only grow under the right conditions, faith is very similar. Our faith can only continue to grow when it is personal, when prayer guides our life, when persecution does not shake us, and when we persevere. These were at the heart of the life of the early Church and need to be at the heart of our daily faith if we want to experience any real growth in our life of faith.


Father François Beyrouti
Holy Cross Melkite Catholic Church
451 West Madison Avenue
Placentia, CA 92870-4537
Church: 714-985-1710
My cell phone: 714-914-1710
www.HolyCrossMelkite.org 
www.youtube.com/HolyCrossMelkite 
www.youtube.com/MelkiteTV 
www.facebook.com/HolyCrossMelkite 
https://twitter.com/HCMelkite 

“This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

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Vacation Bible Camp

Vacation Bible Camp at Holy Cross Church for children ages 5-12. Register Now.
When: July 17-21 2016. 9:00 - 12:30 p.m. Where: Here at our Parish! 451 West Madison Ave. Placentia, CA 92870.
What: Maker Fun Factory, children experience God’s Word in surprising and unforgettable ways. Each day, leaders reinforce one simple Bible truth – which makes it easy for the children to remember and apply the message to real life situations.
Registration fee: $40 per child if paid by Sunday, June 25, 2017. $50 if paid after this date. Please make checks payable to: Holy Cross Church.
We also need youth, young adult, and parent volunteers. To help us order and prepare the materials please register your child as soon as possible. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns please contact the church office at (714) 985-1710 or email Rosemarie Nasr at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Registration and volunteer forms are available at below:
Registration form
Volunteer form

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MyParish App

Holy Cross Church’s New App. Good news, Holy Cross Church now has its own app on android and apple devices. Simply search for the myParish app on your phone’s app store or click one of the buttons below and once you have the app downloaded search for Holy Cross Melkite Church. Alternatively you could text “App” to 88202 to download our parish app. This app is full of useful features from messages, donations, calendar information, and so much more. If you have any questions please call the church office at (714) 985-1710.

App Store Google Play

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22nd Annual Melkite Association of Young Adults (M.A.Y.A.) Retreat in Chicago, IL.

M.A.Y.A. stands for far more than just the Melkite Association of Young Adults. It is an organization of Melkite Catholics ages 18 – 26 (and at least 1 year out of high school) under the Melkite Greek Catholic Church in the United States and the patronage of our Bishop, the Most Reverend Nicholas Samra, Eparchy of Newton, which exists to help ourselves and one another strengthen our relationship with God.

Where? Loyola University Chicago. 1032 W Sheridan Rd, Chicago, IL 60660
When? June 28th-July 2nd, 2017
Cost? The cost of the retreat is $250 which includes: meals, transportation, and accommodations. There will be a $25 late fee for payments received after the June 1st deadline.

If you are interested, please go to MAYA Retreat.

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