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2013 Eastern Dioceses Fellowship of St. John the Divine Scholarship

The Fellowship of St. John the Divine in the Eastern Dioceses of Charleston and New York is offering college tuition scholarships for Antiochian students. Watch for the updated 2013 application form, coming soon! If you have any questions, call scholarship administrator Maria Abdalah at: 412-916-4772, or email her at laxg25@aol.com.

The completed form will be due June 1, 2013.

One (1) scholarship (each) of $1,500.00 and $1,000.00 will be awarded, along with four (4) scholarships of $500.00 each. The awards will be presented at the Annual Eastern Dioceses Parish Life Conference.

All scholarships are made possible by endowments created by concerned individuals from the parishes of our Eastern Dioceses and fund-raising programs held by the Fellowship of St. John the Divine.

We wish you all God’s blessings and look forward to submitting your application to the evaluation committee. 

"What We Do Really Matters": OCN Interviews Fr. Joseph Purpura

As part of a "Come Receive the Light" series on the family and the Church, The Very Rev. Dr. Joseph Purpura, chair of the Department of Youth and Parish Ministry, recently joined Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) Executive Director Fr. Chris Metropulos for two discussions about helping Orthodox teens navigate today's complicated journey to adulthood. (Listen to Part I, "Moving Towards Salvation," and Part II, "Closer to Christ.)

Father Joseph outlined the top challenges, which he noted are as great as they've been at any time in history: busyness which can be senseless, stress, overscheduling, distractions, a sense of being overstimulated by technology, overexposure to sexual images, and the prevalence of substance abuse. He also explained that historically, parents had never been expected to raise their kids without outside support; the community as a whole felt a responsibility to help children grow up safely.

SOYO Focuses on The Sacred Gift of Life

During the month of January, the youth of the Antiochian Archdiocese traditionally focus on two worthy SOYO programs: Sacred Gift of Life, and Purity, Virginity, Chastity. Local Teen SOYO chapters and high school Christian Education classes are encouraged to view and use the resources found on SOYO's website. Some of the materials include a case study on abortion and the sacred gift of life developed by Dr. H. Tristram Engelhardt, leading Orthodox bioethicist; lesson plans with discussion questions about chastity; and essays about the Sacrament of Matrimony and the mystery of marriage. 

The SOYO site explains that "while people may have failed to make good choices in the past on this most important issue of life, SOYO chooses to help educate a generation of teens to make good choices with how they use their body and how they treat life - given as a gift from God." With these resources, teens, under the leadership of their pastors and advisors, will have the material necessary to hold productive discussions which will hopefully further their belief and commitment to the sacred gift of life and to the virtues of purity and chastity. 

Dept. of Youth Chair Addresses Teens in New Year

The following is the New Year’s letter offered to the teens of the Antiochian Archdiocese by Fr. Joseph F. Purpura, the chairman of the Department of Youth and Parish Ministry. In it, he describes his hopes and prayers for the youth of the Archdiocese in this new season.

As we enter the year of our Lord 2013, a flood of thoughts flow through my mind concerning you the young people of this great archdiocese. For many years I have been blessed to lead the youth efforts across this North American Archdiocese. First as a Regional Spiritual Advisor from 1981-1985, then as the North American Council of SOYO Spiritual Advisor from 1985-1991 and then as Chairman of the Department of Youth and Parish Ministry from 1990 to present. In each of these thirty-five years of priesthood and youth work, I have been keenly aware of three things:

First, that our task is to pass the faith down to each of you.

Second, to instill in you a love for Christ and His Holy Orthodox Church and to enable you to live a righteous life in Jesus Christ.

Third, to raise generations of disciples and leaders for Christ’s Holy Orthodox Church and these North American nations in which we reside.

With each passing year and with each successive generation of young persons placed before us, I continue to be amazed and filled with joy at just how blessed our archdiocese and Holy Orthodox Church here in North America is to have so many dedicated, loving, and Christ-centered young persons in our midst. So often the media is filled with all that is wrong in our society, especially among young people, yet all we need to do is look at you, the youth of this archdiocese, and know that God is present and working in you.

Fr. Joseph Purpura's Letter to Teens about Newton, CT Tragedy

December 15, 2012

Dear Teens of the Antiochian Archdiocese,

Please keep in your prayers all of the children and adults killed this past Friday in Newtown, Connecticut.

There are no words to describe the why of these senseless killing of innocent children and adults.

Our hope, trust, and comfort is found in God the Father who so loved us that He sent His own Son to become one of us, to die on the Cross, and to rise from the dead, making a way to the Kingdom for us so that we might have life in abundance.

May the approaching Nativity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ bring you comfort and peace as we contemplate the tremendous and unending love of God for each of us. May His love and His presence bring you great comfort in the coming weeks and year.

Yours in Christ,

V. Rev. Dr. Joseph F Purpura

Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America

FrJoseph@OrthodoxYouth.com

781-255-1757

Special Olympics Donation Report from Fr. Joseph Purpura

Father Joseph Purpura, chairman of SOYO and of the Department of Youth and Parish Ministry, writes: 

Help us reach the $55,000 goal NAC SOYO needs to raise for the 2013 SOYO/PASO Special Olympics Sports Camp at Antiochian Village!  We are 80% there, and we thank the 152 parishes that have sent in their 2012 Special Olympics Awareness Day Collection money. The total we have received as of December 1, 2012, is $44,128.80.

If your parish did not take the collection please consider making a donation, and if your parish has collected a donation but hasn't submitted it yet, please send in your check for the full amount collected as soon as possible. Checks should be made payable to "NAC Teen SOYO Special Olympics" and mailed to:

NAC Teen SOYO Special Olympics

Department of Youth and Parish Ministries 

PO Box 389

Westwood MA 02090-0389

We thank you for your help with this ministry of NAC Teen SOYO!

YES Awareness Sunday is December 2

On the first Sunday in December, Youth Equipped to Serve (YES) is inviting all parishes to participate in YES Awareness Day. A ministry of The Fellowship of Orthodox Christians United to Serve (FOCUS), YES provides opportunities for junior high and high school students to participate in formative weekends of service in cities around the United States. An upcoming YES weekend, sponsored by St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church of Pawtucket, RI, is scheduled for Friday, December 14, through Sunday, December 16, in Providence.

Notes Director Katrina Bitar, "We would be so grateful if you took the time to share our ministry with your community and helped to raise funds that will enable us to meet the needs of the people we serve." A letter which can be read in parishes during the YES Sunday observance, reads in part:

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As we approach the Nativity of our Lord, I am blessed today to have the opportunity to share with you, the YES Program—Youth Equipped to Serve—of FOCUS North America.

Village at Home, D.C., Slated for November 17, 2012

What is "Village at Home"? Antiochian Village's website explains, "In an effort to stay connected to our campers and introduce young people to the camp experience, we have established our Village at Home program. In short, we visit a parish, at the invitation of their pastor, and run a modified day of camp at the parish. We ask the host parish to extend invitations to neighboring churches with hope of exposing as many young people to the Antiochian Village camping program. We recruit former staff members to join us for the day to assist with the program. The day somewhat mimics a day of camp."

Download the Village at Home Registration

Download the Village at Home Flyer

Special Olympics Awareness Day is Sunday, October 21

The third Sunday of October, October 21, 2012 is Special Olympics Awareness Day (SOAD) across the Antiochian Archdiocese. On Sunday, October 21st, your local teen group will seek financial help from Antiochian parishioners in funding the 2013 Special Olympics Sports Camp to be held at the Antiochian Village August 9-17, 2013. Next summer we will be celebrating our 32nd Annual Special Olympics Sports Camp. This ministry is sponsored by the North American Council of Teen SOYO. Our teens work very hard for this ministry and rely on the generosity and support of the faithful of our Archdiocese and the Order of St. Ignatius.

We Need YOUR HELP!

Please publicize this day. Special Olympics Awareness Day bulletin inserts are attached below, one set for October 14th and the other for October 21st. Please include these inserts in your bulletin. Also attached are a letter to Antiochian clergy and an address to be delivered in church by teens on Special Olympics Awareness day. Your enthusiastic promotion of such a worthwhile ministry will go a long way in producing fruitful results from our faithful.