Holy Week & Paschal Services at Saint Ann

Complete your Lenten journey with us – Lazarus Saturday, Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Paschal Services – all are welcome:

Lazarus Saturday, 3/27/21
  • Divine Liturgy @ 10:00 am.
Palm Sunday, 3/28/21
  • Prothesis/Preparation of the Holy Gifts – before the Royal Doors @ 10:00 am.
  • Procession with Palms and Divine Liturgy @10:30 am.
Great and Holy Monday, 3/29/21
  • Bridegroom Matins @6:30 pm.
Great and Holy Tuesday, 3/30/21
  • Bridegroom Matins @6:30 pm.
Great and Holy Wednesday, 3/31/21
  • Blessing of Oil and Anointing Service @ 6:30 pm
Great and Holy Thursday, 4/1/21
  • Divine Liturgy @ 10 am.
  • Service of the Twelve Gospels and Crucifixion @ 6:30 pm
Great and Holy Friday, 4/2/21
  • Royal Hours @ 12:00 noon
  • Descent from the Cross, Burial (Junnaaz al-Maseeh), Matins & Procession @ 6:30 pm.
Great and Holy Saturday, 4/3/21
  • Blessing of the New Light and Divine Liturgy @ 10:00 am.
  • Guided Examination of Conscience & Sacrament of Penance (Confession) @ 3:00-5:00 pm.
Pascha, the Feast of the Holy Resurrection
  • Hajme, followed by Orthros and Divine Liturgy, Saturday 4/3/21 @10:00 pm.
  • Paschal Divine Liturgy, Sunday 4/4/21 @ 10:00 am.

Franz Stuck, Crucifixion 1913


Lazarus Saturday Divine Liturgy @ 9:00 a.m.

Father, I thank You that You have heard me. I knew that You hear me always, but I have said this on account of the people standing by, that they may believe that You did send me.

Jesus’ raising of Lazarus from the dead at Bethany is celebrated in Eastern churches on the Saturday immediately preceding Palm Sunday.

St. Ann celebrates this miracle in the Divine Liturgy on Saturday, March 27, 2021 at 9:00 a.m.

The story of Lazarus’ resurrection four days after his entombment is told in the Gospel of Saint John (John 11:1–44):

Mikhail Nesterov, The Raising of Lazarus 1900

Now a certain man was ill, Laz′arus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Laz′arus was ill. So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness is not unto death; it is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by means of it.”

Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Laz′arus. So when he heard that he was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go into Judea again.” The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were but now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any one walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 But if any one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” 11 Thus he spoke, and then he said to them, “Our friend Laz′arus has fallen asleep, but I go to awake him out of sleep.” 12 The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” 13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. 14 Then Jesus told them plainly, “Laz′arus is dead; 15 and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” 16 Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

17 Now when Jesus came, he found that Laz′arus had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary sat in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 And even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, he who is coming into the world.”

28 When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying quietly, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” 29 And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet come to the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32 Then Mary, when she came where Jesus was and saw him, fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled; 34 and he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept. 36 So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

38 Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb; it was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” 40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. 42 I knew that thou hearest me always, but I have said this on account of the people standing by, that they may believe that thou didst send me.” 43 When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Laz′arus, come out.” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with bandages, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”


The Feast of the Annunciation & the Miracle of Life

St. Ann celebrates the Feast of the Annunciation with Vespers for the feast on Wednesday, March 24 at 5:00 p.m. and the Divine Liturgy on Thursday, March 25 at 5:00 p.m.

When the angel Gabriel announced to the Mary that she had been chosen by God to become the Theotokos (Mother of God), she responded surely, with great faith: “Let it be so according to your word.” With her acceptance, the eternal God was conceived in her womb. In that moment the course of human history changed, because His conception was the moment at which God assumed human nature and form.

Jesus’ birth revealed the mystery of His incarnation to the world, but it was at His conception that this mystery was first accomplished.

The deepest meanings of the Feast of the Annunciation have anchored important Christian practices and beliefs through the ages. Here is a passage from the website of the Melkite Eparchy of Newton regarding our contemporary observances of this feast day:

The mystery we celebrate on March 25 has been recognized as an important milestone for two very different groups of people. Many pro-life parents throughout the world have begun to celebrate their children’s First Days, nine months before their birthdays. In this they are rejecting the secular culture’s contention that a fetus is a “part” of the mother which only “becomes human” later in its development.

Christian pro-lifers accordingly keep the Feast of the Annunciation as the First Day of the Incarnate Word. They encourage its observance as a sign that the Christian community recognize and honor the conception and prenatal life of the Lord. If believers do not celebrate the conception of One who was foretold and announced by an angel, they reason, why should the world esteem the coming of its unwanted children?

In 1998 Argentina became the first nation to commemorate March 25 as the Day of the Unborn Child. Since then many other countries with a Hispanic culture (e.g. Central and South America, the Philippines) have done the same. In Spain the day was given a wider focus. Their International Day for Life encourages recognition of the dangers of euthanasia, embryo experimentation and other challenges to the sanctity of life.

In the United States groups including the American Life League, the Knights of Columbus and Priests for Life have prompted observance and public recognition of this day.

In 2010 Christians and Muslims in Lebanon responded to the hostilities between these groups in other countries by joining forces to declare March 25 a national holiday celebrating the place of the Virgin Mary in Christianity and in Islam. The initiative for this Islamic-Christian Day came from a Sunni Sheikh, Mohammed Nokkari, and an inter-faith group centered in the College of Notre Dame in Jamhour, near Beirut. Their annual gathering on the Annunciation, “Together Around Our Lady Mary,” led to civic recognition on the national and local level. In Beirut the plaza in front of the National Museum has been designated the “place de Marie,” featuring a stylized sculpture of the Virgin surrounded by a crescent, the international symbol of Islam.

In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.” Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her. Luke 1:26-38

Henry Ossawa TannerThe Annunciation, 1898


Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts: Wednesdays During Lent

St. Ann continues its weekly Lenten celebrations of the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts on Wednesdays at 5:00 p.m.

The Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts (also referred to as the Presanctified Liturgy) is a liturgical service focused on the distribution to the faithful of Holy Eucharist which has been previously transformed through the gifts of the Holy Spirit during a celebration of the Divine Liturgy.

The Church recognizes two truths of human nature in its offering of the Presanctified Liturgy.

First, the Church recognizes that, regardless of liturgical season, the Divine Liturgy is always celebrated in a festal manner. Because the sobriety of the Lenten season does not lend itself to festal celebration, the Divine Liturgy is not celebrated on weekdays during Lent, except for the Great Feast of Annunciation on March 25. Sundays, however, are always reserved for the festal celebration of the Divine Liturgy, even during Lent. In order to nourish the faithful with the body and blood of Christ on weekdays during the time of the fast, Holy Eucharist sanctified at the previous Sunday’s Divine Liturgy is distributed within an evening prayer closely resembling vespers. This Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts is traditionally attributed to Saint Gregory the Dialogus, better known as Saint Pope Gregory the Great, who had served as the papal legate to Constantinople in the late 6th Century.

Second, the Church recognizes that during Great Lent faithful Christians are on a journey of repentance, fasting, and intensified prayer, and therefore it offers us the Presanctified Liturgy to encourage our frequent reception of communion, a practice that is especially helpful to our souls during this time.

Although the Presanctified Liturgy can be celebrated with liturgical correctness on any weekday during Great Lent, the service is usually celebrated on the Wednesdays.

Now the powers of heaven invisibly worship with us; for behold, the King of Glory is coming in. Behold the completed mystical sacrifice in procession! Let us approach with faith and longing that we may become partakers of life everlasting. Alleluia.

Great Entrance hymn, Presanctified Liturgy

You can read more about the Presanctified Liturgy on the website of the Melkite Eparchy of Newton, here.


History & the Bible Come Alive: Crash Course in Salvation History Starts Sunday

History and the Bible will come alive in unexpected ways as Fr. Tom offers a fun crash course in Salvation History – the storyline from creation to the Birth of Christ.

Do you read the Old Testament and find yourself asking: “What is happening?” Does the connection between the Old Testament and the New Covenant of Jesus Christ seem obscure? Why the seemingly endless genealogies….. and who the heck is Melchizedek?

What, when and who are the Patriarchs, Moses, the Burning Bush, Passover, the Golden Calf, the Tabernacle, the Ark, the Lampstand, the Holy of Holies, Aaron, the Kings, Solomon’s Temple, the Levitical priesthood, the United and Divided Kingdoms, the Prophets, the double exile and the return, and the rebuilding of the Temple.

How does salvation history relate to the conquest of Israel by the Assyrians, followed close on by conquest of Judea by the Babylonians, Persians, Alexander the Great, and the Romans?

How is it all pointing to Jesus Christ?

When: Four consecutive Sunday afternoons @ 5:00 pm: February 21 & 28 and March 7 & 14.


Required Materials: A Bible – the best version is the Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition (RSV-CE) but any version will suffice.

Supplemental Materials: Helpful maps, timelines, diagrams, charts and outlines are available here.


Join us for the Akathist to the Mother of God – Fridays during Lent @ 5:00 p.m.

Saint Ann prays the Akathist to the Theotokos on Friday nights during Great Lent. This year the service will begin at 5:00 p.m. on the consecutive Fridays of February 19 & 26, and March 5, 12, & 19.

Please join us – lift your soul with prayer!

A much loved hymn to the Mother of God is sung during the Akathist service – Triumphant Leader. The hymn commemorates an event in ancient Byzantium that demonstrated enormous devotion to and faith in the Theotokos:

“While the Emperor of Byzantium Heracleios was on an expedition to fight the aggression of the Persians on their own grounds, there appeared outside the walls of Constantinople barbaric hordes…. The siege lasted a few months, and it was apparent that the outnumbered troops of the Queen City were reaching desperation. However as history records, the faith of the people worked the impossible. The Venerable Patriarch Sergius, with the Clergy and the Official of Byzantium Vonos, endlessly marched along the great walls of Constantinople with an Icon of the Theotokos in hand, and bolstered the faith of the defenders of freedom. The miracle came soon after. Unexpectedly… a great storm with huge tidal waves destroyed most of the fleet of the enemy, and full retreat ensued.” The faithful of Constantinople spontaneously filled the Church of the Theotokos at Vlachernae on the Golden Horn, and with the Patriarch Sergius officiating, they prayed all night singing praises to the Virgin Mary without sitting. Hence the title of the Hymn “Akathistos“, in Greek meaning ‘not seated‘. [Quoted with appreciation from orthodoxchristian.info]

Listen to this beautiful hymn, according to the Melkite usage, here sung by Raja Hourani, here sung by Fr. Justin Rose, a Melkite priest, and here sung by the choir of St. George Melkite Church in Birmingham, Alabama.

Many other beautiful prayers are sung during the Akathist Hymn, such as this one:

St. Ann again this year welcomes donations towards the flowers that surround the icon of the Theotokos during the weekly Akathist services. Several weeks for this year have already been spoken for, so contact Fr. Tom (pastor@saintann.org) if you’d like to honor the Theotokos through this special gift to the parish. You can also make donation for this purpose via the parish’s Paypal buttons, found on the Home page and Giving page of this website; if you do, please be sure to indicate on the dropdown menu that your gift is for the Flowers .


The Journey through Great Lent begins today: travel with the Church – find your way!

To struggle for holiness is always a joy; the Lord is never outdone in generosity.

Sunday, February 14, is the final day of the Pre-Lenten Triodion. St. Ann begins our journey towards Holy Week and the glorious Resurrection of Our Lord with Forgiveness Vespers, on Monday, February 15 at 5:00 p.m.

As we progress through Great Lent Fr. Tom will offer the Presanctified Liturgy on the Wednesday evenings of the Great Fast at 5:00 p.m. and the Akathist on Fridays at 5:00 p.m.

The services celebrated throughout Lent and Holy Week are essentially a toolkit – generously offered to us by the Church – to assist us on our path to holiness.

Along with fasting and abstinence from meat on proscribed days, Lent is a path back to the Garden, where Adam and Eve walked with God and enjoyed the original innocence of creation. A place where God gave them “every seed-bearing plant on all the earth and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit” as their food. (Gen.1:29). To the wild animals, the birds of the air, and all the living creatures, he gave all the “green plants for food.” (Gen. 1:30). Before the disruption wrought by the Father of Lies, meat was not eaten in Paradise. By abstaining from meat on Fridays in Lent (and on other days if one so chooses), we recall the original harmony of the Garden, where the treasure of kindness and mutual respect were hallmarks of our first parents love. We undertake a simplification of life and extend the liturgical worship into the pulse of daily life.

This Lent let us respond to the Lord’s invitation of mercy by fasting, abstinence, frequent reading of Sacred Scripture, private prayer, and more frequent Liturgical praise, petition, and thanksgiving.

Join us!


Introducing the St. Ann Tabernacle Society

A new ministry has launched at St. Ann!

The Tabernacle Society has been established with an initial group of parishioners who have volunteered for a very particular ministry – to maintain the physical spaces of the church and assist in the decoration and upkeep of the narthex, nave, and Holy Place.

In this way, the Saint Ann Tabernacle Society offers a diakonia of service to the parish family.

The material care of the sacred arena is its principle focus and includes various activities that require regular attention to assure the dignified and beautiful celebration of the central mystery of our faith, the Divine Liturgy, as well as other liturgical services.

Read more about the Saint Ann Tabernacle Society here.


Forgiveness Vespers: Monday, Feb 15 @ 5:00 p.m.

Asking the forgiveness of our sisters and brothers, and for the courage to forgive, we begin our journey to Great and Holy Week and the passion, death, and Resurrection of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ. We will pray the Forgiveness Vespers on Monday, February 15 at 5:00 p.m.

Forgive me, for I am a sinner.

God forgives.

On the evening of the Sunday of Forgiveness the Church traditionally conducts the first service of Great Lent, the Vespers of Forgiveness, a service that guides us on the path of repentance and helps us to acknowledge our need for forgiveness from God and to seek forgiveness from our brothers and sisters in Christ. This is the first time during the annual Fast that the Lenten prayer of St. Ephraim, accompanied by prostrations, is read. At the end of the service all the faithful approach the priest and one another, asking for mutual forgiveness.

The Sunday of Forgiveness is also known as Cheesefare Sunday, as it is the last day that dairy products can be eaten before the full Lenten fast begins on the following day, Clean Monday, the first day of Great Lent.


Catch Fr. Tom & Fr. Luke Dysinger discussing COVID-19 vaccines, bioethics, and morals, – recorded today!

Fr. Tom was invited to discuss important issues of bioethics and theology on an internet television show today titled “I Thought You’d like to Know: Vaccines in the Age of COVID-19

He was joined by noted theologian and medical doctor Fr. Luke Dysinger, OSB (read about Fr. Luke here and here) to talk about the currently available COVID vaccines from the theological perspective of bioethics, particularly addressing the concept of “cooperation with evil“. They also examined the moral implications of certain non-COVID vaccines that have been developed from fetal stem cells, a practice they deconstruct during the show in accordance with Catholic teaching.

The show was sponsored by the Institute for Theological Encounter with Science and Technology (ITEST) and can be accessed on the WCAT YouTube channel here.

The show was a prelude to an ITEST webinar to take place this Saturday, February 13: “Is It Moral to Take the COVID-19 Vaccine?” The webinar will address ethical concerns about the new COVID-19 vaccines with two guests. Stacy Trasancos, Ph.D., the Executive Director of St. Philip Institute in Tyler, Texas, and Melissa Moschella, Associate Professor of Philosophy at the Catholic University of America and visiting scholar at the Heritage Foundation’s Simon Center for American Studies. Both have recently written on ethics and the new vaccines.


Today: Pray for Your Departed Loved Ones

Father Tom will offer the Divine Liturgy today, February 6, 2021 at 9:00 a.m. On this Saturday of the Dead, parishioners and friends have the opportunity to pray for the souls of their departed family and friends.

Weather permitting, Fr. Tom will also offer a Memorial Service for the deceased parishioners of St. Ann at the St. Peter Cemetery immediately after the Divine Liturgy.

A short history of the services for the Saturday of Souls is here.

“Weep for those who die in their wealth and who with all their wealth prepared no consolation for their own souls, who had the power to wash away their sins and did not will to do it. Let us weep for them, let us assist them to the extant of our ability, let us think of some assistance for them, small as it may be, yet let us somehow assist them. But how, and in what way? By praying for them and by entreating others to pray for them, by constantly giving alms to the poor on their behalf. Not in vain was it decreed by the apostles that in the awesome mysteries remembrance should be made of the departed. They knew that here there was much gain for them, much benefit. When the entire people stands with hands uplifted, a priestly assembly, and that awesome sacrificial Victim is laid out, how, when we are calling upon God, should we not succeed in their defense? But this is done for those who have departed in the faith, while even the catechumens are not reckoned as worthy of this consolation, but are deprived of every means of assistance except one. And what is that? We may give alms to the poor on their behalf.”

St. John Chrysostom, “Homilies on Philippians”, c 402 A.D.


Our new Parish Calendar debuts today!

Keeping track of Parish services, celebrations and events just got easier!

Our website’s new Calendar page (you’ll find it under the “Events” tab on the site menu) will be updated regularly with service times and other event details. Also included will be a list of the prayer intentions that are scheduled for each Divine Liturgy.

Let us know what you think – drop us a line at info@saintann.org.

If you haven’t already done so, don’t forget to Follow Us on our parish website to have all of our Announcements sent directly to your inbox!