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HOT OFF THE PRESS!

SHROVE TUESDAY AND GREAT LENT

Our annual Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper at Holy Cross parish will be held on Tuesday, March 15th, at 6:00 PM. The dinner is free and the public is invited. A free will offering will be taken.

Lent begins in the Western Rite of the Orthodox Church on Ash Wednesday, March 16th. The Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist will be celebrated with the Imposition of Ashes at 6:30 PM. Sunday, March 20th, is the First Sunday in Lent - the Sunday of Orthodoxy.

Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week is Sunday, April 24th; Spy Wednesday is Wednesday, April 27th; Maunday Thursday is Thursday, April 28th; Good Friday is Friday, April 29th; and Holy Pascha, Easter Sunday, is Sunday, May 1st according to the Orthodox Calendar. A full schedule of Lenten, Holy Week and Paschal Services will be available soon. May God grant us all a holy and spiritually profitable Lent and a joyous Pascha.
 

THE WONDERWORKER

The Western Rite Communities of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia has a new official newsletter, The Wonderworker. The Wonderworker is named after ROCOR Archbishop St. John (Maximovitch), the Wonderworker of Shanghai and San Francisco. St. John was a great supporter and champion of the revival of Western Orthodoxy. He said, “Never, never, never let anyone tell you that, in order to be Orthodox, you must be Eastern. The West was fully Orthodox for a thousand years.” You can read the inaugural issue of The Wonderworker here.
 

FALL HAYRACK RIDE, BONFIRE AND POTLUCK
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 24

Our annual Fall Hayrack Ride, Bonfire and Potluck at Santa’s Woods will be held on Saturday evening, October 24th at 6:00 PM. This is not a parish fundraiser, but there will be a charge to cover what Santa’s Woods charges the parish. This event has been a real highlight at Holy Cross parish for years. The public is invited to attend. For more information email Fr. Victor at venovak@hughes.net or call the church at (402) 573-6558.
 

SUMMER CHURCH PICNIC
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 20

Holy Cross parish’s annual Summer Church Picnic will be held on Saturday, September 20th, at Halleck Park in Papillion, immediately after the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist. This is a free event, and the public is invited to attend. There will be grilled hot dogs and hamburgers, side dishes and deserts. For more information email Fr. Victor at venovak@hughes.net or call the church at (402) 573-6558.
 

TWO ORDAINED

Choiniere Ordination Kirwan Ordination
Reader Michael Choiniere was ordained Subdeacon and Kevin Kirwan was tonsured and ordained Reader on Sunday, August 23rd, by Metropolitan Hilarion during his episcopal visit to Holy Cross Orthodox Church. Reader Kevin Kirwan and Subdeacon Michael Choiniere were assigned to serve on the staff of Holy Cross parish.
 

AN UNFORGETTABLE EPISCOPAL VISIT

Bishop's Visit"I want to thank you once again for your kind hospitality and for the opportunity to serve and pray with you and your community. It was a wonderful and unforgettable experience for me" - Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral)

Metropolitan Hilarion's visit to Holy Cross parish on August 22nd and 23rd was a joyous and grace filled event. On Sunday, August 23rd, the church was full, with an overflow into the parish hall.
After arriving back in New York on Monday afternoon, His Eminence wrote to say, "I want to thank you once again for your kind hospitality and for the opportunity to serve and pray with you and your community. It was a wonderful and unforgettable experience for me." It was a wonderful and unforgettable experience for us as well.

By late on Saturday afternoon the sky was filled with dark clouds and it was beginning to rain. Omaha was under a severe thunderstorm warning and a tornado watch. Yet, despite the weather there were thirty-two in attendance for Vespers. Some of the faithful left immediately after Vespers because of the weather, but most remained for the Reception. Saturday was a commemoration of St. Herman of Alaska (the translation of his relics), and since there are relics of St. Herman in our church Metropolitan Hilarion preached at Vespers on the life and work of St. Herman.

Early Sunday morning Fathers Lev and Maximos from St. John the Wonderworker parish in Des Moines, Iowa, and two ordinands joined us. By 9:30 AM the church was nearly full, and soon after it was completely full with an overflow into the parish hall. Metropolitan Hilarion was greeted at the door with bread and salt. He then kissed a crucifix, aspersed himself with holy water and then aspersed the clergy and the faithful according to the ancient Rite of Receiving a Bishop at the Door. The clergy then processed to the sanctuary for Solemn Matins. At both Vespers on Saturday evening and Matins on Sunday morning the Ordinary and the Psalms and Canticles were all chanted according to Gregorian chant tones. During Matins one man from Holy Cross and one from St. John the Wonderworker were clothed in the cassock, tonsured and ordained Reader.

After Matins the clergy vested for the Solemn Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist. The long procession of our Schola Cantorum, two visiting priests, three ordinands, the ministers serving at the altar, the Celebrant, and the Metropolitan wound through the church while the Processional Hymn, St. Patrick’s Breastplate (I Bind Unto Myself Today) was sung. It was a missa coram episcopo, and Metropolitan Hilarion served beautifully. You would have thought he was a Western Rite bishop!

As usual, all of the minor propers of the Mass: the Introit, Gradual and Alleluia, Offertory verse and Communion verse were chanted to Gregorian chant tones. The music for the Ordinary was Merbecke. After the Collect of the day one Reader from Holy Cross and two from St. John of San Francisco were ordained to the Subdiaconate.

The Homilist at the Mass was Metropolitan Hilarion who spoke on the Gospel reading for the Eleventh Sunday after Trinity - The Parable of the Publican and the Pharisee.

At Communion-time Metropolitan Hilarion administered the Body of Christ to the faithful  while Fr. Victor assisted with the chalice. In the Western Rite Holy Communion is received kneeling at the altar rail, with the Body of Christ received on the tongue, and the Blood of Christ from the chalice.

At the conclusion of the Liturgy, Metropolitan Hilarion gave the Pontifical Blessing, and the long procession returned to the sacristy to the singing of the Recessional Hymn, Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones. Following the prayers after Communion chanted by our Cantor, everyone went to the parish hall for a catered Luncheon in honor of Metropolitan Hilarion and the newly ordained Readers and Subdeacons.

The parish hall was filled with people. There were visitors from Omaha and Blair, Nebraska, Sioux City, Iowa, and as far away as Kansas City, Missouri. Both Metropolitan Hilarion and Fr. Victor made after dinner addresses.

It was a wonderful and grace-filled weekend and we were sorry to see it end. The Metropolitan’s visit was undoubtedly the most important event in the life of Holy Cross parish thus far. Metropolitan Hilarion wrote, “It was a wonderful and unforgettable experience for me." We feel the same way.
 

EPISCOPAL VISIT

SATURDAY, AUGUST 22, AND SUNDAY, AUGUST 23, 2015

Metropolitan Hilarion His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch (primate) of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) and Ruling Bishop of the Western Rite Communities will visit Holy Cross parish on Saturday, August 22nd, and Sunday, August 23rd. There will be visiting clergy and laity, and ordinations of men to Minor Orders from Holy Cross parish and from St. John the Wonderworker parish in Des Moines, Iowa.
 

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

Saturday, August 22nd

6:00 PM - Vespers in the Presence of a Greater Prelate, followed by a reception for His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion in the parish hall.

Sunday, August 23rd

9:30 AM - Rite of Receiving a Bishop at the Door, followed by Matins in the Presence of a Greater Prelate and the tonsure of Readers.
10:00 AM - Solemn Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist with His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion assisting pontifically (Missa coram episcopo), and the ordination of Subdeacons, with Metropolitan Hilarion preaching.
 
A catered luncheon will follow the Liturgy in honour of Metropolitan Hilarion and the newly ordained Readers and Subdeacons, and will include an address by His Eminence. The public is invited to attend all of the events. For more information e-mail Fr. Victor at venovak@hughes.net or call the church at (402) 573-6558.
 

NEW PUBLISHING MINISTRY

Holy Cross parish has launched a new publishing ministry, and has already published a prayer book and three tracts, with more tracts in production and a small catechism being written.

The Holy Cross Prayer Book is a Western Rite Orthodox prayer book that contains prayers that can be used in private, with the family, or with small groups. The book contains Morning, Mid-day and Evening prayers, along with a large section of additional prayers; prayers before and after receiving Holy Communion; the Angelus, the Trisagion Prayers as used in Eastern Rite congregations, and an order for the Sacrament of Confession.

The Holy Cross Prayer Book has been recommended by Christminster Benedictine monastery and is available for $3.50 each, post paid. Please make your check out to Holy Cross and send it to Holy Cross Orthodox Church, 7545 Main Street, Ralston, Nebraska 68127.
 

FAITH AND FAMILY NIGHT AT WERNER PARK

On Friday, July 26th, Holy Cross parish had a large group at Faith and Family Night to see the Omaha Storm Chasers take on the Colorado Sky Sox, and had a display table set up near the concessions. Parishioners had such a wonderful time at Faith and Family Night in 2014 that twice as many tickets were purchased for the July 2015 event.

Fr. Victor and a number of volunteers from Holy Cross parish worked the display table, handing out literature and talking to everyone who stopped by. Literature was placed in interested hands, questions answered, and new friends were made. We look forward to Faith and Family Night 2016.
 

METROPOLITAN HILARION
TO VISIT HOLY CROSS PARISH IN AUGUST

Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) and Ruling Bishop of the Western Rite congregations and monastic communities will make an Episcopal Visit to Holy Cross Orthodox Church on Saturday, August 22nd and Sunday, August 23rd. A catered luncheon will follow the celebration of the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist on Sunday morning. The public is invited to attend. For more information, call Fr. Victor at (402) 573-6558 or email him at: venovak@hughes.net
 

HOLY CROSS PARISH
CELEBRATES ITS SECOND ANNIVERSARY

Holy Cross Orthodox Church will celebrate its second anniversary as a Western Rite parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) on Sunday, June 28, 2015. Holy Cross had been received into the Orthodox Church from the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) in June of 2013, by formal transfer and its clergy by Letters Dimissory. The second anniversary will be celebrated with the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist followed by a parish luncheon. ad multos annos.
 

READER MIKE CHOINIERE APPROVED FOR ORDINATION

Reader Mike Choiniere has been approved for ordination to the Subdiaconate by Metropolitan Hilarion for service at Holy Cross parish, and has been scheduled to be ordained on Sunday, August 23rd, when the Metropolitan visits Omaha. Reader Mike Choiniere has been an active member at Holy Cross parish for more than seven years, and was tonsured a Reader in May of 2014, by Bishop George of Mayfield.
 

PENTECOST CHRISMATIONS

On Pentecost Sunday four new members were received into the Orthodox Church and Holy Cross parish by Chrismation. So far this year five new members, from three households, have joined Holy Cross Orthodox Church.
 

SHROVETIDE

QUINQUAGESIMA, February 22

Sunday, February 22nd is Quinquagesima Sunday, also known as Shrove Sunday. Quinquagesima is the beginning of the three day Shrovetide. Christian Education is at 9:00 AM, followed by Matins at 9:30 AM, and the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist at 10:00 AM. A potluck luncheon will follow the Liturgy. During the luncheon an inspiring thirty minute documentary on the Holy Mountain of Mount Athos will be shown. Everyone is invited to attend.

SHROVE TUESDAY, February 24

Confessions will be heard on Shrove Tuesday from 11:45 AM to 12:45 PM, and on Ash Wednesday from 11:45 AM to 12:45 PM. Confessions may also be scheduled by appointment. Come and be shriven before the beginning of Lent.

Holy Cross parish will host a traditional Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper at 6:30 PM. Eggs, sausage, pancakes and apple sauce will be served. Come and enjoy this ancient English tradition. This is not a parish fundraiser and there is no charge for the supper, but a free will offering will be taken to cover expenses. The public is invited to attend.

ASH WEDNESDAY, February 25

Confessions will be heard on Ash Wednesday from 11:45 AM to 12:45 PM. Confessions may also be scheduled by appointment.

Ash Wednesday Services will be held at 6:30 PM. The Litany will be sung, followed by the celebration of the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist with the Imposition of Ashes. Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent on the Western liturgical Kalendar, and a day of Fast and Abstinence.
 

AMERICAN WESTERN RITE NEWS

The Western Rite work of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia continues to advance. Six Western Rite ordinations are scheduled for December 2014, and three Western Rite congregations will be received into the Orthodox Church during the same month - two in the South and one in New England.

The 2015 ROCOR Western Rite Conference will be held from September 28th through October 1st, at the Mount Alvernia Retreat Center in Wappingers Falls, New York. His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and Ruling Bishop of the ROCOR Western Rite communities, will attend the entire conference.
 

MASS CONVERSION IN THE PHILIPPINES

In early 2014, a whole diocese of the Philippine Independent Church converted to Orthodoxy together with its two bishops, all of its priests, and 28 parishes. Their example has now been imitated by 8 more PIC bishops and 25 more parishes. In total, 53 parishes in the Philippines have come into Orthodoxy so far in 2014, under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate.

The Philippine Independent Church is an independent national Catholic Church in the Philippines. The PIC was established in 1902, by clergy and laity who had left the Roman Catholic Church. Initially isolated, the Philippine Independent Church struggled theologically to find its bearings after its separation from Rome. Eventually, the Episcopal Church USA and European Old Catholics intervened to help the PIC develop as a national Catholic Church. By 1960, the Philippine Independent Church was in full communion with the Episcopal Church USA, the Anglican Communion and the Utrecht Union of Old Catholic Churches, and was essentially an Anglican/Old Catholic Church.

When the Episcopal Church USA abandoned its historic Liturgy and approved the ordination of women at its 1976 General Convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the Philippine Independent Church repaid their debt and immediately came to the assistance of orthodox Anglicans in North America.  When the first four continuing Anglican bishops were consecrated on January 28, 1978, one of the consecrators was The Right Reverend Francisco J. Pagtakhan, Bishop Secretary for Missions and Ecumenical Affairs of the Philippine Independent Church.

The new-born continuing Anglican Church in North America struggled to find stability and unity, and began to divide after its very first provincial synod in 1978. Eventually, the Philippine Independent Church tried to intervene to bring the factions together again. Unsuccessful, the Philippine Independent Church later established the “Anglican Rite Jurisdiction in the America’s” (ARJA) in an effort to provide Catholic Anglicans in North America with a stable ecclesiastical life as part of the PIC. That too failed, and the PIC gave up its attempt to establish an Anglican Rite jurisdiction here.

Unfortunately, the same liberal-modernism that had forever changed and splintered the Anglican Communion and later the Utrecht Union of Old Catholic Churches eventually began to make inroads into the Philippine Independent Church, leaving the PIC a house divided against itself. Over time, liberal-modernism became the dominant position in the Church. Fortunately, rather than forming yet another small and isolated “continuing” Church, Orthodox-minded clergy and congregations of the Philippine Independent Church turned to the Orthodox Church and petitioned the Moscow Patriarchate to be received. So far they total ten bishops and fifty-three parishes with their clergy.

Patriarch Kirill sent priests to the Philippines in response to the petition of the bishops, clergy and faithful of the Philippine Independent Church to be received into the Moscow Patriarchate. The clergy came from Russia and Ukraine and are there to provide catechesis. Rather than establishing the Russian Orthodox Church in the Philippines, the Moscow Patriarchate has organized them into the "Philippine Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate)." Many thousands are becoming Orthodox at their own initiative in a mass conversion. The largest parish has 1,500 members!

For more information visit the Facebook page of the Philippine Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate).
 

FATHER VICTOR CELEBRATES THIRTY YEARS
IN CHRISTIAN MINISTRY

Fr. Victor Novak celebrated thirty years of Christian ministry on Sunday, September 28th, at Holy Cross Orthodox Church where he serves as rector. The day began with Matins (Morning Prayer) at 9:30 AM, and was followed by a solemn celebration of the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist at 10:00 AM. After the Liturgy there was a catered luncheon in the parish hall.

The event was covered by both the Omaha World Herald and the Ralston Recorder newspapers, and the
news director of Spirit Catholic Radio was in attendance. Well wishers from as far away as the country of Ghana were present.

Fr. Victor and his wife of thirty-two years, Matushka Cheri, have served together in the ministry for three decades, and they asked those who attended the Liturgy to pray that the next thirty years of Orthodox Christian ministry would be blessed and fruitful. In his sermon Fr. Victor encouraged the congregation to support family members who may be discerning a vocation to the priesthood or the consecrated life. Fr. Victor said, “If I had my life to live over again I would marry the same girl and be a priest.” He also reminded the congregation that all Christians have a part in the ministry of the Church by virtue of their baptism, and he encouraged the faithful to be involved in sharing the Gospel, building up the Body of Christ, and caring for the most vulnerable in society.

Holy Cross Orthodox Church is a Western Rite parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR), and was received into the Orthodox Church from the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) in June of 2013. The parish is made up completely of converts to the Orthodox Christian Faith.
 

FATHER VICTOR NOVAK TO CELEBRATE THIRTY YEARS IN THE MINISTRY ON SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 28th

Our rector, Fr. Victor Novak, will celebrate thirty years in the ordained ministry on Sunday, September 28th. Morning Prayer (Matins) will be at 9:30 AM, followed by a Solemn Celebration of the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist at 10:00 AM. A catered luncheon will follow the Liturgy. Visitors are invited to worship with us and to remain for the luncheon. Everyone is welcome to attend the celebration!
 

SUMMER CHURCH PICNIC

Holy Cross parish will hold its annual Summer Church Picnic at Halleck Park in Papillion on Sunday, September 21st, immediately after the conclusion of the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.

We have a covered pavilion reserved at Halleck park. There will be plenty of good food and fun for everyone. There is no charge to attend. Visitors are welcome.
 

CHRISTIAN EDUCATION

Christian Education resumes in September. Complete information will be posted on Fr. Novak’s Blog as it becomes available.
 

CONCELEBRATION WITH METROPOLITAN JONAH

Fr. Victor and Matushka Cheri Novak recently traveled to Oklahoma to celebrate the Feast of of St. Benedict of Nursia with Metropolitan Jonah, other visiting Orthodox clergy, and the rector, deacon and brethren of St. Benedict's Orthodox Church. Fr. Victor served an Eastern Rite Vigil with Metropolitan Jonah, three priests and three deacons on Wednesday, July 23rd, after which the clergy and their wives had a fasting meal together.
On Thursday morning, July 24th, Fr. Victor concelebrated a hierarchical Divine Liturgy with Metropolitan Jonah and the other clergy, at which a deacon was ordained to the presbyterate. There were clergy participating from Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and Washington DC, along with a Greek priest all the way from Great Britain. The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom was followed by a celebratory luncheon.
 

CANONICAL STATUS REGULARIZED

Holy Cross parish was received into the Orthodox Church from the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) in June of 2013, and became a parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR). Unfortunately, concerns about the administration of the Western Rite Vicariate led to the closing of the Vicariate in July of 2013, leaving Holy Cross parish in an uncertain situation for some time.

Our canonical status, including that of Father Victor Novak and Father Michael Smith, was regularized in May of 2014. Holy Cross Orthodox Church is now a stavropegial parish directly under Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, who is personally overseeing the Western Rite congregations, monasteries and ministries.

There are now more than forty canonical Western Rite congregations in the United States, plus several monasteries and other ministries, and the number is growing. With the reunion of orthodox Anglicans with the 300 million-member Orthodox Church, the “vision glorious” of the Oxford Movement is being fulfilled.
 

BISHOP GEORGE VISITS HOLY CROSS

From May 12 to May 14, 2014, Bishop George of Mayfield visited Holy Cross parish at the request of Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. During his visit he regularized the Orders of Fr. Victor Novak and of Fr. Michael Smith, and the canonical status of Holy Cross Orthodox Church.
Bishop George
During his visit Bishop George tonsured long-time lay reader Mike Choiniere as a Reader for service at Holy Cross parish. A potluck church supper followed in honour of the visit of Bishop George and in celebration of the ordination of Reader Michael Choiniere.