All posts filed under: church year and seasons

Getting started with Pysanky

Well, one more week until Holy Week, just enough time to consider whether you might like to try the traditional Easter art of pysanky!  Pysanky, or the creation of decorated Ukrainian Easter eggs, is a very old practice that originated in Eastern Europe.  Traditionally during Holy Week, and in some communitites throughout Lent, Ukrainian ladies would gather in the evenings to decorate these special Easter eggs to adorn the baskets that they would bring to be blessed Easter morning.  The baskets were a celebration of new life, often including things that had been given up during Lent, such as meat, eggs, and rich breads. Last year I was curious and decided to try this art for the first time.  My children joined me in learning, and we have all come to enjoy and value this quiet, simple, meditative activity.  Perhaps you might like to try it as well this year? The materials you will need are very simple and inexpensive: a kistka (writing tool) beeswax for pysanky a candle and holder matches eggs (you can …

Tending the Garden of Our Hearts

I’m always on the lookout for good family resources to celebrate the church year. So I took the opportunity to review Tending the Garden of Our Hearts: Daily Lenten Meditations for Families by Elissa Bjeletich and Kristina Wenger, receiving a copy from Ancient Faith Publishing in exchange for my honest review. When I expressed interest in the book, I made sure they knew that I’m not Orthodox. But as an Anglican, I welcomed this opportunity to learn more about Great Lent in Orthodoxy. The book consists of daily devotionals that follow and deepen the theme for each Sunday in Great Lent: Forgiveness, Orthodoxy, Prayer, The Cross/Humility, The Ladder of Divine Ascent/Alms-giving, and St. Mary of Egypt. It’s based on the authors’ podcast last year and it’s meant for families with children of all ages to read together. To any Orthodox families that happen to read this blog, I wholeheartedly recommend this book. It’s a resource that strengthens the connection between the home and the church. It will carry you along with the traditions of the …

Septuagesima

Collect: O Lord, we beseech thee favourably to hear the prayers of thy people; that we, who are justly punished for our offences, may be mercifully delivered by thy goodness, for the glory of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Saviour, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost ever, one God, world without end. Amen. Septuagesima Septuagesima is the 9th Sunday before Easter, and thus, the third Sunday before Lent. “Septuagesima” comes from the word “seventieth” in Latin. This Sunday always falls within seventy days before Lent. These weeks before Lent can also be called “Shrovetide” and they are meant to be days to prepare for Lent. This week, there are no saints listed on the ordo calendar. So instead, I listed the Lenten resources that we have and put little excerpts up, so that you can see what piques your interest. Book Recommendations for Lent? When I look at what we have for Lent, I see that we are really lacking in Lenten book recommendations. I have a list of our priest’s …

The Fifth Sunday After Epiphany

Collect: “O Lord, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” Friday, February 15: Blessed Thomas Bray Born in 1656, Thomas Bray was educated at Oxford and was selected by the Bishop of London to help organize the church in the American colony of Maryland. While delayed before his journey, he spent his time creating a free parochial library system. It was originally intended for American, but was also instituted in England. He then founded the “Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge.” After his service in Maryland, he returned to England and also founded the “Society for the Propagation of the Gospel.” He died on this day in 1730. Archdeacon W.H. Hutton, in The Dictionary of English Church History, writes of Bray: “He was a vigorous and humorous writer and a parish priest of exemplary devotion, and to no one in the …

Candlemas: Celebrating at Home

Candlemas is a beautiful day — the third “Festival of Light” that rounds out our winter celebrations. Our priest, Fr. Wayne McNamara, wrote a helpful explanation of the meaning of Candlemas. He believes it is important for the modern church to recover this feast: “Candlemas articulates the necessary future of this beautiful Light coming into the world. Our celebrations so far have dwelt on the joyful implications of the Son of God’s arrival, our redemption, salvation, and deliverance. Candlemas reiterates in a pointed way that the coming of the Lord includes difficult things – the persecutions of Jesus in His ministry and the call of the Christ to suffer the Cross. Candlemas rounds out our thoughts regarding the significance of the Word become flesh, and moves us forward to Lent.” This year, Michelle Abernathy made a lovely coloring page printable based upon the painting displayed in the header for Candlemas: you can download a printable pdf here. We also have a Candlemas family liturgy: You can download that here.  In the devotional Celebrating the Saints, I loved …

A Candlemas Gift from Hearthstone Fables

Kristin Haakenson is the artist behind Hearthstone Fables. I truly gasped when I opened Kristin’s email with these Candlemas images. What a gift! When I think of Hearthstone Fables, I think of St. Francis of Assisi. In his Canticle of the Sun, he saw all creation as family —  “Brother Sun,” Sister Moon,” Brother Wind…” The legends say that he preached sermons to birds and befriended wolves. In this way, Kristin’s art at Hearthstone Fables seems very Franciscan to me. And, with these beautiful Candlemas gifts, I think we can look to “Sister Swan” and “Brother Fox” as we carry the light in our homes. In her lovely website, Kristin says: “In the magical world of Hearthstone Fables, I’ve sought to express my passion for faith, nature, & mythic storytelling through art.  I aim to create simple, quiet narratives that convey a sense of wonderment at the sacred world, with the various flora and fauna of nature weaving enchanting stories together. I’ve always been enamored with mythic storytelling, both through written narrative and the visual arts.  Humanity so often expresses a sense of displacement…a nagging feeling …

Nativity Artwork for Children (and their Grownups!)

We have had some time this Advent in our elementary Sunday School class while we practice our Christmas play and music, so we decided to do some special projects to share, because I deeply believe that Advent is for making. I thought it would be fun to share a few step-by-steps for making these simple nativities with children and/or adults.  With a bit of advance planning, we completed these in about 20 minutes, leaving us with enough time for some singing and play prep.  This coming Sunday we will wrap them, and send them home to place under the Christmas tree. Do let us know if you make these!  You can tag us on Instagram @thehomelyhours, or leave us a comment here with a picture. Materials: 8″ x 10″ canvas panel for each person (get them on sale; they are almost always on sale:) Acrylic paint in: white, turquoise, gold, yellow, orange, brown. Paintbrush for each person Paper towels Aluminum foil Aprons and patience! Method: Step 1: Before your class or gathering, prep your canvas backgrounds …

The 24th Week After Trinity

Collect: O Lord, we beseech thee, absolve thy people from their offences; that through thy bountiful goodness we may all be delivered from the bands of those sins, which by our frailty we have committed. Grant this, O heavenly Father, for the sake of Jesus Christ, our blessed Lord and Saviour. Amen.” Saints and Feast Days: Sunday, November 11: Martin of Tours (transferred to Tuesday, the 13th) Saint Martin of Tours was born in what is now Hungary between 315 and 330. His father was a soldier and early in Martin’s life, his family was transferred to Italy. At fifteen, because he was a veteran’s son, he was forced to become a soldier. Sulpicius Severus described his early life in the military (you can read his Life of St. Martin here): Martin was a professional soldier, but managed to keep himself free from the vices in which so often soldiers indulge. He was extremely kind toward his fellow-soldiers, and held them in great affection; while his patience and humility surpassed what seemed possible for human …

The 23rd Week After Trinity

Collect: O God, our refuge and strength, who art the author of all godliness; be ready, we beseech thee, to hear the devout prayers of thy Church; and grant that those things which we ask faithfully we may obtain effectually; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Saint’s Days: Wednesday, November 7: Willibrord Born around 668 in Yorkshire, at six years old, Willibrord was placed in the care of Saint Wilfrid, abbot of the Monastery of Ripon, to be raised as a Benedictine monk. After studying at the renowned schools of Ireland for 12 years, when he was around 30, Willibrord obtained permission to serve as a missionary in Frisia (present-day Holland). The duke of Frisia, Pepin of Herstal was already a Christian and welcomed Willibrord and his companions. After around six years, most of Pepin’s subjects had converted to Christ. At that time, Willibrord was summoned to Pope Sergius in Rome, who changed his religious name to “Clement” and ordained him Archbishop of Frisia. He founded many churches, for he was committed not just to …

Following the Saints Throughout the Year

When I started writing our Homely Hours weekly post, I didn’t realize that figuring out what saint to write about would be complicated. So, I’ve been very thankful to be able to use the Anglican Ordo Calendar from Whithorn Press. An Ordo Calendar – for those of us new to a liturgical tradition – is a calendar that shows the “order” of the year, with all the saints days included. Because I’ve been receiving questions about what calendar we are using, I thought I would feature it through an interview with its creator, Fr. Brian Foos. And, it seemed appropriate, as we celebrate All Saints’, to also think about how we can be following the saints throughout the year.   Fr. Brian is vicar of St. Andrew’s Church and headmaster at St. Andrew’s Academy in Lake Almanor, California, a small mountain town. He is married to Katy (who, by the way, cooks through the liturgical year – we’re hoping that she will share some of her recipes with us) and the father of 3 teenagers who …