Programs of a Successful Community

Altar Boys
Every priest should be surrounded by no less than twelve altar boys from age 12 and older. The priest must organize informative meetings and seminars for the altar boys every fifteen days and instruct them accordingly.  It is mainly from the altar boys that we foster future clergymen for our Church.

Choirs
Every community should have a choir that chants simple Byzantine melodies at a low pitch so that the people and choir can chant together.

Liturgical Books
There should be copies of the Divine Liturgy in Greek and in English in every pew for the faithful to follow during the Divine Liturgy.

Bookstore
Every community should operate a small bookstore from which the faithful can purchase spiritually beneficial books such as the Holy Bible, the Divine Liturgy, Catechism and the lives of the Saints. These books should be available in Greek and in English.

Religious Education
Every community must have a Sunday School in which catechetical instruction is given to children from Kindergarten to Grade 8. It is very important to have well-prepared Sunday School teachers to teach catechism. Catechetical and Bible Study classes should be organized for teenagers and adults. Special attention should be given to the catechetical instruction of youth between the ages of 14 and 25. Catechism should also be taught through social media where possible. Proper instruction is the basis for the religious education of our children.

Greek Education
Every community must operate a Greek School where afternoon or Saturday classes are offered to students from Kindergarten to High School, although Greek Orthodox Day Schools produce the best results. For this reason, every effort should be made by every community to operate a Greek Orthodox Day School.

Ladies Philoptochos
Every community must have a Ladies Philoptochos Chapter with membership consisting of all ladies, married and single, that are in the community. Their philanthropic work should embrace all Orthodox as well as non-Orthodox individuals and philanthropic organization within their city.

Summer Camps
A summer camp for youth must be organized in every city where a Greek Orthodox community exists. A youth summer camp with the proper spiritual program has tremendous results in the spiritual lives of our children.

Spiritual Retreats
Every community should have at least two spiritual retreats for the youth, as well as retreats for adults. These retreats should take place during the fasting period of Christmas and Great Lent. If it is difficult to organize a retreat for several days then a one-day retreat will suffice.  These retreats should begin with a Divine Liturgy with everyone participating and receiving Holy Communion if properly prepared. Spiritual presentations and discussions should also be included.

Missions
Every community should have a mission committee. This committee should follow the goals and objectives of the Mission Department of our Holy Metropolis.

Visitation to Prisons, Hospitals and Elderly Homes
Oftentimes, it is impossible for a priest to visit all of the aforementioned institutions. Every community should have a Ladies Philoptochos committee and Youth committee conducting visits to various institutions. Both committees must be properly and adequately instructed by the priest. Their work is beneficial for the individuals they are visiting and edifying for the visitors as well.

Use of the Mass Media
Sermons from the pulpit must primarily be catechetical, but the pulpit is not sufficient to teach catechism to all the people. In order to teach religion to all the people to strengthen their faith, and subsequently, to bring them back to Church, proper use of all mass media is required.

Spiritual Pilgrimages
Spiritual pilgrimages are very beneficial for the faithful. Many of our priests organize them successfully. These spiritual pilgrimages should include the following places: our Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Holy Land, our Motherland Greece, parishes in Canada celebrating their Feast Day and other spiritual centres. These trips must be well-organized and enriched with pedagogical and spiritual materials and programs.

Special Divine Liturgies and other Services
Divine Liturgies must be offered every year for the Greek School pupils in order for them to participate in the sacrament of Holy Communion. Other special Divine Liturgies should be celebrated for the participation of God-parents and God-children and memorial services should be offered for all the members of the community who have fallen asleep in the Lord.  Vesper Services should be celebrated every Saturday, and once a week a Paraklesis Service should be celebrated.

Marriage Preparation Seminars
Certain communities have marriage preparation seminars which are very beneficial for engaged couples. These seminars must be offered in every community, especially for interfaith marriages.

Epilogue
The aforementioned programs must serve as a mirror where the community will be seeing itself and realizing how successful or unsuccessful it is. Needless to say, these programs cannot be successful if one person, namely the priest, is expected to do all the work.

It is the duty of the priest as well as the Board of Directors to organize their volunteers and co-workers, so that the aforementioned programs will materialize. Most of our communities have done very well with the “hardware” (building projects). Now, they need to use their energy and talents for the “software” (spiritual programs). This “software” makes a community both vivid and vivifying. It must be emphasized that these programs require financial assistance. The material goods of the community, when used for spiritual programs, transform into spiritual goods.

Comments are closed.