FITCHBURGH, MA – The historic Holy Trinity parish in Fitchburg, Massachusetts is preparing to celebrate the greatest mystery of all time, the Incarnation of the Son of God, with love and works of faith.
In an interview with The National Herald the presiding priest of the Holy Trinity parish, Fr. Paul Bebis, said that “Christmas is a time of lights, gift giving, and Christmas trees. But more importantly, it is a time to remember the miraculous birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Our Holy Trinity Church consists of 150 families and we celebrate this time of the year with services and activities. We also attend the Vespers services of our neighboring parishes in Clinton and Worcester, MA.”
Fr. Paul also said that “we have a Hope Luncheon in our church every fourth Saturday of every month and we serve the less fortunate and homeless people of Fitchburg. We usually have 20 to 30 people come and everything is served by our parishioners. It is a model ministry of our Metropolis. In the month of December, we serve an extra special dinner. We also help the less fortunate with a food pantry which contains of many cans of food for those less fortunate. This year, we are participating – as we have participated in other such programs throughout the years – in Kylee’s Kare Kits for Kidz Holiday Mission in which we give gifts to needy children. We also participate in distributing gifts to patrons of our local Orthodox Nursing Home in Worcester every Christmas season.”
Speaking about the youth he said that “youth ministry in our church can be difficult throughout the holiday season because there is so much to do outside the confines of the Church. However, on one Saturday before the Christmas holiday, we give a Communion breakfast in our church sponsored by our Sunday School teachers, parents, and students. The day begins with a Divine Liturgy followed by a beautiful homemade breakfast for all the parishioners of our church. I will speak to the children about the Birth of our Lord.”
The parish does a lot of philanthropic works. Fr. Paul said that “in the month of December, our Philoptochos Ladies Society has a big Christmas Fair in which we sell a hot lunch which consists of Greek cuisine and pastries to the residents of Fitchburg and the surrounding towns. This is a big event in our Church every Christmas season. All the proceeds go to our Philoptochos Ladies Chapter.”
Regarding the Sacred Services, he said “The Church has services on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with the permission of our Metropolitan. We have a Vesperal Divine Liturgy on Christmas Eve at 4:00 PM. On Christmas Day, our church celebrates the Birth of Christ with a Divine Liturgy in the morning.”
When asked what kind of questions the parishioners ask, Fr. Paul who is the son of a very prominent priest, Fr. Constantine Bebis, who is now retired, and also the nephew of Professor Emeritus of Patristics of Holy Cross School of Theology George Bebis, he said that “many parishioners have asked me about the identity of the Wise Men, and the death of thousands of children by Herod. Since the wise men were not of Jewish descent, they came to see Christ who was born Jewish. These men were symbolic of our church today in which membership is not determined by ethnicity, but faith. In addition, many people did not realize that the thousands of innocent young boys murdered by King Herod when looking for the baby Jesus are now considered saints of our Holy Orthodox Church.”
Speaking about the meaning of Christmas Fr. Paul said that “Christmas means the Birth of Christ, love, sharing, and giving. Since the theme on Christmas is birth, many of us need to be ‘reborn’ into the Orthodox faith by bringing the life of the Church home to our families.”
Fr. Paul and his family will celebrate Christmas this year in New Bedford, MA with his father and uncle.