Pastoral Letters

Pastoral Message June 5, 2022

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Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Just this morning, many ladies from our parish gathered for their annual Women’s Ministry Team Membership Tea. It was a lovely gathering (besides the caterer, I was the only guy there) filled with warmth and grace. From the literal inception of our parish nearly eight years ago, the faithful of our Women’s Ministry Team have been the engine behind every philanthropic, service and outreach of our community. Indeed, there are many ministries dedicated to service within our parish. But inevitably, in some way or another, these efforts will run through the powerful force that is St. Anna Women. Thank God for their strength, vision, inspired purpose and generosity. 

One of the items discussed in today’s festive gathering was the idea of expanding, growing, maturing and stretching the boundaries of their philanthropic efforts. It seems the time has come, that we take this home-grown organization, our Women’s Ministry Team (WMT), and attach it to something more expansive and far-reaching. We are taking that next step and have petitioned His Eminence Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver to establish a Philoptochos Chapter here at St. Anna’s. Our request was granted and he, in turn, has contacted the National Philoptochos Office in New York, that a charter be given to our local parish. What is Philoptochos? Ahh. One of those compound Greek words like:

Philanthropy – to be a friend of humanity

Philadelphia – to be a friend to one’s brother

Philoptochos – to be a friend to the poor. 

I’ll now let the Philoptochos leadership themselves describe their organization:

The Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society, Inc. is the philanthropic arm of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America that has offered 90 years of philanthropy through a multitude of programs that make a difference in the lives of people in the United States and throughout the world.  The Society was established in November 1931, by the late Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I, who was then serving as Archbishop of North and South America.

Philoptochos fulfills its mission to “help the poor, the destitute, the hungry, the aged, the sick, the unemployed, the orphaned, the imprisoned, the widowed, those with disabilities and the victims of disasters through its National and Metropolis Boards and its 26,000 members and more than 400 active chapters, nationwide. Philoptochos responds immediately to needs and crises and its philanthropic outreach extends to each area of the country and throughout the world. In 2019, National Philoptochos distributed $1.7 million in philanthropic aid.

Since the late 1950’s, upon the recommendation of Archbishop Iakovos, Philoptochos has placed an increased emphasis on the implementation of important programs to benefit the Greek Orthodox community, including, but not limited to, institutions of the Church, the philanthropies of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and assistance to Greek and Greek Orthodox families. Involvement in social and moral issues encouraged the establishment of several committees to address topics such as child abuse prevention, domestic violence, homelessness, pornography, drug and alcohol abuse, and aging.

Since 1987, the National Philoptochos office has employed a professional Social Worker, engaged in assisting the Greek Orthodox community in the United States as well as Greek and Cypriot nationals. The Department of Social Services is a very important, vital element of our organization. The mission of the Department is to improve the quality of life of those in need, in a way that maintains the dignity and self-respect of the individuals. Through confidential and professional services, the office provides outreach, education, information, support, intervention, motivation, advocacy, financial assistance and referral to local and broader resources. (From the National Philoptochos website)

I am so proud of our parish ladies that we have come to this milestone as a parish. The money they raise, the time they dedicate to charities, the efforts they put into making people’s loves better, more comfortable and with a greater sense of dignity will now be expanded upon a much larger stage. Look out world, to God’s greater glory, here come the St. Anna Ladies!

I ask that you continue to pray for the dynamic women of our parish. Please pray for them, their families, their endeavors and their efforts, both individual and collective, to be the loving hand of God in a suffering world. Our parish of St. Anna is only one of two, TWO parishes in the Metropolis of Denver named after a female saint: St. Katherine’s and us (besides the Monastery of St. Paraskeve). Our own parish identity is that of a strong, faithful, long-suffering, and patient woman. She lived her life for God and family. She is the mother of the Mother of all. Let us celebrate her very legacy through our support of Philoptochos efforts locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. There is much work to be done. Our ladies are equipped and ready. 

This is all so exciting!

With Much Love in Christ, 

Fr. Anthony Savas