St. Simeon Skete, Taylorsville Kentucky USA

With St. Simeon, the God receiver, as our patron, the skete seeks to practice the ideals found in our Rule, The Thousand Day Nazareth. In simplicity and poverty, the skete embraces the struggle of inner life through the practice of the Prayer Rope.

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Donations should be addressed to: Nazareth House Apostolate, 185 Captains Cove Drive, Taylorsville, Kentucky 40071.

Important Notice: All writings, posts, graphics & photographs in this blog are the copyrighted property of (unless otherwise indicated) Nazareth House Media, a division of Nazareth House Apostolate and cannot be copied, printed or used without written permission from NHA Media, Taylorsville, KY.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

17th Annual Rosary Convocation (NHA)

In 1996, Nazareth House Apostolate began its first Annual Rosary Convocation.  It was always held in October, the weekend nearest the Official Feast of the The Holy Rosary which is October 7th.

Through the years the Convocation has grown and the Pilgrimage has become a highlight of the weekend.  At the Pilgrimage we travel to area shrines, stopping along the way to say each Mystery of the Rosary.

In 1571 three Catholic powers on the continent of - Genoa, Spain and the Papal States - formed an alliance called the Holy League, to defend their Christian civilization against a Turkish invasion.  Its fleets sailed to confront the Turks near the west coast of Greece on October 7th.  Pope Pius V was moved to institute the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary as October 7th when he was informed that all but 13 of the nearly 300 Turkish ships had been captured or sunk.  The Pope had previously asked the people to pray the Rosary on that day and since the victory was obtained it was credited to the Rosary and the Feast Day was made October 7th in honor of the defeat.  Nevertheless, people died.

There is a story, a fable, that is told about a celebration in Heaven.  The angels and saints are dancing and celebrating the exodus at which the Israelites leave Egypt and enter into their wilderness wanderings.  Having suffered greatly at the hands of Egyptians, Moses leads them out of bondage and they are freed at the crossing through the Red Sea.  Moses held out his staff, and the Red Sea was separated into two halves by God.  The Israelites walked on dry ground and crossed the sea.  Behind them came the Egyptian army.  Moses moved his staff, and the sea returned to the normal flow.  With that drowned the whole entire Egyptian army.

As the Angels celebrated this victory, they noticed that God was not there celebrating with them.  "Where is He?", the Angel Gabriel inquired.  They began to look around and soon Gabriel finds God sitting quietly in an out of the way corner, weeping.  "Why do you weep? We have victory.  The Israelites have been freed." says Gabriel to God.    Not looking up, tears flowing, God replies "Today, many of my children were drowned."

For years we have felt uncomfortable about the reason for the date of the Feast of the Rosary.  The Rosary is a holy and special devotion that is praying the LIFE of Christ.  It is about life and we felt awkward celebrating its Feast Day on a day in which people were killed - whether it was a necessary war or not, defense of an invasion or not, regardless - people were killed.

"If you want to understand the Rosary, its praying the Life of Jesus.  If you want to understand Mary its saying YES to that Life.  Hence, the Rosary is praying the Life of Jesus in union with Mary who said YES to that Life." - Seraphim OJN   (If you've spent any time at the skete  or been around Seraphim at all, you've heard him say this often).

Mary is the Messenger of Peace, Jesus the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6; John 14:27; 16:33; James 1:2; Phil. 4:6-7) and therefore we want the celebration of the Rosary to be about Life and the "yes" to that life and not in celebration of a time when there was war or victory of war.

Once moving to St. Simeon Skete, where the Rosary is the current or flow of our day, it was natural for us to move the Feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary to the Second Sunday of May.

May is the traditional month of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the second Sunday is appropriately, Mother's Day.

We understand the importance of the victory of the battle against the Turks in 1571, and we are not saying that moving the Feast of the Rosary is the best thing to do for everyone.  It does, however, best work for us at St. Simeon Skete and that is why we made the change.

The 17th Annual NHA Rosary Convocation begins at St. Simeon Skete on Thursday May 9th, with arrival, orientation and lectures at 1:30 and ends on Sunday May 12th following Mass at the Chapel and a Community Meal at Anna House.

The Pilgrimage to area Shrines: (St. Augustine, Leopold, IN, St. Joseph's Shrine, Our Lady of Monte Cassino and The Archabbey of St. Meinrad in St. Meinrad, IN) will be on Saturday, May 11th beginning at 9 AM.  The pilgrimage will be a car caravan of pilgrims traveling to the shrines.  Make sure your car is gassed up and ready for the trip upon arrival to the Skete that morning.

We have a very limited amount of rooms available at a first come, first serve basis if you are coming from out of town and would like to join us for the weekend.  Several rooms have already been reserved.  (I have been told that Southwest is holding some good fares to and from the Louisville Airport (SDF) right now, however, be sure to check with us on room availability before booking a flight - unless you wish to stay at a nearby hotel.)  For information and to check availability please email me through the contact page of our website:

The schedule for those accommodating at Anna House is as follows.  (Local Residents you are invited to please join us where and when you can).


Thursday  May 9th (Ascension Day)
Arrival, orientation, lecture (1:30 pm)

Friday May 10th (in addition to the regular Vigils, Mass & Prayer Offices of the Skete)

  • 10 AM Lecture - Joyful Mysteries
  • 11:40 AM Stations of the Cross
  • 12:30 Lunch
  • 1:30 PM Luminous Mysteries
  • 3:00 PM Stations of the Cross
    • Lecture: Sorrowful Mysteries
  • 4:00 PM Lecture - Glorious Mysteries
  • 5:00 PM Vespers & Chaplet
  • 6:30 PM Supper
  • 7:30 PM Compline
Saturday, May 11th
  • 9AM: Pilgrimage begins with prayer
  • Picnic Lunch at Monte Cassino Shrine
  • Return to Skete for Mass 
    • The Mass follows the Pilgrimage (Lk. 24:30-31) the Emmaus Road ... traveled all day with Him and then we find Him in the "breaking of the bread". 
Sunday, May 12th
  • 11 AM: The Feast of the Holy Rosary Mass
  • Following Mass: Community Potluck Meal at Anna House 
We realize that many will have plans for Mother's Day, however, you are invited to bring your Mother and celebrate her as we celebrate the Mother of our Lord in one joyous day of fellowship.  

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Sereh's burns are healing...

We've been receiving a lot of inquiries as to the health of Sereh, a student at the Nazareth House Apostolate School in Kabala, Sierra Leone.  Sereh sustained burns over much of her body while attempting to help cook dinner for the family over a fire pit.   

Photograph taken April 4, 2013

NHA was fast to administer antibiotics which we had ready at the Compound along with neosporin.   We've lost several children due to burns because we had no access to antibiotics.  Fortunately this time, we had enough to pull her through.  The hospital did not! 

She is peeling, itching and loosing her skin, but she is definitely improving and if we can continue to stave off the infections - we expect no further complications.  James took some rice and medication to her family this week.  

Photo taken April 4, 2013
Thank you for your prayers for Sereh, please continue them. 

Remember, every aid we give is from donations, without them we would be unable to have such success stories.   Please spread the word, invite someone to be a part of these beautiful acts of love.  Give today. 

you can donate with your credit card through the Paypal Donation Button on our Website 

or mail your tax deductible donation to: 

Nazareth House Apostolate
185 Captains Cove Drive
Taylorsville, KY 40071

Friday, April 5, 2013

Newest Village in Sierra Leone

As we prepare for Spring and Summer in Kentucky at St. Simeon Skete, 

chopping down trees to make ready for new growth and 

clearing the debris left from the cold Winter weather  -

 James in Sierra Leone is finishing the wall around the Compound in Kabala.  

There has been an increase of thieves in and around the area and the provisions within the compound for those in need must be protected.  

So its outdoor manual labor for the Skete and for those at the NHA Compound.  

James reports that the postal items are arriving without any delays.   From time to time I like to stash a gift or two for Roo and Little Miss Vicki.   The last box contained a Spiderman Sleeping bag for Roo along with a towel ...

 and a Hello Kitty towel for Vicki stuffed in around the solar lighting items and battery fans.  

When there is no electricity and your generator is down and out - you have to find other ways to make do.  So, we've been sending solar items to charge phones and light the house and battery fans to cool in the hottest of nights.   

As we previously reported lots of deer jerky arrived 

and James has set about to deliver the jerky along with medications and other needs to the nearby villages.   

James' heart grieved upon reaching this village.  

The children had little to no clothing and very little provisions.  

Only small amounts of food available and toys made from whatever is about, these children make life happen in the midst of deepest poverty.  

We ask that you consider donating through NHA to send help to these children and others like them in the villages near Kabala.  

We don't have the ability to pay the immense cost of shipping clothing and some supplies but we find that much of it (but not solar items) can be found in Freetown, sold by peddlers.  

Buying the gently used clothing helps that peddler put food on his table.  

Buying needed supplies from local shops helps stimulate the  economy and provides more jobs.  

Therefore, we ask that you refrain from sending us clothing and other supplies that are available in Freetown and Makeni and send the financial contribution instead.   James will see to it that the most important needs are met.  

We continue to campaign for the funding to purchase a car and ship a container to Freetown.  The more villages we meet, the more the car is needed.  

Remember Nazareth House Apostolate is not only about Sierra Leone, its the work at St. Simeon Skete as well.  Without the prayer coming forth from the skete, there would be no mission in West Africa. 

Your donations help us continue the life of prayer and sacrifice for the needs of the souls 
and provide for the hungry, the sick, the homeless in Sierra Leone. 

 Donations can be mailed to NHA/St. Simeon Skete at 185 Captains Cove Drive, Taylorsville, KY 40071 or made through the Paypal Donation Link on our website at