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Bishop Michael Celebrates Feast of St. Andrew

December 3, 2012

On November 29, the eve of our Patronal Feast of Saint Andrew, our parish was honored to welcome our diocesan archpastor, His Grace Bishop Michael, for the celebration of the Vesperal Liturgy.  We were also honored to be joined by Fr. David Cowan, rector of Holy Trinity Church in Yonkers NY and secretary to His Grace, as well as Fr. Seraphim Joa, a recent graduate of St. Vladimir Seminary and an assistant priest at Holy Trinity Church in East Meadow NY.  Joining in the celebration of the Liturgy were a wonderful contingent of parishioners, who would have been otherwise unable to join in the feast due to their work and school schedules.  

In his remarkable sermon, His Grace drew connections between the early apostolic career of our patron saint, the Holy Apostle Andrew and our own era, and the need to adopt those evangelistic tactics in our own lives.  His Grace noted that it was not enough to enjoy the growth and vitality our community has already enjoyed, but rather we should always be seeking to grow deeper and more sincere in our own faith, so that we may always be drawing others closer to Christ.  He concluded by issuing a simple, yet challenging task: for each parishioner to bring one person into the Holy Orthodox Church within the next five years.

In addition to the joyous liturgical celebration of the Feast, we also were happy to have His Grace bless the recently-installed icon of the Second Coming of Christ, the final addition to a beautification project to complete the rear wall of our nave.  The icon was dedicated in honor of our former pastor and his family: the Archpriest Michael Mihalick, his wife the Matushka Ioanna (Janet) and his daughter Alexandra.  The icon’s donor, Charlie Kaczinski, presented His Grace with a personal gift of an icon of the Theotokos with Christ.  Finally, His Grace presented a gift of a handmade palitza (liturgical ‘shield’) which, barring a delay in its delivery, was originally intended to be presented back in May when Fr. John was awarded the dignity of the Jeweled Cross.

Finally, the clergy, faithful, and visitors retired to the hall where they enjoyed a lenten meal and rousing fellowship, as Bishop Michael related some entertaining stories and offered some insight into the life of the Diocese and OCA during a question-and-answer session.

Thank you to our dear Vladyka, Bishop Michael; Fr. David and Fr. Seraphim for making the trip to St. Andrew’s and joining us for the celebration; to our choir director, the Reader Lasha, and the whole choir; Sonia Rusinak for her beautiful decorations; and to all those who cooked, cleaned, or provided the greatest gift of all: their presence and prayers as part of the community’s celebration.

Photos of the celebration may be viewed here.

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