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Bishop Thomas Makes Annual Visit to Chambersburg, PA

23-24 November 2013

The weekend before Thanksgiving, His Grace Bishop Thomas visited St. Mary Church in Chambersburg, PA. He was welcomed at his arrival on Saturday afternoon by the pastor, Fr. Theodore Pulcini. That evening members of the parish community assembled for Vespers, at which Sayidna presided. Afterwards the Parish Council and their spouses gathered at the home of Dr. and Mrs. Nagib Khalifa for a reception to welcome His Grace as well as Mary Winstanley-O'Connor, North American Chair of the Order of St. Ignatius, who was also visiting the parish that weekend.

The next day, after Orthros, His Grace celebrated the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, assisted by Fr. Ted, Dn. Evangelos Prieston, Dn. David Jacobs, Sdn. Ben Daniel, and the parish's acolytes. The congregation sang the responses, led by Larry Steele and the parish's chanters. During his homily, Sayidna preached on the Gospel lesson of the rich young ruler (Lk. 18:18-27), stressing the necessity for all of us to overcome our obsession with wealth and security and to rise to Christ's challenge to respond to the needs of the poor. He commended parishioners for their work in feeding the needy through their St. Seraphim Center in downtown Chambersburg, and urged them not to slacken in this ministry.

His Grace then explained how the Order of St. Ignatius, through its many efforts, continually responds to Christ's challenge. At the conclusion of the Liturgy, Mrs. Winstanley-O'Connor expanded on His Grace's remarks, describing the various ministries of the Order. As a result of these words, two more of St. Mary's parishioners came forward after the Bishop's visit to express their intention of joining the Order.

A parish photograph was taken after the Liturgy, and then the congregation enjoyed a potluck coffee hour at which the people warmly greeted the bishop, offsetting the blustery cold outside!