Bishop John Hosts Youth Day Event
On March 3, 2012, many young people from the Diocese Of Worcester and New England (self-proclaimed DOWNE) gathered for a Youth Day celebration at His Grace Bishop John's house. Those who attended sat with His Grace to learn the purpose of Orthodoxy, including the three points that make us Orthodox Christians: We partake of the same Communion, we all believe the words of the Nicene Creed, and we all submit to a bishop.
His Grace also informed the youth that his job is to keep his diocese united and to keep it Orthodox. By submitting to him, the members of the Diocese of Worcester are united to one another, and the Diocese is connected to others in the Archdiocese through Metropolitan Philip, to whom all Antiochian Orthodox bishops in America have submitted. His Grace then emphasized the importance of reaching out to American Orthodox Churches outside the Antiochian Archdiocese. The Greeks, the Russians, and all others hold the exact same beliefs as we do. We can commune in their churches as they can in ours. In today's society, it is important that we remain united with our sister churches and do not allow cultural differences to hold us back from mingling. If we visit other churches and socialize outside the Antiochian Archdiocese, we will strengthen the bonds between the Orthodox Churches in America and throughout the world.
After the informative faith discussion, Bishop John gave the young people a tour of his house, showing them icons and many memorable items, including a signed Troy Polamalu jersey. Troy Polamalu is a football player for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the NFL, and, more importantly, he is an Orthodox Christian. It has been noted that Polamalu often blesses himself. He explained that he is not always at ease in front of crowds, and he blesses himself to ask for God's assistance in ignoring the crowds and focusing on the game. Bishop John says that it is good for all of us to use the Sign of the Cross to help us refocus on the tasks at hand.
The day ended with an abundance of delicious food, and a discussion on the role that each teen plays in his or her church: some teens are the birds of the church, who sing in the choir, others are bees, who do the work not seen during the service, and others are like horses, who use their strong faith to lead themselves and others to salvation. The teens presented His Grace with a Bishops Walking Staff, to thank him for being our bishop and being there for us when we need someone to talk to. All who visited His Grace's house on Youth Day benefitted from his wisdom-he is a blessing to DOWNE. God grant him many years!