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Is your parish wrapping up a successful fund raising campaign or festival? Did your bishop come for a visit? Are you beginning a new Sunday School program? Please let us know, so we can publish your good news. Entries and photos can generally be published within three working days, and can be e-mailed to: editor@antiochian.org.

Building a Dream in Mississauga

"Unless the LORD BUILDS THE HOUSE, they labor in vain who build it" (Psalm 127:1)

On behalf of Rev. Fr. Elias Ayoub and St. Mary's Antiochian Orthodox Church in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, we are honoured and excited to announce the first-time visit of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, along with our diocesan Bishop, His Grace Alexander, over the Victoria Day weekend (May 16–17). This hierarchical honour is scheduled especially for the Ground-Breaking Ceremony and the Fundraising Gala.

Twenty years ago, our parish purchased a 3.2-acre property, centrally located in Mississauga, just west of Toronto. We continued to rent a local church, and were permitted to offer our Divine Liturgies on Sunday evenings only. We had to endure extra rental fees for all other liturgical ceremonies, and spiritual and social activities. Our parishioners always say "al kaneesa mesh men hajjar, al kaneesa men basher," an Arabic saying that translates roughly to "the Church is not made out of stones; the Church is made out of people." How true that is! While we firmly believe that we are His Church, all members of Christ's Body, we also recognize the practical needs of our community here in Mississauga. Every parish needs a physical church in which to carry out its liturgical, pastoral, educational, and social activities. Therefore we have been working very hard, determined to realize our community's dream: building our own St. Mary's Church.

Bishop Antoun Celebrates Palm Sunday in Jacksonville, FL

Archpriest Fr. Kamal Alrahil and the community of St. George Church in Jacksonville, Florida welcomed His Grace Bishop Antoun during the weekend of April 3rd-5th, 2015. He was warmly received on Friday April 3rd at the airport and was immediately taken to St. George Church Hall for a Lenten cover dish offered by the Ladies Auxiliary, who were making Palm Crosses.

On Saturday Morning, His Grace presided over the Divine Liturgy for Lazarus Saturday. A Lenten luncheon was prepared by the Sunday school and Teen Soyo. The youth and Sayedna enjoyed a lengthy question and answer discussion. That evening he presided over Vespers followed by dinner offered by the Parish Council.

On Palm Sunday Bishop Antoun presided over the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, which was well attended by approximately 400 faithful people who gathered from the greater Jacksonville area to celebrate the Feast with Sayedna, who is greatly loved in our church community. On that day, Sayedna ordained our own son, Subdeacon Eric Bateh, to the holy Diaconate. Afterwards a Luncheon in honor of Eric's ordination was offered by his parents Ted and Jackie Bateh in the church hall to the whole community.

Bishop Thomas Visits St. Andrew Church + Lewes, DE

The mission community of St. Andrew the Apostle and Fr. Boniface Black welcomed His Grace Bishop Thomas for the 2014 feast of the Dormition and following Sunday in comfortable and beautiful August summer weather.

The visit began with Vespers on Thursday evening, August 14th, and continued with Orthros and Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on the Feast Day. Saturday Vespers and Sunday Orthros and Hierarchical Divine Liturgy rounded out a very blessed time of worship and Christian fellowship. All services were very well attended. Many summer visitors joined with parishioners for the Church Services and bountiful meals following, provided by the Antiochian Women of St. Andrew.

St. Willibrord Mission Celebrates Patronal Feast

St. Willibrord Mission in Holland, Michigan, celebrated their patronal feast with a beautiful Vigil service on the evening of November 6 and the Divine Liturgy on the morning of November 7, 2014. Fr. Steve Van Bronkhorst, the Mission’s pastor, shared the life story of this great saint, who spread the Orthodox Faith throughout the Netherlands in the 7th-8th centuries. Members of Holland’s predominantly Dutch community enjoyed learning about the man who first introduced Christ to their ancestors, and the Mission’s members thanked their patron saint for his faithful intercessions.

St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church, Wilkes-Barre, PA Celebrates 110 Years

The 110th anniversary of St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church in Wilkes-Barre, PA was celebrated over the weekend of October 10-12, 2014. 

For the weekend Bishop Thomas presided over all of the events. On Friday morning the parish had the funeral of the oldest parishioner, Lorraine George, who was 98. Bishop Thomas arrived before to be able to serve the funeral.

On Friday evening there was a potluck dinner to which the parishioners brought many different kinds of delicious fast-day foods.  

On Saturday, Bishop Thomas went to visit his family’s restaurant in Wilkes-Barre and enjoy hot dogs and hamburgers from Abe’s Restaurant on Main Street. He reminisced there about his family during the meal. (View the photo gallery of the festive weekend.)


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