The parishioners of St. Nicholas Church in Cedarburg, Wisconsin, enjoyed a multitude of blessings the weekend of January 4-6, with the first visit of our new beloved spiritual leader, Bishop Anthony of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest. Saedna Anthony came to meet his cherished flock for the first time, celebrate with them the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy of St. Basil and the Great Blessing of Water, ordain two parish members, and bless the church's beautiful new iconostasis.
Members of parish council enjoyed a dinner with the bishop on Friday evening, and many met with Saedna Anthony on Saturday afternoon for an open, informal meet-and-greet and question-and-answer session. The friendly, edifying discussion covered a wide range of topics, from politics to the place of men and women in the church, to the growth of secularism and radical Islam throughout the world, to genetically modified organisms and the environment, to daily prayers and study. Parish members delighted in and found inspiration in the bishop's gentleness, warmth, wisdom, and good humor.
On Saturday during the celebration of Hierarchical Great Vespers, parish member Curtis John Dowling of Menomonee Falls was ordained as subdeacon, with laying on of hands by the bishop and repeated calls by parishioners of "he is worthy" in English, Greek and Arabic. All celebrated a banquet afterwards in the fellowship hall. On Sunday during Hierarchical Divine Liturgy of St. Basil, Dn. David Moga was ordained to the priesthood with more calls of "he is worthy." With His Grace Bishop Anthony and the Very Rev. Fr. William Olnhausen, the newly ordained Fr. David celebrated the Eucharist as priest for the first time. Bishop Anthony and the clergy and people next celebrated the Great Blessing of the Waters, sanctifying them again through the baptism of our Lord. Finally, the new iconostasis was blessed with holy chrism. A festive coffee hour and reception afterwards was enjoyed by all. Saedna Anthony stayed and presided from the throne as Fr. David celebrated Divine Liturgy on Monday morning.