In his first visit to campus as a hierarch, His Grace The Right Rev. John Abdalah, auxiliary bishop for the Antiochian Archdiocese's Diocese of Worcester and New England, presided over the liturgy for the Feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos at Three Hierarchs Chapel on campus.
Bishop John received his Master of Divinity degree with the Class of 1984. For 33 years, he served as a priest of the Self-Ruled Antiochian Archdiocese of North America, before being consecrated as Auxiliary of the Diocese of Worcester and New England on December 11, 2011. He also holds a Doctor of Ministry degree in Pastoral Care from Pittsburgh Theological School, a Master's equivalency certificate in Pastoral Counseling from Pittsburgh Pastoral Institute, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Suffolk University in Boston, Massachusetts.
As a late summer storm blew through the Westchester County campus, bringing wind and rain that relentlessly pounded the chapel, His Grace calmly and joyfully served alongside other Antiochian and seminary clergy. Afterwards, he joined the community for brunch and then held a special meeting for the Antiochian seminarians and their families.
"We gather today for the first major feast of the New Year and we celebrate a brand new beginning, a new opportunity for saying 'yes' to God," began Bishop John in his homily. "These have been emotional days for me; thirty-eight years ago, I was a new student on campus, away from home for the first time. I can't help but think of those who have gone on to their rest who were once here, and yet God has raised up new people, new faculty and students."
Bishop John encouraged his audience. "People are looking to understand what the Church is about. We should not be ashamed to offer people chances to give, because in giving and loving, we are being like God."