Diocese of Worcester News
On February 7-9, 2013, Orthodox Christian mental health professionals, clergy, professors, lay ministers and seminarians gathered on the campus of Hellenic College/Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology for a conference entitled "Pastoral Challenges in Marriage: O God, Replenish Their Life with All Good Things." Sponsored by the Center for Family Care of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, the conference tackled some of the most serious pastoral challenges in marriage facing the Church today. The Right Rev. Bishop John Abdalah, auxiliary for the Antiochian Diocese of Worcester and New England, offered this first keynote address on Thursday morning entitled "Marriage: An Opportunity for Spiritual Growth and Discovering the Living God." His Grace holds a Doctor of Ministry degree in Pastoral Care and has worked as pastoral counselor and therapist for 30 years.
Friday evening May 17, 2013 will be a night to remember! As part of the program for the 2013 Parish Life Conference, Saint George of Lowell will be hosting the event “New England’s Got Taste – New England’s Got Talent”. The event will take place in the hall of our sister parish, St. John of Damascus Antiochian Orthodox Church in Dedham, starting at 6:00 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children under 12. Only advanced purchased tickets will be allowed to enter; we will not be selling any tickets at the door. All event proceeds will be used to help keep conference prices affordable for all.
On Saturday evening of the Conference (June 29th), we are planning a take-off on the popular TV show "America’s Got Talent" with a twist - it will be a showcase of the best talent in our Diocese! The May 17 event will serve as the elimination round for the June 29th Conference event. Each church in our diocese may submit up to three acts to participate in the elimination round, from which the final participants in the June 29 event will be selected. Acts can be anything from singing to dancing to comedy to magic…the only limit is your imagination! A panel of impartial judges and you, the audience, will decide who goes on to the finals at the Conference. Please see the attached rules for the event. There will be prizes for the TOP 5 winners at the Conference!
In addition to this elimination talent round, there will be a food challenge on May 17, called “New England’s Got Taste”. Before the show, everyone will be able to sample appetizers prepared by our parishes. Everyone who attends will be given five votes to use to vote for the appetizers that they enjoy the most.
Theophany School is hosting its next Open House on March 11-14, from 9:30-11:30 am! Come and see how our teachers create a lifetime love of learning through our engaging thematic curriculum in a nurturing Orthodox Christian environment right in Needham, MA. We offer a multi-age learning experience with small class sizes and engaging curriculum for children ages 2.9 through 6 years old. Current programs include: a 2-day, 3-day and 5-day Preschool option, and a full day Pre-K/Kindergarten.
Visit our website or call us at 781-444-3058 for more information.
"Glory be to Thee Who hast shown us the light!" On Wednesday, January 30, 2013, the booming voice of His Grace The Right Rev. John Abdalah, bishop for the Antiochian Archdiocese's Diocese of Worcester and New England and the longtime editor of The Word magazine, announced the Feast of the Three Great Hierarchs. Saints Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, and John Chrysostom are the patrons of the St. Vladmir's Seminary (SVOTS) Three Hierarchs Chapel in Yonkers, New York.
The three hierarchs presiding over the Divine Liturgy included Bishop John (SVOTS Class of '84), His Grace The Right Rev. Bishop Nicholas, auxiliary bishop of Brooklyn for the Archdiocese, and His Grace The Right Rev. Maxim, bishop of the Western Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America.
"Come Receive the Light," the flagship program for the Orthodox Christian Network (OCN), is featuring an interview with The Right Rev. Bishop John (Abdalah), Diocese of Worcester and New England. In the podcast "Christmas and Loss," Fr. Chris Metropulos, Executive Director of OCN, asks Bishops John to offer thoughts out of his own personal experience, to those who have suffered a great loss in the past year and are dealing with the holidays while still in grief. "We need time to adjust," notes Bishop John. "It is normal and healthy to experience depression, anger and frustration, because we've experienced something we don't like, and we didn't want."
Bishop John emphasizes that people are unique in the way they process loss. "Each of us is different and should be given the respect to figure out what really does work out best for us." He also notes that as Christians, we aren't alone, even when it feels that way. "When you suffer a loss, you feel alone, and isolated. Christ comes to us, to join us in our misery, showing us that our misery is temporary, that He cares about us and loves us—the light at the end of the tunnel is the empty tomb."
On the first Sunday in December, Youth Equipped to Serve (YES) is inviting all parishes to participate in YES Awareness Day. A ministry of The Fellowship of Orthodox Christians United to Serve (FOCUS), YES provides opportunities for junior high and high school students to participate in formative weekends of service in cities around the United States. An upcoming YES weekend, sponsored by St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church of Pawtucket, RI, is scheduled for Friday, December 14, through Sunday, December 16, in Providence.
Notes Director Katrina Bitar, "We would be so grateful if you took the time to share our ministry with your community and helped to raise funds that will enable us to meet the needs of the people we serve." A letter which can be read in parishes during the YES Sunday observance, reads in part:
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As we approach the Nativity of our Lord, I am blessed today to have the opportunity to share with you, the YES Program—Youth Equipped to Serve—of FOCUS North America.
Many Orthodox faithful are unaware that there are 338 Orthodox churches in Guatemala, with 200,000 faithful and catechumens, and that hundreds of Latin Americans continue to leave the Roman Catholic Church on a daily basis, seeking other religious experiences, including worship within the liturgical services of the Orthodox Church. With this as a backdrop, St. Vladimir's Seminary is hosting a presentation by two dynamic priests who are at the center of this phenomenon, on Wednesday, November 7, at 7:30 p.m.: "Mission to Guatemala: Receiving the Mayan People into the Orthodox Church." The Very Rev. Archimandrite Dr. Andres Girón de Leon and The Very Rev. John Chakos will be guest lecturers, sharing first hand their missionary activities among the indigenous people of Guatemala. The presentation will be in the Metropolitan Philip Auditorium of the John G. Rangos Family Building on campus.
St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church of Boston is seeking a full-time Youth Director, who will be responsible for the overall development and implementation of a comprehensive program designed to meet the needs of the children and young adults of the parish. The goal is to offer a sound religious foundation for youth which promotes Orthodox Christian values of worship, fellowship, service and witness.
The Youth Director will work under supervision of the pastor. He or she must be a committed Orthodox Christian, a highly motivated self-starter who understands contemporary youth culture and who will serve as a good role model for the youth. He or she will be interacting with parents, keeping them informed, and encouraging their support and active participation.
The Youth Director will also work closely with the Parents' Guild and volunteer staff, to design strategies which will improve and expand the parish youth ministry, including the recruitment and training of volunteers to assist in coordinating and staffing. The Director will set and oversee a youth ministry budget, as part of the general parish budget.
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.
V. Rev. Timothy J. Ferguson, Protosyngellos of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in West Roxbury MA, writes:
We regret to announce the repose in the Lord of the Servant of God Archimandrite CONSTANTINE Atanas Yanney, Pastor Emeritus of our community. Fr. Constantine was born in Antioch on January 26, 1926. He studied in Damascus and Greece, where he obtained a degree from the Theological Faculty at the University of Athens. He was ordained as Deacon and Priest in Damascus in 1968 by His Beatitude Patriarch Theodosius. From 1968, Fr. Constantine served as pastor at Holy Cross Church in Damascus before being appointed as pastor of St. George Church in Bagdad, Iraq in 1989. In 1989, Fr. Constantine was elevated to the rank of Archimandrite by Metropolitan Constantine of Bagdad.
In 1990, Archimandrite Constantine came to Boston to visit his sisters. While he was here, the first Gulf War broke out and he was unable to return to Bagdad. Father was officially attached to St. George of Boston and served as our ‘Pastor Emeritus’ during these past twenty-two years. A humble, peaceful and saintly priest, Fr. Constantine was deeply loved by the parishioners and by his fellow clergy. We will dearly miss his prayerful presence at the altar. He is survived by his beloved sister, Joslene Hajj and her husband Tony and by many nephews and nieces and their children. Fr. Constantine suffered a heart attack the evening of August 21 at his home in West Roxbury and reposed at the Falkner Hospital during the night.
His Grace Bishop +John will preside over the funeral services for Fr. Constantine:
Friday August 24th - at 1 p.m. Bishop +John and the clergy of the Diocese will assemble at the Kfoury Funeral Home – 8 Spring Street, West Roxbury to anoint and vest the body of Fr. Constantine in preparation for the procession to the Church.
The 2013 Diocese of Wichita Parish Life Conference will be hosted by St. Basil the Great Church in Kansas City, KS. Dates are Wednesday to Saturday, June 5-8, 2013.
Keynote speaker will be Mother Nektaria of St. Paul Skete in Grand Junction, Tennessee (90 minutes east of Memphis).
Please check back for more information, or visit the 2013 Diocese of Wichita Parish Life Conference Facebook page.
Souvenir Journal ads are currently being accepted. Please use the mail-in form (PDF) at www.plckc2013.com/docs/Souvenir-Journal.pdf.
The rocky cliffs of the Atlantic in Ogunquit, Maine were the setting for the 74th Annual Parish Life Conference in New England and the first with Bishop John Abdalah. The PLC took place June 21-24 and was hosted by the parish of Saint George in Norwood, MA. The incredibly scenic location and a new hierarch helped make this one of best attended conferences in many years. The hotel sold out early as did the Lobster Bake and Awards Dinner.
Over 400 clergy and parishioners spent four days at the Cliff House taking care of business and enjoying fellowship. The meetings and workshops were well attended; the Bible Bowl and Oratorical Festival were filled with excitement and the finals of "New England's Got Talent" was an awesome display of the musical abilities of the faithful.
On Saturday May 26, 2012, His Grace Bishop John Abdalah addressed the graduates of St. Tikhon's Seminary at the institution's 70th annual commencement. The website Oca.org notes that "he gave a moving address on human nature and the freedom of mankind to embody Godly principles or to place himself as a stumbling block to his brother." His speech, published in the June 2012 issue of The Word, has something valuable to say to all graduates of the Class of 2012.
From my youth up, an old lullaby has echoed in my head:
Mumma, see the tiny ducks?
On the shore the old hen clucks.
Mumma, tell me, what’s the matter?
Why she’s making such a clatter?
She is running to and fro,
While the ducklings paddling go.
Mumma, she can’t understand
Why they’re swimming from the land.
She’s afraid the water’ll hurt them.
Into chicks she can’t convert them.
Mumma, see the tiny ducks?
On the shore the old hen clucks.
On June 6-9, the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America will kick off the Antiochian Archdiocese's Parish Life Conference season, which is themed "The Bible fills us with eternal joy." The Houston gathering is sponsored by St. Joseph Orthodox Church. Alexei D. Krindatch, Research Coordinator for the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, will be the keynote speaker, and attendees will enjoy southern hospitality at events such as the Saturday evening dinner, "Cowboys and Cassocks."
Also in June, the Diocese of Worcester and New England will hold their Parish Life Conference on June 21-24. Hosted by St. George Church in Norwood, MA, participants will stay at the Cliff House in Ogunquit, Maine, on the Atlantic Coast. This will be Bishop John Abdalah's first conference as presiding bishop, and the coastal atmosphere will be enhanced by events such as the Maine Clambake.
Three more dioceses will gather in June: Miami and the Southeast; Toledo and the Midwest; and Ottawa, Eastern Canada and Upstate New York. Finally, the Los Angeles and Eagle River, and Charleston and New York, conferences will be held over the long holiday weekend of July 4-8. Visit the Conventions and Conference Planning page, or the Antiochian Events website, for registration and information.
On Bright Tuesday, April 17, 2012, Bishop John of the Diocese of Worcester and New England and a number of Antiochian clergy with their wives and children gathered at the Greek Metropolis of Boston at the invitation of His Eminence Metropolitan Methodius to enjoy a meal with him and his clergy. This annual Bright Tuesday meal had been a tradition of the Greek Metropolis for many years, but the invitation to the Antiochian Bishop and clergy was unprecedented and warmly received. Some attendees expressed the hope that this gathering would presage many more opportunities for Orthodox Christians in Boston, clergy and laity, of different jurisdictions to come together for fellowship.
St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary has announced that the 2012 commencement address will be offered by His Grace Bishop John (Abdalah). Bishop John is the Auxiliary Bishop for Worcester and New England and the editor of the WORD magazine.
The Seminary's Commencement always takes place on the last weekend in May, coinciding with the annual Memorial Day Liturgy and festivities hosted by the Seminary. This year the ceremony falls on May 26.
Bishop John served as a priest of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America for 33 years and was Dean of St. George Cathedral in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for 16 of those years. The Seminary is also located in Pennsylvania, in the community of South Canaan.
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.
My name is Nadia, and I am a thirteen year old Orthodox Christian. I have attended the St. George Norwood parish ever since I remember. This is my first year in Teen SOYO and the first year I traveled to New Hampshire for the annual Lenten Retreat. It was one of the most enlightening experiences I have had as an Orthodox Christian.
The retreat is an event that occurs each year during the Lenten season. Teens from parishes all over New England come together to bond with each other, listen to the speaker, reflect upon their faith, and strengthen themselves through worship and communion. This year we had the honor of having His Grace Bishop John amongst us throughout the weekend to guide us and answer our questions. This year’s speaker was Katrina Bitar, past SOYO member and director of the YES program speaking on the theme of “Heroes of the Old Testament.”
Chris Holwey, Chairman of the Antiochian Archdiocese Department of Sacred Music reports, "It is with great pleasure that I announce to you that, after receiving the blessing from His Grace, Bishop John of New England, and the full support of Paul Jabara, interim Diocesan Coordinator for New England, I have appointed Charlie Marge as the new Diocesan Coordinator for the Diocese of New England.
Charlie Marge is a very talented, energetic, committed and dedicated Orthodox Christian who loves God and the Church, and has a wonderful ability to bring the services to life through the music and hymns of the Church that he directs. I have known Charlie for many years, and I ask that you please join me in congratulating him, wishing him well in his new role, and welcoming him as an official member of our department. May God continue to bless him in his new ministry, and the choirs in that diocese that he now serves.
I would also like to thank Paul Jabara for the help he gave to the Diocese these past two and a half years. He will continue to serve this department as our Coordinator for the Sacred Music Institute at the Antiochian Village each July, and as the great musician, director and friend that he is. May God grant you many years!"
March 7, 2012
[SVOTS Communications, Yonkers, NY] Dr. Vigen Guroian, professor of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia, will lead the annual public lenten retreat this year at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, Yonkers, NY, on Saturday, March 31, 2012. The retreat will begin with Divine Liturgy in Three Hierarchs Chapel at 9 a.m., followed by a lenten brunch, and two presentations by Dr. Guroian, to be held in the John G. Rangos Family Building.
Dr. Guroian has authored of a number of books, many on morality and ethics, and many that are meditative in content, such as Inheriting Paradise: Meditations on Gardening. Dr. Guroian will base the content of this year's retreat on his latest book, Melody of Faith: Theology in an Orthodox Key (Eerdmans, 2010).
Lent is not only a time for personal renewal; it is a time for parish renewal as well. The Church is reborn every time someone enters the community. This is true even when the new member comes from another Orthodox parish, or a Christian communion outside the Orthodox Church, or is baptized as an infant or adult. The community is changed to make room for the new member who will build relationships, assume responsibilities, and even need to find a place to stand and sit in the worship.
To be deliberate about our parish renewal through this transition, the Church has appointed this Lenten time of fasting and intense prayers. We rediscover our roots with our new members as we read during the weeks of Lent from the Old Testament. We rediscover our innocence as the catechumens ask questions and express delight at the Orthodox perspectives. We regain our fervor as see the community grow and see how God is active in the lives of the catechumens and in our own.
We can not take this process for granted. Not every Lent sees catechumens in every parish. Not every parishioner is even aware that the Church is growing and that God is calling people to Himself. Perhaps at some places and at some times, communities don’t grow simply because the community is on “vacation” or asleep when people come knocking on our doors, or even when they sit in our pews. This is a great tragedy and we will be held accountable for this on Judgment Day. We really need to be deliberate about being ready to witness and care for those whom God is calling. Some prospective members are walking into our Churches unnoticed; others are working and playing with us all day long, waiting for our invitation to share in the life God has prepared for all. If this is too abstract, let me be more concrete:
Fr. Thomas Zain writes:
On Sunday, December 11, 2011, three new auxiliary bishops were consecrated for the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America at the Church of the Dormition of the Theotokos in the Patriarchal Monastery of Our Lady of Balamand, Balamand, Lebanon. Their Graces, JOHN, ANTHONY and NICHOLAS were consecrated as bishops of Worcester, Toledo, and Brooklyn and will serve as auxiliaries to His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP.
Editor's Update, December 9, 2011:
We ask that our faithful pray for the delegation currently travelling to Lebanon for the consecrations of our new bishops. May God grant them many, many years!
The Middle Eastern media resource Noursat will be broadcasting online the consecration services with His Beatitude Ignatius IV. See this link for additional information. More details will be added as they are made available.
Original Post, October 11, 2011:
His Beatitude Ignatius IV, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East has confirmed the date and location for the consecration of our three newly-elected Auxiliary Bishops, namely:
Bishop-Elect John (Abdalah) – Auxiliary Bishop for Worcester and New England
Bishop-Elect Anthony (Michaels) – Auxiliary Bishop for Toledo and the Midwest
Bishop-Elect Nicholas (Ozone) – Auxiliary Bishop for Brooklyn and assisting the Metropolitan in Englewood, NJ
During the weekend of October 14th through 16th, the Archdiocesan Board of Trustees held their Spring meeting at the Sheraton Hotel in Framingham, Massachusetts, hosted by St. George Cathedral of Worcester. In addition, the Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch held their meeting during that same weekend.
The Archdiocesan Board of Trustees dealt with many important issues, including a review of the financial report as of September 30, 2011. By the grace of God, and through the most careful fiscal management, the financial report shows a surplus on a year-to-date basis; however, the budget anticipates that there will be a small deficit for the entire year.