2015 ALTAR SERVER RETREAT
DON'T DELAY! REGISTER NOW! The Annual Diocesan Altar Server Retreat will be held at Saint Basil Academy in Garrison NY from 6-8 February 2015. The main focus of this annual retreat is to bring the altar servers of our diocese together in prayer, Christian fellowship, education, and fun. Last year 45 participants attended the retreat. Under the guidance and direction of Bishop Michael, the altar servers learn the basics and fundamentals of serving various services, such as the Divine Liturgy and Vigil, along with learning and understanding the meaning, theology, and history of liturgical worship. There is no charge to participate in the retreat but early registration is essential.
details & registration >
MANVILLE NJ: “Yolka 2015”
The church of Saints Peter and Paul in Manville NJ celebrated their annual parish “Yolka” on Sunday, 11 January 2015. In the spirit of the Nativity/Theophany season, the children of the parish offered a marvelously unique presentation from the “Orthodox News Network” that was both informative and highly entertaining: “Breaking News - A Star Appears Over Bethlehem!” To view their delightfully creative performance click on 'more information' below.
SADDLE BROOK NJ: Great Blessing of Water
In the days of festal commemoration of Our Lord's Theophany (6 January), parishes throughout the diocese celebrated the traditional "blessing of water" in various ways. On Sunday, 11 January, members of Holy Apostles Church in Saddle Brook NJ took a chilly five-minute walk to the Saddle River and performed the rite of Great Blessing of Waters. "It's a way to bless and sanctify all of creation," said Father Matthew Brown (parish rector). "The blessing was held this day because it is the first Sunday after Theophany, which is celebrated on January 6th."
read the local newspaper story >
WATERVLIET NY: Parish Feast-Day and Archpastoral Visit
Saint Basil's Orthodox Church in Watervliet (Maplewood) NY celebrated its patronal feast-day in commemoration of Saint Basil the Great on Thursday, 1 January 2015. Starting with the Vigil on Wednesday evening and continuing on Thursday morning with the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, Bishop Michael and the faithful of the parish celebrated the feast. His Grace awarded Father Peter Olsen (parish rector) the Jeweled Cross, a gift from the faithful for Father Peter’s 30+ years of dedicated service to the church. The "Saint Basil’s Bread" (Vasilopita) was blessed by Bishop Michael, according to tradition, and distributed to parishioners at the conclusion of the service.
ROCHESTER & BUFFALO NY: Fellowship in Upstate~Western New York
On Saturday, 3 January, parishioners from Saint George Church in Buffalo NY and Saint John the Baptist Church in Rochester NY met "half-way" for family fun and fellowship at Palm Island Indoor Water Park (Batavia NY). The day featured fun on the waterslides, pool basketball, and lots of splashing. As children enjoyed the water fun, adults discussed ways the parishes could collaborate and support one another in the future. Coordinating the event were Sub-Deacon Sean McNulty and Deacon (Dr) Mark Hoeplinger, both graduates of the Diocesan Diaconal Formation Program.
SYRACUSE NY: Retreat and Blessings at Saints Peter & Paul Church
Bishop Michael's fervent commitment to preach and teach the Gospel was manifested at Saints Peter & Paul Church in Syracuse NY on 13-14 December 2014. On Saturday, many parishioners and visitors were treated during the annual Advent Retreat to a tremendous "Overview of the Gospel of Saint John" with an emphasis on "The Good Shepherd." On Sunday, Bishop Michael celebrated the Divine Liturgy and blessed six new stained glass windows, installed to complete the Handicap Access Project in the church.
CHRIST IS BORN! LET US GLORIFY HIM!
His Grace, Bishop Michael, offers an Archpastoral Letter to the faithful of the diocese on the celebration of Our Lord's Nativity. In part, he writes: "On this most joyous Feast, let us unite together as a diocesan family, each in his own parish, and raise our voices in hymns of praise of the Incarnate One born of the Theotokos. Let us open our hearts to the gift of His love in His becoming one of us to die for our salvation; and let us renew our commitment to His way of life, begun at our baptism. Come, let us worship Him as our God! …not just this day, but at every opportunity through the coming new year!"
read the Archpastoral Letter >
watch Bishop Michael's "Nativity of Christ" video >
UPSTATE NEW YORK: Celebrations of Saint Nicholas & Christmas "Yolka"
A traditional Christmas "Yolka" complete with a children's Nativity play, sing-a-long, and visit by beloved Saint Nicholas was celebrated at Saint Basil Church in Watervliet NY on Sunday, 14 December. The previous Sunday, Saint John the Baptist Church in Rochester NY celebrated "Saint Nicholas Day" with a children's sermon on the life of the saint, gold coins filled with chocolate placed in the shoes of little ones left near the saint's icon following the Liturgy, a breakfast fellowship, and the decorating of the parish Christmas tree. Similar celebrations took place in various locations around the diocese.