Archbishop Michael made his annual visitation to West Point Military Academy on Sunday, 27 January 2019, celebrating the Divine Liturgy in Saint Martin's Chapel for the Orthodox cadets. Caring for the spiritual needs of these future military leaders of our armed forces in the US Army are Archpriest Joseph and Presbytera Irene Frawley.
As part of a "Vision for Our Future," Archbishop Michael launched the Distinguished Diocesan Benefactor [DDB] program in January 2011. Your generous support is what being a Distinguished Diocesan Benefactor is all about. Your love, your prayers, and your sharing of the riches with which you have been blessed make it all possible.
With great joy we announce the Annual Lenten Teen Retreat! The 3-day event will be held at a new venue this year, Camp Shiloh located in Hewitt NJ, from 22-24 March 2019. The retreat is open to Teens in Middle School and High School not only in our Diocese, but also to those in other jurisdictions and nearby dioceses. Please spread the word beyond your parishes! The theme of this year’s retreat is “Living a Christian Life.”
Archbishop Michael hosted the clergy families of the New York State Deanery for a holiday gathering at Basil Leaf Ristorante in Syracuse NY on Sunday evening, 27 January 2019. The evening brought together priests, deacons, and their families for a spirited fellowship with their Archpastor. “It is always a joy,” said Father Ken James Stavrevsky (Rochester NY), “when our deanery family of clergy, spouses, and children, gather in grateful celebration of their ministries and common labors of love in the church. We thank His Eminence for nurturing our pastoral brotherhood in Christ!”
Archpriest Paul Shafran, Pastor Emeritus at Saint Vladimir Church in Trenton NJ celebrated his 71st Anniversary of Ordination to the Holy Priesthood on 28 December 2018. Father Paul and Matushka Mary also recently marked their 71st wedding anniversary (November 27th). Following the liturgy on 30 December the congregation sang "Many Years" for both of them. Matushka had been in a rehab facility for a few months following surgery for a broken leg, but returned home just in time for Christmas. She and Father Paul are truly grateful for everyone's prayers. "Many Years" and warmest congratulations to them on the occasions of their remarkable anniversary milestones!
Vital work within our diocese has again been supported financially thanks to the contributions of our Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors (DDBs). During 2018, DDBs provided $185,860.00 for mission parish funding, seminarian scholarships, and a host of programs intended to support and enhance parish ministries and outreach. The voluntary, sacrificial efforts of our DDBs provide much-needed programs and events that would otherwise be impossible to accomplish. Our sincere gratitude is extended to our DDBs, who have made a significant contribution to the Glory of God and the building-up of the Body of Christ in New York and New Jersey. To see the “honor roll” of 2018 DDBs please go here >
On December 31st and January 1st, Archbishop Michael joined the faithful of Saint Basil's Orthodox Church in Watervliet NY for their Parish Feast-Day. Dragan Vujicic, a seminarian from Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville NY, was tonsured a Reader during the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy. Parishioner Anna MacPherson was awarded a Diocesan Gramota (certificate of appreciation) for her many years of dedicated service to the parish. “A wonderful festive meal was served afterwards in the Parish Center," said Father Peter Olsen (parish Rector).
On 29-30 December 2018, Archbishop Michael made an Archpastoral visit to Christ the Savior Church in Manhattan. His Eminence presented a Gramota (certificate of appreciation) on behalf of the Holy Synod of Bishops (Orthodox Church in America) to the parish rector, Archpriest Michael Meerson, in recognition of the 40th Anniversary of his ordination to the Holy Priesthood.
On Saturday, 29 December 2018, Orthodox faithful from the New York Capital area gathered at the Regional Food Bank to spend two hours working, sorting, and packaging food that will be distributed to food pantries, homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and battered women's shelters in the 23 counties of North Eastern New York. The Regional Food Bank serves people and families in distress from Rockland and Putnam Counties up to the Canadian border.
On the Sunday following the Feast of Saint Nicholas, 9 December 2018, the faithful of Saint Basil’s Orthodox Church in Watervliet NY celebrated their annual “Yolka” and luncheon. The children had spent weeks preparing for the day, practicing a Nativity play called, “The Gifts of Christmas.”
CHRIST IS BORN! GLORIFY HIM! As we celebrate the Nativity of Christ, our Archbishop Michael offers us his annual letter of joy and love. His Eminence writes, in part: "Beloved fathers and brothers and sisters: We are being called by Our Lord Himself to partake of His very life. To be united to Him. He is inviting us to enter into union with Him, asking us if we will allow Him to enter into us, to take His abode in us. God has taken on our material body, so that He might give us the greatest gift – His eternal, heavenly, immaterial life. In so doing, we are given the opportunity to become saints – if not canonized Saints, with a capital "S" … then at least everyday saints, with a small "s." Read the entire letter here >
During the Archpastoral visit of Archbishop Michael to Saints Peter and Paul Church in Endicott NY on the weekend of 10-11 November 2018, sixteen Catechumens (the Card family) were received into the church by Holy Baptism and Chrismation (anointing). The presence of the Holy Spirit was truly felt by all as His Eminence exclaimed: “The Seal of the Gift of The Holy Spirit!” 180 times with the choir and congregation singing “Amen!” as many times in response. During the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, Archbishop Michael tonsured five young men to the rank of Reader.
In an essay entitled, "Three Miracles," Deacon David Donch begins by writing: "Nearly 2000 years ago, a man named Jairus had a little girl who had become seriously ill, and because the medicine of their day provided no cure for her illness, she was dying. With no hope left him but his hope in the power of God, Jairus set out to find an unusual preacher that he and so many others had been hearing so much about: a certain Jesus, Who people were saying wielded God’s miraculous power to heal all sorts of afflictions and diseases." To read his entire essay, please go here >
Today is the prelude of the good will of God, of the preaching of the salvation of mankind. The Virgin appears in the temple of God, in anticipation proclaiming Christ to all. Let us rejoice and sing to her: "Rejoice, O Fulfillment of the Creator's dispensation!" (Troparion Hymn)
Stacey Anastasia Gleeson writes: “What would it be like to be an Orthodox missionary? How would I know unless I experienced it? Over the years, I have expressed this desire with family and friends, but struggled to act. My professional career and local volunteer work at my church took priority. However, a life experience motivated me to finally put my desire of a missionary trip into action.”
On Saturday, 3 November 2018, nearly 50 youth and adults from across the diocese gathered at Holy Trinity Church in Yonkers NY together with Archbishop Michael for the first annual Diocesan “BIBLE BOWL.” The Bible Bowl combined competition, camaraderie, and the culmination of months of diligent study of the Scriptures. Eleven teams from six parishes competed in three divisions (Junior Youth, Senior Youth, Adult) and responded to challenging questions from the Gospel of Saint Mark.