10th Anniversary of Saint Mary Church, Chambersburg, PA
ST. MARY CHURCH OF CHAMBERSBURG CELEBRATES
TENTH ANNIVERSARY WEEKEND
The congregation of St. Mary Church (Chambersburg, PA) welcomed His Grace Bishop THOMAS to preside over the celebration of their Tenth Anniversary Weekend, held October 22 and 23, 2005. During the celebration, the parishioners and their pastor, Fr. Theodore Pulcini, recalled their first Liturgy (celebrated October 15, 1995), the two years when they met in a parishioner’s basement, the following two years when they assembled in a rented building, and the past six years in which they have gathered in their new temple, consecrated in October 1999 by His Grace Bishop ANTOUN. While looking back, they also looked to the future by celebrating four ordinations to the subdiaconate and an ordination to the Holy Priesthood.
Sayyidna THOMAS met with members of the parish council and of the Order of St. Ignatius over lunch on Saturday, October 22, commending them for all that the parish has accomplished in its short history and reminding them of their role in our newly-formed Diocese and in the Archdiocese at large. He responded to questions from those gathered, covering a number of topics, most notably our concern for His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP.
At 5 p.m., Bishop THOMAS was greeted at the door of the church, which he entered to preside at Great Vespers with Artoclasia. Over 120 people were in attendance, singing the responses congregationally. Four priests concelebrated (besides Fr. Ted, Fr. Costas Keares of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Camp Hill, Fr. Gregory Long of St. Anthony Church in Butler, and Fr. Nicholas Wyborski of St. Nectarios Mission in Lakeland, FL), along with two deacons (our own Deacon Elias Yelovich and Deacon John Shumski of St. John Chrysostom Church in York). After the service, His Grace blessed the church’s cornerstone. Afterwards, the chairs were removed from the church’s nave to make room for the crowd anticipated at the next day’s Liturgy. We then went to Fayetteville Fire Hall for an informal “Homecoming Celebration.” In addition to our own parishioners, we welcomed visitors from a number of other communities outside the area, most notably former parishioners of Fr. Ted from New Castle, PA, and Cleveland, OH.
The next day, Orthros began at 9 a.m., attended by a good number of worshipers who were able to assist the chanters in singing responses, the text and music for which were included in the commemorative service book compiled for the weekend. At the conclusion of the Great Doxology, four of our parish’s sons were “set apart” as subdeacons: Joseph Merlina, Euthymios (Tim) Panagos, Evangelos (Evans) Prieston, and Nathan Rush.
By the time the Divine Liturgy began, the congregation had swelled to some 175 people, who enthusiastically sang the responses under the leadership of our chanters. Concelebrating were Fr. Ted Pulcini, Fr. John Mason (a retired priest of the OCA who has served as a supply priest for our congregation since its inception), Fr. Gregory Long, and Fr. Nicholas Wyborski. In the course of the Liturgy, Fr. Ted and Fr. John presented Deacon Elias Yelovich to Sayyidna THOMAS for ordination to the Holy Priesthood. To the resounding shouts of “AXIOS!,” “MUSTAHIQ!,” and “HE IS WORTHY!,” Father Elias was vested by Sayyidna THOMAS and presented to the faithful as the newest priest of the Diocese, which he will serve as a supply priest while attached at St. Mary’s of Chambersburg. At the conclusion of the Liturgy, three new members were inducted into the Order of St. Ignatius (Fr. Ted, Fr. Elias, and parishioner Charles Finui), joining the seven other parishioners who already belong to the Order.
After the Liturgy, approximately 120 people gathered for the community banquet at the nearby Orchards Restaurant. Fr. Ted welcomed visiting clergy, including the priests mentioned above as concelebrants at the Liturgy, as well as Fr. Peter Pier, Fr. Dennis Buck, Fr. Thomas Kline, and Fr. Deacon John Shumski. After Fr. Ted’s remarks and the remarks of Parish Council President Charles Shuster, the newly ordained Fr. Elias addressed those gathered for the celebration, expressing his feelings of gratitude and joy as he began his priestly service. The highlight of the banquet was the address of Sayyidna THOMAS, who, with insight and humor, placed the crowning touch on the weekend’s festivities.