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Diocese of Wichita News

Parish Life Conference Season Begins with a Splash

The first two Parish Life Conferences (or PLCs) for the Antiochian Archdiocese have kicked off the summer PLC season with a splash! From June 11-14 in San Antonio, Texas, host parish St. Ephraim the Syrian Antiochian Church is overseeing a lineup of events for attendees from the Diocese of Wichita, including talks by Keynote Speaker Sister Vassa Larin, as well as excursions to local attractions such as the River Walk and Sea World San Antonio. Also enjoying water access are the faithful of the Diocese of Miami, who are being hosted on June 11-15 by the St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church of Orlando at the Crown Plaza Hotel, with its proximity to lakes and the Atlantic coast. 

Fr. George Dahdouh to Practice Missionary Work in Tanzania

His Grace Bishop Basil writes:

Fr. George Dahdouh, attached to St. George Church in Houston, Texas, has enlisted as a member of the mission team which the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC), an endorsed agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, will send to the Metropolis of Mwanza in Tanzania from October 27th through November 8th, 2014. If you, your parish, parochial organizations or individual parishioners would like to help sponsor Fr. George (he needs $4,000 in sponsorships), please go to www.ocmc.org/about/open_teams.aspx, scroll down to "Tanzania," find the listing for "Father George Dahdouh" and then click on the "Support" tab to the right of his name. Your prayers and contributions will be greatly and sincerely appreciated. Fr. George will be in San Antonio for the Parish Life Conference in June, where he will be available to discuss his upcoming missionary journey.

2014 Diocese of Wichita Parish Life Conference

Sister Vassa LarinHotel reservations must be made by Thursday, May 22nd in order to take advantage of the discounted PLC rate. To make your reservation, go to www.sawyn.com and mention that you are with the DOWAMA PLC.

The 2014 Diocese of Wichita Parish Life Conference will be hosted by St. Ephraim the Syrian Church in San Antonio, Texas. Dates are Wednesday to Saturday, June 11th-14th, 2014 (the fast-free week following Pentecost).

Keynote speaker will be Sister Vassa of Vienna, Austria, a nun of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad and liturgiologist of the highly prestigious University of Vienna in Austria. Sister Vassa is known as a prolific writer and stimulating lecturer throughout the Orthodox world.

"Coffee with Sister Vassa" is a brief, 10-minute weekly program offering an engaging reflection on the Orthodox Church calendar of the current week, including the lives of the saints, scriptural passages, the Orthodox liturgical tradition, and a light dose of humor, and can be heard on Ancient Faith Radio.

Please check the PLC Website for more information.

Memory Eternal! + Billy James Wilcoxson

His Grace Bishop Basil writes:

MEMORY ETERNAL. Billy James Wilcoxson, father of Fr. Aidan Wilcoxson of St. John the Forerunner Church in Cedar Park, Texas, fell asleep in Christ this morning after a long illness. Services will be arranged through St. Seraphim Cathedral (OCA) in Dallas, Texas.

May God grant him Paradise, and may he grant long life to you.

 

IOCC at Home: Book Distribution and Tornado Relief

The International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) ministers in the United States with emergency response, community development, and supporting literacy and education. Two recent stories are a reminder of this. 

Religious leaders gathered at the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Chicago to dedicate more than 10,000 new books provided by International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC). The trove of colorful, age-appropriate reading materials will benefit thousands of schoolchildren participating in after-school enrichment opportunities, mentoring and summer learning programs in the Chicago area. The leaders were joined by wide-eyed youngsters from some of the city's most impoverished Southside neighborhoods who were grateful beneficiaries.

2014 PLC Theme is Love the Lord - Love Your Neighbor

It's time to register for your diocese's regional Parish Life Conference (PLC)!

This year's conferences are spread out across five weekends in June and July. On June 11-15, the Diocese of Wichita and the Diocese of Miami will kick off the PLC season in San Antonio, TX and Orlando, FL. Shortly thereafter on June 19-22, the Diocese of Worcester will convene in Boston, MA. Fort Wayne, IN, will be the site for the final June conference with the Diocese of Toledo's PLC on June 25-29. Finally, the Dioceses of Los Angeles and Eagle River, Charleston and New York, and Ottawa, will all meet from July 2-6, combining Fourth of July celebrations with Parish Life Conferences.  

Visit the Conventions and Conference Planning page for full information.

As always, this year's theme, love for God and neighbor, will be the focus of the Creative Festivals, a highlight of the conferences. Youth and organizational meetings, spiritually edifying speakers and services, and social events for kids and adults alike, all make the PLCs one of the Archdiocese's most established and popular traditions.

To facilitate your parish participation in the Creative Arts, Bible Bowl and Oratorical Festivals, all resources are available in the Festivals 2014 section of Antiochian.org. Additionally, ads for the souvenir journals can be purchased and registrations can be submitted through the Department of Conventions and Conference Planning's Antiochian Events pages.

 

 

Metropolitan Silouan Visits the Diocese of Wichita

His Grace Bishop Basil reports:

On the Feast of the Holy Greatmartyr George, Bright Wednesday, April 23rd, The Most Rev. Metropolitan Silouan of Buenos Aires and all Argentina and Patriarchal Vicar for our Archdiocese of North America, visited the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America (DOWAMA) for the patronal feast of our Diocesan Cathedral of St. George, and to bless DOWAMA's newly-acquired St. Silouan Monastery House.

Upon His Eminence's arrival to Wichita (straight from Buenos Aires!) he was feted at a luncheon hosted at the Wichita Chancery and attended by the priests and deacons of Wichita's three parishes: St. George Cathedral, St. Mary Church, and St. Michael Church. A large number of clergy and laity were at the Cathedral to receive His Eminence when he arrived for Paschal Vespers that evening. They were moved by his homily following the service and enchanted by his remarks and the open dialogue that he encouraged during a paschal repast in the Cathedral's fellowship hall.

2014 Paschal Greetings from Bishop Basil

PASCHA 2014

Beloved and Christ-loving Clergy, Monastics and Laity of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America:

I embrace and greet you with a holy kiss in the Name of the Resurrected Theanthropos Jesus Christ, and, together with you and Orthodox Christians throughout the world, I joyfully proclaim that Christ is risen! Al-masih qaam! Χριστὸς ἀνέστη! Христос Воскресе! Hristos a înviat! Cristo ha resucitado!

On this radiant Feast of feasts I share with you, my dearly beloved spiritual children, the following soul-profiting words of our Father among the Saints, Gregory the Great, known as the Dialogist (+604), which are excerpted from his homily on the Gospel pericope proclaimed before the closed doors of our holy temples in the earliest moments of Pascha morning (Mark 16:1-8):

We have heard how, according to the Evangelist Mark, Mary Magdalene, and the other holy women who had followed the Lord, came to the sepulchre, bringing sweet spices. For Him whom they had loved in life, they would also serve in death, and that with all care and tenderness. But in this there is indicated something which is to be done by all of us who are member of the holy Church. If we, who believe in Him that was dead, and is alive again, do come, seeking the Lord, and bearing with us the perfume of good works, and the sweet fragrance of holiness, then do we come, as it were to His sepulchre, bearing spices which are sweet indeed.

Wishing you and your families a glorious Paschal season perfumed with the sweet fragrance of good works and holiness, looking forward to being with you all at our Diocesan Family Reunion in San Antonio this June 11st - 14th, and assuring you of my continued love, prayers and blessings, I remain

Your Father in the Risen Christ,

+ BASIL
Bishop of Wichita and Mid-America

Metropolitan Silouan to Visit Wichita, KS + April 23, 2014

His Grace Bishop Basil writes:

Metropolitan Silouan of Buenos Aires and all Argentina, Patriarchal Vicar for our Archdiocese of North America, will visit the Diocese of Wichita on Bright Wednesday, April 23rd, the patronal feast day of our Diocesan Cathedral of St. George in Wichita, Kansas. The main purpose of His Eminence's visit is to get to know our Diocese by meeting and chatting with many folks from throughout DOWAMA, therefore all DOWAMA clergy and laity are cordially invited to be present at the Cathedral for his visit. His Eminence also plans to bless our newly-acquired St. Silouan Monastery House (named for his own patron saint) on that occasion. Details about that visit will be added as they become available.

  • BRIGHT TUESDAY evening: Paschal Office at 6:15PM, Paschal Vespers at 6:30PM, followed by an hors d'oeuvre reception
  • BRIGHT WEDNESDAY morning: Paschal Orthros at 9:00AM, Paschal Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at 10:00AM followed by a light breakfast buffet

All priests and deacons are invited to concelebrate at the divine services (WHITE vestments, please).

To be good hosts for you, we ask that you inform us of the approximate number who will be coming from your community with an RSVP before Great and Holy Thursday (April 17th) either to the Cathedral Office (gina@stgeorgecathedral.net) or Gayle Malone (dgjmmalone@gmail.com). Thank you!

Memory Eternal! + Dorothy Eklund

His Grace Bishop Basil writes:

MEMORY ETERNAL. Dorothy Eklund, mother of Fr. Theodore Eklund of St. Vincent Church in Omaha, Nebraska, fell asleep in Christ on April 2, 2014 at the age of 79. Mrs. Eklund, a member of St. Mark Church in Denver, Colorado, is also survived by her husband John.

May she be granted Paradise, and may you be granted long life.

Interview Highlights Ongoing Efforts for Syria's Christians

The Website LevantReport.com with Managing Editor Brad Hoff published an interview on March 5, 2014 with The Very Rev. Joseph Huneycutt, pastor of the St. Joseph Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church in Houston, TX. Titled "Syrian Christians in a Time of Conflict," the interview comes over two years after Fr. Joseph traveled to Syria as part of an official delegation of American Antiochian Christian pastors and leaders sent to assess the situation of Syria's Christians. 

In December, St. Joseph in Houston sponsored a benefit concert, "Hope, Humanity, Healing,"  which raised $18,000.00. The proceeds were distributed to the suffering Syrian people through the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America's Sister Diocese of Bosra-Hauran, Jabal al-Arab, and the Golan in southern Syria, as well as through the St. Gregory Orthodox Society for the Elderly and Orphans in Damascus. In the interview, Fr. Joseph soberly notes that "...the Christian presence in southern Syria has diminished, the charitable support of refugees continues; those who remain live in danger every moment. It will take heroic hard work to rebuild – the land and the people – once this war comes to an end." Read the full text of the interview

 

Memory Eternal! + Nick Harroz

Nick Harroz, maternal grandfather of Khouria Valerie Salem of St. Elijah Antiochian Orthodox Church in Oklahoma City, OK, fell asleep in Christ on March 12, 2014.

Services will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday morning at St. Elijah, and burial will follow at Arlington Memorial Gardens. The family is asking for donations to the "Flowers That Do Not Wither Fund" at St. Elijah in lieu of flowers.

Mr. Harroz was born in Wichita Falls, Texas, but moved to Oklahoma City in 1929 where he founded and administered the Crest Family Market until retirement from the business in the late 1990s. Crest remains a family business, with grandson Sam Homsey working as a store manager, granddaughter Christian Harroz Duthie in charge of advertising and public relations, and grandson Nick Harroz III serving as Senior Advisor.

Annual DOWAMA March Retreats in Kansas

His Grace Bishop Basil writes:

The annual men's Lenten Retreat will be hosted in Victoria, Kansas by St. George Cathedral of Wichita this coming weekend, March 14th-16th, 2014. Fr. John Bethancourt of Holy Trinity Church in Santa Fe, New Mexico will be the speaker. For more information, contact the Cathedral Office at 316-636-4676.

The Annual St. Mary Retreat will be hosted by and at St. Mary Church in Wichita, Kansas on Friday and Saturday, March 21st and 22nd. Nicholas Chapman, Managing Editor of Holy Trinity Publications in Jordanville, New York, will be the speaker. His topic will be An Orthodox Founding Father: Orthodox Christianity at the Birth of America, a discussion of the life and work of Colonel Philip Ludwell III of Williamsburg, Virginia. For more information, contact Father Aaron Warwick at stmarywichita@cox.net.

Memory Eternal! + Archpriest John Elias

MEMORY ETERNAL! The Very Rev. John Elias was born in 1939 in Hafa, Latakia, Syria. He passed away on February 11, 2014 in Jacksonville, Florida. Father John faithfully served the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese in America for 40 years in the following parishes:
St. Mary's Yonkers, NY; St. Thomas in Sioux City, Iowa; St. George in Akron, OH; St. George in El Paso, Texas; St. Mary in Omaha, NE; and St. George in Jacksonville, FL, where he served from 1992-2001.

Archpriest John was preceded in death by his parents: Nassim and Badia; his sisters Yvonne, Azizeh, and Mother Antonina. He is survived by his wife, Kh. Nawall Elias; his children Yvonne, Jany (husband), Azizeh, Zaharia (husband), Nassim, Dana (wife); his grandchildren: Reema, Nicole, John, Alina, Michael, Christopher; his brothers Aziz and Spiro, and his sisters Hind and Nadia. Father John was a beloved priest, son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, and friend. May his memory be eternal. Christ is Risen!

DOWAMA Clergy Meet for 42nd Annual St. Raphael Clergy Brotherhood Retreat

His Grace Bishop Basil writes:

More than 80 men were present at the Spiritual Life Center in Wichita, Kansas for DOWAMA's 42nd annual St. Raphael Clergy Brotherhood Retreat the week of February 4-7, 2014. The Retreat was led by Archimandrite Zacharias of the Stavropegic Monastery of St. John the Baptist in Tolleshunt Knights-by-Maldon in Essex, England. Archimandrite Zacharias was accompanied to the U.S. by Hierodeacon Bartholomew.

Many thanks to all the brothers who assisted with the execution of the Retreat, to the members of the Board of the Virginia H. Farah Foundation for providing a financial grant to help underwrite the Retreat, and to Mrs. Brenda Farha and her family for hosting the Brotherhood Breakfast in memory of Dr. George J. Farha following Friday morning's Divine Liturgy.

Next year's Clergy Brotherhood Retreat is scheduled for February 3rd-6th, 2015 at the Spiritual Life Center in Wichita.

Fr. Philip LeMasters Releases Book for Seekers

The Forgotten Faith is a treatise on the Eastern Orthodox Christian Faith written primarily for seekers of Truth by a former Baptist, Antiochian priest The Rev. Dr. Philip LeMasters. Pastor of St. Luke Orthodox Church in Abilene, TX, Fr. Philip is also the dean of the School of Social Sciences and Religion at McMurry University and the corporate secretary of the Board of Trustees of St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary.

Explains Fr. Joseph Huneycutt, priest at St. Joseph Antiochian Orthodox Church in Houston, TX, in his blog review: "The author...lays out the essence and practice of Orthodox Christianity with the straightforward precision of an experienced teacher. His agenda seems to be: The better I teach, the more you learn, the fewer questions go unanswered. The teaching is methodical, practical, and convincing. Father Philip loves Eastern Christianity, believes his beloved to be unique and true, and presents his love to you with love."

Order The Forgotten Faith

Fr. Mark McNary Returns to Lead St. Peter Church + Fort Worth, TX

Left to right, front: Fr. Mark, Bishop John and Fr. Robert; back, Fr. Michael Kaiser and Rev. Dn. George Palmer.Left to right, front: Fr. Mark, Bishop John and Fr. Robert; back, Fr. Michael Kaiser and Rev. Dn. George Palmer.AXIOS, he is worthy!  With those words Deacon Mark McNary was ordained into the priesthood at St. Basil Orthodox Church in Metairie, Louisiana on December 15, 2013. He is now caring for the Holy Antimins on the altar of St. Peter Church in Fort Worth Texas—the very church where he attended his first Orthodox service in 2007.

On January 19, 2014, His Grace Bishop John, Auxiliary Bishop for Western Rite, officiated at the induction of Fr. Mark as the parish's third rector of the largest Western Rite parish in Texas. Kent Schmedel, senior warden of St. Peter's vestry, presented Fr. Mark with the keys to the sanctuary. Seven parishioners were also received into the Order of St. Ignatius. The parish then hosted a country western luncheon to welcome Bishop John and Fr. Mark to Fort Worth and presented each with his own special "Cowtown" hat.

Louisiana Parish Temple is Gutted by Fire

His Grace Bishop Basil, Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America, reported on January 26, 2014 that St. John the Divine Antiochian Orthodox Church in Lake Charles, LA, with pastors Fr. Michael Pavez and Fr. Philip Rogers, was gutted by fire on Sunday morning following the Liturgy. It appears that the entire interior of the church temple was destroyed.

KPLCtv.com reported that the parish "appeared to have heavy smoke and fire damage. Firefighters and utility crews were still tending to hot spots Sunday afternoon....Crew members said it doesn't appear anyone was inside the building when the fire started. There's no word on what caused the fire, which appeared to have started toward the rear of the structure."

The parish also suffered severe damage about six years ago, said Dn. Elias Nicols, after a hurricane. "It's awful but God willing, we have a resilient group of people here and we're going to go back and rebuild it and have us a new church. We're not giving up on it."

Read the news story.

 

Memory Eternal! + Dr. George J. Farha

Memory Eternal! Your prayers are requested for the repose of the soul of the newly-departed servant of God Dr. George J. Farha of St. George Cathedral in Wichita, KS, immediate past Vice Chairman of the Antiochian Archdiocese Board of Trustees and the Antiochian Heritage Foundation's "Man of the Year" for 2013. Dr. Farha quietly fell asleep in Christ surrounded by his family at his home, shortly before nine o'clock on January 7, 2013.

Condolences may be sent to his wife Brenda and their daughters Gayle (Mrs. Douglas) Malone, Joan (Mrs. David) Farha, Laura Farha, and Julie Farha and their families at:

1517 North Foliage Court
Wichita, KS 67206

The schedule of divine services, all to be served at St. George Cathedral, is as follows:

  • Friday, January 10th Trisagion Prayers of Mercy at 7:00PM
  • Saturday, January 11th Trisagion Prayers of Mercy and Funeral at 10:00AM followed by Interment and Meal of Mercy

IOCC Remembers Honorary Board Member Dr. George Farha

Dr. George FarhaDr. George FarhaInternational Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) released a statement on January 8, 2014 mourning the passing of IOCC Honorary Board Member Dr. George Farha. Founding member and former Chairman of the IOCC Charles Ajalat said, "Dr. Farha played a critical role during IOCC's formative years with his wisdom, vision and commitment. IOCC owes a great debt to him."

From serving on the IOCC board of directors to supporting countless humanitarian works which assisted people in need of shelter, food or safety, Dr. Farha's tireless efforts to always "put people first" served as a spiritual cornerstone for the organization. 

"Dr. George Farha was a man of singular vision and great stature in the Orthodox community and beyond," said Michael S. "Mickey" Homsey, Chairman of IOCC's Board of Directors. "This pious, humble and loving man's lifelong mantra of 'people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care' left an indelible effect on all who were blessed to know him.

Memory Eternal! + Fr. John Badeen

Fr. John Badeen, former pastor of St. Antony Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, St. Michael Church in Beaumont, Texas, St. George Church in Detroit, Michigan and Archangel Gabriel Church in Lafayette, Louisiana, reposed in retirement early Christmas morning, December 25th, 2013, at the age of 86. Funeral arrangements are incomplete at this time. Fr. John in survived by Khouriya Louise and their children, Farida, James and George.

2013 Nativity Greetings from Bishop Basil

The Bethlehemitissa: Wonderworking Icon of Our Lady of Bethlehem in the south transept of the Church of the NativityThe Bethlehemitissa: Wonderworking Icon of Our Lady of Bethlehem in the south transept of the Church of the NativityTo the Right Reverend Archimandrites, the Very Reverend and Reverend Hieromonks and Presbyters, Hierodeacons, Archdeacons and Deacons and their families, the Venerable Monastics, and all the Christ-loving Faithful of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America:

I embrace and greet you with a holy kiss in the Name of the Incarnate Christ. I send to each of you and your communities my paternal love, festal greetings and prayerful best wishes for the merriest of Christmases and a peaceful, healthy and happy 2014. Christ is born! . ألمسيح ولد

In Christ Jesus the Incarnate Word,

+Bishop Basil

Bishop John Ordains Fr. Mark McNary

On December 15, 2013, his Grace Bishop John of the Diocese of Worcester ordained Deacon Mark McNary of St. Basil Church in Metairie, Louisiana to the sacred priesthood. Effective January 1, 2014, Fr. Mark will be assigned to the pastorate at St. Peter Church (Western Rite) in Fort Worth, Texas.

Memory Eternal! + Saleema (Sally) David

His Grace Bishop Basil writes:

MEMORY ETERNAL! Saleema "Sally" David, mother Judy Stanley (immediate past president of DOWAMA Fellowship of St. John the Divine) and aunt of former Archdiocesan Trustee Nancy Cohlmia, reposed on December 15, 2016 in Wichita, Kansas at the age of 92. The schedule of services (all at St. George Cathedral in Wichita) is as follows:

  • Tuesday, December 17th at 7:00PM Trisagion Prayers of Mercy followed by the Funeral
  • Wednesday, December 18th at 10:00AM Trisagion Prayers of Mercy and Interment followed by the Meal of Mercy

May she be granted Paradise!

 

Memory Eternal! + Beulah Katherine Farha

His Grace Bishop Basil writes:

MEMORY ETERNAL! Beulah Katherine Farha of St. George Cathedral in Wichita, KS, daughter of the late Archpriest Nicholas and Khouriya Mary Husson, fell asleep in Christ this past Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013 at the age of 94.

A member of the Cathedral choir for sixty-one years and a past vice-president of our Diocesan "Antiochian Orthodox Christian Women of North America" for two terms, Beulah is survived by her children Alan, Subdeacon Nicholas, and Mary Kay Nichols and their families; by her sister Lorraine Ferris of St. Mary Church in Wichita, KS; and by many nieces and nephews. She will be buried from the Cathedral this Saturday, December 7th. May she be granted Paradise, and may you be granted long life.