Diocese of Wichita News


St. Saba the Sanctified + December 5

Shrine with the incorrupt relics of St. Saba at Mar Saba Monastery near BethlehemTroparion, Tone 1

Sanctified from youth, O righteous Saba, thou wast a summit of righteousness equal to the Angels. Thou didst lead a heavenly life, and guide thy flock to godliness by word and deed. And they cry to thee with faith: Glory to Him who hath strengthened thee; glory to Him who hath crowned thee; glory to Him who through thee worketh healings for all.

Read about the life of St. Saba

Many years to Metropolitan SABA of our Sister Diocese of Bosra Hauran in southern Syria, who keeps this as his Name's Day!

Latest Message from Hauran

Bishop BASIL writes:

In early November 2009, a donation of $9,000.00 was sent as a gift from DOWAMA to METROPOLITAN SABA for the benefit of projects in our "sister diocese" of Bosra-Hauran in southern Syria. These funds were raised by our Diocese's fifty-one parishes and missions during our 2009 "St. Timon Sunday" observances. In response, His Eminence sends the following note to us:

"Dearest Sayyidna Basil, beloved brother: Christ is in our midst! Thank you very much for the $9,000.00 sent to my Archdiocese as yet another gift from the clergy and people of your Diocese. Sayyidna, really I do not how to express my thanks. I received your help at very crucial time.

He is Worthy!

Bishop BASIL writes:

HE IS WORTHY! On November 29th, 2009, our DOWAMA and Cathedral Youth Director Subdeacon Camille Anthony Baba, a vocation from St. George Church in Houston, TX and a graduate of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, was ordained to the holy diaconate at St George Cathedral/Wichita, KS.

An Invitation to be a Signatory of the Manhattan Declaration

On Friday, November 20, 2009, His Grace Bishop Basil sent an invitation to his flock, inviting them to sign a statement affirming the historic Christian teaching on life, marriage, and religious freedom. He wrote:

"Dear to Christ:

We invite you to join with other Christians across the nation who support the sanctity of life, traditional marriage and religious liberty by endorsing the Manhattan Declaration.

Consecration of Holy Table at St. Nicholas + Shreveport, Louisiana

Bp BASIL, Fr. Daniel Bethancourt and Fr. John BethancourtBp BASIL, Fr. Daniel Bethancourt and Fr. John BethancourtAfter much anticipation, Fr. Daniel Bethancourt and the faithful of St. Nicholas Church in Shreveport, Louisiana, were blessed and honored to have His Grace Bishop BASIL consecrate their Holy Table on Sunday, September 27, 2009.  The parish also welcomed other distinguished guests from near and far, including Archimandrite Daniel Keller, the local dean, as well as Fr. John Morris, former pastor at St. Nicholas, along with his wife Kh. Cheryl. Fr. John Bethancourt and his wife, Kh. Photina came from Holy Trinity in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Also attending was Kh. Michelle Burke from St. Anthony’s in Spring, Texas, who, along with her husband Fr. Stephen Burke, made the generous donation of the holy table in memory of Kh. Michelle’s parents.  The community of St. Nicholas is deeply grateful to them for that gift.

On Saturday evening, before the service of Great Vespers, the relics of the Holy Hieromartyr, St. Blaise, were processed into the church by His Grace.  At the end of the Great Vespers service, everyone was able to walk behind the iconostasis to see the holy table as it was before the consecration. This was the one and only time most of those present would enter the altar area, and the last opportunity to see the table in its uncovered and pre-consecrated state. We were able to see the cavity in the table where Bishop BASIL would place the relics of St. Blaise as well as a list of all the founders and members of the church. It was humbling and awesome for those present to think of their names remaining inside the holy altar until the day of our Lord’s return!

Chris Farha Honored for Twenty-Five Years of Musical Service

Bp BASIL with Chris Farha and her husband WarrenBp BASIL with Chris Farha and her husband WarrenBishop BASIL writes:

MANY YEARS! This past Sunday, November 22nd, 2009, the Archdiocese's Silver Antonian Medal of Merit was presented to Chris Farha of St. George Cathedral in Wichita, Kansas in recognition of her twenty-five years of service as director of the Cathedral choir and her work as a member of the Archdiocesan Department of Sacred Music and coordinator of the DOWAMA Sacred Music Committee.

Bishop BASIL Missions Endowment Fund

Each year during the Nativity season, all congregations in the Diocese of Wichita are requested to solicit contributions from all of their individual parishioners and parochial organizations for this worthy endeavor, which provides assistance to mission priests throughout the Diocese.

Download PDF brochure

Every year we have the opportunity to celebrate the feast of St. Basil the Great and honor our own Bishop BASIL by donating to the Bishop BASIL Missions Endowment Fund.

It began in 1975 when the Southwest Region (name at that time) wanted to increase awareness of the need for mission work in the Region. At that time, the Southwest Region consisted of only 8 communities (our Diocese now numbers 51 congregations). Pledges were made to the "Missions Fund", and in 1977 Father Michael Wellborn was partially funded by the Region and assigned to the Region's first mission, Three Hierarchs in New Orleans, Louisiana (renamed St. Basil and relocated to Metairie, Louisiana). In 1978 a "Region Missions Blitz Weekend" was held in Dallas, Texas, resulting in the founding that very weekend of the Region's second mission, Ss. Constantine and Helen in Dallas. The Region also helped fund their first priest, Father Anthony Nelson. Over the years, the Region has funded many missions and helped fund their priests.

He is Worthy!

His Grace with Dn. Michael and Shamassy Melanie SakranHis Grace with Dn. Michael and Shamassy Melanie SakranOn Thursday, November 12, 2009, during the Divine Liturgy for the commemoration of St. John Chrysostom, Bishop BASIL ordained to the holy diaconate Michael Sakran, a DOWAMA vocation at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, at his home parish of St. George in Houston, Texas.

Report from the DOWAMA SOYO Basketball Tournament

The gymnasium at St. Elijah in Oklahoma City was bouncing with activity as more than 150 teens and advisers gathered for the third annual DOWAMA SOYO Basketball Tournament. SOYO members traveled from El Paso, Houston, Denver, Wichita, Omaha and everywhere in between to attend this wonderful event and retreat.

Fr. Michael Nasser served as the retreat speaker for the weekend. He talked with the teens about "Maintaining Faith in Chaos." Everyone in attendance was enlightened by his words of wisdom on how we can make our lives more focused on Christ while living in a world with many distractions.

AXIOS!

Bishop BASIL writes:

AXIOS! Fr. Michael Pavez of St. Michael Church in Beaumont, TX will be elevated to the dignity of Archpriest on the feast of the Archangel Michael - Sunday, November 8th.

HE IS WORTHY!  On the evening of Thursday, November 12th, during the Divine Liturgy for the commemoration of St. John Chrysostom, Michael Sakran, a DOWAMA vocation at St Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, will be ordained by me to the holy diaconate at his home parish of St. George in Houston, TX.

MOUSTAHIQ!  On Sunday, November 29th, our DOWAMA and Cathedral Youth Director Camille Anthony Baba, a DOWAMA vocation and a graduate of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, will be ordained by me to the holy diaconate at St. George Cathedral in Wichita, KS.

2009 DOWAMA Fall Gathering and SOYO Basketball Tournament + October 23-25

The 2009 DOWAMA Fall Gathering and SOYO Basketball Tournament will be hosted at St. Elijah/Oklahoma City, OK on the weekend of October 23rd-25th.  Please distribute the material previously provided to you concerning this event to your parish organizations and congregation.  Questions?  Contact Judy Stanley of St. George Cathedral/Wichita, KS (jstanleyfacs@yahoo.com), president of the DOWAMA Fellowship of St. John the Divine.

Our Lady of Walsingham Pilgrimage: October 17 + Mesquite, TX

Bishop BASIL writes:

Please join me for the annual Our Lady of Walsingham Pilgrimage on Saturday, October 17th, at the Church of Our Lady/Mesquite, TX.  Questions?  Contact Fr. Daniel Keller, proistamenos.

AXIOS!

AXIOS! Fr. Mark Haas of St. James the Brother-of-the-Lord Church in Fort Collins, CO was elevated to the dignity of Archpriest on Sunday, September 13th.

DOWAMA Procedural Documents Online

Bishop BASIL wites:

As is my practice at the start of each Church Year, I have attached hereto IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS which you are asked to download, share with your appropriate parish officers, members and employees, and then file for future reference.  These document are available at www.antiochian.org/DOWAMA/Policies. Included are:

        a - Archdiocesan Guidelines & Procedures Concerning Clergy Sexual Misconduct

        b - Rules & Procedures Concerning the Archdiocesan Spiritual Court

        c - The Archpastoral Directive Concerning the Time of Church School

        d - Guidelines Concerning a Visitation by a Bishop

Mission of Midland-Odessa Featured in the Odessa American

The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Mission of Midland and Odessa was featured in a recent edition of the Odessa American newspaper:

The new church gives Odessa a taste of the Middle East.

Since October 2008, the group of church members has met for a full communion service once or twice a month with traveling priest the Very Rev. Michael Keiser, who lives in Florida. The other weeks, a Bible study and smaller prayer and singing services are scheduled, including the practice of traditional Byzantine chants...

Click here to read the entire article.

Fr. Joseph Huneycutt and Kh. Gigi Shadid on Orthodox Christian Network

Come Receive the Light - The Nationally Syndicated Land Based Radio Program - On this week's CRTL podcast: Fr. Chris speaks with Fr. Joseph Huneycutt of St. George Church in Houston, Texas on his book Defeating Sin: Overcoming Our Passions and Changing Forever. The Fathers describe this essential effort as the path to godliness--"theosis" in the Orthodox faith. You won't want to miss this powerful message! In a short segment, Gigi Shadid talks about her music, faith and teaching. Gigi Shadid is an educator, a Khouria, and a musician with two CDs of Orthodox children's music.

Fr. Joseph Huneycutt may also be heard regularly on Ancient Faith Radio's Orthodixie podcast. He is also the author of the Orthodixie blog.

Ordinations

(Former) Dn. John and Sh. Rebecca(Former) Dn. John and Sh. RebeccaAXIOS!  On Sunday, August 9th, 2009, His Grace Bishop BASIL ordained to the holy priesthood Deacon John Ballard, a DOWAMA vocation from Ss. Constantine and Helen Church in Dallas, Texas and a senior at St. Vladimir's Seminary, at his home parish in Dallas. 

HE IS WORTHY!  On Sunday, August 16th, at St. George Cathedral in Wichita, Kansas, His Grace ordained to the holy diaconate Subdeacon Basil Anderson of St. Michael the Archangel Church in Wichita. 

Bishop BASIL's 2009 St. Timon's Sunday Letter

June 25, 2009

Beloved and Christ-loving priests, deacons, monastics and lay folk of DOWAMA:

Holy Apostle TimonI embrace and greet you with a holy kiss in the Name of the Lord Christ.

In the Biblical account of the feast of Pentecost (Acts 2) we read of people from a multitude of nations who heard for the very first time and “everyone in his own language” (2:6) the proclamation by the Holy Apostles of the Good News. Among those people were “Arabians” (2:11) which meant people from Rome’s frontier province of Arabia Petraea (the area of modern Syria south of Damascus, the Nabataean kingdom in modern Jordan, the Sinai peninsula and the northwestern tip of modern Saudi Arabia).

Much of Decapolis (Matthew 4:25), an area frequently visited by Christ and His disciples, is situated in this Arabia, as is Caesarea Philippi (modern Banyas in Syria) where the Holy Apostle Peter confessed Jesus to be “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:13-20). It was to this Arabia that, following his baptism in Damascus by St Ananias (9:17 & 18) and his escape over the city’s wall (9:25) that the Holy Apostle Paul fled and spent three years (Galatians 1:15-18). And it was to this Arabia that St. Timon, one of the Seventy Apostles appointed by the Lord Christ (Luke 10:1) and one of the Seven Deacons chosen by the Twelve (Acts 6:5), was sent to preach and later served as first bishop of the province’s capital city of Nova Trajana Bostra (modern Bosra in Syria).

Memory Eternal! + Fr. James Kenna

Archpriest James Kenna, 74, of St. Sophia in Dripping Springs, TX, was fatally injured in an automobile accident on Sunday, July 26th 2009. Services for Fr. James will be held at St. Sophia on Tuesday July 28 and Wednesday July 29th; see below for further details, or visit St. Sophia's web site.

Condolences may be sent to Khouriya Anne and the Kenna family c/o the Dean of Central Texas, Fr. David Barr of St. Elias Church in Austin, TX, at stelias_austin@sbcglobal.net.

From the Austin American Statesman:

 

The Rev. James Kenna was an energetic Dripping Springs pastor who founded several Orthodox Christian parishes in Central Texas and, even in retirement, was looking to establish more.

"He never wanted to quit," said the Rev. David Barr, the pastor of St. Elias Orthodox Church in Austin. Kenna, 74, died Sunday afternoon in a car wreck on his way home from lunch with a parishioner after attending church in Dripping Springs. Austin police officials said Kenna's PT Cruiser left Texas 45 for an unknown reason, crashed into a fence and flipped over into a retention pond.

Discovering Original Christianity in Oklahoma City

Fr. Jeremy Davis, Deacon Ezra Ham, Fr. James Bernstein, Matthew Gallatin, John Maddex and Fr. Constantine NasrFr. Jeremy Davis, Deacon Ezra Ham, Fr. James Bernstein, Matthew Gallatin, John Maddex and Fr. Constantine NasrConciliar Media Ministries under the direction of CEO John Maddex coordinated an evangelism project in Oklahoma City June 19 and 20 with funding provided by the Antiochian Archdiocese as well as Charles Ajalat of the Orthodox Vision Foundation. Central Oklahoma was saturated with a four-week media blitz that included newpaper, radio, television, billboards, yard signs, and internet advertising.  The advertising campaign was led by St. Elijah members Richard Yeager, John and Kathi Larson, and Mark Loftis.

Click here to visit the website for the Discover Original Christianity project.

Ancient Faith Radio Interviews Bishop BASIL About Damascus Journey

Following last week's Damascus journey of five Archdiocese bishops, Matthew Namee, host of the new Ancient Faith Radio podcast American Orthodox History, spent some time talking with His Grace Bishop Basil of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America. "We have a father in God who loves us," says Bishop BASIL of His Beatitude Patriarch IGNATIUS IV, "a father in God who knows us by name." Listen to the 10 minute interview here.

For more details on the American Orthodox History podcast, including the introductory program on the importance of learning about the history of the Church on this continent, click here.

St. George El Paso Featured in Award-Winning News Feature

Holy Week services at St. George Church in El Paso, Texas were featured in a news segment on local station ABC Channel 7 in April 2009. ABC Channel 7 received awards and drew excellent reviews for this feature.

College Mission Trip Prepares to Set Out for Bosra-Hauran

Bishop BASIL writes:

 
6th Century Church of St. George in Izraa  

Your prayers are requested for our brothers Fr. Richard Petranek of St. Paul/Houston, TX and Fr. Matthew MacKay of St. Joseph/Houston, TX, who will be heading to the Middle East this Sunday, May 24, 2009, with a number of our DOWAMA young adults for our Diocese's first College Mission Trip to the Archdiocese of Bosra-Hauran in southwestern Syria where they will visit and work with Metropolitan SABA and his flock.

In addition to several work projects, the group will also make pilgrimage to many of the most revered holy sites within our Patriarchate, including the Patriarchal Cathedral and residence in Damascus, where they will be received by our Father-in-God Patriarch IGNATIUS IV; the house chapel of St. Ananias where the Holy Apostle Paul was baptized; the women's monasteries of Our Lady in Saydnaya and St. Thekla in Ma'aloula; the men's monastery of St. George al-Humayrah in the "Valley of the Christians;" and the reliquary shrine of the Martyr and Unmercenary Healer St. Julian (Mar Ilyán) in Homs.  The group will return to the U.S. in time to attend our Parish Life Conference in Wichita where they will share their experiences with us!

A Message from the DOWAMA Parish Life Conference Committee

The room registrations continue to flood in to the Wichita Airport Hilton for the DOWAMA Parish Life Conference. Our group block has been reopened, so you should not have any problems registering by the May 27th deadline. Now we need to ask you to please let us hear from you with your conference registration form so that the events you want to attend can be guaranteed for you.

Teens are reminded to bring a pair of socks if you plan to bowl at your outing on Friday. Don’t forget to mail your release form with your registration form.

The service project that the OCF and 20/40 Group will be participating in is an outdoors event at The Treehouse, so you will need appropriate work clothes.

We look forward to seeing all of you real soon!

--Your Parish Life Conference Committee

Interview with Fr. Mark Wallace on Ancient Faith Radio

Fr. Mark Wallace recently discussed his journey to the Eastern Orthodox Church through the Western Rite on Ancient Faith Radio's Illumined Heart podcast with Kevin Allen. Click here to listen.

Fr. Mark serves at Saint Andrew the First-Called Mission in Oklahoma City, OK.