Diocese of Wichita News
His Grace Bishop BASIL of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America recently returned from a journey to Syria. His Grace's travels included visits to many holy sites in in Aleppo and Antioch (in Turkey), as well as visits with Patriarch IGNATIUS IV, Metropolitan SABA of the Archdiocese of Bosra-Hauran, monastics, college students and others. Sayedna has kindly provided us with numerous photos from his trip: click here to visit the gallery!
Application forms for Camp St. Raphael's 2010 Summer sessions are now available online. The first session runs from June 27-July 3, 2010; the second session runs from July 4-10. Deadlines for applications are May 1 for the early-bird rate ($300) and June 1 for the regular rate ($325). For more information, please visit www.campstraphael.org.
Fr. Anthony Yazge has made camp scholarship applications available to each congregation. For more information, please contact your parish priest. The absolute deadline for scholarship applications in March 1.
His Grace Bishop BASIL, in his St. Raphael Clergy Brotherhood newsletter on January 8, encouraged the faithful and clergy of his Diocese to mark the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision with prayers, volunteer work with local pro-life ministries, and participation where possible in the Washington D.C. March for Life.
His Grace writes:
"FRIDAY, JANUARY 22nd will mark the 37th anniversary of the infamous decision given by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case known as "Roe v. Wade." Please find below two links about how Orthodox Christians will observe that day:
The Nativity 2009
To the Right Reverend Archimandrites, the Very Reverend and Reverend Priests 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 healthy and happy 2010.
In Christ Jesus the Incarnate Word,
Bishop of Wichita and the Diocese of Mid-America
This week on Special Moments in Orthodoxy, in an Orthodox Christian Network vaulted interview, Fr. Chris Metropulos interviews His Grace Bishop BASIL on the importance of the Nativity Season and Advent.
"As Orthodox Christians, we're used to our Fast periods being periods of repentance, and rather dark periods. And the period of Advent, the pre-Nativity Fast, is a very different kind of season ... It's more of a preparation, a preparation for a great Feast. And there's joy that permeates that entire Fast." + Bishop BASIL
Bishop BASIL writes:
In a letter received from Fr. Chad Hatfield, formerly of All Saints in Salina, Kansas and currently serving as Chancellor of St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary in Crestwood, NY, I was informed that at its most recent meeting the Seminary's Board of Trustees decided to confer upon me the degree of Doctor of Divinity (honoris causa) during the Seminary's Commencement on May 22nd, 2010.
The 3rd Annual DOWAMA Wintercamp will be held February 26th - 28th, 2010! The camp will take place in Huntsville, Texas, one-and-a-half hours north of Houston, and the featured speaker will be Fr. Jason Roll. Please visit DOWAMASOYO.org for all of the forms needed for the camp as well as a flyer to put up in your church! We hope to see you all in the Lone Star State!
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.
Many years to Metropolitan SABA of our Sister Diocese of Bosra Hauran in southern Syria, who keeps this as his Name's Day!
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! 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.
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.
After 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org), president of the DOWAMA Fellowship of St. John the Divine.
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.
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
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...
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.
AXIOS! 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.
June 25, 2009
Beloved and Christ-loving priests, deacons, monastics and lay folk of DOWAMA:
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).