On October 25th and 26th, His Grace Bishop THOMAS visited Saint Andrew the Apostle Mission in Lewes, Delaware for a most blessed and wonderful weekend. A fellowship hour was held at the Grange Hall after Vespers, and following the Sunday Matins and Liturgy, parishioners were all invited to enjoy hospitality at nearby home.
Bishop Thomas encouraged all to continue to share the Good News of Christ and Orthodoxy and to "grow" the building fund, pursuing the goal of a more permanent home for the divine services.
His Grace, Bishop THOMAS, visited the Saint Philip Church community in Souderton, Pennsylvania, November 13-14 for the parish's Patronal Feast. On Thursday evening we celebrated Vespers and Artoklasia, and on Friday morning Matins and Divine Liturgy for our Patron Saint.
Bishop Thomas spoke to us about being Apostolic in our message and outreach. His presence blessed and encouraged us to follow Christ and share the Good News.
Bishop THOMAS visited St. Michael Church in Greensburg, Pennsylvania on the weekend of November 20-23. During the visit, His Grace inducted new members into the order of St. Ignatius.
Our visit with His Grace, Bishop THOMAS over the weekend of November 14 to 16th was a wonderful way to begin the Nativity fast. Our weekend began with Paraklesis prayers on Friday evening and the welcome of a new catechumen to our parish. Vespers on Saturday night was followed by a dinner hosted by our Sisterhood of Saint Thekla. On Sunday, we celebrated Orthros and the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy. We were all present to celebrate the ordination of Jason Flowers to the sub deaconate by Bishop THOMAS. The weekend concluded with a special presentation and gift by our children with a theme of "Shepherd and Sheep". Our children's choir sung our Troparion to the Ascension, Let My Prayer Arise and O Give Thanks unto the Lord.
Fr. Fred Pfeil of St. Michael's writes:
We were blessed to have our father in Christ, Bishop THOMAS, with us for our patronal feast of St. Michael the Archangel this year, November 8-9. We began the festivities with Great Vespers on Saturday evening, followed by a dinner at Rego’s Italian Restaurant in Charleroi, directly across the river from Monessen. The Parish Council with spouses, the Ladies’ Society officers, our Choir Director and Sunday School teachers shared the meal with His Grace and Fr. Fred.
Sunday morning began with Orthros and Hierarchical Divine Liturgy. Deacon Glenn McIntyre of St. Ellien, Brownsville and Subdeacon James Purdy of St. George Cathedral Oakland, served with us. We sang the Trisagion Prayers for the Departed for the V. Rev. Archimandrite John Namie and Beverly Elias.
Metropolitan PHILIP and Bishop THOMAS led the Cathedral community of St. George in Pittsburgh to celebrate their centennial, the 30th ordination anniversary and elevation of their dean to the rank of Archimandrite, the tenth ordination anniversary of their Deacon Ned, and the celebration of their dedicated church singers who have already served the Church between 50 and 75 years. This community is thankful to God for all that He has done in this community this last century.
The weekend began with Metropolitan PHILIP’s five hour journey from Englewood. Travel these days is rarely without delays and difficulties. Nevertheless, the Metropolitan arrived and offered the Cathedral leadership inspiration and encouragement. The Cathedral leadership shared their dreams and hopes for a parish center to house the Church school and develop opportunities for learning and spiritual growth. Sayidna spoke of his life’s journey and God’s successes in our Archdiocese through prayer, faithfulness and fortitude. Sayidna recognized the faithfulness of our community and our rich history as a leading community in the Archdiocese. He remembered many of our faithful clergy and laity and highlighted their contributions. The community shared some of the exciting programs and activities that we have initiated.
Over twenty strong male voices filled Ss. Peter and Paul chapel with a heavenly sound as the clergy of the Diocese of New York and Washington DC, and the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland and the Mid Atlantic gathered with Bishop THOMAS in late September for their fourth annual clergy retreat at the Antiochian Village.
The retreat’s theme was the spiritual development of our youth, as well as ministering to our parishioners with special needs. The retreat was led by the Village’s own pastor - the Very Rev. Anthony Yazge. During our first session, Father Anthony reminded us of St. Clement of Alexandria’s words that the Church must implant within each child’s soul an ability to know God from the earliest age possible. This is the activity that must animate the children’s ministries within all our parishes. Fr. Anthony also discussed the differences in how children within various age groups understand the Church, God and prayer, and what these differences mean from a pastoral perspective. The session ended with the clergy discussing the challenges and the rewards they face in establishing an environment within their parishes that nurtures the spiritual growth of their children.
A beautiful weekend was enjoyed by the St. Philip community when our Bishop THOMAS visited us October 3-5, 2008.
On Friday evening Bp. THOMAS and the teens got together for a bonfire and conversation, and Saturday morning the Parish Council hosted Sayidna for a delicious brunch. The afternoon included visitation of the sick and shut-in. Great Vespers on Saturday evening was followed by a carry-in supper.
The Sunday Matins and Hierarchical Divine Liturgy was inspiring, with a glorious choir and congregational singing, as well as a homily which encouraged us to give of ourselves and not hold back the goodness of the Gospel from a world in need. Sayidna also received a new member into the Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch: