Diocese of Los Angeles News
The Fall Newsletter for the Antiochian Women, Diocese of Los Angeles and the West, is now available in PDF format. Features in this issue include:
- The Nativity Message of Archbishop Joseph
- A reflective article, "What is Our Immediate Goal?" by the Very Rev. David Hovik, Spiritual Advisor
- President's Message
- Fall Gathering Recap
- Article: "Who Are the Antiochian Women?"
- Recipes for the Nativity Fast
- 2014 Antiochian Women's National Project
- Happenings Throughout the Diocese
In September 2013, the Fellowship of Orthodox Christians United to Serve (FOCUS) North America launched an extensive back-to-school program in 28 cities across the country, providing new shoes, backpacks, and school supplies to 193,000 children from homeless and working poor families. One aspect of this program, "Operation Lace Up," provides shoes for needy kids, and recently San Diego's Channel 6 reported on the NFL San Diego Charger players as they participated in the FOCUS-sponsored program at a local distribution center.
"We are equipping and preparing the poorest children in the country at a time when they are the most vulnerable—on their first day of school," says program manager and FOCUS Orange County Center Director Jacob Lee. "FOCUS' distributions will insure that children have the basic provisions they need to attend and participate in school."
In the meantime, St. Herman's Orthodox House of Hospitality (FOCUS, Cleveland) hosted "An Evening with Fr. Thomas Hopko" on November 4, 2013. One of the highlights of the evening was a video introducing the ministry, featuring Director Paul Finley and several of the men served by the House of Hospitality.
A ministry supported by the Order of St. Ignatius and many individual Antiochian parishes, Project Mexico and St. Innocent Orphanage have opened registration for their popular summer Home Building Work Trips. The Website explains, "We host two types of home building groups each summer: small groups and Orthodox Basic Training (OBT) groups. During our small group weeks, teams from one, two, or three parishes construct a single home for a needy family, spend the afternoons interacting with the boys of St. Innocent's, and experience the local culture with a trip into Rosarito. During OBT weeks, we host larger groups who construct between four to seven homes in one week, we have speakers each evening who present on a variety of topics, and on Sunday we have a day of fellowship and fun at St. Innocent's."
His Eminence Archbishop Joseph of the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West is leading a diocesan delegation on a holy pilgrimage to Greece and Serbia, and a daily diary and photo galleries of the trip are being posted on the Diocese of Los Angeles Website. On September 20, 2013 at the Los Angeles International Airport, Sayidna Joseph invoked the intercessions of St. Nicholas, the patron and protector of his Holy Cathedral and the protector of travelers, before the group embarked on the journey of more than 8,000 miles to Thessaloniki, Greece. Archbishop Joseph also called upon the intercessions of the Theotokos, asking for a spiritually uplifting two weeks of visiting some of the holiest churches and monasteries in the Orthodox Christian world.
Some of the sites included in the itinerary are the Souroti Monastery, St. Demetrios Church, and the Catacombs of St. John the Baptist. Read more details about the trip in the pilgrimage diary.
From the Antiochian Diocese of Los Angeles and the West Website:
Memory Eternal! The Very Reverend Father Demetri Moamar
It is with extreme sadness that we inform you that Fr. Demetri Moamar, who was attached to St. Joseph the Damascene Church in New Westminster, BC, Canada, fell asleep in the Lord on Thursday, August 22, 2013. His Eminence Archbishop Joseph has requested the parishes to remember him in the prayers for the departed for the next 40 days and to hold a special Trisagion for his eternal life.
May God receive him in His Heavenly Kingdom and may his memory be eternal. The funeral arrangements will be posted when they become available.
The city of Houston, and Fr. James Shadid and the parish of St. George Orthodox Christian Church, are hosting the Antiochian Archdiocese Convention this week at the Hilton Americas hotel. The largest legislative body of the Archdiocese, the General Assembly meets in convention biennially. In addition to the business meetings, liturgical celebrations, exhibits, youth activities, and department meetings are central to each convention as well.
There will also be special events that emphasize the uniquely Southern character of this year's gathering. Families will enjoy the Country Western Dinner and Dance on Thursday evening, while on Friday evening convention goers can attend the Mardi Gras Masquerade Dinner/Dance; visits to several of Houston's tourist venues are planned. The culmination of the week is the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Sunday with Metropolitan Philip and all eight Auxiliary Bishops of the Antiochian Archdiocese presiding.
FOCUS North America, a national, Orthodox non-profit organization that provides sustainable services to the homeless and working poor of America, is looking for a National Program Intern. The Program Internship will provide practical, hands-on project management training and skills development in the context of a multi-million dollar community engagement and distribution program implemented in more than 20 cities across the United States.
This is a high-level internship that requires a high-performance and driven individual who is seeking to gain a deep understanding of community and volunteer engagement, and the federally-mandated social services framework. Qualified candidates who are interested in domestic or international social services, social entrepreneurship, or community development programs is encouraged to apply.
The intern will be stationed in FOCUS’ office in Orange County, California, with some national travel required to speak on behalf of FOCUS/promote FOCUS activities. FOCUS will pay for all program-related travel expenses and will, in addition, provide a fixed monthly stipend to the successful candidate. To apply, please send cover letter and resume to: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, view the job description.
There is still time for you to register for your diocese's "family reunion" this summer, your regional Parish Life Conference (PLC)! The theme for this year, "The End of History...The Last Judgment," 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. Visit the Conventions and Conference Planning page for full information.
First up is the Diocese of Wichita PLC, kicking off on June 5 in Kansas City. St. Basil Orthodox Church hosts the PLC at the Westin Kansas City Hotel in downtown Kansas City, "one of America's Best downtowns" according to Forbes magazine.
Project Mexico and St. Innocent Orphanage of Tijuana, Mexico, have announced a celebratory anniversary gala to be held in Southern California later this summer. "As we conclude our 25th year building hope in Mexico, we find ourselves with much cause to celebrate! Our 25th Anniversary Gala will be hosted on Saturday, August 24, 2013, at the beautiful Grand Tradition Estate in Fallbrook, California. Please join us for an elegant evening of celebration and giving thanks to God for keeping us under His loving arm, allowing us to continue serving those in need."
Since 1988, Project Mexico has ministered in three primary ways:
- by alleviating suffering by building homes for impoverished families facing adversity
- by providing an opportunity for Orthodox people of all ages to participate in missions
- by providing a home and a family for orphaned teenage boys
An internship program began in 1993 as a way for young people to give a few months to one year in service. Interns have helped with everything from work trips to projects at the orphanage to administrative tasks. Additionally, over 10,000 volunteers from forty-three of fifty states and eleven foreign countries, including many teams from Antiochian parishes, have come to give of themselves and have been blessed in return.
We extend our prayers and love to His Eminence, Archbishop Joseph of the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West, and locum tenens of the Diocese of Eagle River and the Northwest, on the occasion of his Name's Day on May 4, 2014 (St. Joseph of Arimathea, Second Sunday after Pascha). May God grant him many years!
Learn more about Joseph of Arimathea (Come and See Icons)
Read about Archbishop Joseph
Visit the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West
Psalms 99:2 commands us to “Serve the Lord with gladness, come before Him with great joy.” St. Michael Church in Van Nuys, California did just that when it came together on the weekend of January 12-13, 2013 to honor and celebrate the 30 years of joyous service in the holy priesthood of their pastor, the Very Rev. Timothy Baclig.
The festivities began with the celebration of Great Vespers, presided by Archbishop Joseph with several clergy from throughout southern California in attendance. We then proceeded to our community center ballroom that was decorated with an elegant Hawaiian theme in honor of Fr. Timothy’s birthplace.
It was a joy for our parish to have Fr. Timothy’s son Michael, daughter-in- law Rebekah, and his grandchildren “home” with us for the weekend. Additionally, we were delighted to welcome several members of the Baclig family, many who came from Hawaii, including his brother and sister-in-law Andy & Rosemary Baclig, Jr., his sister Carol Bissen, along with Father’s nieces, nephews and cousins.
The Classical Learning Resource Center (CLRC), operating under the blessing of His Eminence Archbishop Joseph, Diocese of Los Angeles and the West, has updated its selection of classes for the 2013-2014 school year. The distance-learning school's founders, John and Anne Van Fossen, are Antiochian Orthodox Christians based in Idaho. Read more about the school's philosophy and Orthodox roots in Anne's 2010 Antiochian.org interview.
The CLRC listed the following learning opportunities in their announcement:
Classical Greek and Latin:
Once again, we’ve expanded our Classical Greek and Latin program with more Latin 4 Kids classes and more advanced classes for middle school, high school, and adults. We now teach Latin classes for students as young as 6 years old all the way up to a second year college level. CLRC Greek classes are now available for students as young as 12 years old and continue to a second year college level. We also offer tutoring in both Greek and Latin and a wide variety of study aids and suggestions for all those who wish to acquire proficiency in these wonderful languages and to gain access to the beautiful literature they have been used to write.
Bill Hinkle is a founding member of Prophet Elijah Antiochian Orthodox Mission in Ellensburg, WA, a member of the Order of St. Ignatius, and a graduate of the Antiochian House of Studies. Bill's varied history also includes a stint as the Minority Whip of the Washington State House of Representatives, a career as a firefighter paramedic, service as a county commissioner, civic involvement in boards and a leadership institute, and a career in health insurance. He recently launched a bi–monthly podcast with the Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) called "Our Life in Christ and in America." Antiochian.org spoke with Bill about the many hats he wears.
1. How long have you been Orthodox and how did you discover the Church? Tell us a little about your parish.
I told my wife on our first date that I wanted to know God, live a Christian life and find the Church, but wasn't sure how to do any of that. Almost 10 years later in 1999, we met Fr. George and Pres. Dianthe Livanos on a ferry dock in Port Angeles Washington the week before Thanksgiving. He had travelled from Canonsburg, PA and we were on vacation six hours from our house. We spent 45 minutes crossing the Strait of Juan De Fuca on a ferry talking about "the historic church" as Fr. George explained it to us.
Over the weekend of February 23-24, 2013, St. Andrew Orthodox Church in Riverside, CA and its Rector The Very Rev. Dr. Josiah Trenham, hosted the first Southern California Symposium of the Saints Cyril & Athanasius of Alexandria Institute for Orthodox Studies. Titled "Prayer in the Church Fathers," the event featured His Excellency the Most Reverend Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware) of Diokleia, St. Vladimir's Seminary Chancellor/CEO The Very Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield, Institute Director The Very Rev. Dr. Irenei (Steenberg) and The Rev. Daniel Meyer (Antiochian Archdiocese, West Chester, PA), addressing the topic "Prayer and the Church Fathers."
On Sunday, His Eminence The Most Reverend Archbishop Joseph concelebrated with Metropolitan Kallistos for the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy. A photo gallery of His Eminence serving with Metropolitan Kallistos is posted on the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West website.
The 10th Annual Orthodox Men's Retreat of St. John the Baptist will be held on April 12-14, 2013 at Sanctum Retreat Centre in Caroline, Alberta, Canada. This year's speaker is the Very Reverend Archpriest Bohdan Hladio. The theme of this year's retreat will be Father, Brother, Husband, Friend: The Virtues of Christian Manhood in the Image of Christ.
From the Diocese of the West:
+ Memory Eternal!
It is with extreme sadness that we inform you that our beloved brother in Christ, The Very Reverend Father Nicholas Habib, fell asleep in the Lord on Sunday, December 16, 2012.
His Eminence Archbishop Joseph of Los Angeles and the West presided over the funeral service, which was held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday evening, December 18, 2012, at St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in San Francisco.
May God receive him in His Heavenly Kingdom, and may his memory be eternal!
From the Diocese of the West:
It is with extreme sadness that we inform you that our beloved brother in Christ, Father Polycarp Whitcomb, Pastor of St. Athanasius Church in Sacramento, California, fell asleep in the Lord on Friday, January 4, 2013. His Eminence Archbishop Joseph has asked the parishes to remember him in your prayers for the departed for the next 40 days and to hold a special Trisagion for his eternal life. The funeral arrangements will be announced once they are set. May God receive him in His Heavenly Kingdom and may his memory be eternal.
Contemplating the blessings of the Advent season, at times we ponder whether we have lost our blessings to the material world in which we live. Surrounded by ostentatious displays of wealth and unhealthy indulgences, we realize that they are slowly taking the place of more appropriate preparations for the celebration of Christmas. The very foundation of the Christmas Feast is the birth of an unassuming Child born quietly, humbly. The King of Glory was born of a mother who was turned away from every house, in a cave among the animals who could not speak.
Advent is the time of our preparation to meet the Lord of Lords. Certainly, we desire to offer our best gifts to the Christ Child, but they must be gifts of substance - the gifts of prayer, repentance, forgiveness and love.
His Eminence, Metropolitan Gerasimos, His Eminence, Archbishop Joseph, His Eminence, Archbishop Kyrill, His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin and His Grace, Bishop Maxim, invite all clergy in the West to the Fourth Annual Pan-Orthodox Clergy Advent Retreat
- Topic: “The Sacrament of Confession: Contemporary Pastoral Challenges and Questions”
- Retreat Master: Rev. Dr. John Chryssavgis
- Location: Sacred Heart Retreat House and St. Joseph Campus, 920 East Alhambra Road, Alhambra
- Phone: 626.289.1353
St. Athanasius Orthodox Church in Santa Barbara, California, is hosting their second annual Liturgical Arts Festival on Friday, October 19, and Saturday, October 20, 2012.
The Presenters Scott Cairns—Poet, Author, 2006 Guggenheim Fellow, and Professor; and the Rev. Fr. Andrew Cuneo—C.S. Lewis Scholar (D.Phil, Oxford University), and Professor of English Literature at St. Katherine College, will speak both Friday and Saturday.
The parish will also host an icon exhibit and tours of the church, and both evenings will end with a reception and book-signing offered by the featured speakers.
The festival is produced with the blessing of His Eminence, Archbishop Joseph of the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West.
From the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West:
It is with extreme sadness that we inform you that our beloved brother in Christ, Deacon Howard Shannon of St. Athanasius Church in Goleta, California, fell asleep in the Lord on Friday, September 21, 2012. His Eminence, Archbishop JOSEPH has asked the parishes to remember him in your prayers for the departed for the next 40 days and to hold a special Trisagion for his eternal life. May God receive him in His Heavenly Kingdom and may his memory be eternal.
In the booklet, “Boiled Wheat Used for Holidays and Memorials in the Eastern Orthodox Church,” Archpriest Alexandros El-Far presents the Church’s essential teaching about the soul or spirit of each human being after death. After describing the meaning of the memorials traditionally kept on the third, ninth, and fortieth days as well as the half year and one year anniversaries after the death of an Orthodox Christian, Fr. Alexandros provides the reader with the patristic and scriptural foundations for understanding death as the doorway to eternal salvation.
Through excerpts from the lives of the martyrs, St. Theodore the Tyro (d. 297 A.D.) and his contemporary St. Barbara (d. 291), Fr. Alexandros tells the story of how wheat was established in the earliest Christian tradition as the symbol of death and resurrection. The booklet concludes with the Church’s admonition against cremation as a substitute for burial and an admonition against modern heretical ideas that can lead astray the Christian believer.
In a letter included as a forward to the booklet, Archbishop Joseph of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Diocese of Los Angeles and the West describes the work as “a perfect example of what we seek through our prayers to the departed.”
Seven new members were inducted into the Order of St. Ignatius at the 2012 Parish Life Conference of the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West. Pictured, from left to right: Dr. Raymond Rishwain (Past North American Chair), Mazen Manasseh (2012 Inductee), Sheila Veizades (2012 Inductee), Henry Veizades, Zeina Manasseh (2012 Inductee), Mother Pelagia (Mother Superior St. Thekla Convent, Maaloula, Syria), His Eminence Archbishop JOSEPH, Sana Eideh (2012 Inductee), Fr. Samer Youssef, Abraham Ghebremicael (2012 Inductee), Michael Srour, John Mogannam (2012 Inductee), Johnny Khamis (2012 Inductee), Kh. Julianna Youssef, Christian Manasseh, Dania Amireh