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Bishop Antoun Visits Archangel Gabriel Orthodox Church

By Fr. Philip Rogers

On November 10, 2013, the Sunday closest to the feast of the Holy Archangels (November 8), His Grace Bishop Antoun blessed our community of Archangel Gabriel Orthodox Christian Church in Lafayette, Louisiana with a special hierarchical visit. It was a special visit because during the weekend, our community celebrated the burning of the mortgage of our first permanent building, a momentous occasion!

The faithful of our community came together on Saturday, November 9, to celebrate with His Grace Bishop Antoun and our previous pastor, the Very Rev. Fr. John Badeen. After a memorable dinner and a few remarks from our current pastor, Fr. Philip Rogers, our parish council chairman, Dr. Fadi Malek, Fr. John Badeen and Bishop Antoun, Fr. Philip and Dr. Malek held the mortgage and ceremoniously lit it on fire. All those present cheered as the fire destroyed the mortgage. Bishop Antoun then took the ashes and gave a small envelope to each child and had them sell the ashes to their parents and others at the feast. This was to help plant the seed for the next project of our community. Bishop Antoun's encouragement is to always be looking ahead to what God will have in store!

The highlight of the entire weekend was the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy celebrated on Sunday morning. It had been two years since His Grace had served in our Church and it was a great blessing to once again hear him ask God to "look down from Heaven and behold and visit this vineyard" which the Lord Himself had planted "and establish it!"

As always, it was a blessing to have our bishop in our midst, but especially to celebrate a great milestone for our community in Lafayette, Louisiana. May God bless us to have many more such occasions by the continued prayers of the faithful led by our beloved bishop, His Grace Bishop Antoun!