The Order of St. Ignatius held its first meeting "On the Road" on January 27, 2007 at St. George Church in Jacksonville, FL, in conjunction with the Southeast Diocese mid-winter meetings. The Southeast Diocese Order chair, Hikmat Saoud worked diligently and enthusiastically along with The Order members of her parish to host this first informational meeting. Bishop ANTOUN, an ardent Order supporter and the presiding hierarch, and over 100 people participated in this event.
Historically, the Governing Council meets twice a year, coinciding with the Archdiocese Board of Trustee meetings. The spring meeting alternates between the Archdiocese headquarters in Englewood N.J. and the Antiochian Village in Bolivar, Pennsylvania. The fall meeting is held at the invitation of a parish, generally in conjunction with an event pertinent to that community. As a result very few members and non-members actually get to see the Governing Council at work. Consequently, the concept of additional informational meetings held in communities that have not seen the work of the Order was developed.
Presentations by Rebecca Rogers, SE President of Teen SOYO and The Fellowship of St. John discussed how The Order “touches peoples lives” through their organizations by sponsoring scholarships, the special Olympics, leadership training conference, parish council symposia among the many grants that The Order bestows. Fr. Joseph Purpura, Director of Youth Ministries, outlined the immeasurable help The Order gives his department. Ed Assile, NA Chair, Dan Abraham, NA VC and Kathy Abraham, NA Membership Chair discussed the many and varied projects The Order supports with a budget of almost $1.5 million. Kathy also discussed membership and the importance of the Order Ambassador program to “get the word out” about The Order’s good works. Mary Winstanley O’Connor, NA Secretary, explained the structure of the Governing Council and how the council works. Nassim Elias, an Order Knight from Jacksonville, spoke on planned giving and how Order members and non-members can consider leaving a lasting legacy to their church and archdiocese.
After testimonials about “why I became an Order member” from Fr. David Randolph, Pastor of Christ the Savior Church, Anderson, SC, Archdn. David Nimer, of St. George Cathedral, Miami, FL, and Terry Smith, an Order Knight from St. Ignatius Church, Franklin, TN among others, the meeting was adjourned and all were invited to partake of a delicious dinner provided by the host parish.
This event proved to be so successful, as a much needed tool not only for dialogue among members but also for information to non-members, that a second “On the Road” meeting will be planned. If your parish is interested in hosting this informational meeting please contact the North American Chair, Ed Assile.