During the weekend of October 24-25, His Grace Bishop THOMAS made a pastoral visit to St. Mary Church  in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. After arriving in town, His Grace met with the pastor, Fr. Theodore Pulcini, as well as Deacon Evangelos Prieston and Subdeacon Joseph Merlina. Fr. Ted presented Sayyidna with a copy of the St. Mary’s “Five-Year Plan,” which outlines the congregation’s aspirations and intended course of action for the future.
Preparations were then made for Vespers, which was celebrated that evening with some fifty parishioners in attendance who sang the service congregationally. Afterwards, the Parish Council hosted Sayyidna for dinner at the Copper Kettle Restaurant in Chambersburg, during which he responded to a number of questions, especially regarding the growth of parishes in our Diocese. Bishop THOMAS noted that when he first came to the Diocese, he had no Western-rite parishes under his omophorion; now there are three, with a number of other groups expressing interest in embracing Orthodoxy.
The next day the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy was celebrated, preceded by Matins and followed by the promotion of Ellis Pierce, one of the parish’s St. Ignatius members, to the rank of Commander. A special coffee hour was then held in Sayyidna’s honor, during which the parishioners warmly welcomed him.
Later that day, Fr. Ted took Bishop THOMAS to inspect the St. Seraphim Orthodox Center, a new social ministry outreach which parishioners have initiated in the heart of downtown Chambersburg. The Center offers lunches twice a week to the needy of the city and hopes to expand its work as other opportunities for service become evident. Sayyidna expressed his enthusiastic support for the project and noted how several other parishes in the Diocese are beginning similar outreaches. He hopes that other parishes will do likewise.