By Valerie Zahirsky
“Everywhere Present and Filling All Things”: The Holy Spirit or the Clergy Wife? was the theme of the second annual Clergy Wives Weekend, held at Antiochian Village in Ligonier, PA from October 29-31. Over 70 wives of priests, deacons, and wives of seminarians headed for ordination from all across the country – including Alaska! - came together for this pan-Orthodox weekend of prayer, reflection and informal, enjoyable fellowship.
The program included a welcome on Friday night by Maria Abdalah, daughter of Kh. Joanne Abdalah – in whose memory the Weekend is dedicated. Presenting a short overview of the Weekend’s focus, and how we have experienced the Holy Spirit since the dawn of creation, Kh. Stefanie Yazge set the stage for the Weekend’s speakers. The evening concluded with Little Compline. (Click HERE  to view a photo gallery of the weekend.)
Saturday morning began with the Supplication Service to St. Raphael. Then, Mother Gabriella, abbess of Holy Dormition Monastery (Rives Junction, MI) spoke first of the theology of the Spirit, and then what we need to do to cultivate the presence of the Spirit in our lives. She also pointed to what that means in the life of a clergy wife in relationship to her ordained husband. Presbytera Dr. Kyriaki FitzGerald spoke in the afternoon about the practical things of life as a clergy wife, beginning with nurturing the relationship with her husband. In our relationship with him, and the people in our parishes, we need to maintain a merciful heart. It becomes an altar for the love of God. And when it is crushed, the Holy Spirit will renew a merciful heart.
After Great Vespers and a fabulous dinner, Saturday evening’s entertainment was playing a special version of the game show “Jeopardy.” To say the least, there was a great deal of laughter and enthusiasm in the Ajar Auditorium. The evening was capped off with a lovely dessert buffet and beverages, and time to just enjoy each other’s company. The Weekend concluded on Sunday morning with Orthros and the Divine Liturgy, and beautiful singing by all those present.
The Committee (Kh. Laila Ellias, Prot. Mira Filipovic, Kh. Janet Shadid, Pres. Becky Touloumes, Kh. Stefanie Yazge, Mat. Valerie Zahirsky, and Fr. John Abdalah ) is most appreciative of the assistance of Fr. Anthony Yazge, Mother Alexandra, Paul Finley and the entire staff of the Antiochian Village for their assistance in making this Weekend a wonderful experience. Stay tuned for news on Clergy Wives Weekend 2011!
Weekend photo gallery can be accessed HERE.