Prelacy Ladies Auxiliary Hosts Annual Great Lent Luncheon

On Wednesday, March 8, 2017, the annual Western Prelacy Ladies Auxiliary Great Lent Luncheon was held at De Luxe Banquet Hall in Burbank under the auspices of H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, and with the participation of clergy, Executive Council members Therese Kemanjian and Elo Boyajian, ARS Regional Executive and Chapters’ members, parishes’ Ladies Guilds members, sponsors, and faithful women.

This year, for the first time, Sunrise Service was held at the hall prior to the luncheon. Also this year, given that the event coincided with International Women’s Day, the Ladies Auxiliary had the wonderful thought to honor the wives of Prelacy priests.

The program began with opening remarks by Ladies Auxiliary member Mrs. Sossy Guekguezian, who after welcoming the guests reflected on the meaning of Lent as a time to “suppress anger, choose the path of humility, cleanse our hearts, rid ourselves of bad thoughts and desires, and do good deeds,” in the words of St. Parsegh. She also reflected on the spiritually moving Sunrise and Vigil Services of Great Lent, the former as praise to our Lord Jesus Christ Whose Light illuminates our souls, and invited the Prelate and clergy to conduct the service.

The Prelate led the Sunrise Service, joined by Archpriest Fr. Khoren Habeshian, Archpriest Fr. Nareg Pehlivanian, Rev. Fr. Ashod Kambourian, Rev. Fr. Karekin Bedourian, and Rev. Fr. Ghevont Kirazian. Guests were provided handouts to follow and participate in the service.

During lunch, guests enjoyed traditional songs and music on the kanun by artist Nektarine.

The event also featured a talk by esteemed educator Mrs. Dzovinar Melkonian on the role of Armenian women in the past and present. Mrs. Melkonian began by highlighting the unique role of our great women in our history such as Queen Ashkhen and the like, as well as the role of women in our more modern history, like the generation who witnessed the Armenian Genocide, stating that it is difficult to imagine how our nation could have endured and maintained our identity for centuries in such challenging circumstances without them. “Armenian women have consistently been faced with new trials and tribulations, and time after time, they have overcome and triumphed over vast and various challenges,” stated Mrs. Melkonian. As for the present-day, Armenian women, among other responsibilities and achievements, continue to be the guardians of our culture and identity in their individual families and in society, equipped with twenty-first century knowledge, education, and proficiency, stated Mrs. Melkonian, and concluded with the thoughts of Boghos Snabian, that “God knew what He was doing when He created women, for life would lose meaning without women; women are the salt of life, they give flavor to life, as individuals, as mothers, as a source of inspiration in all aspects of life.”

Next, the MC invited the priests’ wives to the stage to be recognized for their role in our church and family life. The Prelate, joined by Ladies Auxiliary Chair Mrs. Dzovig Zetlian, presented gifts of Nerses the Graceful’s “I Confess with Faith” in 33 languages and a CD of the Divine Liturgy, congratulated and commended the Yeretsgins, and invited them to continue their mission alongside our priests with renewed drive.

Speaking on the virtues and role of Armenian women, the Prelate stated “Throughout the centuries, the Armenian people have always held women in utmost esteem because in our women we see the future of our nation. The Armenian woman is indeed the guarantor of a healthy family, healthy society, nation, and church. The Holy Mother of God lived an entire life of exemplary virtue, with piety, humility, and purity; she is blessed among women and the ideal example for all women to emulate.” In conclusion, the Prelate commended Mrs. Melkonian’s valuable presentation and the Ladies Auxiliary for organizing this and similar spiritually, culturally, and educationally enriching events, and congratulated all women on the occasion of International Women’s Day, urging them to continue their calling and mission within their families and society with renewed spirits and drive.

Donations were made throughout the luncheon.

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