Prelate Presides over Divine Liturgy and “Year of the Elder” Celebration at Holy Trinity Church in Fresno

In celebration of the “Year of the Elder” proclamation of His Holiness Aram I, on Sunday, September 28, 2014, Holy Trinity Church of Fresno hosted a special reception to honor elders in the community over the age of 70.

The day began with Divine Liturgy presided over by H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, who also delivered the sermon on the day’s Feast, the Holy Cross of Varak. After a brief historical background on the miraculous event, His Eminence reflected on the feast’s inspiring message of the power of the Holy Cross and the power of prayer and faith, urging the faithful to be persistent and patient in their prayers, to place their utmost trust and faith in the will of our Lord, and to fully embrace the extent of our Lord’s sacrifice on the Cross as God’s extraordinary symbol of commitment to us all for all eternity.

Referring to the “Year of the Elder” event which was to follow the service, the Prelate cited excerpts from the Pontiff’s message, and echoing the words of His Holiness called on the faithful to show the highest level of love and attention for our elders by protecting them, respecting them, listening to them, and caring for them. Thus, he commended the initiative and forethought of the Pastor, Board of Trustees, and Christian Education Committee in heeding the call of His Holiness and planning the special event affording the community the opportunity to express their love and appreciation to their elders.

Following the service, the congregation headed to the Church Social Hall for the reception, which was sponsored by Mr. Hovhanes Bouladian in memory of his wife Araksi. Christian Education Committee member Mr. Garo Poladian served as Master of Ceremonies. He welcomed the guests and especially the Prelate for taking the time to be with the parish. Faten Kasabian sang the American and Armenian national anthems. Parish Pastor Rev. Fr. Vahan Gosdanian greeted the congregation and after thanking the Prelate for his presence, invited His Eminence for the invocation and to deliver his remarks. The Prelate stressed the importance of honoring our parents and grandparents in addition to loving and respecting them because we are who we are because of them. They are the ones who initiated our wonderful church community in which we live, and they are the ones who have maintained and sustained it over the years for us to enjoy today, said the Prelate, and asked for a standing ovation for them.

Guests were then served lunch which was prepared by the Men’s Society. Following the lunch, the audience enjoyed a nice surprise. The grandchildren of a number of the elders gave speeches about the influence their grandparents had over them and how much they loved them. Each speaker had a different story, but the overall theme was how the unconditional love of their grandparents positively shaped and influenced them. Brothers Kevork and Armen Ajamian performed two songs. Board of Trustees Chair Mr. Varoujan Der Simonian expressed his delight at the program, stating that after the day’s event he felt confident that upcoming generations would value and cherish what we are striving today to maintain.

The annual Prpoor Festival organized by the ACF Fresno chapter was held on the same weekend at the Armenian Community Center. On Saturday evening the Prelate visited the festival site, where the prpoor (grape molasses) was being prepared, and conducted the Antasdan or blessing of the fields service, assisted by Very Rev. Fr. Muron Aznikian, Fr. Vahan Gosdanian, and deacons.

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