Prelate Presides over St. Gregory Church 47th Anniversary Celebration in San Francisco

On Saturday, December 7, 2013, H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, traveled to San Francisco where he joined the parish community in celebrating the 47th anniversary of the establishment of St. Gregory Church.

On Saturday evening, the Prelate attended a New Year and Christmas dinner organized by the Ladies Auxiliary and hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Sako and Nora Shirikian.  Mrs. Shirikian welcomed the Prelate and guests and conveyed season’s greetings to all.  She also recited a poem by Mesrob Der Mesrobian, a conversation between new and old years in which the old asks from the new to convey a message to mankind; to live in such a manner that you do not have regret tomorrow for something you could have done today but chose not to.

Ladies Auxiliary Chair Mrs. Ano Chakalian delivered welcoming remarks and invited the Prelate for the blessing of tables and his message.

The Prelate greeted the members of the Ladies Auxiliary, expressing appreciation for their efforts in organizing the dinner.  His Eminence reflected on the past year with its joys and sorrows alike, and in the words of the poet wished for the new year to be filled with goodness.  He commended the devoted servants of the church and wished they continue their path of service to new successes.

On Sunday morning, His Eminence celebrated Divine Liturgy and delivered the sermon at St. Gregory Church.  Parish Priest Archpriest Fr.
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Khoren Habeshian assisted at the altar.  Krouzian-Zekarian-Vasbouragan School and Sunday School students participated in the service.

Prior to the sermon, on behalf of the parish community Fr. Khoren welcomed the Prelate, expressing appreciation for his presiding over the anniversary celebration.

The Prelate first greeted the faithful and congratulated the Pastor, Delegates, Board of Trustees, Ladies Auxiliary, altar servers, choir, and all the volunteers for their service, and invited the congregation to join them and contribute their part in the advancement of the parish.  Speaking on the 47th anniversary, he stated that it is not only an occasion to celebrate the nearly half-century history of the church and honor the founding generation, but also as an opportunity to pledge to working towards future successes by building on the achievements of the past.

Next, given that it was the third Sunday of Advent, His Eminence reflected on the divine gift of redemption and salvation offered to us by the Birth and Revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ and the tidings of peace, love, hope, and goodwill.  The Birth of our Savior continues to offer hope, inspiration, and meaning to our lives, and guides us towards goodness, love, and righteousness, said the Prelate, and as faithful Christians we must give thanks and gratitude to Almighty God each and every day for His abundant blessings.  His Eminence noted that this time of year however is an exceptional opportunity for Thanksgiving and Christian charity as it is the season of giving and sharing our love and blessings with the less fortunate.  On Thanksgiving Day, this spirit of kindness and charity resonated throughout the Armenian nation as Armenians around the world rallied to support the Armenia Fund Telethon benefitting our brothers and sisters in Armenia, Artsakh, and Syria, stated His Eminence, but we must be mindful of their needs throughout the year.  Furthermore, referring to the message of the day’s Scripture reading from Luke 14:12-24, the Prelate stated that we must give with good intentions, without the expectation of reward or honor.  His Eminence commended the generosity of all the sponsors who contribute to the progress of our homeland, among them Vartkes Anivian who recently passed away in Armenia, and conveyed his condolences to his widow Alice and family members.

It is the duty of every Armenian Christian to serve God, and to serve for the advancement of our church, nation, and community; if we are to sustain our faith, language, values, and culture for centuries more, we all need to take an active role and work together with brotherly love and unity towards that goal.  We must begin with our youth, planting the seeds of our faith and heritage in them now so they grow cemented in their Armenian identity and eager to take on leadership roles, continuing the path and mission of our forefathers, stressed the Prelate.

In conclusion, he congratulated the parish family again on their anniversary, and once more called on the faithful to join together and serve for the progress of St. Gregory Church, KZV School, and the community with renewed vision and vigor, with faith and devotion, and most important with humility, selflessness, sincerity, and without the expectation or motive of accolades or honor.

Given that December 7 was the 25th anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Armenia, during the requiem service, prayers were offered for the tens of thousand of our brethren who lost their lives in the tragic earthquake.  By the ordinance of the Prelate, requiem prayers were offered in all Prelacy Churches for the souls of the victims.

The service was followed by a luncheon in honor of His Eminence hosted by the Board of Trustees and Ladies Auxiliary at “Vasbouragan” Hall.

KZV students Talar Arzoumanian and Nayri Ayanian recited Vahan Tekeyan’s “The Armenian Church”, after which Board of Trustees Chair Mr. Rostom Aintablian delivered his welcoming remarks.
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  Mr. Aintablian greeted the Prelate, wishing him health and success.  Addressing the guests, the Chairman congratulated the 47th anniversary of the parish, promising that in 2016 the 50th anniversary will be celebrated with great ceremony.  Fr. Khoern also conveyed his congratulatory remarks, and invited the Prelate for his message.

Referring to the words of our Lord from Luke 8:18, “For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him”, the Prelate said if we see that our efforts are not enough to achieve success, with regards to preserving our identity and heritage, than more needs to be done so that our identity is not lost what we do have is not taken from us, as it says in the passage.  In conclusion, the Prelate again commended all the church servants and the importance of such gatherings after church services as a means of fostering Christian love and fellowship among the faithful.

The celebration came to a close with the benediction by the Prelate, after which His Eminence had a private meeting with the Pastor and Board of Trustees.

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