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Diocese of Worcester News

Many Years to His Grace Bishop John!

September 26th is the celebration of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist St. John the Theologian and the name day of His Grace Bishop John. May God grant him many years!

Apolytikion of St. John, Tone 2

O Apostle John, speaker of divinity, the beloved of Christ God, hasten and deliver thy people powerless in argument; for He on Whose bosom thou didst lean accepteth thee as an intercessor. Beseech Him, therefore, to disperse the cloud of the stubborn nations, asking for us safety and the Great Mercy.

Second Annual Diocese Family Camp and SOYO Fall Camp

With the blessing of His Grace Bishop JOHN, the Diocese of Worcester & New England is pleased to announce our 2nd annual Diocese Family Camp and Diocese SOYO Fall Camp to be held the weekend of October 5–7, 2018 at the St. Methodios Faith & Heritage Center in Contoocook, New Hampshire.

Family Camp is an opportunity for your family to get away from everyday life and take a weekend as a family to grow closer to Christ. At Family Camp, eating a meal together as a family is the norm, not the exception. Not your typical vacation, Family Camp offers a mini-vacation without maps, lines for popcorn, or decisions over where to eat. Our flexible schedule gives you the choice of "doing it all" from canoeing to volleyball, or just taking it easy and savoring a good view from the waterfront.

Memory Eternal! + Jamila H. Nawfel

Jamila H. Nawfel, 92 of Waterville, ME passed away unexpectedly at her residence on Dec. 29, 2017.  She was born in Natick, Mass. on Feb. 20, 1925, daughter of John A. and Rose J. (Homsy) Haddad.

As a young woman, Jamila was very involved in her church, Saint John of Damascus in Boston, MA, where she was a member of the Syrian Orthodox Youth Organization (SOYO). She played the lead in many Arabic musicals in her church, and continued to recite some of her verses until the present day.

One of the most important aspects of her life was maintaining her Arabic heritage with her family. She demonstrated this through cooking many traditional dishes, as well as baking many Arabic sweets up until the present.

Announcing the 2018 Western Rite Vicariate Conference

The biennial conference of the Western Rite Vicariate will be held Tuesday, August 7 through Friday, August 10, 2018, at St. Peter Orthodox Church in Fort Worth, Texas.

Metropolitan JOSEPH will preside at all liturgical services and will be the keynote speaker.

Under the theme “Celebrating our Western Orthodox Culture,” the conference will celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the establishment of the Western Rite Vicariate by Patriarch ALEXANDER III and Metropolitan ANTONY. Particular attention will be drawn to the constituting Edict from Metropolitan ANTONY (of thrice-blessed memory) at the Archdiocese Convention in 1958.

Metropolitan Joseph will be joined by Bishop JOHN, the Auxiliary Bishop for the Western Rite, and the Very Reverend Edward Hughes, Vicar General for the Western Rite.

Diocese of New York and Washington, D.C. Holds Clergy Synaxis

The annual diocesan clergy meeting for the Diocese of New York and Washington, D.C. was held at the headquarters of the Antiochian Archdiocese in Englewood, New Jersey on January 16, 2018. His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH presided over the meeting, which was also attended by His Grace Bishop JOHN, and many clergy from the Diocese, both priests and deacons. Archimandrite Fadi Rabbat from Mexico City was also in attendance.

In the meeting, the attendees decided on a patron saint, forming The Brotherhood of Saint John of Damascus. The Very Reverend Thomas Zain, Archdiocese Vicar General and Dean of St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, New York, was appointed as the dean of The Brotherhood.

The meeting commenced with prayer and the reading of the Epistle and Gospel. Metropolitan JOSEPH and the clergy then discussed various topics including liturgical practices, the education of priests, and dealing with both parish and external organizations, including government entities. The underlying themes of pastoral care and the dignity of the priesthood informed the entire discussion.

The meeting adjourned around 1:00 p.m., and was followed by a lunch hosted by His Eminence.

Ordo 2018, Western Rite Liturgical Guide, Available for Purchase

Ordo 2018 (the liturgical guide for Western Rite parishes) is now available for purchase through Lulu. There is a 40% discount on all Lulu products (except eBooks) which expires at 11:59 p.m. EST on November 30, 2017.

The Ordo contains the rubrics for praying the Benedictine office, the Mass (Divine Liturgy), and the daily lectionary for the English Office according to the use and calendar of the Antiochian Western Rite Vicariate.

Use this code when ordering to get the discount: CYBER40.

Order now

Memory Eternal! + Olivia A. Waishek

Olivia A. Waishek, 72, of West Roxbury, formerly of Hudson St. in Boston's South Cove, passed away on Sunday, November 19, 2017. Her commitment to her community was second only to her love of family and friends.

A devoted, life-long parishioner of the Church of St. John of Damascus as a member and past President of the Church Committee, Olivia played a significant role in working to provide the nine beautiful crystal chandeliers that hang in the church today. Olivia was also a member of the Order of St. Ignatius.

Olivia was an incredible asset to the City of Boston and her neighborhood of West Roxbury. She spent many years serving the community as part of various organizations. Extremely proud of her Syrian roots, Olivia worked tirelessly for AABA and was instrumental in the construction and development of Cherition Heights in West Roxbury.

Worcester Diocesan Family Camp is October 13-15 in Contoocook, NH

The Diocese of Worcester and New England Family Camp is an opportunity for your family to get away from everyday life and take a weekend as a family to grow closer to Christ, in the beautiful setting of the St. Methodios Faith & Heritage Center in Contoocook, NH on the shore of Clement Pond. At Family Camp, eating a meal together as a family is the norm, not the exception.

Not your typical vacation, Family Camp offers a mini-vacation without maps, lines for popcorn, or decisions over where to eat. Our flexible schedule gives you the choice of "doing it all" from canoeing to volleyball, or just taking it easy and savoring a good view from the waterfront.

Summer 2017 Issue of DIAKONIA Available Online

The Summer 2017 issue of DIAKONIA is now available online. This issue highlights the Diocese of Worcester and New England. The issue contains:

  • Greetings from His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph and His Grace Bishop John
  • A message from Spiritual Advisor Fr. Ed Hughes
  • A message from the Diocesan President Cindy Hayes
  • Profiles of Worcester officers
  • Chapter reports, photos and happenings

...and more! Download (PDF) here.

Bishop John and Nicholas Mamey to Launch Book on Marriage at Miami Convention

[SVOTS Communications / Yonkers, NY] Orthodox Christian couples are often seeking sage advice on how to strengthen their marital bond, and St. Vladimir's Seminary Press (SVS Press) has just released a book to help them do so: Building an Orthodox Marriage: A Practical Commentary on the Eastern Orthodox Marriage Rite. Written by a long-time married but now widowed bishop and a newly married layman, the book prepares couples to understand marriage as "a great mystery" akin to the relationship between Christ and His Bride, the Church (Eph 5.32), while coaching them in practical ways to strengthen their union.

His Grace the Right Reverend John Abdalah, bishop of the Diocese of Worcester and New England of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America (AOCANA), and Nicholas G. Mamey, a newly married seminary graduate, are coauthors of the volume. In their work, they first establish a grounding for marriage, using Scripture and texts from the Orthodox Christian wedding ceremony, and then go on to offer practical guidance to couples.

What I Wish I Had Known 39 Years Ago

(photo: Adrienne Soper)(photo: Adrienne Soper)His Grace Bishop John offered this address at the 2017 Commencement of St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary in Yonkers, NY. Bishop John is an alumnus of St. Vladimir's.

Thirty-nine years ago I left this campus with gifts similar to yours. Like you, I have been blessed to have studied under some of the
greatest Orthodox theologians of the time. Like you, I enjoyed or endured a community that was sometimes supportive and at other times challenging. I forged friendships with peers that would sustain me for a lifetime. Like you, I experienced some of both Crestwood's and New York's air, accents and crowds. And like you, my time at St. Vladimir's came with the responsibility to live among God's people and fulfill my royal priesthood with the added responsibilities that come with the knowledge and understanding gained here.

Metropolitan Joseph Presides Over Joyous Festal Weekend at St. George of Boston

Boston, MA – Saint George Antiochian Orthodox Church of Boston was honored to host our beloved Metropolitan Joseph, as well as Bishop John of Worcester and New England, for a weekend of joyous celebrations from April 28–30, 2017. The patronal feast of the parish wonderfully coincided with the honoring of Mr. Robert Laham for his fifty years of service to the Archdiocese, and with the Nameday of His Eminence. (View the photo gallery)

The weekend began with a special program prepared by the young people of the parish, who enthusiastically greeted Metropolitan Joseph with hugs and shouts of “Christ is risen!” as he entered the parish hall. His Eminence greatly enjoyed the performance of a skit highlighting the life and martyrdom of St. George. The performance was followed by a “pop quiz” where the young people asked questions of the hierarchs and clergy to ensure they were paying close attention!

Metropolitan Joseph Celebrates Sunday of Orthodoxy at St. Nicholas Cathedral, Brooklyn, NY

On March 5, 2017, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph celebrated the Divine Liturgy and then in the evening, pan-Orthodox Vespers for the Sunday of Orthodoxy at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY. His Eminence arrived at the Cathedral for Orthros and was greeted by the Cathedral Dean, Archpriest Thomas Zain. Visiting hierarchs included: His Eminence Archbishop Michael of New York and New Jersey of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), and His Grace Bishop John of the Antiochian Archdiocese's Diocese of Worcester and New England. (View the photos by Subdeacons Daniel Cripe and Andre Christoforides.)

Antiochian Clergy and Faithful Participate in 2017 March for Life in Washington, D.C.

Antiochian seminarians join Bishop John at the 2017 March for Life (photo: The V. Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield)Antiochian seminarians join Bishop John at the 2017 March for Life (photo: The V. Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield)His Grace Bishop John, Diocese of Worcester and New England, reports:

The Orthodox Church was well represented at the 44th annual March for Life in the nation's capital on Friday, January 27, 2017. The theme of this year's March was "The Power of One." Included in the March were Orthodox Christian hierarchs and a large number of clergy, seminarians, and faithful at the annual gathering, during which they witnessed to God's gift of life and the need to speak out on behalf of the unborn.

On Thursday evening, January 26, His Grace, Bishop John of Worcester for the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America assisted by Fr. Nicholas Alford, OCA Metropolitan Tikhon, His Eminence, Archbishop Melchisedek; His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel; His Grace, Bishop Dimitrios of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago; and Bishop Maxim of the Serbian Church, attended the Vigil celebrated at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, which was filled to capacity. Representatives of the Oriental Orthodox Church also were present.

Memory Eternal! + Joseph F. Ferguson

Memory Eternal! Joseph F. Ferguson, the father of the Very Rev. Timothy J. Ferguson (Protosyngellos of the Archdiocese and Pastor of St. George Church in Boston, MA), reposed in the Lord on December 10, 2016. Joseph was a beloved husband for 71 years of Agnes M. (Shaffer) Ferguson; devoted father of Rev. Timothy (Louise) Ferguson, Joseph Ferguson, Jr. (the late Noot), Daniel (Christine) Ferguson and Nancy (Michael) Kelly; brother of Maureen Scanlon, James (Loretta) Ferguson, the late John, Edward, Harry, and Patrick Ferguson; loving grandfather of Christina, Brendan, Shane, Jillian, Devin, Douglas, Meghan, Kevin, and Erik; great grandfather of Luke.

Joe was born in County Derry, Northern Ireland, immigrated to Pittsburgh in 1925 and was raised on the North Side. He worked in the Civilian Conservation Corps. prior to enlisting in the U.S. Army in 1941, serving in North Africa, France and Germany. He retired from the U.S. Army Reserves as a Master Sergeant. Joe was a Past Commander of American Legion Post # 0156 - Mt. Lebanon, PA; he was a member of the Knights of Columbus; and was retired from Mellon Bank as a Real Estate Trust Officer. Joe was very involved at Saint Bernard Church serving in many capacities.

Friends will be welcomed at Laughlin Memorial Chapel, 222 Washington Road, Mt. Lebanon, PA, on Thursday, December 14 from 2:00 until 8:00 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in Saint Bernard Church, Friday morning, December 15, at 11:30 a.m. Interment is at Queen of Heaven Cemetery.

2017 Diocese of Worcester Parish Life Conference

The 2017 Diocese of Worcester Parish Life Conference will be hosted by St. George Cathedral, Worcester, MA. The dates are June 17, 2017 and June 23–25, 2017.

Please check back for more information.

Bishop John's Invitation to the 2016 Diocese Parish Life Conference

5/11/2016

Dear to Christ Presbyters and Deacons of the Diocese, Archdiocesan Leaders, Parish Council Members, Members of the Order of St. Ignatius, Parish and Diocese Organization Leaders and Church Leaders within the Diocese of Worcester and New England,

Christ is Risen! I greet you with a holy kiss this glorious Paschal Season.

The Parish Life Conference this year will be held on June 11 and 25. Father Edward and the parishioners of Lawrence have been very attentive to the needs and requests of the Diocesan Conference goers and have planned a very affordable and productive conference. They deserve our cooperation and support.

Youth Update: CrossRoad 2016 Applications Available Now

The Very Rev. Dr. Joseph F. Purpura, chairman of the Department of Youth and Parish Ministry for the Archdiocese, alerts all high school juniors & seniors who may be interested in applying to a 10-day summer program at Hellenic College Holy Cross, that CrossRoad 2016 Applications are available now! CrossRoad is a ten-day academic summer institute that prepares high school juniors and seniors to make big life decisions and connect with the Orthodox Christian theological and spiritual tradition. Hosted on the scenic Hellenic College Holy Cross campus, overlooking the beautiful Boston skyline, participants experience daily worship, visit local parishes, tour Boston, and spend a day at the beach.

Priority application deadline is February 1, 2016. Visit the website to learn more: http://www.crossroadinstitute.org/.

Fall 2015 Issue of DIAKONIA Available Online

The Fall 2015 issue of DIAKONIA is now available online. This issue highlights the newly-elected North American Board Officers and Coordinators! The issue contains:

  • A message from His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph
  • A profile of Antiochian Women spiritual advisor, His Grace Bishop John
  • Biographies of the officers of the 2015-2017 Antiochian Orthodox Christian Women of North America North American Board

...and more! Download (PDF) here.

St. Vladimir's Seminary to Celebrate Orthodox Ed Day October 3

[SVOTS Communications/Yonkers, NY] The community of Saint Vladimir's Seminary has been busy making final preparations for Orthodox Education Day, "East Meets East," slated to be celebrated on the school's campus on Saturday, October 3, 2015. The seminary's annual open house and fall festival will celebrate the relationship between the Oriental and Eastern Orthodox churches and explore the history of their dialogue.

The day will begin and end with Orthodox church services, and a marketplace filled with international cuisine and Orthodox books and gifts will be open all day. Renowned author and scholar Archpriest Dr. John Anthony McGuckin will give the keynote address, "Our Common Father: Saint Cyril;" workshop leaders will address a wide variety of topics, such as Coptic iconography; seminarians will perform a concert of sacred Orthodox music; and a book discussion group will talk about Tito Colliander's Way of the Ascetics.

The full day's schedule is as follows.

Annual Conference for The Orthodox Christian Association of Medicine, Psychology, and Religion is Nov. 5-7

The Orthodox Christian Association of Medicine, Psychology, and Religion is honored that Fr. Stavros Kofinas, D.Min., will give the Keynote Address on Thursday evening, November 5, at its Annual Conference on November 5–7, 2015, followed by a wine and cheese reception.

Father Stavros is the Coordinator of the Network of the Ecumenical Patriarchate for Pastoral Health Care, and also serves as the celebrant at the Holy Monastery of St. Meletios of Kitherona in Greece.

The theme of the Conference is "Caregivers as Confessors and Healers" and will be held at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, MA, through November 7. The title of Fr. Stavros' talk is "Holy Confession and the Freedom to Be." He will also give a presentation describing the Patriarchal Program on Health Care during a special dinner on Friday, November 6.

St. Vladimir's Seminary to Bestow Honorary Doctorate on Metropolitan Joseph

July, 2015: Metropolitan Joseph, Patriarch John X, and The Very Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield at St. Vladimir's SeminaryJuly, 2015: Metropolitan Joseph, Patriarch John X, and The Very Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield at St. Vladimir's SeminaryOn September 14, 2015, the Board of Trustees and Faculty of St. Vladimir's Seminary will bestow a Doctor of Divinity degree, honoris causa, on His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, at an Academic Convocation beginning at 7 p.m. St. Vladimir's will also award an honorary degree to His Beatitude the Most Blessed Tikhon, primate of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA). Metropolitan Tikhon serves as President of the Seminary and Chair of its Board of Trustees, and Metropolitan Joseph serves as Vice Chair of the Board. The event is open to the public and will be held in the Metropolitan Philip Auditorium of the John G. Rangos Family Building.

OCF Leadership Conference: September 11 & 12

Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) is inviting all of its spiritual advisors and OCF Chapter Presidents and Vice-Presidents serving campuses throughout New York and New Jersey, to a free-of-charge OCF Leadership Conference Friday, September 11th and Saturday, September 12th, 2015.

The goals of this meeting are:

  • To offer support to local OCF Spiritual Advisors and Student Leaders
  • To Plan inter-chapter events for the upcoming calendar year
  • To promote unity and strengthening of relations amongst our college students
  • To strategically plant OCF chapters at college campuses

The schedule will be as follows:

Friday, Sept. 11th

3:00pm clergy arrive. Icebreakers (clergy only)
4:00-5:30pm clergy only session "Clergy Concerns"
5:30-6:30 dinner (Clergy and Students)
6:30 – 8:00pm round table

October 28-30: Missions Institute of Orthodox Christianity Conference, "Speaking to Secular America"

Fr. Luke Veronis, Board Member for the Orthodox Christian Mission Center, writes:

Please mark your calendars for a special conference that touches upon an extremely relevant topic for all our churches. On October 28-30 at Hellenic College Holy Cross, the Missions Institute of Orthodox Christianity will hold the conference "Speaking to Secular America: How the Church is Reaching Out to the Non-Religious of our Society," which will be held in conjunction with the Installation of the 21st President of HCHC, Fr. Christopher T. Metropulos.

Speakers and Topics include:

"Speaking to Secular America" Keynote Address by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America

"Hellenic College Holy Cross Reaching Out to the World" Inauguration address offered by V. Rev. Christopher T. Metropulos, DMin, as the 21st President of Hellenic College Holy Cross

"Welcome and Introduction to 'Speaking to Secular America'" Fr. Luke A. Veronis, Director of the Missions Institute of Orthodox Christianity, Adjunct Instructor at Hellenic College Holy Cross, Priest of Sts. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church, Webster, MA

Memory Eternal! + George Abodeely

Dedicated educator, church leader, and proud family man;

George Abodeely, 85, died July 30, 2015 (at the Grace House) in Windham NH, with three generations of family members at his side. He was the beloved husband of Constance A. “Connie” (Coury) Abodeely with whom he celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary on November 14, 2014. He was formerly of Andover, MA and was a well-respected educator in the Tewksbury School system.   

Born in Lowell, Massachusetts, June 23, 1930, George was the fourth child of the late Michael and the late Nahie (Missad) Abodeely. He attended Lowell (MA) schools and was a graduate of Lowell High School in the Class of 1948. He went on to graduate from Lowell State Teacher’s College in 1952 with a degree in Education, and received his Master’s in Education from Fitchburg State University. Later, he received Certification from Boston University’s Guidance and Counseling Institute.

 Prior to his retirement, George served as Assistant Principal at the Tewksbury Middle School, where he taught for over 24 years. Previously, he served as Guidance Counselor for the Tewksbury School system, and before that as a teacher at the Foster School in Tewksbury.