UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
Archpastoral Visit to St. Anthony of the Desert Mission in Las Cruses, NM!
His Grace Bishop Daniel, the Ruling Hierarch of the Western Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA visited St. Anthony of the Desert Ukrainian Orthodox Mission during the weekend of March 16-18, 2012. He was accompanied by seminarian Yurii Andreiko of St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary in South Bound Brook, NJ.
Bishop Daniel met parishioners informally over coffee on the morning of the 17th March, then spent the afternoon in conversations with individual members of the parish who had requested or been assigned time with him. These included catechumen Lt. Blake Davenport, who will be chrismated at Pascha, Reader Steven Foglesong, members new to the parish in the last year, and several others.
At the conclusion to Vespers at 5:00 PM on Saturday, Bishop Daniel spoke at length to those gathered, including a number of first-time visitors to the parish, about the meaning of Christian faith in this age and specifically during Lent. After his talk, people were treated to a festive supper and further conversations with his Grace.
The Chairperson of the Mission Board of Administration Joni Foglesong officially greeted Bishop Daniel on Sunday morning at the door of the church with kind words and the traditional bread and salt. Vladyka served the Divine Liturgy and preached to a packed church, focusing on the inner meaning of the Lenten journey.
At the Small Entrance of the Liturgy, His Grace Bishop Daniel presented an ecclesiastical award – a spiritual “sword” to the pastor of the parish community – Fr. Gabriel Rochelle, who prayerfully entered into the 7th year of his service in our Lord’s Vineyard in the Holy Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA.
Every available member of the parish was present on this Sunday, and those who could not be present sent greetings and expressed regret at their inability to attend.
Following the Divine Liturgy, another banquet was held which provided a lot of time for conversation with Bishop Daniel and Seminarian Yurii.
St. Anthony of the Desert Mission in Las Cruses, NM began in October 2007 with only a handful of contacts, and has grown now to a full fifty members: thirty-nine adults and eleven children. Sub-deacon Theophan Mackey, is completing his first year at St. Tikhon’s Seminary with wife Kristi and daughter Maya Sophia. Reader Alfred Henderson is currently working in Kuwait, but we anticipate his return in June. Sub-deacon Vladimir Laven is working for the US Navy on Crete.