Archbishop DANIEL Visits St. George Mission of the UOC of the USA in Alamogordo, New Mexico
Archbishop DANIEL Visits St. George Mission of the UOC of the USA in Alamogordo, New Mexico

Архиєпископ Даниїл Відвідав Українську Православну Місію в Ла Луз, Нова Мексика

His Eminence Archbishop DANIEL, the spiritual father of the Western Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA arrived in El Paso, Texas with seminarians of Saint Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary Subdeacons Yaroslav Bilohan and Pavlo Vysotskyi on Friday, 17 April, 2021.     

Early Saturday morning His Eminence and the subdeacons and Fr. Gabriel Rochelle – pastor of St. Anthony of the Desert Orthodox Mission of the UOC of the USA, drove the eighty miles to Alamogordo, a city of about 30,000, and to the outlying district of La Luz, NM. 

Deacon Theodore (Ted) Brinegar and his family, Pani Elizabeth and their five children, have established St. George the Great Martyr Orthodox Mission in the last two years.  Deacon has been attached to St. Anthony of the Desert Mission, but he and the family have established a new mission of our Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA on the grounds of their own home.  There they have built a reinforced tent and outfitted it with materials gained from a parish in North Carolina.  The result is a very serviceable and quite attractive chapel. Deacon Ted continues his work at Holloman Air Force Base as Director of Outdoor Recreation.

On Pentecost of 2020, Fr. Gabriel baptized four adults who serve as the backbone of the parish along with the Brinegar family.  Child member Luke Finch was Chrismated in March of this year and attends with his family. His father Caleb Finch has been a long-term member of St. Anthony, with past service on parish council, but the Finch family lives a shorter distance from the St. George mission.  Most recently the parish has received a new member, Olena Malanushenko, a native of Crimea (Ukraine) but has been living in the US for several decades.  Seminarian of St. Sophia Seminary Subdeacon Aaron Holloway, who also entered Orthodoxy at St. Anthony Mission, serves with Deacon Ted at the altar.  The other adult members who entered by baptism are Eric LeFevbre, Kira Miller, and Jose and Michele Sapata.  These people, except Michele who had a family commitment elsewhere, were all present at the Saturday liturgy and eager to visit with Archbishop Daniel.

His Eminence stressed the importance of making a commitment to the basic faith of the church, and that this is most important to remember beyond our Lenten fasting or ascetic practice.  We are called to confess Christ in the most positive and simple way that we can, in order to witness to others.  Such a witness is frequently best done by actions rather than a lot of words, in accord with a saying of St. John Chrysostom: “preach the gospel at all times; use words if you must.”

Following the Divine Liturgy on Saturday morning, we were treated to an outdoor potluck lunch on the grounds of the Brinegar home. 

His Eminence, as always, showed his love for young people in his attentiveness to the Finch children, Paula and Luke, and the Brinegar children: Nicholas, Juliana, Karina, Esther, and Charity.  We were also introduced to the Brinegar’s Colorado Mountain dogs and Flora’s ten puppies who are a month old. 

With great thanks to Vladyka from all the people at St. George Mission, Fr. Gabriel, seminarians and Archbishop Daniel returned to Las Cruces, NM in the afternoon to prepare for the visit to St. Anthony Mission.  

Archbishop DANIEL Visits St. George Mission of the UOC of the USA in Alamogordo, New Mexico

Photos by Subdeacons Yaroslav Bilohan and Pavlo Vysotskyi

(63 images)

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