Over the weekend of December 2-5, 2022 - His Eminence Archbishop Daniel, accompanied by Subdeacons Andriy Akulenko and Maksym Zhuravchyk (seminarians of St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA), traveled from New Jersey to Los Alamos, New Mexico, to visit the parish of the Venerable Job of Pochaiv.
Saturday morning was a workday at the parish. Vladyka and the seminarians helped make and package baklava that will be included the annual cookie box sale. 125 boxes are made and sold, the proceeds of which go to a different charity each year. This year the parish chose to donate the money collected to the humanitarian aide of Ukraine.
In the afternoon, Vladyka Daniel presided over Great Vespers for the feast of the Entrance of the Birth-Giver of God in the Temple, one of the twelve Great Feasts of the Church. His words of encouragement were received with joy by the faithful.
After Great Vespers, Archbishop Daniel and Father Theophan rode on the back of the mobile chapel which had been fitted with lights, in the Los Alamos Holiday Light Parade down the main street of the town. Panimatka Kristi and the children of the parish family rode in the truck as well, decked out in gnome costumes, the theme of this year’s parade. They all greeted the assembled onlookers and shouted greeting of God’s blessings and Merry Christmas.
Sunday morning, Kathleen McDonald, parish council president, greeted Archbishop Daniel with the traditional bread and salt. The children greeted him with flowers and Father Theophan with the blessing cross.
At the beginning of the Divine Liturgy, Timothy Tyulin was tonsured a reader for the parish community. Timothy is a senior at Los Alamos Highschool and has been a faithful altar server for two years.
Vladyka’s homily on the foolish rich man in Luke highlighted the need for faithful Orthodox Christians to separate themselves from the material things of this world and set their hope and effort on those things that transcend this world, the things of God.
The archbishop stated: “…Our concept of success is going from poverty to riches. God's concept of success is going from riches to poverty. St. Paul and all the Church Fathers simply say: "THOUGH HE WAS RICH YET FOR OUR SAKESBECAME POOR SO THAT BY HIS POVERTY WE MIGHT BECOME RICH."
For the real Christian, success is believing that the intimate God lives in me and desires to work through me. Success is being honest enough to recognize my need for God's help and humble enough to receive it when offered. Success is being God's person in every situation. Success is finding a purpose in life that is larger than life itself. And what larger purpose can there be than knowing, loving and serving God?
Success is learning to live by principles, not by moods. Success is learning, improving, growing more into the perfect icon (or reflection) or image of Christ. Success is inviting God to walk with us each day; it is being in the Kingdom of God here and now. Success is turning away from sin and returning to the Father.
Each time you pray you are a success. Each time you have faith in God you are a success. Each time you replace a thought of anger or doubt with an affirmation of God's truth, you are a success. Each time you accomplish a task, and know in your heart it was your best effort, you are a success. Each time someone looks at you for strength and support, and you are able to help, you are the real success.”
Dozens of children and faithful approached the chalice in order to partake in the Most Holy Eucharist. Following the Liturgy, Pani Kristi Mackey was presented with a Blessed Certificate – Hramota, for her long and dedicated service to the children and Sunday School of the parish.
Fellowship over a fasting potluck followed, and Vladyka met with many of the faithful who wanted to speak to him privately.
It was a blessed time for all the parishioners of St. Job of Pochaiv parish family and we look forward to his next visit.