A festive three-day weekend celebration in honor of the 120th anniversary of St. Peter & St. Paul Parish in Carnegie, PA occurred on November 3-5, 2023. The weekend had various events that allowed everyone to participate in the celebration. A hospitality night, services with the hierarchs, and anniversary meals were the focal points of the weekend. 120th Parish Anniversary Chairperson, Pani Matka Alice O’Neil, began preparing and planning the event well over a year ago. One of her goals for the weekend was to have parishioners attend the anniversary banquet without being charged for a ticket. She felt it was important for everyone to be together as a parish family and celebrate this important event. To accomplish the goal, the parish participated in the local community “Carnegie Crawl” events hosting a food booth. The monthly event, while helping to provide funds for the anniversary celebration, also provided parishioners with fellowship and meeting people in the community. Parish organizations and anonymous donor(s) also stepped up to help provide funding for the dinner to make the goal possible.
After the invitations were sent, planning was done, and decorations were in place, parishioners and guests were greeted with warm sunflower candles, twinkling hall lights, appetizers, and desserts for the Friday Hospitality night at the Parish Social Hall. Everyone, young and old, was able to relax, tell stories, and enjoy each other's company. It was a wonderful time to relax before the busy Saturday events.
Saturdays Anniversary celebration began with everyone attending Hierarchal Divine Liturgy celebrated by His Eminence Metropolitan Antony & His Eminence Archbishop Daniel. The children of the parish were the first to greet them at the parish doors with flowers after leading them with rose petals in a procession. A warm welcoming hug made both hierarchs and the children feel welcome and brought smiles to everyone. Newly elected Parish President, Mary Stevens, then welcomed Metropolitan Antony & Archbishop Daniel with bread and salt thanking them for coming and for their continued blessings and help to guide our parish. Fr. John Charest welcomed the hierarchs to the parish and asked for blessings upon the parish. His Eminence Metropolitan Antony proceeded to bless those around him with Holy Water blessings.
The Divine Liturgy proceeded to be served with the assistance of Deacon Pavlo Vysotskyi, Deacon Evan O’Neil, Fr. John Charest, pastor of Saints Peter and Paul and visiting clergy: Fr. Robert Popichak of Slickvile, PA; Fr. Mykola Zomchak of Youngstown, OH; Fr. Ihor Protsak of Dixonville, PA; Fr. Yurii Bobko of Lyndora, PA and seminarians of St. Sophia Seminary. During the service prayers were made for all those who serve the parish, parish organizations, founders, departed parishioners and fellow parishioners. The parish choir directed by Pani Matka Laryssa Charest, provided beautiful responses throughout the service helping to fully uplift everyone in their prayers.
At the conclusion of the service, prior to proceeding outside for a group picture, His Eminence Metropolitan Antony & His Eminence Archbishop Daniel, with assistance from Fr. John Charest, handed out honors to parishioners who diligently serve St. Peter & St. Paul Parish.
- Parishioners who received a Certificate of Blessing/Hramota: Michele Kapeluck, Irene Rozum, Patricia Sally, Howard West, and John Stasko
- Medal for extraordinary lifelong devotion and dedicated work: Volodymyr (man): Dr. Victor Onufrey, Deacon Evan O’Neil
- Medal for extraordinary lifelong devotion and dedicated work: St. Olga (woman): PM Alice O’Neil, Alexis Sawchuk, Chris Mills
- Medal Ven. Peter Mohyla for cultural and academic work: Reader Michael Kapeluck, Tracey Sally, Mike Sally
- Medal Sts. Borys and Hlib for devotion charity work: Rachel Losego, Lynda West
- Medal Ven Job of Pochaiv for spiritual devotion: Cindy Haluszczak
- Help Ukraine Pins for extreme involvement in providing humanitarian aid for Ukraine: Pani Matka Laryssa Charest, Dr. Victor Onufrey, Sebastian Charest
Next, everyone proceeded to Cefalo’s Restaurant for the Anniversary Banquet. You were able to have appetizers, a beverage, and view the dessert cakes that were donated by the St. Matrona Ladies Society. A very neat statistic for the banquet, there were 120 reservations for the 120th anniversary! Banquet attendees were treated to a delicious buffet meal selection of chicken or fish, with various sides dishes, but don’t forget the potatoes! A short program was conducted by mistress of ceremonies, Alice Sivulich, and she kept the afternoon moving along. Remarks were made by Fr. John Charest, Howard West, and His Eminence Archbishop Daniel. Sr. UOL Chapter President, Michael Sally, handed out a Sr. UOL Scholarship to Pani Matka Laryssa Charest. One unique presentation of the afternoon, the parish received a proclamation from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. The proclamation was presented by Representative Anita Kulik to Fr. John Charest. Saturday’s events concluded with the serving of vespers later in the evening.
On Sunday, the parishioners welcomed His Eminence Metropolitan Antony for Divine Liturgy. He provided a very enlightening talk at the end of the service with words and thoughts for all to think about, “How do you conduct yourself out in the world?” At the conclusion of the service everyone proceeded to the parish social hall for our final celebration event, the anniversary luncheon. An amazing luncheon prepared by Sheri Walewski and her helpers was blessed by Metropolitan Antony. Everyone had plenty to eat, time to relax, and enjoy each other's fellowship among bright sunflower place settings on the table.
Everyone is eagerly planning future anniversary celebrations, as well as other upcoming parish events like our Annual Thanksgiving Day Open House and Annual Cookie Walk. Thank you to all parishioner’s past, present, and future for their devotion and dedication to St. Peter & St. Paul.