Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian celebrated Divine Liturgy and delivered his message at Holy Trinity Church in Fresno on January 29 on the occasion of the 111th anniversary of the church. Parish Pastor Rev. Fr. Vahan Gosdanian and deacons assisted at the altar.
Prior to the sermon, the Prelate gave thanks to Almighty God for granting the blessed day together to celebrate Divine Liturgy the 111th anniversary of the parish. Reflecting on the Pontifical Visit of His Holiness Catholicos Aram I to the Church and Sunday School in October of last year, the Prelate noted that His Holiness places a great deal of importance and priority to educating our youth and providing them with the necessary knowledge and tools to develop their unique Armenian Christian identity, and that we are all called to do the same, for our youth are the future leaders who will continue in our path and that of our forefathers, which is why we must instill and root in them our faith, values, and heritage from a young age so that they are fully prepared to take the lead.
Given that it was the eve of the Fast of the Catechumens, the Prelate gave a brief background on the fast, which is observed only in the Armenian Church.
The sermon was on the day’s Scripture reading from the Gospel of John which told of one of the most dramatic miracles in the earthly ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ, Jesus walking on water in the midst of a dark and stormy sea.
Speaking on this passage, the Prelate noted the following; “We all face storms in our lives. The nature of our storms may vary, but there is none among us who hasn’t at some point in his or her life been faced with a difficult and trying situation. In the midst of it all, we need to remain strong and hopeful, for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is always with us. Rather than feel overwhelmed, helpless, and alone, we need to weather our storms with faith and turn to God to lead us to shore. God sees our troubles, and when we come to the place where we stand in awe of His power and His plan, the storms will cease to frighten us. We all need our Savior, and the good news is that He is here. We need only to lift our eyes and hear Him whisper in His reassuring voice, “Do not fear, it is I.” He will bring us safely to shore.”
The Prelate then once again congratulated the parish on their 111th anniversary, commended the servants and volunteers for their service and contributions, and urged the faithful in attendance to actively participate in the mission of our church and in our community life so that together we can overcome any and all obstacles that may arise.
Following the Divine Liturgy, the Prelate presided over the 111th anniversary banquet, hosted by the Pastor and Board of Trustees. Executive Council member Bill Sahatdjian participated in the Liturgy and Banquet.
Approximately 200 guests were in attendance.
Sunday School Superintendant and Master of Ceremonies Sato Sanikian welcomed the guests. After the singing of the American and Armenian national anthems, she invited Fr. Vahan to deliver the invocation.
Three parishioners, Levon Baladjanian, David Sarabian, and Patty Torosian were presented the Annual Service Award for their dedication and vast contributions to Holy Trinity Church, while Krista Parnagian received the Youth Leadership Award for her contributions.
Bill Sahatdjian was then invited to deliver his remarks, followed by Fr. Vahan, who invited the Prelate for his message and benediction.
The Prelate spoke of the importance of serving our Church and communities, saying, “As Christians, we are all called to serve; it is our Lord’s example and it is our duty. As followers of our Lord Jesus Christ, each and every one of us is called to serve God and also our Church through which our faith and heritage is preserved. Through our service we are glorifying God and building up our church and local communities.” He commended the service and devotion of the four honorees and expressed hope that they are an example for others to follow in their footsteps and become active participants in our church and community life. The Prelate also commended the Pastor, Delegates, Board of Trustees, sponsors, and all the faithful who unrelentingly and tirelessly serve for the advancement of the parish, blessed the memory of all past servants who are no longer with us, and concluded saying, “As we celebrate the 111th anniversary of Holy Trinity Church, let us pledge to renew and strengthen our commitment and devotion serving God and the Armenian Apostolic Church, and to preserving and promoting our faith and our heritage for generations to come.”
The luncheon also included a performance by the Sunday School, a video presentation of the church’s endeavors, and remarks by representatives from the Ladies’ Aid, Trinity Guild, and Men’s Society
The event concluded with the singing of the Cilician anthem.
On Saturday, January 28, the Prelate met with the parish Pastor, Board of Trustees and Delegates to discuss issues concerning the parish.