BY ARCHBISHOP MOUSHEGH MARDIROSSIAN
For Diasporan Armenian across the globe, it is a great honor and joy when our Pontiff, His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, visits our Prelacies and communities.
We at the Western Prelacy are currently preparing for the Pontifical Visit of His Holiness to the Western United States in October of this year. Clergy, Councils, Parishes’ Delegates and Board members, church servants, sponsors, friends, and the community at large enthusiastically await the Pontifical Visit of His Holiness, eager to welcome him once again to our Prelacy and to receive his paternal blessings.
The Pontifical Visit will extend over a period of two weeks, during which our community members will have ample opportunities to hear the thoughts and messages of His Holiness on a vast number of issues during various events.
In the past, the Pontifical Visit of His Holiness has bolstered us and breathed new life into our spiritual, national, and educational mission, and this upcoming Pontifical Visit will be no different.
The Religious and Executive Councils, and the committees appointed to oversee the planning of the Pontifical Visit, have already delved into their responsibilities. Preparations are well under way and all have joined their efforts and are working diligently to ensure a historic visit.
With the Pontifical Visit of His Holiness, we are certain that we will all experience a spiritual renewal. In this often chaotic and hectic world, our church and our faith provides the spiritual nourishment and strength for us to endure. This one of our many missions will receive momentum with the Pontifical Visit of His Holiness.
The role of our Armenian Schools in the preservation and promotion of our language, faith, and heritage cannot be overstated. His Holiness has long stressed the unique and valuable role of our Schools, even proclaiming the year 2006 as the “Year of the Armenian School”. At the time, His Holiness advised that we must pay special attention to the future of our schools not just throughout that year but always. The further anchoring and continued progress of Armenian Schools is an ongoing process that requires constant care and attention, and that will be highlighted during the upcoming Pontifical Visit. Especially given the economic crisis of the times, our Schools face challenges which require the collective support and encouragement of our sponsors and community members. Furthermore, the proclamation of His Holiness of 2011 as the “Year of the Armenian Child” gives new meaning and significance to the mission of our educational institutions with regards to the fostering of our cultural heritage.
Alongside being beacons of our religious values, the Great House of Cilicia in general and His Holiness Catholicos Aram I personally have been and continue to be advocates for our national rights. Sharing a history of exile with our people, the Catholicosate of the Holy See of Cilicia remains on the front lines as we reassert our spirit of national aspirations, which will be one of the focuses of the upcoming Pontifical Visit.
Let us join our efforts and work together as we prepare to welcome our beloved Pontiff in just a few short months. Let our elders, community leaders, educators, and parents enlighten our young generation about the Pontifical Visit, and prepare their minds and spirits as many of them will likely have the opportunity to be among His Holiness for the first time, a meeting that will remain as sweet memories for years to come.
And finally, let us pray for Almighty God to grant long life to His Holiness so that he may continue to lead and guide us and the Armenian Apostolic Church for years to come.