Archive for December, 2010

My Memories of Christmas

Sunday, December 26th, 2010

As a young boy—waking up at first light on Christmas Day before everyone else in the family to check out what gifts were under the tree for me!  I especially remember a battery powered, remote control tractor-trailer truck about three feet long that I could drive all over the house.

As an older boy—enjoying the special foods for Holy Supper (In the Slav tradition, Holy Supper is a special family meal on Christmas Eve with food prepared only once a year.) and taking a short nap so I could stay up late and be an altar server at Midnight Liturgy at church.

As a young teen—helping Dad put together the Easy Bake Oven for my sisters; Dad was never that good at following instructions, written down or from Mom!

As an older teen—going to Grandma’s house on Christmas Eve with my Dad after we had our Holy Supper at home to share a bowl of mushroom/sauerkraut soup and some pirohi and bolbaki with her and sing Christmas Carols.

As a young adult—always traveling home to Pittsburgh, no matter where in the world I was living, to be there for Holy Supper with my parents and help prepare the special foods.

As a middle-aged adult—always traveling home to Pittsburgh, no matter where in the world I was living, to be there for Holy Supper with my parents and prepare all the special foods.

As an older adult—always traveling home to Pittsburgh, no matter where in the world I was living, to be there for Holy Supper with my parents and prepare all the special foods.

In case you haven’t noticed, I LOVE Holy Supper on Christmas Eve, and haven’t missed spending it with my parents since I was born—over 50 years now. So what are your favorite memories of long past or recent Christmas celebrations?

Feast of Saint Andrew

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

November 30 is the feast of Saint Andrew, the first-called apostle. He is also the patron of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, who by tradition traveled to the ancient city of Byzantium and founded the Church there. In some years over the last 20, I have been privileged to travel to Constantinople and be present for the celebrations, and especially the visit of the delegation from Rome that come to celebrate with the Orthodox. The most significant was in 2006 when Pope Benedict XVI himself led the delegation and was present for the Divine Liturgy celebrated by Patriarch Bartholomew.

But this year, since the OL Conference took place there, I stayed home for the special Divine Liturgy held at Mt. St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Seminary in Emmitsburg, MD. Father Lee Gross is Professor of Liturgy and Dean of Students, and has organized and hosted a Byzantine Catholic Divine Liturgy for the seminarians and students of the university on the same campus. The seminary choir has learned to sing the response according to the Carpathian chant tradition, and in four-part harmony.

So, this year, I was able to attend and serve as Lector for the Liturgy. The university chapel was filled almost to capacity with 200 persons, and Bishop William Skurla came to be the main celebrant.

As usual, it was a great event, and provided a wonderful opportunity for seminarians and students alike to learn about the Christian East by experiencing the Divine Liturgy. Congratulations to Father Lee for organizing this event, and to the seminarians who work to serve and sing according to the “eastern lung” of the Church.