The faithful of Saint George Orthodox Church in Buffalo NY were blessed by an archpastoral visit of His Grace, Bishop Michael, on November 19th and 20th. Those present reflected on the parish’s many accomplishments, and gave thanks for the grace which God has so richly poured out upon the parish throughout its history beginning with its foundation nearly 50 years ago. While the cherished memories of those present at the celebration were happily shared, the true focus was on the church’s future. Bishop Michael reminded everyone of the importance in cultivating an authentic Orthodox identity through prayer, outreach, and commitment to the Church. He also raised a call for evangelism through hospitality and openness to others.
During the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, Dr. Mark Hoeplinger (a first-year student in the Diocesan Diaconal Formation Program) and fellow-parishioner John Kirwan were tonsured as Readers. Then, during the entrance of the Holy Gospel, everyone was deeply moved as Father Herman Schick entered his beloved parish - in the midst of his spiritual flock -- after a prolonged absence and hospitalization while on medical leave. Bishop Michael awarded him the Jeweled Cross for his many years of faithful service to the parish, the Diocese of New York and New Jersey, and the Orthodox Church in America. As the Liturgy moved toward the reception of the Holy Eucharist by the faithful, Stephen Guerra was received into Orthodox Faith through the sacrament of Holy Chrismation. In every way the liturgical celebration was joyous!
At the conclusion of the Liturgy, a Panikheda was served in memory of Father George Timko, the long-time rector of the parish and predecessor of Father Herman, on the anniversary of his falling-asleep. In addition, Reader Victor Shanchuk (parish choir director) was recognized by His Grace for 25 years of faithful service in music ministry. Bishop Michael intoned a heart-felt "Many Years" for all, including Matushka Dorothy (Father George’s beloved wife).
Following the Divine Liturgy there was a gathering of the parish family and new friends in the church hall where the love and fellowship experienced during the Hierarchical Liturgy continued. Those present enjoyed an informal discussion including questions and answers with His Grace. As the event drew to a close, some of the parishioners and clergy accompanied Bishop Michael to Saints Peter and Paul Church (also in Buffalo NY) for Vespers on the eve of the feast-day of the Entry of the Theotokos into the Temple.
His Grace, Bishop Michael, visited Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Church in Buffalo NY on November 20th and 21st.