On Saturday and Sunday, December 21-22, 2013, the parish of Holy Trinity in Yonkers welcomed His Grace, Bishop Michael, for an archpastoral visitation that was filled with joyous celebrations, recognitions, and blessings. Met at the parish rectory by Deacons John Eby, Gregory Hatrak, Evan Freeman, and Kyle Parrott, together with altar servers, singers, and children carrying holy icons, His Grace processed to the church, where, prior to beginning the Divine Liturgy, he tonsured veteran altar server Christopher Nolan to the office of Reader and ordained him a Subdeacon. During the Hierarchical Liturgy, parish Deacon John Eby was elevated to the rank of Protodeacon. An alumnus of St. Vladimir’s Seminary who has belonged to Holy Trinity Church for over 30 years, Protodeacon John has served as a deacon for over a decade at the Yonkers parish. The church’s Rector and Secretary to the Bishop, Fr. David Cowan, was awarded the Gold Cross by His Grace.
Archpriest Nicholas Harris, father-in-law of Fr. David, concelebrated at the Liturgy. Fr. David’s parents, James and Penny Cowan of Anchorage, Alaska, also shared in the celebration, as did his mother-in-law, Matushka Anastasia Harris. Sharing the joyous day as well were Subdeacon Christopher’s parents John and Kathleen Nolan, his wife Suzanne, and their three children, Andrew, Peter, and Frances, along with many members of the St. Vladimir’s Seminary community who came to honor Protodeacon John.
At a festive luncheon following the Liturgy, the Church School children presented a highly energetic skit, “Saint George and the Dragon.” Police Captain John Mueller (4th Precinct, Yonkers Police) was honored by the parish and presented an icon of St. Andrei Rublev’s “Holy Trinity” for his tireless labors on behalf of the churches and residents of the Trinity Plaza neighborhood. Parish Council President Dr. Victoria Statkevicus congratulated Subdeacon Christopher, Protodeacon John, and Father David, presenting them with generous gifts from their parish family. She also presented Bishop Michael with a gift to the Distinguished Diocesan Benefactor Fund of $7,500 from Holy Trinity Church – a contribution which His Grace noted was the largest gift given to the DDB Fund by a parish in 2013.
After lunch, the youth of the parish and their families gathered in the newly completed Teen Room – a spacious classroom in the church’s Education Building that has been completely repainted, refurnished, and re-purposed as a place of learning and fellowship for the Senior High church school class and the “HTO YOUth” group. Bishop Michael blessed the Teen Room, dousing walls and worshippers alike with generous quantities of holy water! His Grace remarked fondly that the friendships that have lasted the longest and meant the most in his own life were begun during his childhood in church – and he encouraged the youth of Holy Trinity to gather in their new room as often as possible to form those same, lifelong friendships. The Bishop stayed after the blessing service to enjoy the new room and visit with the faithful.
The people of Holy Trinity Church in Yonkers are grateful to God for blessing them with this memorable celebration in the days leading to the Great and joyous Feast of Our Lord’s Nativity!