Javascript Menu by

click on image to enlarge
click on image to enlarge
click on image to enlarge
"Faith and Science"

as reported by Danielle Geeza

What do faith, science, church services, zip lining, rock wall climbing, and "Minute to Win It" have in common? To an average person the answer would be “nothing!” However, if you were to ask the participants of this year’s Annual Lenten Teen Retreat held at the Taconic Retreat Center in Milan NY, they would be able to tie each of these elements together; they were all components of the event held from Friday, 1 April  to Sunday, 3 April 2016. Archbishop Michael, together with Father Jason Vansuch (Chairperson, Department of Youth Ministry),  Danielle Geeza and Janine Alpaugh (Department of Youth Ministry Assistants) developed a wonderful weekend program centered on the sometimes controversial topics of “Faith and Science” and how they need not oppose each other.

Peter Parsells, MS, PA-C and Heather Parsells, MD, led the educational sessions during which they shared their testimonies as two Orthodox professionals in the field of medical science. As medical professionals, husband and wife, Peter and Heather are extensions of God’s grace. Heather, a pediatric anesthesiologist, sees new life every day. Peter, a neuroscience physician assistant, witnesses God's healing presence through medical evaluations and procedures. Together, the couple compared and contrasted what it means to be a person born into Orthodoxy who came to discover the joys and wonders of science (Peter), versus a person rooted in the academics of science who later came to find the Orthodox Faith (Heather). In their testimonies, participants learned we can be people with immense scientific intelligence who are still grounded in our faith! They also entertained questions from participants.

A quaint chapel was assembled in the upper-room of the retreat center’s main building on Friday afternoon.  Participants arrived for registration, pizza, and icebreaker games later that evening. The group was blessed to have Archbishop Michael preside at Saturday’s Memorial Divine Liturgy with Father Jason and,  later in the evening, at Great Vespers. During their free time on Saturday the teens collectively played a heated game of basketball, but only after having climbed the retreat center’s outdoor rock wall and zip-lining through its wooded property -- a highlight of the weekend! Following Vespers and dinner, the group was divided into two teams and played “Minute to Win It,” a fun-filled competitive game coordinated by Janine and Danielle and modeled after the popular TV show. Participants stayed up late into the evening as they watched the movie “Do You Believe?” with Archbishop Michael, and then proceeded to have an informal Q&A session with their diocesan hierarch.

On the Sunday of the Veneration of the Cross, Father Jason served Divine Liturgy following a lesson on the service of preparation of the bread and wine, the Proskomedia. The scent of incense lingered in the air after each service throughout the weekend, leading many non-Orthodox from other visiting groups to sit in meditation taking in the beauty of our icons and peaceful environment.

After Sunday breakfast the weekend came to a close with participants feeling spiritually renewed and having gained many new Orthodox friends!

The Department of Youth Ministry is excited to announce that the next Lenten Teen Retreat is scheduled for March 2017, specific date and location to be determined.


If you would like to be put on an email list to be kept up-to-date on future youth activities, please go on-line and submit your information here:

"Faith and Science" - 04/02/16

(10 images)

Share This:

< PreviousNext >
You might also like:

On the Diocesan Calendar


June 30, 2018

NJ Deanery

Parish Council


Paramus NJ

details >


July 1, 2018

   100th Annversary

   of the Martyrdom of

   Saint Elizabeth

   "the Royal" New Martyr

Saint Nicholas Church

Cohoes NY

9:30 a.m.

invitation >


August 6, 2018

Feast-Day of the


of Our Lord


August 15, 2018

Feast-Day of the

Dormition of

the Theotokos


August 18, 2018


  Church School


Saints Peter & Paul Church

Syracuse NY

details >


August 25, 2018


  Church School


Christ the Savior Church

Paramus NJ

details >


August 25, 2018

 St. Andrew's

   Camp Annual


details & register >


September 8, 2018

Feast-Day of the

Nativity of

the Theotokos


September 14, 2018

   The Exaltation of the

   Life-Creating Cross


September 15, 2018

Music Workshop:

"Choir 101-102"

Holy Trinity Church

Rahway NJ


October 13, 2018

Music Workshop:

"for Readers, Part II"

   St. Vladimir's Seminary

   Crestwood NY


November 3, 2018

First Annual

"Bible Bowl"

Holy Trinity Church

Yonkers NY

10:00 a.m.

details & registration >

practice questions >


November 21, 2018

Feast-Day of the

Entrance of the

Theotokos into

the Temple


December 25, 2018

  Feast Day of the

  Nativity of Our

  Lord, God, and Savior

  Jesus Christ


Diocese of New York-New Jersey; 33 Hewitt Avenue; Bronxville, NY 10708; 914-779-6580

Powered by Orthodox Web Solutions