85 Years of Ministry

Yesterday my parish celebrated her patronal feast day. We also celebrated 85 years of ministry here in Southbridge. 85 years ago a group of faithful people from Eastern Europe came to Southbridge in search of a better life for them and their children. One of the first things they did was to establish a church community and bring in a priest.

I remember years ago whilst I was in the Army and my unit was preparing for a deployment to Bosnia. An Army intelligence officer came to give us a briefing and during the briefing he said how shocked he was that the people in Bosnia would build a church before they would rebuild their houses or schools or hospitals. He did not get it. Faith is important to people.

Southbridge is much different today than it was 85 years ago. American Optical is gone and will not be back. Most of the neighborhood around the church is no longer Romanian, Albanian, and Greek it is mostly Hispanic now. Most of the parishioners live our of town and cannot walk to church. But the Church is still here.

Yesterday we celebrated the Divine Liturgy with our friends from St. Nicholas Albanian Orthodox Church here in Town. A few years back we decided to close our churches on each others feast days and worship together. We will do the same on December 6th. It was such a blessing to have a church filled to capacity with people. All worshiping together and remembering. Remembering those who came before us and sacrificed to build their church.

During the sermon I asked what the legacy would be that we would leave to those who come after us? I don’t have the answer as I am only here for a short time. There have been many before me and please God many after me. I feel blessed and honored to be their pastor and although I do not tell them that often enough it is true. We have had our moments, and what relationship has not, but I am truly blessed. Blessed with great people but also blessed to be serving God in this Community.

After Liturgy we had our annual banquet in the parish hall. What a great day! We had a presentation from IOCC linking us to the greater Orthodox Church and I was pleased to see people using the envelopes that were in the tables to make a donation, of whatever they could afford, to this great work of our American Orthodox Church.

When everyone had left, and I was walking around shutting off all the lights and turning the heat down I had a moment to reflect. I came into our museum and stood in front of the picture of the founding families of our church. I thanked them and asked them to pray for us. They did they hard work, the built the church, the buildings and the community. They left it in our care.

What is the legacy we will leave to those who come after us?

error: Content is protected !!