INVOCATION / MESSAGE
His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan, Prelate
Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America
82nd Olympics, Armenian Youth Federation, Providence, Rhode Island
Opening Ceremonies, Sunday, September 6, 2015
Thank you for inviting me, as you do each year, to open the Armenian Youth Federation Olympics. It is a great pleasure for me to be with you and to see you carry on the tradition of the Olympics that your parents and grandparents started 82 years ago.
Since its establishment in 1933, the AYF has been one of the most important forces in keeping our youth together. You can be proud of your past accomplishments, but always be aware that the future is filled with new and difficult challenges.
We are nearing the end of the historic year of 2015—the centennial year of the Armenian Genocide. We witnessed so many extraordinary events including the canonization of the Armenian Martyrs in Etchmiadzin; the Mass at the Vatican by Pope Francis; the event-filled three days in Washington presided by His Holiness Karekin II and His Holiness Aram I; the gathering at Times Square with more than 15,000 in attendance; the incredible media blitz on television, radio, newspapers, and the internet.
We can rejoice in the fact that it was the work of generations, including your generation, your parents generation and your grandparents generation, that successfully brought us to this historic point: We have prevailed!
The year will end, but our duty as Armenians never ends. We must make every effort to continue the momentum of the Centennial. We must do everything to strengthen our communities. In this regard, I was so happy to see many of you participating in welcoming His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, in May and June during his pontifical visit to the Eastern Prelacy. His Holiness’s major theme was Faithfulness—faithfulness to our Armenian Christian roots. At every opportunity His Holiness promoted the active engagement of our youth in the life of our nation.
We have an obligation to continue the work of our ancestors, who established communities in new places, built churches, schools, and community centers under the most difficult of circumstances. It is now our duty to build on the solid foundation that was built by the survivors and their children, utilizing new ideas and methods for the next generation of Armenian Americans.
I ask you to join hand-in-hand and heart-to-heart in our collective journey as Armenian Americans with the goal of elevating our religious and community life. By persevering with each other and for each other our lives will be enriched and our nation will thrive.
Let us pray and give thanks to the Almighty and be strengthened by the grace of his love and wisdom.