Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Two days ago, on Holy Tuesday, following our decades-old tradition, I visited the Hovnanian Day School in New Jersey accompanied by Very Reverend Father Sahag Yemishian, the Pastor of Sts. Vartanantz Church and Vicar, where we offered the Eastertime Home Blessing Service for the faculty and students.
After the service, a short yet vivid program with Armenian and English songs took place, followed by a Question-Answer session, which was indeed amazing because of the extraordinary and innocent questions. The questions ranged from asking about the different interior blue and purple colors of the black robes’ sleeves of the Vartabed and Bishop; the meaning of Velarium; of Panakia; the length of theological studies for ordination a priest; to an unexpected question: Who is greater, a Vartabed or a Bishop?
Truly confessing, this was a challenging session, yet one of the most inspiring moments, when I felt the warmest experience with our youngest generation, which is willing to learn and believe consciously in order to maintain on their Armenian-Christian identity.
The same evening, after the Service to commemorate the Wise Virgins (Matthew 25) at Saint Sarkis Church in Douglaston and our Prayer-hour dedicated to Artsakh and Syrian Armenians, when I was writing my experience with the students, I received an interesting email, headed “Billionaire with a Heart: The Wealthiest Person in New York is Giving Away Billions.” Michael Bloomberg, the CEO of Bloomberg LP, a financial, software data and media company, who is ranked the seventh richest person in the world, has distributed $14.4 billion dollars for various organizations over his lifetime.
More than the billionaire’s wealth and the amount of his distribution, my attention was caught by the heading of this article, “Billionaire with a Heart.” Surely, the true wealth of an individual is not just in the bank, but it is always found in the heart, for God looks at our heart and is pleased to see how through good works and kindness will we become His authentic children.
Having said this, once again I am so thankful to our Merciful and loving Heavenly Father, that with the unconditional commitment and love of our Pastors, Board of Trustees, parishioners and friends, a total of $105,627 has been raised for our Syrian Armenian brothers and sisters, who due to the recent earthquake have lost not only their properties and businesses, but also their health and peace of minds and hearts. I am sure that with our support the pain of their deep wounds will be healed.
May the Almighty Lord make us all a caring and sharing community to overcome calamities and visible and invisible powers and enemies, always being renewed and energized in the spirit of the Holy Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.