Thursday, June 24, 2010

Two Monastery Visits

“But if you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deut 4:29) Seeking God’s will and desiring to experience different monasteries and their way of life and prayer, Sr. Julie and I ventured out to Holy Annunciation Monastery in Sugarloaf, Pennsylvania. Since they are a cloistered community, we weren’t able to interact much with the sisters, but we were able to pray with them in their chapel and were uplifted by their harmonious singing. We stayed in their guest house and shared light-hearted conversations with Sister Emmanuel who graciously served our meals in their guest dining room. They served us their fresh bakery, homemade butter, eggnog and famous cheesecake. We were blessed with fresh cow’s milk daily. We probably gained a few pounds during our visit. Mother Marija gave us a tour of their grounds and proudly showed us their miniature horses which they raise along with sheep, angora rabbits, and two cows.

Afterwards we visited the Holy Myrrhbearers Orthodox Monastery in Otego, New York. We enjoyed the opportunity to pray with the sisters and eat with them. We witnessed their hard work in the garden, barn and fields as they cared for their goats and sheep. We were edified by their joy. I had the opportunity to milk one of their goats. I think I bonded with the goat! Sr. Julie and I also enjoyed feeding some of the baby goats as they guzzled down milk from a bottle. We actually drank the goat’s milk and it was surprisingly delicious! Mother Raphaela offered us two goats to take home with us, but we really aren’t prepared to take proper care of them…who knows, maybe we will in the future, especially in our efforts to rid the massive poison ivy growing in the woods where we hope to have our prayer walk!

We also traveled with the Holy Myrrhbearers to the annual pilgrimage at St. Tikhon Monastery in South Canaan, Pennsylvania. What a beautiful Divine Liturgy. It was two and a half hours long, but didn’t seem like it. Our holy excursion to Pennsylvania and New York was a wonderful experience. We hope to return again. As we continue to seek God’s will with all our hearts and souls, we are eternally grateful to Christ, our Bridegroom, for all the blessings and love experienced. I believe that the relationships that developed during our brief visit will be life-long and fruitful.

You are welcome to view additional photos from our trip:
Monastery Visits

Monday, June 14, 2010

Eternal Memory, Metropolitan Basil

Our Metropolitan (Archbishop), Basil Schott, died early Thursday morning, June 10, ending his year-long battle with cancer.  He will certainly be missed by the Church.  Sr. Julie has fond memories of him when he would stop in at her home parish of St. Joseph in Brecksville, Ohio, when he was the bishop of our Eparchy of Parma (1996-2002), and Sr. Celeste worked with him at the Pittsburgh chancery when she was Director of Youth Ministry for the Archeparchy.  Please keep him and his family in your prayers.  We will be attending his funeral in Pittsburgh on Friday, June 18.

Please also keep our Church in your prayers and those who will be choosing the new Metropolitan.  May the Holy Spirit be poured out on them.

May God grant to His servant the Priest Metropolitan Basil Eternal Memory and Blessed Repose!

Obituary in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Spring Work Day

Friends and new volunteers joined us on Saturday, May 22, for a productive spring work day.  Projects tackled included weeding and clearing out flowerbeds, mulching, pruning bushes, painting a bedroom, cleaning windows and blinds, finishing various tasks around the house and even cutting down a tree!  An afternoon thunderstorm barely slowed the work...we put everyone to work inside!  At 5:00 the work was set aside for the celebration of Great Vespers for the Feast of Pentecost, celebrated by Fr. Stephen Titko.  Our little chapel was bursting with sound as we commemorated the descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles and received the blessed bread.  Afterward we got the grill going and enjoyed a delicious cookout.  God even blessed us with a rainbow as we ate (which Sr. Celeste was the first to spot, as usual!). 

A huge thank-you goes out to all who came to share their hands, talents and joy with us!  The energy throughout the monastery and grounds was uplifting.  Perhaps it was the Holy Spirit?

Please view our pictures from the work day:
Spring 2010 Work Day