The St. Thomas Church of Tenafly, NJ, celebrated the 52nd anniversary of it consecration with a celebratory banquet on April 9, 2017, presided over by Diocesan Primate Archbishop Khajag Barsamian. As in past years, the Primate celebrated the Divine Liturgy and delivered the homily.
The banquet commenced with a procession of parish council members and honorees escorting the Primate and parish pastor the Very Rev. Fr. Papken Anoushian to the dais. The Primate delivered the invocation followed by a welcoming toast by parish council chair Dr. Levon Capan.
The highpoint of the banquet was the presentation of the “St. Thomas Award” to Paul Bourghol and John Torigian, two worthy parishioners. In presenting the award, Fr. Anoushian recounted the devotion, contributions, and good works accomplished by both individuals. With pride he read the inscription on the each of the plaques: “For Faithful and Devoted Service to God and His Church.”
Both honorees offered eloquent remarks about their faith and relationship with the Armenian Church, and mentioned that they followed their parents’ example in their involvement at St. Thomas.
Susan Shamamian served as the mistress of ceremonies. Entertainment for the day showcased the Children’s Orchestra directed by Diana Bourghol (wife of honoree Paul Bourghol). The children beautifully preformed a few musical pieces to the delight of their families. Also, Matthew Bourghol, a St. Thomas acolyte, sang two sharagans with great feeling. Matthew (son of Paul and Diana) has been trained by Fr. Anoushian and has remarkable vocal ability to render the beautiful Armenian liturgy.
Following the concert, Fr. Anoushian warmly thanked Mrs. Bourghol for her initiative in organizing the Children’s Orchestra and presented her with a rendering of a religious icon.
Fr. Anoushian extended his heartfelt gratitude to Gregory and Mary Ann Saraydarian for underwriting the expense of the banquet and praised Mrs. Saraydarian’s remark that they were making their donation “for the love of St. Thomas.”
As Palm Sunday is also ACYOA Day, the youths participated by helping to serve at the banquet. ACYOA Juniors President, Alec Jamgotchian and Treasurer Matthew Bourghol presented Hayr Soorp with a $1,000 check as their contribution in support of St. Thomas.
An important facet of the parish’s Palm Sunday is the Cake Sale fundraiser. This year’s chairs were Sarkis and Maral Jebejian, who were enthusiastically thanked by Fr. Anoushian for spearheading this important fundraiser.
In his address, Archbishop Barsamian extended his warm congratulations to the honorees for their commendable dedication and parishioners. He also remarked that he was happy to once again be present at St. Thomas Church on Palm Sunday to celebrate the church’s consecration anniversary. He concluded the proceedings with a benediction prayer.
By Madlen Setian