On Saturday, April 22, the Armenian Church at Hye Pointe of Bradford, MA, celebrated the opening of its “Family Life and Cultural Center,” with Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese, presiding over the ceremony.
The Primate led a blessing service of the newly-built facility before helping to cut the ribbon to officially open the Family Life and Cultural Center.
Also participating in the opening ceremony for the complex were the Rev. Fr. Mardiros Chevian, dean of St. Nersess Armenian Seminary; Very Rev. Fr. Simeon Odabashian, vicar of the Eastern Diocese; and pastors of regional Diocesan churches: the Rev. Fr. Kapriel Mouradjian, Rev. Fr. Krikor Sabounjian, Rev. Fr. Vasken Kouzouian, Rev. Fr. Khachatur Kesablyan. Also taking part were the Rev. Fr. Stephan Baljian, and Rt. Rev. Leonard Faris.
The Armenian Church of Hye Pointe formed in 2002 with the merger of St. Gregory Church of Haverhill, MA, and Holy Cross Church of Lawrence, MA. The new parish brought together the two communities to strengthen and unify the Armenian community located in Massachusetts’ Merrimack Valley. The combined parish subsequently purchased nine acres of land to build a new church and community complex.
The Family Life and Cultural Center was the result of years of hard work and effort after the merger of the two parishes and its opening completes the second phase of the Hye Pointe church complex less than a year after construction began.
Plans continue to move forward on building a new sanctuary on the church grounds; in the interim, the parish will utilize the Family Life and Cultural Center for Divine Liturgy services.
The center features offices, classrooms, conference rooms and a choir room as well as a hall to host events.
“The new Family Life Center will provide us the needed space for fellowship and gatherings than our current facilities,” said Fr. Vart Gyozalyan, pastor of the Armenian Church of Hye Pointe. “The new Family Life and Cultural Center will allow us further growth for our worship, educational and fellowship experiences.”
After the ribbon cutting, a celebratory banquet was held in the new center’s hall with a program including a dance performance by the Sayat Nova Dance Company of Boston. Houry Gebeshian, an American-Armenian gymnast who represented Armenia in the 2016 Summer Olympics, was the guest speaker and spoke about her experience in Rio de Janeiro last summer.
Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini also offered remarks and congratulated the parish, as did Diocesan Council chair James Kalustian.
In a token of appreciation and friendship, Fr. John Delaney and Fr. Benjamin LeTran of the nearby Sacred Hearts Parish Catholic Church donated $10,000 to the Armenian Church of Hye Pointe’s Building Fund. The Armenian Church of Hye Pointe used the Sacred Hearts sanctuary to celebrate badarak during the construction of the Family Life Center.
In a return gesture of generosity and appreciation, the Armenian Church of Hye Pointe gave icons of St. Paul and St. Bartholomew to Sacred Hearts Church as a symbol of friendship between the two parishes. Icons of St. Peter and St. Thaddeus will be hung at the Hye Pointe church.
“It is a great joy to be here to see how far this parish has come since it was formed not so long ago,” said Archbishop Barsamian. “This new Family Life and Cultural Center for the Armenian Church of Hye Pointe is a sign of the strength and growth of the Armenian community in Massachusetts.”