ACYOA Juniors gathered over Memorial Day weekend at St. James Church of Watertown, MA, for the 43rd annual Hye M’rtsoom program. The parish hosted 251 participants from 17 parishes across the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, for a weekend of worship, sports, and fellowship.
The new Diocesan Primate, the Very Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan, spent time among the teens gathered in Watertown, shuttling between the Juniors event and the ACYOA Seniors Assembly taking place concurrently in New York.
Parish pastor the Rev. Fr. Arakel and Yn. Natasha Aljalian worked alongside parish youth minister Maria Derderian and community members to ensure the success of the weekend. Events were held at the Watetown church’s Charles Mosesian Cultural and Youth Center, with participants housed among local families.
The Very Rev. Fr. Mesrop Parsamyan, Diocesan Director of Ministries, and Kathryn Ashbahian, of the Diocese’s Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, visited throughout the weekend.
During a Saturday morning service, the participants gathered in the chapel and heard an inspiring message by Diocesan Primate Fr. Daniel Findikyan.
Sports and Service
Fr. Findikyan introduced himself to the group of young people ages 13 to 18, and explained his role and responsibilities as Primate, sharing his excitement for the future of the church, and encouraging the youth to introduce themselves to him so that they would recognize him at future events.
Participants also created “Hye-lights” of themselves, which included a selfie and a description of the activities they like to do to make them a light in the world.
Halfway through the sports, participants gathered in the kitchen to make hundreds of sandwiches for Pine Street Inn, a Boston shelter that serves the area’s homeless population.
Once the sports concluded for the day, participants headed home for dinner with their host families and then returned to St. James for an evening dance and activities.
On Sunday, May 29, Fr. Arakel Aljalian celebrated the Divine Liturgy and Fr. Mesrop Parsamyan delivered a sermon on the weekend’s theme, “Be the Hye-Light.” He shared a bit of his own experience growing up as a youth who loved sports, and he emphasized the beauty in Sports Weekend bringing teens from all across the country together for fellowship and fun.
On Sunday evening, participants gathered at St. James Church for dinner and an awards ceremony and enjoyed dancing to Armenian and American music.
Monday morning, everyone gathered for a farewell breakfast before heading back to their parish communities.
ACYOA Central Council Awards
The “Archbishop Tiran Nersoyan Service Award” was given to Sevan Hacopian of Holy Translators Church (Framingham, MA) as an ACYOA Junior who has served the Armenian Church with the same humility and compassion as the late founder of the ACYOA.
The “Archbishop Tiran Nersoyan Leadership Award” was given to Madeleine Kachikian of St. Leon Church (Fair Lawn, NJ) as an ACYOA Junior who has taken on leadership roles within her ACYOA chapter and has approached those roles with Christian love, understanding, and patience.
The “Archbishop Tiran Nersoyan Vision Award” was given to Diana Margaryan of Holy Trinity Church (Cambridge, MA) as an ACYOA Junior who has established programs that incorporate the five circles of the cross (education, worship, service, witness and fellowship) and who has made a lasting impression on her ACYOA chapter.
The “ACYOA Junior Chapter ‘A’ Award” was given to the chapter of Sts. Vartanantz Church (Chelmsford, MA) for its work as an ACYOA Junior organization that has done its best to create an atmosphere conducive to Christian love, education, and service.
Click here to view photos of the 2018 Hye M’rtsoom weekend.
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Individual Sports Awards
1st Place: David Manoukian – Holy Trinity, Cambridge, MA
2nd Place: Shahe DerTorossian – St. James, Watertown, MA
1st Place: Vahan Hovanessian – St. Sahag and St. Mesrob, Wynnewood, PA
2nd Place: Benjamin Bejoian – Holy Translators, Framingham, MA
1st Place: Chris Kapikian – St. Sahag and St. Mesrob, Wynnewood, PA
2nd Place: Marianna Lilla – St. James, Watertown, MA
1st Place: Haik Safaryan – Holy Trinity, Cheltenham, PA
2nd Place: Chris Gigian – St. James, Watertown, MA
1st Place: Sophia Naroian – Holy Translators, Framingham, MA
2nd Place: Nicole Yaghdjian – Holy Martyrs, Bayside, NY
1st Place: Michael Nargizian – St. Leon, Fair Lawn, NJ
2nd Place: Andre Balian – St. Leon, Fair Lawn, NJ
Team Sports Awards
1st Place: St. Leon – Fair Lawn, NJ
2nd Place: St. Sahag and St. Mesrob, Wynnewood, PA
1st Place: Holy Martyrs, Bayside, NY
2nd Place: St. Leon A, Fair Lawn, NJ
1st Place: Holy Martyrs A, Bayside, NY
2nd Place: Holy Translators, Framingham, MA
Boys: Jay Wiebe – Holy Martyrs, Bayside, NY
Girls: Maddie Kachikian – St. Leon, Fair Lawn, NJ
Holy Martyrs, Bayside, NY
By Kathryn Ashbahian