Over Columbus Day weekend, more than 200 teenagers gathered at the St. Peter Armenian Church of Watervliet, NY, for the ACYOA Juniors annual Fall Sports Weekend. The parish hosted 217 participants from 19 parishes across the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, for a weekend of worship, sports, and fellowship.
The Rev. Fr. Stepanos Doudoukjian, pastor of St. Peter Church, and Yn. Paulette Doudoukjian worked alongside many dedicated community members to ensure the success of the weekend. Events were held at the church and the gym of Christian Brothers Academy; participants were housed with local families.
Fr. Mardiros Chevian, dean of St. Nersess Seminary, and Fr. Gomidas Zohrabian, pastor of the St. George Church of Hartford, CT, were on hand for parts of the event. Kathryn Ashbahian, of the Diocese’s Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, participated and photographed throughout the weekend, which ran Friday evening through Monday morning, October 5-8.
“Reach New HYE-ghts” was the theme the host parish ACYOA Juniors chose as for weekend—and new heights were certainly achieved.
At points throughout the weekend, 16 ACYOA Juniors from Watervliet shared brief spiritual reflections with their peers, chaperones, and parents.
The youths connected a bible passage from St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans (8:31-39) to teenage life, school, work, and family, weaving examples of how God’s love through Jesus Christ helps them deal with struggles and challenges.
Focusing on the Apostle’s words—“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, … nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord”—the young presenters shared inspirational personal examples of how they put their own faith into action, and how they have felt the presence of God’s love.
Saturday, participants played sports and individual games (see the standings below), had dinner with their host families, and returned to St. Peter Church for evening activities. They enjoyed an outdoor dance party complete with a food truck and bonfire.
To Grow and Improve
On Sunday morning, Fr. Doudoukjian celebrated the Divine Liturgy and gave an uplifting sermon, cleverly utilizing sports equipment as props to make his homiletic point. Just as an athlete reviews old performances in order to grow and improve, he said, so must Christians review their actions and habits in order to grow and strengthen their faith.
That evening, participants gathered at Treviso by Mallozzi’s for an Italian banquet, awards ceremony, and dance. The weekend concluded Monday morning with a farewell choreg breakfast.
Click on the link to view photos of the 2018 ACYOA Juniors Sports Weekend.
2018 ACYOA Juniors Sport Weekend Standings
1st: Alex Hananian—St. James, Watertown, MA
2nd: Colby Madden—St. James, Watertown, MA
1st: Nick Budka—St. Peter, Watervliet, NY
2nd: Shahe Jebejian—St. Leon, Fair Lawn, NJ
1st: Tanya Akian—St. Leon, Fair Lawn, NJ
2nd: Victor Hermes—St. Leon, Fair Lawn, NJ
1st: Armand Zeibari—Wynnewood, PA
2nd: Marianna Lilla—St. James, Watertown, MA
Girls’ Ping Pong
1st: Mia Setrakian—St. Leon, Fair Lawn, NJ
2nd: Elsa Kevorkian—St. Leon, Fair Lawn, NJ
Boys’ Ping Pong
1st: Shahe Jebejian—St. Leon, Fair Lawn, NJ
2nd: Michael Nargizian—St. Leon, Fair Lawn, NJ
1st: Philly ‘A’ Team
2nd: St. Leon, Fair Lawn, NJ
1st: St. Leon, Fair Lawn, NJ
2nd: Philly ‘A’ Team
1st: St. Leon, Fair Lawn, NJ
2nd: St. Mary, Washington, DC
Overall Sports Champion Chapter
St. Leon, Fair Lawn, NJ
Mary Cimen—St. James, Watertown, MA
Hagop Derian—St. Peter, Watervliet, NY
Exemplary Christian Spirit
Edward Khachatryan—Holy Trinity, Cambridge, MA