Bishop Daniel spent July 15 through 18 on a tour of several New England communities, to worship and preach among the faithful, and to meet with regional clergy.
He began in Watertown, MA, on Thursday, July 15 (pictured above), where he led a Vespers service with the deacons, choir members, and office staff of St. James Church, assisted by pastor Fr. Arakel Aljalian. The evening continued with an engaging discussion of the Primate’s vision for the Diocese, “Building Up the Body of Christ,” involving the deacons and choir members. Afterwards, all adjourned to a local restaurant for dinner as guests of Dn. James Najarian.
Friday, July 16 was spent at Holy Trinity Church (Cambridge, MA), where the Primate led a meeting of clergy from the New England region, hosted by parish pastor Fr. Vasken Kouzouian. A special topic of discussion involved continuing concerns over the pandemic, and its effect on church life. Bishop Daniel explained that the Diocese would proceed cautiously in rolling back the various health restrictions, in the face of a possible resurgence of the virus. The clergy also discussed the “Building Up the Body of Christ” vision and their role in advancing it.
That same evening the Primate paid a pastoral visit to the Hye Pointe Church (Bradford, MA). With their sanctuary currently under construction, parishioners gathered in the unfinished shell of the church for a Vespers service. The Primate preached on the theme of “So close”—a reference to the journey the community has undertaken, and is near to completing, in order to build a new church. “After your work and sacrifice to get you to this point,” he told the faithful, “you are so close now that you can feel it. Yet there is still more to be done.” Bishop Daniel compared the task of building a physical structure to the spiritual work of “Building Up the Body of Christ”: the effort taken up the entire church, which must always be moving forward—and for which there is always something more to do.
On Saturday, July 17, Bishop Daniel traveled to Providence, RI, to preside over the baptism of the twin grandsons of Fr. Shnork Souin, Sebastian and Luca. The service took place at the city’s Sts. Sahag and Mesrob Church, where Fr. Souin serves as pastor.
Bishop Daniel was at the church again on Sunday, July 18, to preside over the badarak and deliver a homily on the day’s reading from St. Matthew’s gospel. He reflected on the question posed to Christ by his disciples—“Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”—and Jesus’ surprising answer that all must “become as little children.” The Bishop stressed how Jesus thus redefined the concept of “greatness,” rejecting the human standards of wealth, fame, or status, and replacing these with God’s perspective in which care for the least among us is the measure of worthiness.
Click the following link to watch Bishop Daniel’s sermon at Sts. Sahag and Mesrob Church, on the parish Facebook page (the sermon begins about 30 minutes into the recording).
Click here to view photos from the Primate’s visits to New England parishes.