Sunday of the Prodigal Son

Sunday Messenger

February 25, 2018

Sunday of the Prodigal Son

Christianity is a Celebration

We can learn from the prodigal son. Out of a desire to be independent or autonomous, what happens when we depart from who and what we were created to be – children of our Father in communion with Him? Sin is not merely a transgression of rules, but a condition, a disease of which symptoms include preferring something else to God, whatever that distraction that alienates us from Him may be. We leave God’s care in all kinds of ways, finding whatever cheap substitute. We can all create our own list. But there is hope. The beginning of the victory over sin, the victory over death, is Christ’s death. At the Cross, Jesus “trampled down death by death, and Badarak is a proclamation of this victory.

Christianity is proclamation and a celebration, a confluence of penance and thanksgiving. Salvation has been accomplished, and Christ restored us back to what He originally created us to be – in communion with Him. So how do we respond? We give thanks and celebrate. He led us back to the Garden to feed from the Tree of Life – His own Body and Blood, not as a magic pill that cleanses us from our bad deeds, but for healing and restoration of our diseased condition of sin, that which draws us away from the eternal life and bliss we enjoy as children of “Our Father.”
In Badarak, the people of God recall, proclaim for themselves, celebrate, and give thanks for the mystery of our salvation already accomplished by Christ. Like the father in the parable, our Father has gifted us with a ring, the symbol of family identity and adoption (See Haggai 2:23), and a robe, a symbol of righteousness granted by baptism (see Galatians 3:27). Is that reason enough to celebrate and eat at the Table provided by the Father, who sent His only Son to heal the world of sin and lead us back to the Garden? So arrive on time! Don’t be late for the party! Let’s celebrate what’s been done for us out of the Father’s inexhaustible love. We have been lost and now we are found! We were dead and have been made alive!

The parable leaves us with a question that forces us to look at ourselves, individually and as a parish community. The older brother in the parable refused to celebrate, refused the invitation of his father, claiming his father never threw this kind of celebration for him. The father simply tells the son that everything he owns is also his, but there is a time to celebrate: when someone who has been lost is found, when someone who was dead is now alive. The younger son wasn’t living his faith the way he should, but eventually returned home. But how are we like the older son? What does it say about us if we are not celebrating the way we should?
By Dn. Eric Vozzy


2Corinthians 6: 1-7:1 (pages 165-166) New Testament
Luke 15: 1-32 (pages 71-72) New Testament – (Please follow the Armenian Reading in your Bible)
Isaiah 54: 11-55:13 (pages 731 – 732) Old Testament

REQUIEM SERVICES: : Karasoonk (40th Day memorial Service) today will be for:

– LULA BRANN on the 40th Day of Her eternal life requested by David and Marta Brann.

Hokehankist today will be for:

– TAMAR RIZK-ALLAN requested by her mother, Marie Rizk-Allan, and her sisters, Angel Rizk-Allan, Linda Day and Laura Rizk-Allan.

“Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day.”(1 Kings 8:28b). Let us be as servants before God today as we pray for our sisters and brothers: Alyce Jilajian, Annabelle Alexanian, Alice Charles, Pearl Jamgochian, & Albert Santerian. We especially ask you to pray for the victims, families and students of the tragic school shooting in South Florida who are suffering in countless ways. May God be a strong presence in their lives.

ALTAR CANDLES are donated today by David and Marta Brann in loving memory of LULA BRANN on the 40th Day of Her eternal life.

FELLOWSHIP HOUR: You are invited, long time parishioners, new members, and first time visitors, please join us after Badarak in our lovely hall for Christian fellowship, enjoy a cup of coffee or tea, and greet fellow parishioners and Der Hayr. The coffee hour begins when Der Hayr blesses the table. There are containers available to deposit your trash before leaving the hall. We appreciate your patience, cooperation, and support. Thank you.

WELCOME: We extend a warm welcome to today’s guest celebrant and preacher, Rev. Fr. Mardiros Chevian, the Dean of St. Nersess Armenian Seminary, who is visiting us this weekend along with four seminarians: Deacons Alex Calikyan, Albert Hambardzumyan, Michael Sabounjian and Sub-deacon Armen Terjimanian. We invite the faithful to greet our guests and join us for a light luncheon and a presentation on the seminary following Badarak.

ELEVATOR FUND UPDATE: The good news is that the installation of our elevator is complete and up and running. In the short time since it’s completion, we have seen how it has helped our Choir members, seniors, parents with toddlers and infants in strollers being able to access the Sanctuary and Choir Loft with ease. If you have not already contributed to this much needed addition to our parish home, and whether you currently use the elevator or not, think of all the people who will benefit from its use in the years to come. A donation in any amount is welcomed. Please contact Merle Santerian, at 215-947-3777, or send your check to the church office with “Elevator Fund” in the lower left hand corner ” Memo” section of your check. Thank you and God bless you! Fr. Hakob, Parish Council and Elevator Committee

FRIDAY NIGHT LENTEN PROGRAM: The third program in our six-part Lenten series will take place next Friday, March 2 with a presentation by the Very Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan, Director of the Zohrab Information Center of the Diocese of the Armenian Church. Hayr Daniel’s topic, “The Holy Badarak: What They Never Taught You,” promises to be, as always, a compelling presentation. The evening will begin with worship at 6:30 followed by a Pot Luck dinner. We ask our faithful to please bring along a Lenten dish to contribute to our dinner.

Merle Santerian is seeking parishioners to help her by taking over, preparing and serving at the Sunday Fellowship Hour once a month. A husband and wife team would be nice, or any two parishioners who wish to do it together. Merle would prepare a schedule for those who are interested, where once a month they would run a regular Sunday Fellowship Coffee Hour. Please contact Merle at Coffee Hour, or by cell phone, 215-205-1507; home phone, 215-947-3777, to let her know you are interested and willing to take on this job. She will be happy to fill you in on what the job involves.

??QUESTION BOX?? If you have ever had a question or been puzzled about some aspect of our faith or our church, this is the opportunity to get some answers. We have provided a “question box” which will be placed in the narthex during Liturgy and in the lobby during Fellowship. Simply take a blank card and write your question (no signature required); feel free to ask as many questions as you wish. Answers will be provided at our March 16 Friday Night Lenten Program, “Everything You Wanted to Know About Our Faith But Were Afraid to Ask.”

FAR UPDATE: Anna, 5, lives with her mother, Geghecik and brother Rafik in Syunik Province. Geghecik has been out of work for a long time, and with few options for employment, struggles to make ends meet. Anna’s father, Ashot ,died in a car crash in 2015. Since his death, it has been extraordinarily hard for this family. This year, Anna was included in the Children of Armenia Sponsorship Program (CASP), through which she will receive annual financial support from a U.S. family until she turns 18. CASP stipends allow families to afford the additional things they are often unable to, like firewood, gas, or school supplies. To read more, go to FAR’s blog To support programs like CASP, go to

Anniversary Celebration – This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the consecration of our beloved St. Vartan Cathedral in New York. Plans are underway to charter a bus for those interested in attending Badarak on Sunday, May 6, at the Cathedral. Departure would be from our church parking by 7:30 am on that day and returning about 7 pm. Cost per person, round trip will be approximately $35.00. Complimentary refreshments will be served after Badarak. If you are interested in being a part of this celebration, please contact Jeanette Der Hagopian at 215-672-4188 or Seats are limited. In order to reserve the size bus that we need, we ask for your response no later than March 4, 2018. UNLESS WE HEAR FROM YOU, NO BUS WILL BE RESERVED.

Armenian Sisters Academy
Open House
March 15, 2018 9:00 -11:30 a.m. Join us for a look into the lives of ASA students. The open house will include a tour with our student ambassadors, followed by open discussion with faculty, staff, and parents. RSVP to or 610-687-4100

CHURCH CALENDAR (please mark your calendars)

Feb 23 Lenten Program: Rev. Fr. Mardiros Chevian/Seminarians
Feb 24 ACYOA Retreat
Feb 25 Guest Celebrant: Rev. Fr. Mardiros Chevian
Fellowship Program: St. Nersess Seminary

Mar 2 Lenten Program: V. Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan
Mar 9 Lenten Program: V. Rev. Fr. Mesrop Parsamyan
Mar 16 Lenten Program: Ani Peckjian
Mar 23 Lenten Program: Holy Jeopardy
Mar 25 Palm Sunday: ACYOA Day/ Palm Sunday Banquet

A GENTLE REMINDER – We wish to remind our parishioners that, by order of the Fire Department, no parking is allowed in the Fire Lane, which is the area next to the lawn and the building in the parking lot. In addition, we have noticed cars who have no handicapped placard or identifying license plate parked in the handicapped spaces, especially behind the building, We ask for your courtesy in respecting the rules and leaving the handicapped spaces for those who truly need them.

THE NICENE CREED/ HAVADAMK – This is the Profession of our Faith which is recited every Sunday moments after the Gospel is read from the altar. Sometimes it is sung, but more often it is recited by the Deacons and/or the Choir. We invite you to affirm your own “Profession of Faith” by reciting along with us. God longs for all of us to express our faith and devotion to Him.

THE KISS OF PEACE: After the gifts of the Eucharist are brought to the Altar Table, the deacon proclaims, “Greet one another with a holy kiss.” The person giving the greetings says, Kristos ee mech mer Haydnetsav – Christ is revealed amongst us. The recipient would respond, Orhnial eh Haydnootiunun Kristosee – Blessed is the revelation of Christ.

Anyone who wishes to request any Requiem Services MUST inform the office by 1:30pm Wednesday the week before. If you also want to sponsor the Fellowship Hour you MUST call Merle Santerian at 215-947-3777.

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– If the answer to any of these questions is YES, please visit our parish website at

WE ASK THAT EVERYONE KINDLY TURN OFF ALL CELL PHONES and all other such electronic devices prior to entering the sanctuary out of respect for the sanctity of our services.