Sunday of the Prodigal Son

Sunday Messenger

March 17, 2019

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 in which symptoms include preferring things to ultimately fulfill us other than God, thus alienating us from him, whatever those distractions 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 loving 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. All of us, of course, are like him. But how are we like the olderson? 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: Hokehankist today will be for:

– PEARL SERABIAN JOSEPHS and MARY DIMERJIAN SERABIAN requested by Larry and Dorothy Grocott.
– MARDIROS and YESTER ERGENIAN requested by Markrid and Nazareth Keshishian; Arous Keshishian and Family.

“Now, my God, may your eyes be open and your ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place (2 Chron 6:40). Please pray for Rev. Fr. Shnork Souin, Tomas Montanez, Alice Charles, Pearl Jamgochian and Tyrome Thompson for a return to improved health and to feel the presence of God in their lives. Pray also for those you know who have lost a loved one. Pray for and reach out to those who are going through hardship. Remember to pray for our country and her leaders so that peace and kindness can prevail.

COFFEE HOUR: is sponsored today by Larry and Dorothy Grocott in loving memory of PEARL SERABIAN JOSEPHS and MARY DIMERJIAN SERABIAN. All are welcome.

ALTAR FLOWERS & CANDLES are donated to by Larry and Dorothy Grocott in loving memory of PEARL SERABIAN JOSEPHS and MARY DIMERJIAN SERABIAN.

SAINTLY WOMEN’S DAY RETREAT –  Register for the SWD Retreat on March 23 – see flyer for more details.

PARISH DIRECTORY: The 2019 update of the Parish Directory is available in the Narthex and the Parish Office. Please pick up a copy. If you find that your information is not what you expected, please submit corrections to or call at 301-351-7669 and copy the Parish Office.

PALM SUNDAY BANQUET: Sunday, April 14, 2019, is ACYOA DAY. Immediately following Church Services, ACYOA is sponsoring a Banquet. Donations: Adults $25.00 – Children ages 7 to 12 yrs. $8.00 – Children 6 and under Free. No tickets will be sold at the door. For reservations, please send in your check by the Deadline: April 7, 2019.

COFFEE HOUR: This year we are looking for individuals or families, to run a Coffee Hour each Sunday. (Those who have been running it, are overloaded with doing more than one job on Sundays.) There are sign-up sheets for the next 4 month of Sundays. Anyone wishing to sponsor a special Coffee Hour (Birthday, Anniversary, 40 Days or more, etc.) other than the normal Coffee Hour must contact Merle Santerian 215-205-1507, to make arrangements 2 weeks ahead of time. Under the new scheduling, if a Sunday has no one signed up on the Board, to run the Coffee Hour, there will be no Coffee Hour that Sunday. So, please volunteer and let’s fill all the Sundays in on the Schedule. It is not that involved, and Merle will explain what you have to do to run one. Any questions just see her on any Sunday or call her at the above phone number. Thanks, for your cooperation! We know how much everyone enjoys the Fellowship Hour and we would like to keep it going.

FAR UPDATE: FAR’s New Nurses Training Program Helps Those Who Are Affected by War in Artsakh After attending FAR’s Training Program for Nurses in Artsakh, Bagyum Avanesyan, R.N., has put her new-found skills to good use, sadly due to the impacts of war. Bagyum and her family were one of many who had to flee their homes as it was attacked during the Four-Day War of 2016. Since September of that year, they have been living temporarily in a defunct military hospital. Bagyum has become the de facto healthcare provider for the 540 people who are staying in and around the area, all of whom depend on her. “The Artsakh program was just 12 days however I became firm friends with many nurses and doctors in this short period. We keep in touch when we need to in order to discuss diseases and diagnoses. I would like such programs to be held more often,” said Bagyum. “While more violence could erupt at any time in the region, I now feel that I have a more profound knowledge of first aid than I did before, and that I can handle any task.” To read more, go to: To support projects like this, go to:

2019 Attendance: Plate/Candle Collection:

3 – 82 people $290.00
10 – 70 people $340.00
17 – 94 people $427.00
24 – 122 people $669.00

3 – 91 people $510.00
10 – 94 people $529.00
Weekly Expenses: $6,000.00

CHURCH CALENDAR (please mark your calendars)

Friday March 15th: Lenten Evening
Saturday March 23rd: Saintly Women’s Day Retreat
Friday March 29th: Lenten Evening
Sunday March 31st: A “tour” of the sanctuary guided by Fr. Hakob
Sunday March 31st: Church School sponsors “Soup Kitchen”

Using the Pew Book: In order to enrich understanding of the Divine Liturgy, we encourage our faithful to follow along in the large two-part Pew Book. Part One includes the classical Armenian used in the Liturgy; the facing page is the translation in modern Western Armenian. Part Two contains the transliteration of the classical Armenian; the right-hand page has the English translation. This Pew Book includes the prayers of the celebrant usually offered inaudibly. The prayers offered aloud are indicated in boldface type.

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.

Would you like to:

– receive this Bulletin on Friday via email?
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– find in-depth information on our faith, our parish and our activities?
– sign up for an event online?
– 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.