Sunday of the Prodigal Son

Sunday Messenger

March 8, 2020

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, i.e. 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:

On that day, says the Lord of hosts, I will take you, O Zerub′babel my servant, the son of She-al′ti-el, says the Lord, and make you like a signet ring; for I have chosen you, says the Lord of hosts. (Haggai 2:23)

And a robe, a symbol of righteousness granted by baptism:

For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (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, prodigal son wasn’t living his faith the way he should, but eventually returned home. All of us, of course, are like him. But in what ways 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

“LORD, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night….” (Nehemiah 1:5-6). Prayers are requested for Antranig Garibian, Edward Tatoian, Rose Minassian, Ethel Terzian, Taron Poghosyan, Alice Charles and Armen Mirakian.

REQUIEM SERVICES: Hokehankist today will be for:

– HIS BEATITUDE MESROB MUTAFYAN, Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople requested by the Eastern Diocese.

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

– DAVID ANDREW TORNETTA on the 40th Day of His eternal life requested by Frank Tornetta, Lucy Badishyan, His kids: David & Sessile Tornetta, niece Christina Tornetta & nephew Frank III.

COFFEE HOUR today is sponsored by Frank Tornetta, Lucy Badishyan, His kids: David & Sessile Tornetta, niece Christina Tornetta & nephew Frank III in loving memory of DAVID ANDREW TORNETTA on the 40th Day of His eternal life. All are welcome.

Daylight Saving Time begins Sunday, March 8, 2020, so please remember to turn your clock forward one hour before you go to bed on Saturday night (3/07/20). Remember: Spring forward, Fall back!

PLEASE NOTE: On Friday, March 13, Lenten worship will take place at 7:00. There will be no dinner or program.

LENTEN WORKSHOP: The “Gospel” According to Elvis: Experiencing God in the Music of Elvis Presley – Saturday, March 14, 9:30-2:30
Ever thought of Elvis Presley as a religious person? The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll in fact recorded many “gospel” songs. Come join us in a workshop facilitated by Dn. Albert Keshgegian to hear selected songs of Elvis’s gospel music and see how they reflect ideas and passages from the Bible and Armenian Church prayers and teach us more about God. Saturday March 14, 9:30 am – 2:30 pm at the church. Lunch is included. There is no fee, but please RSVP by contacting the church office by phone at 215-663-1600 or by email at by March 10. For more information on all our Lenten initiatives, be sure to pick up a flyer available in the narthex and the church lobby.

SAVE THE DATE!! The Women’s Guild of St Sahag & St Mesrob Armenian Church, Wynnewood, is sponsoring the annual Saintly Woman’s Day Program on Saturday, March 28 at 10:30AM. It promises to be a rewarding experience open to not just women but men and children as well. Look for the flyer with the details & plan to join us.

PALM SUNDAY BANQUET: Sunday, April 5, 2020, is ACYOA DAY. Immediately following Church Services, ACYOA is sponsoring a Banquet. Donations: Adults $25.00 – Children ages 6 to 12 yrs. $10.00 – Children 5 and under Free. No tickets will be sold at the door. For reservations, please send in your check by the Deadline: March 29, 2020.

FAR UPDATE: Trndez Celebration Helps FAR Children’s Center Beneficiaries Connect with their Culture – The popcorn, gata, halva and aghandz are on the table and dessert is prepared while 17-year-old Michael lights the bonfire. The other 30 kids of the FAR Children’s Center then form a circle, join hands, and walk seven times around it as they sing traditional songs. When the flames wane, they each take a turn jumping over the fire. This is Tiarn’ndaraj, or Trndez, a festival rooted in the pagan celebration of the anticipation of spring but now considered significant in Christian Armenia. Celebrated annually on February 13th with the bonfire circle followed by a feast of local specialties, it symbolizes the presentation of the 40-day-old Christ Child. Executive Director of the FAR Children’s Center Mira Antonyan said that the most important reason they celebrate is to help the children get more in touch with their culture. The FAR Children’s Center is a safe haven for children who have been victims of abuse and neglect and many of them thrive in group activities. “The children here accelerate when they connect; doing things together and sharing cultural values is of the utmost importance for them. It also helps to serve a therapeutic role of helping children to recover. These are indirect methods which create an environment that helps children show more solidarity toward one another, love for each other, and as a way to encourage them to build relationships and evaluate what they have,” she said. To read more, go to: To support FAR’s Child Protection Program, go to:

BE WISE, BE AWARE: We continue to hear daily updates on the status of Coronovirus outbreaks in many parts of the world. Our own country is now reporting increased numbers of cases, although thankfully not in our immediate area. We are being reminded to take common-sense precautions: wash our hands often, keep our hands away from our face/mouth and, of course, covering our mouth when coughing. We are adding another suggstion: to refrain from hugging and kissing each other at church as we commonly do in our familial way. Let us pray that this dreadful virus does not continue to spread and that we will soon see it beginning to diminish. As a further reminder, we should also be wise and aware when we are away from our homes and out in our communities, and to be cognizant of people nearby who may be exhibiting signs of viral illness. Above all, we should not allow unnecessary panic to overtake us.

EMERGENCY CLOSINGS: In an effort to inform parishioners and guests when a Holy Trinity church service or program needs to be canceled or delayed due to inclement weather or other reasons, we request that you check our website ( or facebook page ( for the most accurate information.

CHURCH CALENDAR (please mark your calendars)

Friday March 6th: Lenten Evening Parish Outburst
Friday March 13th: 7:00 pm Worship (no program or dinner)
Saturday March 14th: Gospel according to Elvis 9:30-2:30
Friday March 20th: Gomidas and His Church Music
Friday March 27th: 7:00 pm Worship (no program or dinner)
Saturday March 28th: Saintly Women’s Day Retreat at St. Sahag @ 10:30 am

Friday April 3rd: Holy Trinity Acting Troup
Sunday April 5th: Palm Sunday: ACYOA Day/ Palm Sunday Banquet

2020 Attendance: Plate/Candle Collection:

2 – 79 people $472.00
9 – 95 people $548.00
16 – 105 people $629.00
23 – 105 people $650.00
These weekly donations from our Parishioners are one part of how we work towards meeting our average weekly expenses of $6,000.00

Armenian Sisters Academy Open House: March 12, 2020 9:30 -11:00 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
Mark your calendars and plan to join us on Saturday, April 25 for what promises to be an impactful program that marks the 105th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The event, which will take place again in Philadelphia. Look for flyers to come.

Forced into Genocide: A Book Presentation: Sponsored by the Armenian Student Organization – Villanova University Wednesday March 25 7:00-9:00 PM Villanova University Contact information: Kallie Stahl at (610) 519-4458 or Book sale/signing during reception following presentation ($25.00 – cash only) All proceeds donated to the Armenian Student Organization.

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 often sung after the Gospel is read from the altar. Occasionally, it will be 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.

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 Jeanette Der Hagopian at 215-672-4188.

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.