A Gala Event at St. Nicholas Stavropigia Orthodox Cathedral, Philadelphia: Fundraising for the Vicariate and Honoring Bishop Luke
On Sunday, January 16, 2022, the St. Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral Hall in Philadelphia was elegantly decorated for the first annual Gala Fundraising Lunch to benefit the Vicariate of the UOC-KP in the USA & Canada. We welcomed visiting Clergy, friends and family. The fundraiser, honoring Bishop Luke, was a great success as we surpassed our fundraising goal – and enjoyed good food, music and fellowship, too! THANK YOU to our generous donors!
The special day began with the Entrance of Bishop Luke, followed by Vesting Prayers and Hierarchal Divine Liturgy. Assisting Clergy included Very Reverend Father Oleksii Kacharai, Father Bernard Chojnacki and Father Deacon Daniel. Following the veneration of the Holy Cross, parishioners and guests proceeded to the Cathedral Hall for the Gala. Susan Guz, Vice President, Cathedral Council and Choir Director welcomed all guests and expressed appreciation for their generous donations to the Vicariate. A toast to Bishop Luke followed and the Patriarchal Choir sang a resounding “Many Years” to the newly-ordained Bishop! The Choir continued with a joyous Christmas carol, “On This Bright Day,” after which Bishop Luke blessed the food.
Officers of the Cathedral, friends and colleagues of Bishop Luke spoke at the Gala. The speakers included Thomas Hanney, President, Cathedral Council; Barbara Latsios, President, The Sisterhood; Audrius Palionis, Director of Operations, Mercy Fleet; and Reverend Thomas Sodano, Pastor, St. Joseph Church, Collingdale, Pennsylvania
Mrs. Latsios began her remarks with a quote from founding father of Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin: The idle are not only useless but mischievous members of society!
Mrs. Latsios continued: “As many of you know, there have been no idle moments here at St. Nicholas since our new priest – Bishop Luke -- arrived in 2016! Since 2016, we have had so many achievements, and we are so thankful for our spiritual leader Bishop Luke! We at St. Nicholas honor Bishop Luke today, for all that he has accomplished in 5 short years: for his charitable contributions to those less fortunate; for his guidance and support at our annual Pierogi Festival where he stands with us, side by side, peeling potatoes and instructing us on the best potato and cheese for those pierogies; and of course for his spiritual teachings and optimism for our future. We thank you Bishop Luke, we love you and we hope you enjoy this celebration in your honor! May God grant you many more years!”
Thomas Hanney, President, Cathedral Council, spoke about Bishop Luke’s new role as Vicar Bishop of the Vicariate of the UOC-KP in the USA & Canada. "The first mission of the Vicariate," said Mr. Hanney, as stated on the Vicariate website is to foster the growth of parishes in the USA and Canada. And Vicar Bishop Luke is already making progress in this direction, building alliances, reaching out to the various existing UOC-KP parishes and most importantly, planning future ordinations. Patriarch Philaret blessed Bishop Luke with the authority to ordain priests and deacons. He is the only UOC-KP Bishop in the United States who can do so. Consequently, with more Orthodox clergy, parishes can – and will -- multiply."
A special cake decorated with the Bishop’s Mitre was enjoyed by all. Guests received a parting gift -- a framed icon of Apostle Luke that Bishop Luke blessed during the Gala.