By David Mayernik Jr.
Editor, The Byzantine Catholic World
It’s a sentiment we’ve been hearing more often in 2021 as the world recovers from a worldwide pandemic.
Chris Singel, master of ceremonies for the 64th annual St. Nicholas Charity Dinner, was the latest to offer those words to clergy, religious and faithful who were happy to be back together.
The annual dinner, held Dec. 5, returned to St. John the Baptist Cathedral Center in Munhall, Pa. after taking a year off in 2020.
The dinner, which benefits the Byzantine Catholic Seminary of SS. Cyril and Methodius in Pittsburgh, Pa., is co-sponsored by the Greek Catholic Union and the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh.
The Seminary celebrated the 70th year of its founding last year.
“We are going to have some fun tonight while also supporting the Seminary. Thanks to all of you for being here; especially since we couldn’t gather in person last year,” Chris said.
“It is great to see how much the Seminary continues to accomplish.”
Singel pointed out the many “exciting changes” coming to the Seminary:
* Last year was the first in which students graduated who completed their studies all online.
* The Association of Theological Schools reaffirmed the Seminary’s accreditation for 10 years, the longest period of time which it can be affirmed.
* The Seminary was also approved to offer online credited courses in all 50 states, territories and districts of the United States.
* The Seminary began work on a new 10-year strategic plan which includes exploring a doctorate degree in ministry, creating an academic journal and establishing grants and scholarships for M.A.T. students.
* Initiatives also include a four-story elevator, a new welcome center, chapel renovation and creating a Heritage Gallery
George Juba, president and chief executive officer, Greek Catholic Union, presented Archbishop William Skurla with the fraternal organization’s annual contribution to the Seminary, which this year totaled $125,000.
The organization has donated $3.62 million to the Seminary since 1960.
He also presented $250 checks funded by the GCU Foundation to this year’s nine seminarians.
The Foundation was organized in 2007 and makes monetary grants for charitable, educational and religious purposes.
Seminarians receiving grants are: Ryan Black, Thomas Donlin, Luke Iyengar, Joshua Johnson, Sub-deacon Evan LeDoux, Deacon Brian Norrell, Nathaniel Tapsak, Sub-deacon Riley Winstead and Tyler Wisniewski.
Juba said the past 18 months of the pandemic created a greater need for parishes resulting in the GCU’s board of directors approving a $10,000 donation to each eparchy plus a $1,000 donation to a designated food bank in the area.
A highlight of the evening was a video presentation, created by Mark Collins, the Seminary’s Adjunct Professor of Research, which captured its uplifting spirit on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of B.C.S.
“We’re thankful we have a great staff to work with and all the great support you provide through gathering here for the St. Nicholas Celebration and throughout the year praying and offering up new men to come into the Seminary and become new leaders within the Church,” Archbishop William Skurla, president of the Seminary, said.
The Greek Catholic Union, the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh, the Seminary and the St. Nicholas Celebration Committee thank everyone involved with the 2021 event who helped in any way to ensure its success.