Eleven Decades Celebrated

On June 4, 1905 +Father Alexis Pastelyi celebrated the area’s first Greek Catholic Divine Liturgy in Bobby Hall, located on Idaho Street in Farrell, in a multi-community area of western Pennsylvania which borders Ohio. Fastforward 110 years to Sunday, June 7, 2015 as St. Michael the Archangel Byzantine Catholic Church, now located in nearby Hermitage, Pa., marked the milestone with a grand celebration.

“The idea of having a celebration for our 110th anniversary,” relates parish pastor Father Kevin E. Marks, “was not only to acknowledge that ten years have passed since our centennial, but to once again pause to celebrate that we have a spiritual home where we can pray, worship, and grow in faith and love of God.” St. Michael Parish welcomed Metropolitan Archbishop.

William C. Skurla as he celebrated the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy that afternoon. The traditional welcome of the Metropolitan by Father Kevin included the presentation of bread, key, and salt, presented by 2015 parish graduates Brianna Dzuricsko, Anna Zrile and Kurtis Kurtanich, respectively. Liturgical concelebrants were: Rev. Kevin E. Marks, Pastor; Rev. Nicholas Kraynak (Eparchy of Passaic, retired), Msgr. Edward Zeitler (Senior Associate at Notre Dame Roman Catholic Church in Hermitage), Deacon Thomas Klacik (parish administrator of St. George, Aliquippa and St. Mary, Ambridge, both in Pa.) and Deacon George Dzuricsko (former parishioner, now deacon for the Romanian Eparchy of Canton). Master of Ceremonies was Very Rev. Andrew J. Deskevich (Protosyncellus for the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh). St. Michael’s altar servers assisted at the liturgy; responses were sung by the Archieparchial Choir. In his homily, Metropolitan William fittingly stressed the importance of “fishing for people” – that we all are called to share the gospel and be witnesses to Jesus Christ and bring people into his Church.

Following the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, a banquet was held at the parish social center. Welcoming attendees was Toastmaster Mrs. Kathie Sherman; a festive toast then was given by Very Rev. Richard Lambert, protopresbyter of the Youngstown deanery. A brief program before dinner included a history of the church related by Mrs. Monica Walls; a rose was given by the parish ECF students to all parishioners over the age of 80; finally, a special presentation of a hand painted portrait created by parishioner Mary J. Bebech was made to Metropolitan William, who along with parish vocation and current pastor Father Kevin, delivered remarks. Following the invocation by Father Andrew, parishioners and guests enjoyed a delicious dinner while listening to the tunes of the Rocco Monaco Band. Commemorative 110th anniversary mugs were gifted to all who attended.