Servers Rock ‘Faith & Fun Day’

Vocations Office Notches 9th Annual Event

PITTSBURGH — Altar servers of the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh gathered Wednesday July 20 with clergy and chaperones for the 9th annual “Faith & Fun Day” sponsored by the Archeparchy’s Office of Vocations. Comprised of a full day of activities, the experience is intended to promote camaraderie among altar servers of all ages, and to say thanks for their faithful service. With 75 participants from 17 churches of the Archeparchy in attendance, this year’s event certainly delivered that and more.

Under the direction of Vocations Office personnel Father Dennis Bogda, Father Kevin Marks and Darlene Fejka, the day began at 10:00 a.m. with sign-in at the school hall of Holy Ghost Church in McKees Rocks, Pa., and a faith presentation in the church by Father Valerian Michlik of St. Gregory parish, Upper St. Clair, Pa. Divine Liturgy for the Feast of the Holy Prophet Elijah followed, celebrated by Holy Ghost pastor Father Frank Firko, and concelebrated by Father Kevin, Father Vasyl Symyon, Father Mykhaylo Shkyndya and Deacon Luke Crawford.

Homilist Father Kevin ex-pressed Archbishop William’s greetings and regrets that he was unable to attend since he was in Phoenix, Arizona for the episcopal enthronement of Bishop John Pazak CSsR.

There definitely was no shortage of altar servers for the liturgy! Duties were performed by servers of Holy Ghost, Holy Trinity (Sykesville) and Holy Spirit (Oakland). The epistle was expertly chanted by Holy Spirit’s Angelino Kacmar. Father Frank conducted the traditional blessing of vehicles in the parking lot at the conclusion of the liturgy.

Lunch in the school hall by Hanlon’s Café was next on the agenda, served by Holy Ghost Church volunteers. The taco bar especially was enjoyed by all. After an anxious wait for their transportation to arrive (somehow, the drivers had been directed to pick up the group at the Seminary), the Faith & Fun participants boarded their assigned buses and headed for Pittsburgh’s Station Square to take a land and river tour of “The Burgh” on the city’s famous “Just Ducky Tours” amphibious vehicles. Three boats, each carrying 25 Faith & Fun passengers, took their riders through the streets of Downtown Pittsburgh and into the Monongahela River for an entertaining and informative adventure.

Boarding their buses once again, the group then was transported to Pittsburgh’s South Side Slopes for an encore visit to the “Games ‘n ‘At” Party Emporium, where the facility owners greeted the Faith & Fun Day servers and chaperones with enthusiasm and hospitality. Many repeat participants were happy to return to the multi-level game venue, remembering the hours of fun – in room after room of games from classic pinball and arcade games to table tennis, duckpin bowling and billiards – spent there during the 2013 Faith & Fun event.

Back on the road, the group’s buses delivered them to PNC Park to watch the Pittsburgh Pirates play the Milwaukee Brewers in Major League Baseball action. Unfortunately, the game didn’t have a favorable ending for the Pirates, who lost by a score of 9-5. However, neither the loss, nor the steamy evening temperature in the 80s, nor the lengthy game time of 3 hours, 43 minutes defeated the spirit of the team, as players, their wives and coaches assembled under a golden full moon following the game for their annual “Faith Night” testimonial presentation, a fitting end to the day’s Faith & Fun activities.

Leaving at the ballpark just a few minutes past midnight proved to be a cinch for travel, as the group’s buses had no traffic woes on the 12-minute drive back to Holy Ghost Church for dropoff. As they departed for their respective home destinations, each participant received a memento of the day – a compact flashlight with the insignia “ICXC Light from Light” engraved on the side.

The Archeparchy’s Office of Vocations thanks all who participated in the 2016 Faith & Fun Day to help make it a memorable success. The 10th annual event for 2017 already is in the planning stages, and is expected to be the best yet.