“Spiritual celebration”

Archpriest John Petro retires following decades of service, including 10 years at St. Stephen

by Ron Balta and Janet Belliveau
St. Stephen , North Huntingdon, Pa.


Thomas Sunday, April 24, at St. Stephen in North Huntingdon, Pa. was a special and memorable celebration for Archpriest John Petro and his more than 50-year legacy of priestly ministry.

Father John’s final liturgy as an active pastor was concelebrated with Very Reverend Robert Pipta and multiple deacons participating.

Our entire parish family, choir, and guests came together in a unified spiritual celebration of appreciation to Father John’s nearly 10 years as pastor of St. Stephen.
During his pastoral leadership, Father John united our parish in faith to improve our infrastructure, achieve financial solvency, and to embrace a renewed, enthusiastic, self-sustaining parish.

Following the Divine Liturgy, there was standing room only in the church hall, where all in attendance gathered to share in Father’s memorable ministry.

We shared many living-legacy events of Father John’s ministry.

Importantly, he began his theological studies while attending the prestigious French-speaking University of Louvain in Belgium. Upon returning to the United States, Father John became the Chaplain at Mt. Macrina in Uniontown, Pa.

While at Mt. Macrina, Father John single-handedly embraced the challenges to translate Greek, French, and Slavonic matins, vespers, Lenten services and liturgies into English that are used throughout our churches across the country.

Most noteworthy were Father John’s unparalleled accomplishments as Rector of SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary for 17 years.

During that time Father John obtained full academic accreditation from the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Association of Theological Institutes.
To this day, the Seminary is fully accredited as a four-year degree institution, and it also has the authority to award Master of Art in Theology degrees recognized by the Association of Theological Institutes.

The afternoon culminated in a video featuring several brother priests, who relayed heartfelt remarks, along with a personal letter penned by close friend Archbishop Georgio Gallaro, an Italian prelate appointed as the Secretary of the Congregation of Oriental Churches.

Throughout our gathering, Father John met with each parishioner and guest in attendance and shared gratitude, blessings, and well-being to all.

Father John’s spiritual leadership and compassion for our parish will remain in our hearts forever, and we offer payers of good health and blessed years to our loving good and faithful servant Archpriest John Petro.