2016 Event Theme Highlights Service
The 60th Annual St. Nicholas Celebration was held Sunday, Dec. 4 – the Feast of St. Nicholas – at St. John the Baptist Cathedral and Center in Munhall, Pa. Co-sponsored by the Greek Catholic Union and the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh, proceeds from the event benefit the Byzantine Catholic Seminary of SS. Cyril and Methodius.
The afternoon and evening of festivity began with a Moleben to our Holy Father Nicholas the Wonderworker, presided over by Archbishop William. Seminary Rector Very Rev. Robert Pipta was the celebrant with Deacon George Wendt. Rev. Kevin Marks, assistant vocations director; pastor, St. Michael Church, Hermitage, Pa.; and administrator, St. Michael Church, Campbell, Ohio; was the homilist; and cantors were SubDeacon Brian Scotten and Seminarian Thomas Wells.
The dinner program’s theme — “Service: Love in Action” — was invoked by Master of Ceremonies Chris Singel with opening remarks by Pipta. George Juba, president and chief executive officer, Greek Catholic Union, presented Archbishop William with the fraternal organization’s annual contribution to the Seminary, which this year totaled $110,000.
The keynote address was provided by Thomas Connally, U.S. Marine Corps, retired; followed by vocal selections — including “Carol of the Bells,” “O Virgin Pure,” “O Holy Night,” and “Hymn to St. Nicholas” — sung by Seminarians and Seminary vocal students.
Emcee Singel turned over his microphone to Rev. Christiaan Kappes, Seminary academic dean, to deliver the invocation. Archbishop William imparted his blessing over the meal, and the gala evening concluded with dinner enhanced table-to-table serenading by the Continental Dukes.
This year’s program included a message from Archbishop William, who commented on a recent Pilgrimage trip to Italy, where he visited the tomb of St. Nicholas and celebrated the Divine Liturgy. which he called a “moving a grace-filled experience.
” He wrote: “When we sang the hymn to St. Nicholas at the end of the Liturgy, I felt united with each of you as I remembered the heartfelt way we honor our Saint with raising our voices together in singing this hymn every year at this celebration.
“We Byzantine Catholics hold St. Nicholas dear not only at this event or at Christmas time. Throughout the year, we try to help others as he did. Today you have reflected his charity by your generosity and presence here in a special way. But your continuing care for the Seminary and the Seminarians by your prayer and support happens often and not just on this day.”
The Greek Catholic Union, the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh, the Byzantine Catholic Seminary and the St. Nicholas Celebration Committee thank everyone involved with this 2016 event who helped in any way to ensure its success.