The one and only Canadian-born priest of the Armenian Church has hockey in his blood. He belongs to an adult hockey league in his New Jersey hometown. He has a reputation not only for driving home his sermons, but also of driving the puck into the net. He recently had occasion to demonstrate his talents to a group of college students at St. Nersess.
Lecturing at the Seminary's Post-High School A conference, held earlier this summer, Fr. Shnork's topic the Armenian Church's understanding of death. He drew attention to a fundamental passage from the Gospel according to John:
"For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him" [John 3:17].
During his lecture it became clear to the students that our death is a door to eternal life which Jesus himself paved for us, destroying the permanence of death by means of his own death on the cross. It is through Jesus' crucifixion and death that we are granted salvation.
In their hands, a sign that read John 3:17.
Fr. Shnork also serves as the Associate Director of the High School A Summer Conference at St. Nersess. His lectures and discussions at the Seminary are always much anticipated by the young people.
"What a great surprise to see the group from St. Nersess at my hockey game," smiled Fr. Shnork when reflecting on the evening. "I was genuinely moved to see them."
Despite the crowd's deafening chants, "Padre! Padre!" (as he is known to his teammates), Fr. Shnork's team lost.
Following the game the college students converged at the Souin's home nearby and enjoyed pizza and fellowship with Der Hayr's family: his wife Yeretzgin Julie, and his children, Nicholas, Conner and Elizabeth, all veterans of the St. Nersess conferences.
To close out the evening before heading back to the Seminary, the group shared a few moments of prayer in the Souin's backyard, accompanied by a spiritual message by Seminary alumnus Daron Bolat about discipleship and God's call to each of us to serve Him and each other.