“Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brethren dwell together in unity!”
More than 50 St. Nersess Alumni are Serving the Armenian Church Today
38 clergy and 9 lay men and women serving the Armenian Church today have completed a graduate theological program of St. Nersess Seminary. 11 more have studied at St. Nersess for shorter periods of time. Close to 80% of the clergy serving the Eastern Diocese have studied at St. Nersess.
Jesus, Others, Yourself
Assembled on Monday, October 27, men and women of St. Nersess were together for an evening of faith sharing, relationship strengthening, and laughter. Following a chilly night’s rest, thirteen participants were led by Fr. Glenn Sudano, C.F.R. (Franciscan Friar of the Renewal) and long-time friend of the Seminary, along a morning journey of reflection on the “Joy of the Ministry.” Succinctly stated: “You must focus on Jesus, Others, and then Yourself.”
Fr. Glenn, a much loved and admired retreat leader for generations of St. Nersess Seminarians, drew a distinction between happiness and joy. "We cannot manufacture joy," he said. "Joy is a gift from the Lord, a fruit of the Holy Spirit.”
Prayer, Song and Scripture
During the afternoon Fr. Glenn eagerly ushered in 8 of his novices, young men who have begun the process of devoting their lives to the religious order. They accompanied the alumni in a time of prayer, singing, and Scripture reading. As voices filled the room and snow was falling outside, these young novices “provided the environment to be immersed in a prayerful time with the Lord,” stated Fr. Tateos Abdalian.
Fr. Yeprem Kelegian, Chairman of the Alumni Association, led a meeting to hear reports from the Seminary Dean and Director of Vocations, and to share ideas concerning how to support the mission of the Seminary. Alumni discussed organizing a day in the parishes to highlight vocations. Fr. Yeprem, Pastor of St. Mesrob Armenian Church (Racine, WI) serves the alumni with enthusiasm and love.
The next gathering of alumni is scheduled for the May 2009 Diocesan Assembly in Wynnewood, PA. It has become a tradition for the alumni to share an early-morning breakfast at the Diocesan Assembly.
Renewing Rejuvenating Relaxing
Upon returning from the Catskill Mountain retreat, Fr. Stepanos Doudoukjian echoed the sentiments of his brother and sister alumni: “My time shared together with fellow alumni was renewing, rejuvenating and relaxing...I always look forward to our yearly retreat.”
All clergy and full-time servants of the Armenian Church--regardless of their alma mater--are welcome to join the St. Nersess Alumni in their spiritual and outreach activities and in fellowship.