Молитовне Відзначення 45-ти ліття Священичого Служіння в Пейлос Парк, штат Іллиной
There was a chill in the air as Father Howard Sloan and the faithful made their way to Sts. Peter and Paul U.O.C. in Palos Park. While at the same time, the atmosphere in the church, the rectory and the parish hall was warm and inviting. It was to be a day of celebration.
Father Howard was under the false impression that he was to assist Father Vasyl Sendeha, pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul, in honoring one of the parish members. When, in fact, it was Father Howard who would soon be honored on the anniversary of his 45th year in the holy priesthood.
His Eminence Archbishop Daniel was happily greeted with hugs and giggles from the youngest among us. And then formally greeted by Father Vasyl, Father Howard, Father Christopher Whatley, Deacon Pavlo Vysotski, Subdeacon Yurii Izhyk, as well as all of our own altar servers and parish council members.
The Hierarchical Divine Liturgy proceeded as usual until Archbishop Daniel asked Father Howard to join him at the tetrapod. In noting Father Howard’s 45 years of dedicated service to a variety of Eastern Orthodox parishes under various jurisdictions, Archbishop Daniel thanked him for his years of service on behalf of the U.O.C. and the many lives he has touched through his ministry.
As he led the entire congregation in the chanting of “Axios! Axios! Axios!” His Grace Archbishop Daniel presented Father Howard with a jeweled pectoral cross, elevating him to Protopriest.
Father Howard expressed his gratitude to Archbishop Daniel for his guidance and support. Then he spoke and joked about his journey to Orthodoxy and the holy priesthood, making special note of the vital role his wife, Pani Michaelyn, played and continues to play on their journey. He noted she introduced him to Orthodoxy, and has always been his greatest supporter.
Though, he joked, he was a bit concerned that her story of his need to be at Sts. Peter and Paul today to “assist as a parish member was being honored ” was a bit off the mark. He understood and appreciated the desire of everyone to surprise him. As he spoke, Pani Michaelyn, their family and the congregation enthusiastically responded to his humble, sincere, and often humorous reminisces.
The church was filled to capacity. The Liturgy was beautified by the choir’s responses under the direction of Subdeacon George Cepynsky. It was indeed a day of celebration.
Following Divine Liturgy, the newly installed outdoor gold cross was blessed by Archbishop Daniel with special gratitude and prayers for Dean Thompson, Steve Cwian and Ken Pavlik who volunteered to complete this project.
As His Eminence Archbishop Daniel, Father Howard and Father Vasyl entered the parish hall, they were greeted by our parishioners, visiting clergy and parishioners from neighboring parishes.
The parish sponsored a wonderful lenten meal in honor of Father Howard’s 45th Anniversary. Fellowship continued into the afternoon as the attendees and individuals continued to congratulate and thank Father Howard and Pani Michaelyn on their 45th Anniversary and to wish them Many Years!
Photos by Subdeacon Yurii Izhyk and Valentyna Dovban
Text by Elena Batura