Holy Virgin Mary & Shoghagat Armenian Church  
“We remember and demand.”
Մենք հիշում ենք եւ պահանջում.

50th Anniversary

Holy Virgin Mary and Shoghagat Armenian Church
Fiftieth Anniversary
November 11 and 12, 2006

Upon being contacted to serve as the Chairperson for the Fiftieth Anniversary Committee, my initial task was to assemble a committee for this endeavor.  Eleven members plus a senior adviser were chosen --- each of whom readily accepted this responsible position.  Thus, the following constituted the members of the Fiftieth Anniversary Committee:

Lisa Bedian Kurtz
Tamara Petrosian Cluck
Maggie Norsigian Colliflower
Toni Vartanian Heifner
Dr.Raffi K. Krikorian
Bea Norsigian Leap
David H. Matoesian
Doreen M. Nersesian
Paul K. Nersesian
Hrant Norsigian, Jr.
Julie Nersesian Wiegers
   and
Charles Merzian, Senior Adviser

Work commenced with the first committee meeting being held in February 2006. The group continued to meet with excellent attendance on a monthly basis through November 2006.  The first order of business was to formulate a plan for the Golden Anniversary Weekend which was scheduled according to Archbishop Khajag Barsamian’s schedule for November 11 and 12, 2006.

After much discussion, the committee elected to celebrate with a Reception on Saturday night and with Divine Liturgy and a Banquet to follow on Sunday.  Regarding the fund-raising element, the committee decided to sell bricks for $100 each to be placed in front of the khatchkar that the Council was in the process of ordering from Armenia to honor the martyrs of the Genocide.  In addition to the bricks, benches were to be sold for $2,500.  The initial goal was to sell one hundred bricks. In reality, 237 bricks were ultimately sold as well as eight benches.

Financially, the group’s aim was to raise $50,000.  This figure was attained with money to spare as the total collected from the bricks, benches, and general donations amounted to over $67,000.

Both the reception, which was held in the Jamjamian Cultural Hall, and the banquet, which was held at Four Points Sheraton in Fairview Heights, were well attended.  During the reception, veterans present were recognized.  Highlighting the evening was the dedication of the khatchkar.  A very moving ceremony this was with those present standing piously with candles in hand observing the rite.

At the banquet, in addition to the usual orations, a Memorial Walk was conducted during which each individual and family for whom a brick was purchased was remembered by a person representing the honoree.  After all those participating in the walk had entered the banquet hall, the lights were turned off, and, as a moment of silence was observed, each of these individuals held up a glowing blue star and moved this in a circular movement.  The effect simulated stars in the sky ---keeping the spirits of those departed in our hearts and honoring those present in our minds.

Clergy attending for the weekend were Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Der Diran Papazian, Der Yeprem Kelegian, and Der Abraham Ohanesian.  In addition, Maestro Khoren of the Diocese was in attendance and worked with the choir.  Besides the visiting clergy, several guests from out-of-town joined in the festivities.  Richard Norsigian of Detroit, Michigan, and formerly of Belleville, IL, acted as the Master of Ceremonies.  Guest speakers were Dr. Sam Mikaelian of Chicago, IL, and Dr. Nicole Vartanian of New York, NY, and formerly of Belleville, IL.  Local artists, Melanie Keeney and Gabby Krikorian, provided musical entertainment.

Certainly, credit must be given to the Fiftieth Anniversary Committee Members who worked diligently for many months to bring this important activity to fruition.  Cooperation, dedication, and excellence are apt descriptors for this outstanding group of individuals who never responded in the negative and worked solely for the success of the event.  This was most definitely a group effort.

Then, too, the Parish Council was most supportive throughout this entire process.  Very importantly, the parishioners and friends of Holy Virgin Mary and Shoghagat provided a phenomenal response both financially and physically.

All of these entities culminated in a golden aura that appeared to encompass every minute of this memorable weekend. Very definitely, the final result was a gloriously successful fiftieth anniversary celebration enjoyed by one and all in attendance.

*content provided by Zabelle N. Vartanian, Chairperson

 

   
   

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