â€œHow beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvationâ€ ((Isaiah 52:7).
Mar Mari Parish in Yonkers, New York was privileged by the apostolic visit with the Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, His Holiness, Mar Dinkha IV. This from July 13th through until July 25th. On Tuesday, July 13, 2010, after completing a successful visit to the New Britain Parish, Fr. George Haron, Fr. Jim Crowley and the St. Thomasâ€™ Parish Executive Committee escorted His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, accompanied by Shamsha Charbel Isaac from Chicago, to a warm welcome by Fr. Gewargis Sulaiman, along with the members of the Mar Mari Parish Executive Committee, and Mr. & Mrs. Ralph Multari. Later that evening, His Holiness was the official guest of our parish priest, Fr. Gewargis Sulaiman, and his family for a dinner that they had prepared in His honor.
During his 7 day stay in Yonkers, His Holiness Mar Dinkha along with Fr. Sulaiman and Shamasha Charbel, and a few members of the Mar Mari Parish Executive Committee were guests at the home of many members. Here are the names of the parishioners who invited His Holiness to their homes in hope of receiving his blessings and to elate their familiesâ€™ spirituality:
Nancy and Ralph Multari, Ivan & Nina Mirza, Joseph & Sima Shommonnejad, Marline Eskandar, Dr. Donny George, and Genia and Irene Lazari.
On Saturday July 17th, a meeting with Fr. Sulaiman and the Mar Mari Parish Executive Committee members was called to order by His Holiness. His Holiness expressed his satisfaction and praised everyone, including the parishioners, for their continuous support to their church. His Holiness also evoked the necessity of Sunday school, youth society, and church choir in churched to teach the proper following of our faith, and to preserve our Assyrian heritage. Fr. Sulaiman, the president, and all members of the Executive Committee collectively shared the same concerns with His Holiness. His Holiness strongly insisted that we ought to remain committed to our church by helping each other to establish all these activities in our church.
On the same day, the Mar Mari Parish Executive Committee and the Ladies Committee collaboratively had hosted a grand testimonial dinner in honor of His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, Catholicos Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East. This memorable event was held on Saturday, July 17, 2010 in the Church Hall. His Holiness was escorted into the hall by Fr. Sulaiman, and the members of the Executive Committee where the church choir welcomed him with (SLOOTAKH AWOON), the traditional rhyme of welcoming Church Fathers. After the traditional welcome, Joseph Sulaiman presented a beautiful bouquet of flowers to the Holy Father on behalf of the sons and daughters of the Assyrian Church in Yonkers.
Following dinner, Kasi addressed the parish with a speech on our church today, as well as the importance of parishioners, and parents in particular, to bring their children to church and to teach them the Assyrian language, and to support a church bible study program. This was stressed as an essential obligation, of each and every one of us for the survival and future for our church. On behalf of the Mar Mari Executive Committee, Ladies Auxiliary, and all church members, His Holiness presented a plaque of recognition to one of our dedicated members for the past 40 years, Mr. Lova Atini. Lova & his family will relocate to CA, where I am sure he will continue to support, and be an active member of the Assyrian Church there. Then His Holiness ended his speech in prayer.
On Sunday, July 18, 2010, His Holiness Mar Dinkha assisted by Rev. Gewargis Sulaiman, Shamasha Charbel, Shamasha Michael from New Britain, and our two beloved Shamashe Joseph and John, celebrated Qurbana Qaddisha (Holy Offer). The Mar Mari Church was full to its maximum capacity. His Holiness words in the sermon that he delivered from the pulpit were spiritually encouraging and profoundly motivational to all listeners. About 200 people joined together for this memorable event. After the breakfast, at this happy and momentous occasion, everyone approached to the front table, shook hands with His Holiness and asked his blessings, and left the Church hall cheerfully. Later that evening, His Holiness visited the famous Assyrian Archeologist, Dr. Donny George, who is recovering from stroke. His Holiness prayed for Dr. Georgeâ€™s complete healing and blessed his family and his house.
On Monday morning, July 19, 2010, His Holiness accomplished productively his apostolic visit to the east coast and departed on that morning, but left with us his blessings and memories that fill us with anticipation of his next visit to our humble parish here in Yonkers. God continue to watch over and bless His Holiness with a long, healthy, happy and prosperous life.