St. Ephraim’s of Central Falls, RI, Celebrates the 100th Anniversary
His Eminence Mor Cyril Ephrem Karim officiated at a special Liturgy on Sunday, December 1st , at St. Ephraim’s Syriac Orthodox Church of Central Falls, Rhode Island, celebrating the 100th Anniversary of that parish. The Archbishop was accompanied and assisted by Rev. Fr. Mattias Alan Shaltan, Pastor of St. Ephraim’s, Very Rev. Fr. Maroutha Hanna, Pastor of St. Mary’s of Worcester, Mass., Very Rev. Fr. Saliba Kassis, Pastor of St. Mathew’s of Boston, Mass, Rev. Fr. Anton Sabha, pastor of St. John’s of Atlanta, GA and St. James of Nisibin’s of Corpus Christi, Texas, and the Very Rev. Fr. Gabi Sarkis, Pastor of St. Ephraim’s of Sherbrook, Canada. The deacons and the choir served in the Liturgy, which included a special prayer service for the departed clergy of St. Ephraim’s, who diligently served that parish over the years, and a second prayer service for the deceased parishioners who, in different capacities, voluntarily gave their time and effort for the betterment of their parish.
In his sermon, the Archbishop emphasized that the church is not just the clergy or those who hold certain positions and are considered the hard workers of the parish. He added the parish is also not just the building or the stained- glass windows or the bricks that make up the walls, but rather the people. “You are the church. Without you there is no church. We, as Christians, come here to worship our Lord Jesus Christ. The faith of our ancestors was very strong, and many were mercilessly martyred because they refused to deny their faith. This legacy was handed down to you. It’s a priceless legacy; therefore you must keep it going. It is your responsibility to pass down this legacy to the youth and the young adults of your parish”, the Archbishop said: “It is truly amazing that a hundred years later Christians are still faced with the same dilemma, in Syria and throughout the entire Middle East.” His Eminence also noted that “petty issues should not interfere with the real serious work of the church”. He asked all in attendance not to get caught up with insignificant matters and to stay focused on the purpose of their mission. “Our objective, as a church, is to preach the word of God, provide guidance by being true Christians and be there when needed”. In conclusion, the Archbishop commended the parish and all the preparatory committees who worked on the centennial celebration, a job well done. He noted that everyone, as a team, played a different key role in putting together a truly successful 100th Anniversary celebration.
At the conclusion of the Liturgy, Fr. Mattias Alan Shaltan, the pastor of St. Ephraim’s, asked everyone to march out to the front of the church building, where the dedication of a special church bell, marking the parishes centennial, was to be dedicated. Celebration activities in front of the church also included the raising of the United States Flag, posting of the Archdiocesan Logo on the outer wall of the church, sealing of the time capsule and toast of the centennial anniversary. At the conclusion of the formalities, lunch was served to all the guests and attendees in the church social hall.
An Anniversary Gala was held on Saturday evening, November 30th at the Kurkbrea Country Club. Approximately 400 people attended. Many officials and dignitaries were also in attendance, including a Congressman, a State Senator and several Mayors. Ephraim Doumato, President of St. Ephraim’s Centennial Anniversary Council, was the programs’ Master of Ceremonies. His Eminence Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim presented appreciation plaques to Rev. Deacon Ogen Monofar and Pierre Ghazal, in recognition of their dedicated service to St. Ephraim’s Syriac Orthodox Church. At the conclusion of the celebrations, the Archbishop gave his blessings and wished the parishioners of St. Ephraim’s another 100 fruitful and productive years of doing God’s work.
Throughout the week-end celebrations, the following representatives from the Archdiocese Executive Council accompanied His Eminence with their spouses, to share this historic milestone with the parish of Rhode Island: Mr. Elias Sarkar, Mr. Sait Samuel, Mr. Jack Darakjy and Mrs. Janine Azar.