This Friday, St. Nicholas Parish held their second “Bible Study Night”. They plan to continue this program every other Friday. I was asked to come in and do some kind of a lesson in English with their younger people. I figured that the “crowd” would be 3-5 kids of all ages that I’d have to struggle to keep entertained. After all, it is hard to keep a 5 year old and a 17 year old on the same page as you tell stories from the bible.
But much to my surprise they had multiple leaders, who each lead a group of over a dozen people. Little kids learned about the love of God. Upper Elementary did something… I’m not sure exactly what. And I was placed with a group of over a dozen high schoolers. We talked about Who God is, Who we are, the “problem” of evil in the world, and God’s plan for us. Abuna (Fr.) Issa was in the church talking about the books of the bible with a large group of Adults in Arabic.
Many people had already started to leave when I suggested that we take a group photo (yes, there were more people in attendance than you can see in the picture). The group visited, sung happy birthday to “deacon” Sam, and were very grateful for our enabling them to build up their community. It was beautiful.
I told them as we were tidying up at the end of the night, that we need them, as much as they need us to help them get their parish going. Their positive energy and joy will help our parish to become more active. This kind of partnership of two Byzantine Catholic Parishes is one that is obviously blessed by God.
I realize it was not, is not, and won’t always be easy to have two parishes in one building, especially when we don’t all speak the same language, when sometimes things don’t get put back the same way they were, and with the extra costs. But the blessings certainly have the potential to greatly out-weigh the burdens. The more we get to know one another and work together the easier it will get.
Thank you God for these brothers and Sisters in Christ. Lord, help us to grow through them to You.