2017 Event highlights seminarians’ “invitation that changed their lives”
Master of Ceremonies Chris Singel called the 61st annual St. Nicholas Charity Dinner the “ultimate dinner and a movie.” The event, held at St. John the Baptist Cathedral Center in Munhall, Pa. on Dec. 3, featured a four-course meal and a large-screen video presentation featuring Seminarians reflecting on the “invitation that changed their lives.”
“We are going to have fun tonight but prepare to also be inspired,” Singel told those in attendence. Singel watched Seminarians record their reflections and could only describe the experience as “watching the sun come up.” During the video, Seminarians discussed influences in the their lives, including family members who are priests and deacons, and their call to the religious life.
The annual dinner is co-sponsored by the Greek Catholic Union and the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh. Proceeds benefit the Byzantine Catholic Seminary of SS. Cyril and Methodius in Pittsburgh, Pa. The afternoon began with a Moleben to our Holy Father Nicholas the Wonderworker, presided over by Archbishop William Skurla. Most Rev. John Pazak, Bishop of the Eparchy of Phoenix, was the celebrant with Deacon James Davidson. Rev. Will Rupp, Seminary Director of Spiritual Formation, was the homilist and Seminarians were cantors and servers.
Also in attendence were: Bishop Emeritus John Kudrick, Eparchy of Parma; and Bishop David Zubik, Latin Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh. During his opening remarks, Very Rev. Robert Pipta, Seminary Rector, echoed the words of St. Paul which are etched into the exterior of the Seminary chapel: “The hope of the harvest lies in the planting.” He said the statement reminds everyone the Seminary is a “seed bed planted with optimism in the hope of eternal life. “God is our hope, supplying seeds of church leadership and ministerial service to be planted, watered and nurtured.” George Juba, president and chief executive officer, Greek Catholic Union, presented Archbishop William with the fraternal organization’s annual contribution to the Seminary, which this year totaled $110,000. The Greek Catholic Union is celebrating its 125th year in 2017.
The organization has donated $3.15 million to the Seminary since 1960. Archbishop William said it is encourging to witness the continued growth of the Seminary. “What you didn’t see in the video is the dining room; sometimes (Seminarians) go and sit in the other room because there’s not enough room. “It’s a good sign. We pray priests coming into the Church will be able to serve our Church in the coming decades.”
Before Bishop Zubik delivered the invocation, children sang “O Who Loves Nicholas the Saintly” accompanied by a visit from Saint Nicholas himself.
“More than a few of us remember Archbishop Judson Procyk. He was the one who invited me 20 years ago. May God grant him Eternal Rest and Blessing for all that he did to bring all of us together,” Bishop David said. “Tonight, as we gather together, we pray for all your future sheperds, all the Seminarians for whom we come together to offer our prayers and to give you thanks. “As we support them in answering Your call for them to be sheperds, we ask Your blessing.”
The Greek Catholic Union, the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh, the Byzantine Catholic Seminary and the St. Nicholas Celebration Committee thank everyone involved with the 2017 event who helped in any way to ensure its success.