Попечительский фонд поддерживает работу Св. Германовского съезда молодежи 2023 г.

The annual St. Herman Youth Conference for the Diocese of Chicago and Mid-America convened in Chicago over the last week of 2023. Sixty-five youths between the ages of 14-19 were accompanied by ten chaperones for four and a half days of communal prayers, choir practices, edifying talks, and community service coupled with Vespers alongside Serbian youth who were also gathered in Chicago, as well as Divine Liturgy with Archbishop Peter of Chicago & Mid-America. The Youth Committee also organized opportunities for recreation, including archery, paintball slingshot shooting, traditional American folk group dances, and a bonfire complete with Christmas carols.

The youth heard from such engaging speakers as Archpriest Christopher Stanton, Priest Micah Chisholm, and Maria Maximstev, and had the opportunity for an extended question-and-answer session with Archbishop Peter and Archpriest Gregory Joyce. These talks educate and invigorate the youth and are an important part of the program.

The youth committee always stresses the importance of participating in the Holy Mysteries and ensured the availability of confession for every attendee. Archpriest Daniel Marshall, Fr. Christopher Stanton, Priest Zachary Rose, Priest Nicholas Park, and Priest David Carder all spent significant time hearing confessions and preparing the youth for the upcoming Liturgy.

Community service is also an integral part of the Midwest conference. This year, the youth participated in a very large group effort packaging food for the poor around the world at "Feed My Starving Children." In just 90 minutes, they were able to package a total of 44,280 individual meals, which will provide a total of 121 children a daily meal for a year.

The youth were welcomed at the tomb of St. Mardarije in Libertyville by the monks who graciously opened his casket and blessed the youth to venerate his holy relics. New friendships were created when the Russian and Serbian youth met for games and dinner, as well as Vespers, beautifully sung by the Serbian seminarians. The sisterhood at New Gracanica prepared a substantial meal for all of the youth, and it was one of the highlights of a memorable week.

At Holy Protection Cathedral the following day, the youth served, read, and sang for Divine Liturgy with the Archbishop under the careful direction of Protodeacon Alexander Petrovsky and Diocesan Liturgical Music Committee chairwoman Larissa Sander. One of the unexpected joys of this year’s Liturgy was the beautiful moment when the Archbishop awarded Mrs. Sander with a cross from the mold created by our beloved reposed Archbishop Alypy (Gamanovich; +2019). Her beautiful voice and tremendous skill have blessed the youth for many years, and her award was so well deserved. The cathedral sisterhood worked from the early hours to provide a delicious meal to everyone who attended the liturgy, and the youth enjoyed it immensely. This was followed by a Q&A with the Bishop and Archpriest Gregory Joyce.

This annual conference is life-changing and a critical part of youth outreach and catechesis and is only possible with the assistance of so many volunteers as well as the generous donations of the faithful. The conference was likewise made possible by a generous grant from the Fund for Assistance (FFA) to ROCOR, which has been faithfully supporting the three St. Herman Conferences held every year in December: on the East Coast, in the Midwest, and on the West Coast.

The benefits of attendance cannot be overstated. Life-long friendships start here, the liturgical music careers of cantors and clergy begin here, and future marriages are founded with introductions here. The youth and their families wish to extend their profound thanks and gratitude to Archbishop Peter, youth committee chairman Fr. Nicholas Park, Fr. Alexander Petrovsky, Mrs. Larissa Sander, the youth organizers and sisterhood of the Serbian Cathedral, the monastics and seminarians at Libertyville and New Gracanica, all of the chaperones and volunteers, and the faithful of the Diocese of Chicago & Mid-America who so generously give to make such events possible.

The Youth Committee is dedicated to continuing to provide dynamic and faithful programming to the youth throughout the diocese and spends tens of thousands of dollars each year to operate the retreat. The committee also provides scholarships to attendees who could not otherwise attend, making the benefits of the retreat available to everyone. They humbly remind the faithful to thank Archbishop Peter and all of our generous donors.

Report by Mat. Elizabeth Naasko.
Respectfully submitted by Fr. Nicholas Park, Youth Committee Chairman.

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