As this time of year approaches we transition from the end of one road to the beginning of another. But it is the friends and family we hold close to our heart that support you on the whole journey.
- Tina Geevarghese (Edition Editor)
Tribute to a Leader
As 2006 closes and the New Year dawns, our church undergoes a change that penetrates its core. After joining the parish 5 years ago, Reverend Father Varghese Manikat has been relieved from his duties at St. George,
In December of 2001, Father Varghese Manikat, his wife Elizabeth, and two sons Richie and Reeves, joined the St. George family in Carteret New
Jersey. Showing deep commitment, and dedication, the Manikat family took an active role in building and molding our church one week at a time. As Richie and Reeves became an inseperable addition to the youth, Father Manikat and Elizabeth were recognized as a much needed spiritual force in the weekly service and church related commitees.
Achen, well known for his way with language, his punctuality, and his patience, steered the church to fulfill and surpass its duties. During Achen’s presence, the parish has placed consecutively in Sunday School competitions, and adopted Family Night as one of its events. Achen was also the ultimate guidance in the youth movement, the very reason it proceeded smoothly in a God-fearing manner.
Ammai, the good humored, conversationally talented sister, excuse me, mother of the family, is active in the Women’s League and an individual true to her conscience. She is an indication to all of us youth that motherhood does not necessarily have to be souring. Of course with children like Richie and Reeves, what is there left to sour? These troublemakers have ingrained their wit, craziness, and incredible sense of style (Reeves) into all of our hearts, whether here or abroad.
Achen and family, we will miss you terribly and we bid you love and prosperity on whichever path God takes you.
A Year in Closing: 2006
A Conference to Remember
By Melvin John
By Melvin John
The 2006 Family Conference was an event to remember. There were an astounding number of church participants from our parish, as well as the nation, all of whom had a wonderful new experience at the conference this year. Activities ranged from motivating and meaningful speeches by our new youth MGSOSA head, Saji Achen, to creative and extraordinary activities like ice breakers and dips in the pool. Overall the 2006 Family Conference was filled with excitement and fun for all age groups and families. Hopefully, next year will be filled with the same type of environment and faith as this year.
By Aneesh Cherruthottil
July 1, 2006, fourteen members of the St. George’s youth group volunteered their time at . They completed 8-hour shifts as actual Six Flags employees. The money that the youth earned was donated to Hurricane Katrina victims in Six Flags Hurricane Harbor . The toil and sweat in the hot summer heat proved to be a valuable and meaningful experience for them all. Each person had to work hard and at a fast pace. Some of the tasks that were accomplished were greeting customers, serving food and drinks during lunchtime, scooping Dippin’ Dots ice cream and Italian ice, restocking condiments, cooking meals, lifting heavy objects, etc. At the completion of all the grueling and difficult labor, the St. George kids had raised over $700 for the people that were devastated by Hurricane Katrina. In the end, the youth of New Orleans Carteret walked away from Six Flags with their heads high, knowing that they truly made a difference.
By Tim Geevarghese
This past summer, the
Youth League took itself to a new level as it sent 10 youth across the world to St. George's to embark on volunteer work with Theeram. Theeram is a set of nine centers supported by the India for Social Change (ICSC) across Kerala providing enrichment and encouragement for mentally disabled individuals. Upon arrival to a reception with the Bava Thirumeni at his head quarters, the youth started their two week experience under the gracious care of Raju Uncle. Along with an amazing bonding time, the youth traveled, met different people, and achieved new perspectives on a variety of things. At each of the centers, the children demonstrated their wonderful artistic abilities. It was an experience that will never be forgotten. India Center
This past summer, the
Special thanks to Roshan John and Jaya Mathew for trip preparation, Raju Uncle for taking care of us while abroad, and the church for donations and support.
Family Night – 2006
By George and Christian Kuriakose
What do you get when you mix fun and safe family entertainment together? Well the answer is very simple, you get Family Night! The 2006 Family Night was a great success even though we had a short time period to prepare. The youth did a fabulous job planning out what to do and worked very hard to achieve it. In addition to several solo performances, the youth performed a skit and sibling dance during the night.
This night was different from prior family nights. We had a different locale and a real DJ! One of our own youth, Tine Abraham, arranged this years DJ service, which resulted in great music and a particularly good looking MC. Also, special shout outs to Ryan, Roshan, and their parents for their show stopping surprise. Overall, the event was full of memories and dancing the night away! In other words it was, how I shall I put it… BALLLLLINNN!!!!
Regional Bible Study
For the first time ever, St. George hosted a regional Bible study in the month of November. With 15 youth from our own parish and several others from
Lynbrook and Staten Island, the MGSOSA members gathered to sing praises, study the Bible, and participate in discussion. The topic “Is Jesus my Homeboy?” was delivered by seminary student George Aramath. It delved into the subject of who Jesus is in our lives, and who he should be. As Christina John put it, “it was a great bible study and a very fun one too.”
Christmas Caroling 2006
By Reenu Varghese
The 2006 Christmas caroling was a very memorable one, especially since it was the last one that we got a chance to spend with Manikat Achen and his family. Achen and Kochamma had their ways of putting smiles on everyone's faces. We all enjoyed traveling from house to another while being squeezed into a car with 15 other people. We were all just looking for ways to have fun and we succeeded. The adults sang Malayalam songs and the children were also able to project their voices by singing English songs. I thank Tim G for his patience with the drum playing. The caroling of 2006 is one year that many will remember.
We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year!
By Tine Abraham
Our youth has been greatly involved in helping out in the community. Our last short-term volunteer assignment was at the Ronald McDonald House. We all know how great of a success that turned out to be. Now we would like to take another swing at it. The next volunteer project that the youth will be taking part in is spending time with the children at the Children’s
in Mountainside, NJ. This project is still in the planning stage. We are hoping to volunteer there after the holidays in late January or early February. We are hoping that the entire youth will participate and help make a difference in a child’s life. Research Hospital
Youth involvement in the church has been especially evident in the last six months. Here are spotlights on the different roles of the youth and where they might be heading.
By Reeves Manikat
The altar is a sacred and holy place. It is where the chief celebrant offers the body and blood of Jesus Christ, the Holy Eucharist. An altar assistant is a worthy person who ultimately assists the chief celebrant and ensures a holy, pious, and sanctified Holy Qurbono. The youth of our church perform the duties of the altar assistant.
An altar boy has numerous duties and responsibilities. The most important duty is to assist the chief celebrant. During the Holy Qurbono, one altar boy is designated to take the censor. After the Holy Qurbono, the altar boy must make sure he folds and stores the vestments. Also, he must ask the priest to bless the Burktho, and then break it and give it to the congregation. An altar boy does not have special reasons to act out. These are difficult duties but thankfully we have the youth of our church.
The youth is a growing, learning body. We ensure that the people who humbly enter the church may leave with a sense of greater understanding and spirituality. We have been trained to follow in the teachings of the Syrian Orthodox Church. I am sure that each one of us will take our experiences in the altar through our whole lives. As we do our duties, we learn more about God, life, religion, and ourselves. The youth surely play a role in the altar that is for the benefit of the church and its people.
By Liz Roy
Another element of youth participation is singing hymns in church. The choir was formed with the help of Joyachen, Beena Aunty, and Thambi Uncle years ago. We received help with munglish books since most of us cannot read Malayalam; these books helped us read the language. Although we do not yet pronounce or fully understand the meaning of the words perfectly, we hope to improve with practice. Our goal is to sing in such a way that the rest of the parish can join comfortably. We would also like to practice special songs well ahead for our perunnals and special services. Recently, the boys have taken the initiative, with the help of Thankachan uncle, to be part of the Choir and are doing a wonderful job so far. With the blessings of God Almighty, our choir will hopefully continue to improve.
Sunday School Teacher
By Tim Abraham
Over the past year, the increased presence and activity of the youth has been felt in every aspect of the church including Sunday school. Though many of us are still students of the Sunday school, some of us have graduated and taken up the responsibility of educating the up and coming children in the church. Though this job can be challenging at times, it is certainly a rewarding experience as you teach little kids about the religion. The opportunity consists of more than just reading out of the book; it often includes re-explaining the stories and asking questions to engrave the material into the minds of the children. The presence of the youth is essentially a positive move for the church as a whole because it serves as a step forward in the transition from the elders to the youth as the focal points of the church. This transition will be the solution to any shortcomings the Sunday School may have thus far by having the victims of those shortcomings spark change.
Catalysts for Change
By Ryan John
As our church evolves and changes time consequently passes by. Eventually the youth of today will take responsibilities of the church. But what will we do different than our parents are doing? Where will our church be in the near future? Or more applicably, how do we need the church to change, in the near future? As a body of youth with spiritual needs and thirsts, we feel certain things need to be addressed for our good and for the good of those following us. For instance, everyone should understand everything that happens in our Sunday mass. Today our children, although they do sing and attend, do not really understand the true happenings that take place in the service. Furthermore, as a congregation, we should be more involved in the service. In the church that I attended in
, a different family gives the “lesson” for that week. I found this to be especially moving and effective. Also service tends to lack any interaction between the people on a spiritual level. Sitting down to talk or discuss under the guidance of the church God would help us grow together. Improvements are being made in the structure of prayer meetings and the new presence of Bible studies. If those innovative moves can be carried over to the structure of our mass as well, we will have taken one step closer to the future of our diocese. Bombay
Special Mention – Doctoral Graduate
Busy is easily the middle name of Dr. Julie Paul. Sister of Manu and Sheeba and recent graduate of
, Julie spent her recent years booked between school and work. Julie graduated in May of 2007 from Temple University ’s Philadelphia , where she took part in the 6-year Pharm-D program. Talking to her family will tell you that Julie worked extremely hard during her entire career, working at Eckerd Pharmacy during the week and in the hospital during the weekends. As her brother Manu said. “Julie was always busy, and rarely had free time.” And yet Julie still finds time for family and church Temple University
In addition to working, she will be taking her Naplex and Pharmacy Law Exams, and looks to eventually start working at a pharmacy. And what does her family have to say to this shining new graduate: “Julie you are the first graduate from our family, we are especially proud of you.” Congratulations Julie – on behalf of the church, we commend your dedication and success. All the best!