From the beginning of the Divine Liturgy through the final poem of the children’s program on January 30, 2022, the parishioners at St. Stephen Church in Lackawanna, with their beloved pastor, Protonamesnik Vladislav Golić, and Deacon Steven Gjurich, celebrated the memory of the first Serbian Archbishop, St. Sava, prayerfully, joyfully, and with gratitude to God.
During the prayerful singing of the Beatitudes at the small entrance, and at the great entrance, all of the children carried specially made banners and icons while they walked in procession behind the candle bearers and before the clergy. Throughout the entire day, the God-pleasing participation of even the smallest children and the high school students in the Divine Liturgy, the cutting of the kolach, and the festal program created a warm sense of thanksgiving for the eagerness with which the parish youth embrace their Faith, culture, and customs. The children are to be commended for recognizing and participating in the most important aspect of the Christian life—the Holy Eucharist.
Appropriately, the hosts for the slava commemorating the patron of Serbian schools and the church-school organization were a family with students in the parish school—Radenko and Branka Ristić and their children, Isidora, Ognjen, and Mihailo. After the cutting of the kolach and blessing of the wheat, lovingly prepared by Kuma Branka, Ognjen passed a portion of the kolach to Stefan Drča, son of Zoran and Žana, who with Stefan and his brother Andrej, will host, God willing, the St. Sava slava at St. Stephen Church in 2023.
Following a sumptuous meal, prepared by the St. Petka Circle of Serbian Sisters, the St. Sava program began with the St. Stephen Church School Choir’s singing of the Hymn to St. Sava, accompanied by the St. Stephen Tamburitzans. Popadija Sara Golić created an eclectic program of music and oratory. Protinica Victoria Trbuhovich rehearsed with the children to prepare the songs “Uskliknimo s ljubavlju,” “Light in the Darkness,” and “Sveti Sava Srbe voli.” Interspersed with the singing were group recitations and individual declamations in the Serbian and English languages. Tamburitza, violin, and accordion pieces as well as duet and trio vocal pieces highlighted the talent of the youth of St. Stephen parish. During the singing of an old song about our old faith, “Vera naša, vera stara,” and a contemporary song, “Mi smo deca neba” (“We are children of heaven”), one could feel that the children understood the value of their Christian life. Above all, learning and executing the poems and songs, in keeping with Father Vladislav’s vision of education through liturgical and folk singing, demonstrated that the students drink in the knowledge of their Faith and culture. And not only drink it, but absorb that knowledge and live their Faith.
Glory to God for all things!