With the Grace of God on December 14, 2015, we celebrated the 15th Anniversary of the Coptic Orthodox Church here in Bolivia. This celebration started with the Divine Liturgy prayed by H.G. Bishop Youssef, the priests, the congregation of St. Mary & St. Mark Cathedral in Santa Cruz, as well as the congregations of St. Verena Church in Santa Rosa, Archangel Michael Church in Paquio, St. Philopateer & St. Mehrail in Montero, St. Mary & St. Joseph in Valle Sanchez, and St. George in Santa Cruz. Additionally, we had ambassadors of various countries across the world and representatives of the Santa Cruz government in attendance in which they offered kind words about the church, its’ service and Bishop Youssef. This was followed by Bishop Youssef describing the works of God for the church over these many years. Afterwards, we enjoyed each other’s company during a sit-down lunch. Continuing the celebration, we had a variety of activities such as a choir performance, congratulatory words by the congregation, folk dancing, gifts from the congregation and finally a photo session.
We thank God for our beloved church here in Bolivia and it’s growth across South America, Latin America and the Caribbean. We also thank God for our beloved father His Grace Bishop Youssef and ask God to continue to keep him for our church for many years to come.
On the 1st of March, with the Grace of God, H.G. Bishop Youssef prayed the first Liturgy at Saint Verena Church in the community of Santa Rosa. H.G. Bishop Youssef provided a spiritual sermon about temptation during the Liturgy. We shared an agaby meal with the community. Certificates were provided to newly baptized members of the church. Some of the congragation from the Cathedral of Saint Mary and Saint Mark from Santa Cruz and Archangel Michael Church from Paquio joined the celebration. After the celebration, we spent time at Archangel Michael Church in Paquio where a new church is being built. May God continue to bless this service.
“Flee also youthful lusts..” 2 Timothy 2:22
The 7th Annual Youth Retreat was February 15-17, 2015. We had a blessed time together. We discussed youthful lusts and how we can flee from them. We had about 30 of the Bolivian youth in attendance, in addition to Dr. Christine, Dr. Tony, and Sylvia Menias from Chicago, Dr. Maryann Salib from Maryland, and Dr. Veronica Chehata from Pennsylvania. We were blessed by the attendance and spiritual words of His Grace Bishop Youssef during the retreat. The retreat was filled with spiritual talks, liturgies, hymn lesson, plenty of games, and a fun talent show.
Bringing our Christmas festivities to a close, the youth gathered at the Cathedral this evening for a celebration starting with the Agpeya prayers and spiritual songs with live guitar followed by a sermon from His Grace Bishop Youssef about the feast of the Nativity. The celebration continued into the courtyard for games and gifts handed out by Bishop Youssef and the church fathers. We wrapped up the night feasting on a great dinner together. It was a wonderful evening filled with fellowship as we honor the birth of Christ.
As we continue the celebration of the nativity feast, we held a party for the Sunday School children at the cathedral of St. Mary and St. Mark in Santa Cruz. We began with songs followed by a bible study; then we were joined by a minion and Ducky for games and, of course, a visit from Papa Noel to distribute gifts to all the children. We also enjoyed dessert and juice together for everyone. We were blessed with the prescence of His Grace Bishop Youssef who attended the event to spend time with the children and lead us in prayer. Also, our four missionaries from the USA (Christine and Amanda Farag from Chicago, and Peter Soliman and Justine Kirolos from Tennessee) joined in the festivities. We wish you a very blessed Christmas!