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!
“For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11 Today the church celebrated the Nativity feast by praying the liturgy under the auspice of His Grace Bishop Youssef. The congregation of the cathedral Santa Maria y San Marcos; the church of San Miguel in the village of Paquió; Valle Sanchez’s congregation Santa Maria y San Jose; parishioners of San Philopateer y Santa Mehraíl in Montero; San George church of Santa Cruz, and Santa Verena in Santa Rosa joined together as one body in Christ to rejoice in the birth of our Lord. We welcomed the presence of the Consul Sherif Badrawy as he attended the liturgy and shared a few words. Following the liturgy, we listened to the Christmas Papal message from His Holiness Pope Tawadros II and enjoyed dinner together – truly a blessed evening filled with agape and of course, pictures! Feliz Navidad! Merry Christmas!
With the grace of God and the prayers of His Grace Bishop Youssef, fifty Coptic Orthodox believers from Saint Verena Coptic Orthodox Church in Santa Rosa, Bolivia were baptized On December 28th, 2014. His Grace Bishop Youssef was accompanied by Fr. Kyrollos from Toronto, Canada, Fr. Mauritious and Fr. Abraam from the dioceses of Los Angeles, United States, and the fathers of Bolivia. The heavens rejoiced with the expansion of the Body of Christ as the baptism took place in the morning of the divine liturgy in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. May the Lord continue to bless the service for the glory of His Holy name. The word of the Lord shall grow, multiply, be mighty, and be confirmed in the Holy Church of God Amen.
On December 21, 2014, we welcomed our missionary brothers and sisters from accompanied by Fr. Mauritius Mikhail and Fr. Abraam Ayoub. And on December 22, 2014, we also welcomed our brothers and sisters from Toronto, Canada accompanied by Fr. Kyrillos Fakhouri. We greeted them and celebrated the graduation of 15 Bolivian youths; 12 graduating from high school and 3 graduating from college. Both missionary groups stayed with us for one week and blessed us with their services in the Cathedral of Santa Cruz and the nearby villages. They joined us in celebrating the feast of the nativity by preparing and presenting skits, games, and gifts for the children of the churches of St. George in Santa Cruz, St. Verena in Santa Rosa, St. Philopateer and Saint Mihrail in Montero, Archangel Michael in Paquio, and St. Mary and St. Joseph in Valle Sanchez. The missionaries also shared the love of Christ through visitations for members of the congregation, feeding the homeless, and spending time with the orphans. In addition, we were graced with their presence for the baptism of 50 persons from Santa Rosa at the Cathedral in Santa Cruz. Their trip concluded with a group outing to Mariposario and a goodbye party at the Cathedral. We felt the love as one body of Christ with their presence among us and pray that God continues to bless them.