His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, offered the benediction at the 33rd Annual Rose Dinner at the Grand Ballroom of the Renaissance Washington DC Downtown Hotel here on Thursday evening, January 22, 2015. The dinner marked the conclusion of the 2015 March for Life. The theme of the day’s events was “Every Life is a Gift,” with special focus on preborn babies who are diagnosed in the womb with a fetal abnormality.
The keynote dinner speaker at the dinner was Carl A. Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus. Since its inception, the March for Life has enjoyed a close relationship with the Knights, whose members have served as volunteers at every March since 1973.
Among those from the Orthodox Church in America in attendance at the dinner were His Grace, Bishop Michael of New York and New Jersey; Archpriest John Jillions, Chancellor; Archpriest Eric G. Tosi, Secretary; Melanie Ringa, Treasurer; Archpriest Dr. Chad Hatfield, Chancellor of Saint Vladimir’s Seminary, Yonkers, NY; Archpriest Dr. Steven Voytovich, Dean of Saint Tikhon’s Seminary, South Canaan, PA; Archpriest John Kowalczyk, Rector of Archangel Michael Church, Jermyn, PA; Priest David Cowan, Rector of Holy Trinity Church, Yonkers, NY; Protodeacon Joseph Matusiak; and numerous others.
Additional information on the March for Life will be posted as it is received. Photo galleries from the March and Rose Dinner may be viewed on the OCA web site and Facebook page.
The text of Metropolitan Tikhon’s benediction appears below.
Benediction offered by Metropolitan Tikhon
The 33rd Annual Rose Dinner
Thursday, January 22, 2015
Brothers and Sisters,
It is customary in the Eastern Orthodox tradition to begin all endeavors, whether it be a major event such as the powerful witness of today’s 42nd Annual March For Life or a small gathering of two or three, with the following invocation to the Holy Spirit:
O Heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, Who art everywhere present and fillest all things, Treasury of Blessings and Giver of Life: Come and abide in us, and cleanse us from every impurity, and save our souls, O Good One.
Tonight, as we gather for this meal and this fellowship, we ask the Holy Spirit to remind us that, in a world full of despair and brokenness, of defeat and division, of anger and death, there is hope, there is joy and there is life. These cannot be found in anything earthly, but only in the eternal victory of our Lord Jesus Christ over death and corruption. As a contemporary saint tells us, “Christ’s victory is the only victory in which all humanity can rejoice, from the first-created to the last. Every other victory on earth has divided, and still divides, men from one another. When an earthly king gains the victory over another earthly king, one of them rejoices and the other laments. When a man is victorious over his neighbor, there is singing under one roof and weeping under the other. Christ’s victory alone is like a sun that sheds bright rays on all that are beneath it. Christ’s victory alone fills all the souls of men with invincible joy. It alone is without malice or evil.”
We are here today, for the 42nd Annual March For Life, to receive this light, to partake of this joy and to celebrate this victory:
A victory we share with the bishops, priests and pastors who have chosen a good work and have offered themselves as examples of blamelessness, temperance, sobermindedness, hospitality and teaching to their flocks, calling them to hold fast to the sanctity of life and to be mindful that the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith.
A victory we share with those who proclaimed it most loudly and most beautifully today: the young men and women who are here with us in such great numbers as examples of those who are believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
A victory shared by the souls of the millions of lives that have been lost through the tragedy of abortion. We remember them in our hearts and in our prayers and are not overwhelmed by this tragedy, but are encouraged by the promise of the resurrection and eternal life.
O Holy Trinity, Our God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, have mercy on us, bless our meal and our fellowship and save our souls, O Good One, both now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.