On the first weekend of December 2016, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon was welcomed by Archpriest Dennis Buck and the faithful of Saint Catherine the Great Martyr Church, Hagerstown, MD, for the celebration of the parish’s 35th Anniversary.
Established as a mission by a handful of Hagerstown area faithful who at the time had contacted Archpriest Basil Summer of Saint Mark Church, Bethesda, MD—now retired—for assistance in planting the community, the parish initially celebrated services in a theater, a hotel ballroom and a storefront property until its current permanent home was purchased from Christ Lutheran Church and adapted to an Orthodox setting. By coincidence, the pastor of the Lutheran congregation was Father Basil’s brother!
Metropolitan Tikhon presided at the celebration of Great Vespers on Saturday, December 3 and the Divine Liturgy on Sunday morning. Concelebrants included Fathers Dennis and Basil Summer, Archdeacon Joseph Matusiak, and Deacon Timothy Skuby. At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, gramoti were awarded to Father Dennis and the faithful for their years of ministry and witness.
During the anniversary luncheon that followed the Divine Liturgy, Father Dennis spoke about the “mission” of the growing parish by referencing Ephesians 2:14-22: “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in Whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in Whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit [Ephesians 2:14-22].” Father Dennis went on to acknowledge that “this is our mission statement! For what other reason do we come here? We come here for one reason, to pray and worship in spirit and truth.”
Follow the ongoing growth of Saint Catherine Church on the parish’s web site.