Prior to departing on their pilgrimage to Armenia, on Wednesday, April 19, 2017, the 11th grade class of Rose and Alex Pilibos School, accompanied by their Armenian teachers and donning “Our wounds are still open” t-shirts, visited the Prelacy where they received the blessings of H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, and presented a cultural program dedicated to the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
The visit began with an Easter hymns and prayers at the “St. Dertad and St. Ashkhen” Chapel conducted by the Prelate, Very Rev. Fr. Torkom Donoyan, Very Rev. Fr. Vache Balekjian. The program at the “Dikran and Zarouhie Der Ghazarian” Hall began with remarks by Masters of Ceremony Meghri Marselian and John Kurkjian. The students thanked the Prelate for the warm welcome, highlighted the role of the Church in the life of the Armenian people, affirmed that they are ready to fight for our Cause, and stated that their pilgrimage to Armenia will allow them not only to see with their eyes what they have learned in school but also to become renewed in their service to our nation following to the Year of Renewal proclamation of His Holiness Catholicos Aram I.
The cultural program was comprised of piano performances, songs, and recitations dedicated to the commemoration of the Armenian Genocide and to the pursuit of our Cause. Mr. Kevork Sarkissian, a teacher at the school, noted that the entire week has been dedicated to honoring the legacy of our holy martyrs, emphasized that it was important for the students to receive the Prelate’s blessings prior to their pilgrimage, and invited His Eminence to deliver his message.
His Eminence first commended the students’ moving performances, which he regarded a beautiful tribute to our holy martyrs and a reminder to renew and revitalize our efforts and path to victory, just like the Easter celebrations a few days prior and the triumph of our Lord Jesus Christ over death reminded us to stay strong in the face of challenges and be patient. We will achieve our goals with faith, patience, and persistence, stated the Prelate, and hoped that the students’ pilgrimage to Armenia will have a lasting effect on them and strengthen their religious and national identity so that they return with renewed spirits and renewed commitment to our Cause and inspire younger generations to follow in their path. His Eminence concluded by calling for widespread participation in forthcoming Armenian Genocide commemorative events.
The program concluded with the benediction and “Cilicia,” after which the students gathered at the Armenian Genocide memorial monument at the Prelacy courtyard where Prelacy staff member Deacon Christapor Mikayelian spoke about the monuments in Bikfaya and Dzidzernagapert and expressed confidence that the students will actively work for the advancement of our Cause. The students were then given a tour and familiarized with the work carried out at the Prelacy and received crosses as mementos.