MERRILLVILLE, IN [DOM] – On the weekend of October 7 and 8, Protection of the Virgin Mary Church, Merrillville, IN celebrated its 112th anniversary. In honor of the occasion, His Eminence Archbishop Daniel of Chicago and the Midwest made his first archpastoral visit to the parish.
The festivities began Saturday afternoon with Great Vespers, followed by a reception with His Eminence in the parish hall and patio. Members enjoyed fellowship late into the evening around the fire.
On Sunday morning, the parish Rector, Priest Jacob Van Sickle, Deacon Nicholas Denysenko, and Deacon Paul Garklavs greeted His Eminence. At the Little Entrance, the Archbishop awarded Fr. Jacob the Kamilavka. In the Archbishop’s sermon, he called attention to the parish’s feast, which was celebrated the previous Sunday, encouraging the faithful to take refuge readily and often in the arms of our common Mother, the Theotokos.
Following the Divine Liturgy, the parish hosted an anniversary dinner attended by many guests. A large delegation from their sister Church, Descent of the Holy Ghost Romanian Church (OCA), Merrillville, IN was in attendance, including the Priest Ioan Ioanitsa. In his remarks at the dinner, Archbishop Daniel asked the community to mark its milestone by contemplating three “R”s – Remembering the past, Rejoicing in current blessings, and Renewing a vision for the future.