LA CRESCENTA–The Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church’s New Year and Christmas dinner fundraiser on January 6–2005 was a resounding success for Prelacy projects and schools.
The evening’s supporters included numerous dignitaries and representatives of Armenian organizations–Prelacy benefactors–Representative Assembly members–church boards of trustees–and associated church and school committee members. Consul General of the Republic of Armenia Gagik Kirakosian–Central Executive Council member Khajag Dikijian–ARF Bureau member Viken Hovsepian–ARF Central Committee representative Hovig Saliba–Regional Executive members from ARS–Homenentmen–and Hamazkayin were among the many supporters who gathered at the Montebello Baghramian Hall. Longtime Prelacy benefactors–Mr. and Mrs. John and Asdghig Bedrossian hosted the dinner.
Organized by the Prelacy Ladies Auxiliary–the evening began with the religious procession followed by welcoming remarks by Mrs. Mariam Karapetian of the Ladies’ Auxiliary. In a special taping–His Holiness Aram I stressed the importance of expressing love towards the church–the Armenian people–and the homeland.
Among the performers who entertained the crowd was soloist Rima Garabedian of the Glendale St. Mary church–Hovig Shahbazian–and the young dancers from the Djanbazian Dance Academy.
In his message–Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian reminded everyone of the tsunami tragedy in Asia and said that special prayers were said at Prelacy Churches for the victims. He also thanked the evening’s sponsors for their continued support–while declaring 2005 as the "Year of the School."
Recent accomplishmen’s for various Prelacy schools were highlighted. The Encino preschool was renamed "The Holy Martyrs ARS Ashken Pilavjian Preschool" to commemorate Mrs. Pilavjian’s pledge of $200,000. Mrs. Pilavjian is also the sponsor of the new chapel being built at the Prelacy and dedicated to St. Dertades and St. Ashkhen. The chapel is expected to be completed by October 2005–in time for a Pontifical Visit by His Holiness–which will coincide with the 25th anniversary of the See of Cilicia Catholicosate’s seminary.
Charles Keyan added $50,000 to his original donation to establish a scholarship fund for Mesrobian High School. Ralph and Savey Tufenkian donated a property located adjacent to the Tufenkian Pre-School–to be used for parking. Tony and Eileen Keusseyan donated 10 copies of the "Partzerpert" Bible to each of the Prelacy school libraries–so the students can see and touch one of the treasures of the Catholicosate of Cilicia. Mrs. Rose Kasimian donated $150,000 in memory of her late husband–Kegham Kasimian–towards Prelacy Media Department and equipmen’s–a "khachkar" and religious publications. The Compatriotic Union of Ourfa donated $50,000 in memory of the Ourfa martyrs by sponsoring the Western Memorial Wall of the Prelacy Building–as well as a khachkar and a fountain. The Carolan family continued their support of the Christmas Fund with a $25,000 donation–in memory of Richard Carolan.
The Prelate also announced the establishment of a Mortgage Burning Fund to pay off the loan on the Prelacy building. Mr. and Mrs. John and Asdghig Bedrossian–one of the major donors of the new building–made the first major donation to the fund.
Based on the recommendations of the Representative Assembly–the Prelate also reported that youth groups have been established under the auspices of Prelacy churches to help guide teenagers and young people with Christian values and Armenian traditions in an atmosphere conducive to providing young souls the spiritual guidance they need.
In concluding his message–Prelate Mardirossian wished for "the year 2005 to be the year for great accomplishmen’s for our organizations and churches–individually and collectively–in the spirit for peace brought to us by the Son of God’s Birth. May our good intentions enrich our lives; may we find peace and love to brighten our spirits; and may our steps be led by the example of the humble and modest shepherds. Let Christmas renew ourselves and help us lead our lives in peace and love–accepting God’s offer for knowledge and accepting Him as our savior. And let us join our voices to the singing angels to praise the Lord–to wish for peace and good will towards men–and say: Happy New Year. Christ was born and revealed."