My beloved Co-Workers in the Lord's Earthly Vineyard,
It is with great pleasure that I take this opportunity to announce the upcoming Biennial Archdiocesan Clergy-Laity Congress, which will take place from June 30 - July 4, in New York City, and I would like to invite each of our parishes to be in attendance. This year's Congress will be a very historic gathering, as it will be the Congress that we shall begin looking towards the Church's future in the 21st Century.
As we all know, the Clergy-Laity Congress is the body that makes the needed suggestions and decisions for the smooth operation of the Archdiocese of North and South America. Topics which are to be included in the agenda are those concerning the spiritual future of our Church, the administration of the Church, the education of the faithful, and, as needed, the finances of the Church. Inasmuch as each of these areas require the input of the faithful of our Archdiocese, it is imperative that each parish is represented by its priest and three representatives. This is the opportunity for everyone's voice to be heard, and it shows the synodical nature of our Church.
Each congress is a synaxis, a gathering, in which ideas are shared, friendships are made, and more importantly, the Church is realized in its truest sense at the highlight of the Congress.... the Divine Liturgy. This year's Divine Liturgy will be celebrated in Central Park with our spiritual leader, His Eminence, Archbishop IAKOVOS, as the Chief Celebrant, assisted by the Holy Synod of Bishops, many priests and deacons. It will be at this single event that the unity of the Church will be demonstrated in its highest degree, with the hundreds of faithful partaking in the Body and Blood of our Saviour, thereby becoming one with Him and with each other.
In addition to the many events going on during the upcoming Congress, I would like to point out that this will be the last Congress presided over by our spiritual guide, His Eminence, Archbishop IAKOVOS, who for over thirty-seven years will have led the Church in the Western Hemisphere from an unknown, insignificant body to a major Faith of this country. Your participation in this Congress will be a kind expression of thank you to someone who has given his whole life to us.
Looking forward to seeing each of you this summer in New York City, I remain
With paternal blessings and love,
Metropolitan of New Jersey
Chairman, 1996 Clergy-Laity Congress