One of our mission members, Mark LeRoy, has started classes at The Byzantine Seminary in Pittsburgh to become a Ordained Priest. Mark and his wife Rebecca moved in July and classes started in August. This page will give us all a chance to stay connected to Mark and Rebecca while they are away. Updates from them will be posted here. Also on this page is a link to help support them while they are pursuing service to the church.
Glory to Jesus Christ,
Much has transpired within the past few months, and I enjoyed seeing a number of you while visiting recently. Despite the forest liturgy which was punctuated by the occasional wafting sound of Taylor Swift coming from the Italian Festival.
I successfully completed my first year of Seminary and was voted through by the board without reservation. I am currently interning over the summer at St. Michaels in Donora under Fr. Stephen Wahal. It has been a much needed change of pace, with my days consisting of Divine Liturgy, Vespers, and the occasional day spent gardening around the Church. I also got to give my first homily/reflection after a liturgy.
Rebecca and I are also in the process of moving a few
minutes down the road to a smaller, cheaper apartment in Bellevue.
I appreciate everyone's continued support, and I was excited to hear the latest news about a potential building in our mission's future. We are both planning on coming down to visit in August. I am looking forward to seeing you all.
For anyone who may need it, our new address will be 16 North Fremont Avenue, Apartment 204, Pittsburgh, PA, 15202.
Byzantine Seminary is a full-time graduate-level education. Seminarians are not allowed employment while in Seminary. Typically, seminarian candidates are allowed to stay in Dormitory, but this option is not available to Mark since he is married.
The priesthood is an honorable calling and should be fulfilled by both married and unmarried priests.
Mark and Rebecca have set up a gofundme if you are interested in supporting them as they endeavor to support our church in a life of service.
Glory to Jesus Christ!
February was freakishly warm. We had some cold days but I found myself outdoors quite a bit this month. I found an old park walking distance from our house. It has trails and very old equipment - a metal slide and those rusty swing sets that look like the chains could break while you're swinging in midair. I love running up there.
Mark found a neat Greek place we walked to a couple times as well. They had some awesome falafels and gyros and fast friendly options.
Mark has midterms this week and my job has been unusually busy. We're both definitely craving a good night's sleep at this stage of the semester.
I am slowly learning how to make a Chotki. I learned that on the bracelets you make 33 knots. One for each year of Christ's life. I thought that was pretty neat.
We miss you guys!
Mark & Rebecca
Glory to Jesus Christ!
January has come and passed in a blink. We've had a nice blanket of snow set in.
We've adapted to the change in weather. Then again, the worst part of the winter is supposed to be in February.
Mark's second semester seems to be going much smoother than his first (Except Greek. Greek is pretty hard. He practices a lot.) I managed to get COVID earlier this month, just as Mark went to a retreat at an Antochian village, but I was blessed to have a healthy and speedy recovery.
As we have settled into a routine, the Great Fast is just around the corner. I am excited to try new recipes. The self-discipline that it takes to do it can be a challenge. I once heard somewhere that If you can master food, it will help you to master many other deeper temptations. It's not the great fast without prayer - otherwise it’s just a diet. The Great Fast is more than just a dietary change. Without the goal of getting closer to God and cleansing oneself- there is no point to the fast. I think there is quite a bit of truth to that. I hope I can remember that next time I fight a temptation. Please remember to pray. Not having time is not an excuse. If you have time to eat, to sleep, to live; then you have time to pray.
I just read The Way of the Pilgrim for a second time. It’s written like the journal of a pilgrim with the goal of learning how to pray unceasingly. Seriously. READ IT. Consider it your homework; I will give you a big red F and say I’m disappointed in you if you don’t.
We are praying for our home mission and miss y'all dearly.
Until next time,
-Mark & Rebecca
Hello everyone and Merry Christmas,
I have survived my first semester of seminary with all As (and one B in Greek). We are thankful for everyone's continued support and for the Christmas cards we have been receiving. I have plans to come down and visit the week after Christmas, however, we are hunkered down at the moment due to the winter storm. Hopefully it will permit me to make the journey.
We are as always praying for you all and the continued success of the mission community.
-Mark & Rebecca
Greetings to our Fort Mill Mission family & Glory to Jesus Christ,
Things have been going well at the Seminary and at home. It has been incredibly busy the last couple of weeks with midterms, as well as our trip to the canonization liturgy of St. Petro Oros in New Jersey. We had the opportunity to celebrate a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy with both Metropolitan William and Bishop Kurt. One of the concelebrating priests was the former altar server to St. Petro Oros himself. He gave a presentation afterwards at the reception banquet about his experiences growing up with him and under Soviet persecution. He shared the stories of his secret ministry and eventual capture, martyrdom, and secret burial at the hands of the communists.
It was very inspiring to see both Ukrainian and Ruthenian jurisdictions come together to honor a common martyr, who is an inspiration to us all as we face a new soft-persecution of increasing consumerism, secularization, and marginalization.
Rebecca and I will be coming back to Fort Mill for my Thanksgiving break and we are both very excited to see you all. We will have plenty of stories to share, and we want to thank everyone for your continued support and prayers.
As of writing this we are preparing for our annual Come and See weekend where we host men who are discerning a call to priesthood. We will be hosting 22 visitors this coming weekend in addition to the 10 seminarians who are already here. We have the potential to double our population by next year, and the numbers we may have will be unprecedented in the recent history of the school.
Again, thank you all for the continued support and we will hopefully see you very soon.
P.S. The Ruthenian Church just published its first ever English edition of the Hours which is available on the Eastern Catholic Publications website which is based out of Virginia. I know that due to many constraints inherent to a mission church, we are unable to celebrate the Hours, so this is a great opportunity to enhance private, individual devotion. I felt the need to share the news about such a great resource that is integral to our eastern spirituality.
Mark & Rebecca
Glory to Jesus Christ!
We were so grateful to see familiar faces at the Mt. St. Macrina pilgrimage and we hope everyone made the trip back safe and sound.
We have settled into our new home in the borough of West View just a few miles from the Seminary. It's been an honor to represent our little mission here at the center of the Church and we hope to visit this Thanksgiving week.
Thank you for all of your prayers, we think about you all every day.
If anyone would like to help support us monetarily, you can do so at the link below. Since we are married we are required provide for our own housing and transportation apart from the Seminary. We would appreciate any help in this regard.
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