Home: A saint Katherine Speech. Beginning HOME I would like to begin by expressing deep gratitude and joy this event has brought to my heart in the past and continues to do so today, as I am sure it has to you as well! I love the smiles as I look around our community and to see the communion of all people here today from all walks of life who my wife and I have gotten to know over the years. In the past weeks, knowing that Father has given me the blessing to prepare this speech I have searched all I can inside and out and have prayed for God to bring out the best I am capable of for you today. I have searched and searched inside to find wisdom I could share! To find enlightened beyond myself. To be used in God’s will four our mission here today! I began preparation for this speech in early Oct. While Denise and I were visiting our marriage God Parents out of town. Coincidently, (Einstein has a saying Gods way for staying anonymous) my best friend Gavriil, a priest monk from Romania, managed to meet us there. Gavril happens to be the Godfather of Denise’s Baptism and spiritual father for myself and our marriage God Parents. Gavril and I have a long history for over 22 years. We shared a hospital room for 2 years of our lives in Bucharest Romania. He was born with his feet backwards and I was there with a disease known as Perthes, which refrained me from walking. We both spent our two years together in the same room. The rooms accommodated up to 12 guests at a time and we were the senior citizens. I was 10 at the time and he had turned 18. Because of his condition which made him different from other kids his age and he had entered into the monastic life at age 15. I have asked him to pray for me with preparation for this speech. At the end of the speech if his prayers helped. (stop for a moment) I thought of so many things I could say. I imagined myself getting some kind of wisdom from above. A scripture verse perhaps. A sign from the angels. Maybe an intuitive womanly intuition from my wife. And so here I am waiting, paying attention to my surrounding, reading the scripture trying to get inspiration and nothing. Perhaps maybe because my idea of a speech for our event today was on the grandiose and self centered on me doing a good job. Now it was this past Saturday and I was getting concerned and desperate. Doubting any ability that I would have would help me. SO Starting to pray last Saturday before the clocks went backwards doing one of my favorite things when I feel too departed from God and I cannot sleep ……. I listen to the liturgy in my native tongue in bed with my headphones on So I don’t wake Denise up. Still I Can’t seem to fall asleep. All my work from my regular job is weighing in on my shoulders as the liturgy gets less and less loud, even though I am not turning down the volume, and my thoughts get louder and louder with the noise of everyday life. Until finally All I can hear now are my own thoughts not the liturgy. So in an attempt to really pray for help I Prayed “God, Please at least help me with the speech”. One word came to mind immediately. That word, wait for it, wait for it that word was HOME. This word kept me up for hours. Until I finally left the bed around midnight and went to my computer in the office and started writing. Story: I would like to share with you a story that Gavriil told me as a child. There once was a priest on a mountain top and one day a boy came to him and asked him. Priest: What do I have to do to go to heaven? The priest answered the boy saying: Let me pray for the answer and I will tell you. Come back in 3 days. Said and done! The boy leaves and the priest after finishing hes daily duties goes back to his living quarter and starts to pray. In the midst of his prayer an Angel comes and tells him to stop his prayers that the boy he so thinks is a boy is actually a demon in child form. Now the priest is confused, scarred, but manages to asks the angel for an answer stating that to him he was a boy and that everyone needs the grace and mercy of God. The angel agrees and says: Tell the boy to stand on one foot and say the lords prayers for 3 days and he will receive salvation! The time comes and the “BOY” returns! WHAT ANSWER HAVE YOU PRIEST? The priest tells the boy the answer. Stand on One Foot for 3 days; and Say the Lord’s Prayer; The boy starts laughing and mocking the priest then leaving; but not leaving before giving the priest as many insults that he could.. Now our priest wrote down the encounter! 500 years later another priest reading the encounter decided, probably compelled by God, to dedicate his time to finding closure and meaning to the encounter. His explanation is that the boy could have stood on one foot for 7000 years not just 3 days. But rather that when God Separated the Heavens thus separating the light from darkness it was so that the light would never find the darkness and the darkness would never find the light. Furthermore saying that it was not that the boy that didn’t not want to go to heaven, but simply put: The boy has no knowledge or memory of the the light’s existence and that the light has no knowledge or memory of the darkness. Thus concluding that Hell is the absence of GOD. NOW: In my life I have had many homes. In Romania, In Mexico, In Portland, In Seattle, New York, hospital. But 3 years ago when I went to visit my Village in Romania I took denise to my home. My village population is around 500 occupants from the time I left in 1996 until 3 years ago. Not being able to go to my grandparents funerals at their passing I visited their graves at the local cemetery and when walking in the Church, a church I had not been into since age 9. I felt like I was home. Better yet, I felt like my heart was home. That Church had been there when my great grandmother was child. That church was her home as well. Imagine when you go out of town and you go to another church because its Sunday we go to another church to celebrate the Divine Liturgy and we feel the Grace, mercy and love of God. But then we return back to Kirkland and we come to church and we walk in and it feels like home! The Story of the boy reminds me the importance our Orthodox Church community has as whole throughout the world; and how important one is to one another in order to grow as a faith. It shows how the church is one and the same where someone can take and encounter 500 Years later and tread the wine press of GODS Mercy and Grace! A friend of mine who is not orthodox but would often come to church with me said and I quote: “The Orthodox Church is a ring on God’s finger and each church is a diamond on that Ring”. In Closure I would like to remind everyone of HOME. Home is where we love to be. Home is where we grow. Home is where we live. Home is where we feel loved. Home is where we share our love. Home is where we want to go to when we are tired. Home is where we want to go when we are happy. Home is where we want to go when we are sad. Home is where the heart is. Home is where we belong. Let’s bring Saint Katherine Home! Lets Make our Home a permanent Link In our Orthodox Chain! Lets Bring Saint Katherine to the East Side! Lets Give Saint Katherine To our Children and Community! Let’s Build our home! Glory to Jesus Christ!
Background Photograph Gavriil, my Spiritual Father A Saint Katherine Speech

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Disclaimer: This Website was started on 11/2/2015 SOME of the material has been written in the last 10 years and will be uploaded little by little over time.