JOHNSTOWN, PA [Diocesan Chancery] The words of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist John, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last” (Revelation 22:13) come to mind as His Grace, Bishop Gregory and the clergy and faithful of the Diocese mourn the passing to eternal life of both a junior and a senior priest of the Diocese within a twenty four hour period.
Parastas For Fr. Ronald Hazuda – Wed May 11, 2017
Very Rev. Protopresbyter Ronald Hazuda, a devoted priest of the Diocese of over 58 years, fell asleep in the Lord, early in the morning of May 5, 2017 after a courageous battle with cancer. As the news reached the clergy and faithful of the Diocese later that morning, they were to discover a few hours later that Fr. William George, a priest of a little over three years, was involved in a serious car accident. The day was spent in fervent prayer and intercession to Almighty God at Fr. William’s bedside, with family members, area Orthodox priests, and college students from the local Orthodox Christian Fellowship. As the time grew close to the Feast Day of the Holy Trophy-bearer George, Fr. William’s family patronal Saint, Fr. William joined Fr. Ronald in the divine ascent to the Throne of Almighty God.
Funeral Divine Liturgy For Fr. Ronald Hazuda – Thurs May 12, 2017
Presiding over the Funeral services for Fr. Ronald on Wednesday May May 10 and Thursday May 11th, and Fr. William on Thursday May 12th and Friday May 13th, was His Grace, Bishop Gregory who was joined by and countless numbers of Priests, Deacons, Diocesan faithful, family and friends who were touched by the ministry of these exemplary priests. In reflecting on the tragic loss of these two beloved priests, His Grace, Bishop Gregory remarked that there is indeed a message for us from God in the extraordinary calling home of two priests, from opposite spectrums of the Holy Priesthood. In his eulogy, at the funeral of Fr. William George, His Grace reminded those present that life is a precious and fragile gift which can be taken away from us at a moment’s notice. The calling of these two beloved priests is a wake up call to those of us who are left, to evaluate the state of our spiritual lives, and an opportunity to restore our relationship with God to its primary position of importance on our lives. Our number one goal, His Grace reminded us, has to be that of reaching Paradise on the day in which we are called by our Lord.
Parastas For Fr. William George – Thurs May 12, 2017
The family members, clergy and faithful of the parishes served by these beloved priests and all who were in attendance at their funeral services were blessed to experience an other worldly, Paschal joy which soothed their aching hearts and dried their tears. The singing of the beautiful Parastas Service for a Priest, and the Divine Liturgy, in the midst of the Paschal Season, was spiritually uplifting, calling to mind the report of the envoys of Prince Vladimir of Rus, when encountering their first Orthodox Liturgical service, who said, they did not know whether they were on earth or in Heaven.
Funeral Liturgy For Fr. William George – Fri May 13, 2017
This past week, the Diocese experienced the loss of both an Alpha and an Omega priest of the Diocese which was for them an end and a beginning: an end of this earthly life and the beginning of a new life in Paradise where they now celebrate the Eternal Pascha.
Well done good and faithful priests of the Holy Orthodox Church and Our God Loving Diocese…..enter into the joy of the Lord and pray for us your brothers and co-celebrants, your beloved spiritual children and your family and loved ones at the Throne of Almighty God.
Until we meet again … Memory Eternal! Christ is Risen!