Submitted by Tom Loughlin Jr.
Carrying “the Light of Christ” in his presence and message, Bishop Douglas J. Lucia visited the newly refurbished Holy Trinity Church in Utica to celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord.
On his arrival at the 109-year-old church, which characterizes itself “A Parish of the Third Millennium,” the bishop was greeted with Polish symbols of hospitality: gifts of bread and salt presented by Parish Council President Ken Szczesniak.
Prior to his procession through the congregation, Bishop Lucia blessed the church and two newly installed large icons flanking the entrance to the sanctuary.
Holy Trinity’s renovations by the Ritterbeck Church Painting Co. of Moosic, Pa., included a decor change from brown, green, and white to graduated shades of yellow and beige with decorator gold. Angels that were painted in the 1920s were restored to their original beauty by Robert Ritterbeck and the placement of paintings of 18 saints and other notables of the church were added by Ryan Ritterbeck.
Father Paul J. Drobin returned to his home parish to join Bishop Lucia and Holy Trinity priests Father Canon John E. Mikalajunas, pastor, and Father Joseph E. Moskal, assisting senior priest, in celebrating the Mass.
Bishop Lucia’s homily commemorating the Presentation of the Lord at the temple in Jerusalem noted the repeated incidence of 40-day time periods in the history of our faith, during Old and New Testament days, which all bring God closer to us: the 40 days Moses spent on Mount Sinai, 40 days Jesus spent in the desert, the 40 days after the Resurrection when we celebrate the Ascension, and the 40 days of Lent.
The bishop said: “The light of the Gospel is not meant to be put under a bushel basket or under a bed. It is meant to be put where it can give light to the world. That is our challenge on this day.”
He offered a story linking church images like the new icons and the light of Christ: “A little boy went into a beautiful church like this with his mother and, as he was walking down the aisle looking at the images around the church, he said: ‘Grandma … I know who they are!’ Grandma asked, ‘Who are they?’ The child replied, ‘Those are the ones who let God’s light shine through them.’”
Concluding, Bishop Lucia said, “As we light the light of Christ in this temple today, a temple dedicated to the Holy Trinity, let us also remind ourselves of the mission and the call to carry that light into our world.”
Father Canon Mikalajunas honored Maria Marszalek, who made the two Virgin Mary paintings and votive light stands possible with a gift from the estate of John and Jane Labaj. Both she and the bishop were given smaller versions of the Our Lady of Czestochowa icon.
According to Father Canon Mikalajunas, Bishop Lucia has promised to return to Holy Trinity for a full weekend this year. The bishop’s schedule includes a full weekend visit to St. Mary of Mt. Carmel–Ble