Jackson, CA – Sunday, September 4, 2016 - The final day of the 20th Annual Diocesan Days celebration came on the Lord's Day, the 11th Sunday after Pentecost, the feast day of the Holy Martyr St. Agathonicus. The clergy were vested early during Matins Sunday morning in preparation to welcome and piously receive the relics of St. Sebastian of San Francisco and Jackson who, during the course of Matins, was escorted into the makeshift church by His Grace Bishop Maxim and all the clergy of the Western American Diocese. With the bishop's blessing Protopresbyter-Stavrophor Nicholas Ceko beautifully delivered the homily after the gospel reading during liturgy, speaking on relationships – both the ones we have with one another and our relationship with God. Singing the responses during the liturgy were the students of Prizren Seminary as they had all weekend.After a continental breakfast the grand banquet was held in the main hall. The clergy and faithful were given one last time to listen to this year's guest speaker, Dr. Bogdan Lubardic, as he delivered his Keynote Address towards the end of the luncheon, entitled: Learning with St. Matthew: How are we to overcome and understand fear- on Christ the eternal source of Joy and Peace. His talk centered on the gospel event found in the 14th chapter of St. Matthews gospel. Namely, Jesus' walking on the water. The theme was the human conditioin of fear, which we collectively run away from but cannot escape. As he did in previous talks, Dr. Lubardic disected the reading from Scriptures in order to better understand its deeper meaning. This gospel episode which gives a deeper understanding of the human condition of fear reveals its twofold dimension: fear of the unknown and fear in not knowing Him who dispels all fear which, in fact, is a lack of faith due to sin. Dr. Lubardic tied his keynote address to Fr. Ceko's morning homily about relationships, stating that the only way man can overcome fear as an inherit human condition is through a living faith, that is, a living relationship with Christ our Lord who is the only one who dispel all our fears. Subsequently, it is interesting to note that when St. Peter, who began to slip upon walking on the waters, calls to Jesus "Lord, save me“, the waters become calm. Which is to say, that our confession of our faith results in peace in our lives. This slipping and drowning in the waves described in the gospel narrative, our guest speaker noted, will never occur and happen in our own spiritual lives as long as we keep our view focused on Christ.
Dr. Debra Tasic, on behalf of the Diocesan Council, thanked this year's guest speaker for accepting the invitation to participate in this year's Diocesan Days celebration and for his wonderful talks throughout the weekend, but she also wished to thank and greet his 12 year old daughter, Marija, who joined him and left a deep impression on everyone that met her during the 3-day diocesan celebration. Maria was presented with a bouquet of flowers. The guest seminarians from Prizren Seminary were once more called upon to perform a number of Serbian folk songs which were received with much enthusiasm and thunderous applause. His Grace, Bishop Maxim, movingly bestowed his episcopal recognition, the Gramata, to Djakonica Danica Triva from Jackson, which was received with much applause and a much deserved standing ovation.
Thus, the yearly diocesan weekend event, known as Diocesan Days, came to an end but also continued with music and sports activities and fellowship throughout the day just as it continues, from week to week, in our diocesan parishes and from one year to another as we move eschathologically towards our fellowship with the Lord and His glorious Saints in His Kindgdom which which has no end.