To the Distinguished Clergy, Youth Advisors, and Catechists of our Metropolis,
The National Committee of Spiritual Education has developed a project/essay contest to commemorate St. Demetrios of Thessaloniki. Grade school students will be asked to create a biographical icon of St. Demetrios, while Middle School and High School/College students will be asked to submit an essay. Students will have the opportunity to win up to $300 for their Parish Catechism Program. We created this project as a method of getting the youth of our Metropolis engaged in activities above and beyond their daily routines. With your cooperation, we can make this activity very successful and spiritually nourishing for everyone.
Why St. Demetrios? St. Demetrios was a young man in his 20’s when he was martyred. His feast day falls on Saturday, October 26th (o.c.)/ November 8th (n.c.). By discussing his biography we hope to inspire our youth to apply his example to their own lives.
We would also like to reward their efforts with a $100 grant from the NCSED to the winning entry for each level. You will be receiving a biography of St. Demetrios—O God of Demetrios: The Story of St. Demetrios of Thessaloniki, by Angeline Eliakopoulos—in the mail within the next few days to supplement the written directions enclosed.
In the midst of the festivities, we would like to encourage our youth to prepare to receive Holy Communion on the day of the saint’s feast. Moreover, we encourage our Parish Priests to perform, if possible, an All Night Vigil on Friday evening (November 7) leading into Saturday morning. All-night Vigils transport the faithful to the services of the earliest Christians; they set the day apart as a feast of the Church; and they offer an entrance into the time and being of the Church. An All-Night Vigil will allow our children and youth to see the feast as a special day.
We would like to document these festivities throughout our Metropolis. Please appoint someone within your Parish to take plenty of pictures and videos for our documentary, as this is one of the most important parts of the project.
As the Priests, Youth Advisors, and Catechists, we also welcome your creativity. Please feel free to creatively adjust the activities/questions as you see fit.
Also, we suggest for the Elementary School project that you begin Sunday, October 26th with the reading of St. Demetrios’ life, and spread out the drawing sessions throughout each Sunday until Saturday, November 8th. This Saturday will be used as a finalizing session before presenting the finished product to the Parish on Sunday, November 9th. Finally, enclosed you will find both a Greek and English version of the Troparia for St. Demetrios. Try to get the Elementary School Level to become familiar with the first few paragraphs and prepare them to read as many as they can before the Parish along with presenting their completed Biographical Icon project.
That same Saturday (11/8) will be used as a constructive discussion session for both the Grades 7-10 and Grades 11-College Levels. Here not only will the same biographical book be read and discussed, but the participants should be given time to write their essays and finish them the same day. They are due the next day, Sunday, November 9th. They are not required to be typed unless the participant wants to, but the deadline still remains.
Please send your parish’s essays by Monday, November 10, via US mail to:
St. Demetrios Essay Contest c/o Despina Avgoustis 38578 Alma Lane Westland, MI 48185
Also, email an electronic image of your grade school photo entry to Despina Avgoustis by November 10. The photo entries and essays will be read and judged by a panel of clergy. The results will be announced by the first week of Christmas Lent.
We wish you the greatest success in our first ever Diocesan youth endeavor.
With Kindest Regards,
National Director of the Committee of Spiritual Education and Development
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