12442931_999084133504135_270775983_n (Medium)The traditional St. Thomas Children’s Easter Communion and Breakfast took place on Saturday, March 26. The pews were filled with children of all ages, and their families, to receive Holy Communion and then enjoy breakfast with a special guest, the Easter Bunny! This special service for the children is attended every year by all Armenian children in the area, and many of them are also enrolled in the Kirikian Armenian and St. Thomas Sunday Schools. There were many more new and happy faces who attended this year, an encouraging sign for the future of our church and culture.12884520_999085100170705_1265645783_n (Medium)

On this day of the Children’s Communion service, our pastor, Very Rev. Fr. Papken Dz. V. Anoushian, always enthusiastically addresses the children about the meaning and importance of Easter. Fr. Papken has a gifted way of teaching and talking to the younger generation, especially about this significant time in the calendar of the Armenian Apostolic Church. The families then headed to the Mekhjian Atrium following the church service for an Easter Breakfast.

Ani Capan, Principal of the Kirikian Armenian School, expressed her joy at this year’s Children Communion Service, which was conducted with former and current students of the school. “The deacon Vicken was a graduate. Arianna Cruickshank and Christine Sabbagh, also two graduates, sang the Choir parts Kovya Yerousaghem and Sourp Asdvadz. Matthew Bourghol, a current student, and Alex Giritlian, (former graduate) being our two newly ordained Tbirs read the Khosdovanank (Confession) and helped Hayr Soorp during the Communion distribution.  It was really encouraging for me to see our next generation being able to serve the Church already. We owe this success to Hayr Soorp and his superb ability to teach and train our youth.  For me this was the highlight of this Holy Week.”

Everyone enjoyed the Easter Breakfast, which was organized by both the Sunday School and Kirikian Armenian School. The colorful room, decorated in Easter pastels, was filled with happiness, laughter, and the sound of cracking eggs and friendly competition! All the children enjoyed a traditional Armenian Easter breakfast including choreg, string cheese, and Easter eggs. 11

Three devoted members of St. Thomas, Talin Hagopian, Ani Hamparsuian, and Yeghsa Bestepe, lovingly baked and donated Armenian choregs to the church to be sold at this breakfast and on Easter Sunday. The members of the ACYOA Juniors also sold crosses, made by Ani Capan, as a fundraiser for the church.

13This joyous and memorable event for both children and their parents would not have been possible without the teamwork of several dedicated people at St. Thomas Armenian Church! The 2016 Easter Breakfast was chaired by Maral Kalishian and Jane Torigian of the Parent’s Committee, with support from Mary Ann Saraydarian, who serves on the Executive Board of the Kirikian School. Maral also oversees other children’s parties throughout the year, and she truly enjoys putting them together. All of the teachers were instrumental in preparing and donating the dyed eggs, and Talar Sarafian, Karin Tokatlioglu, Diana Bourghol and Nadine Mekjian also assisted throughout the day.

1_Jacklyn_Baltaian_CommunionTeacher Jacklyn Baltaian, known among the students for her hands-on and fun projects, displayed their latest creation. Her annual Easter project, which began a month prior, was to show students how they can grow plants by sprouting lentils. Today, these mature plants were on proud display in the church lobby for the parents to see. The vibrant greens greeted everyone in the spirit of springtime and rebirth as they entered the hall for Easter Breakfast.

The star of the breakfast, other than the children themselves, was the Easter Bunny! Maral Sarafian, also a student of the Kirikian Armenian School, entertained and interacted with the children.  With a cute painted face and in a full bunny costume to match, she shared treats from her basket and took photos to their heart’s content.

All in all, this year’s St. Thomas Easter Communion and Breakfast was an uplifting and unforgettable Easter celebration!

We invite you to view all the pictures from the Children’s Communion and Breakfast in our photo gallery.