Out of the cold and stormy days the St. Archangel Gabriel parish (for the north of Toronto) came out strengthened and refreshed. Some recent events have brought into question the very survival of the Parish, but glory and thanks be to God, our Parish gave the best possible response to these and other challenges, remaining determined to persevere.
The recent events in the life of our Parish confirm this.
At the end of April a fundraiser in support of our Parish was organized. The response of the parishioners and other benefactors was remarkable. The hall was filled to the last spot. The monetary contribution was significant, but much more important was that this event testified to the Parish’s determination, with the help of God and the intercession of the Holy Archangel Gabriel, to persist in its God-pleasing intention to survive and build a shrine to the Holy Archangel.
On this occasion, as so many times before, Biljana Gasovic invested her God-given talent and enormous energy into serving the Church, and the results were evident. Also our Circle of Serbian Sisters, led by Dragica Gađanski, Vera Pavlović and Nena Vučković, confirmed yet again what is already known about them: that they are the pillar of our Parish and the strength that we all can count on.
Immediately after this event, on May 5, on the eve of St. George’s Day, the leaders of the Parish organized a spring cleaning of the property.
In the past few months a number of construction and renovation works were carried out in the parish hall and chapel dedicated to the Holy Archangel in order to harmonize it with Ontario building codes and standards.
The services resumed in the chapel and the Church life continued, so that by all accounts it seems that, with God’s help, we will be back to where we were once before. The awakened optimism and growing enthusiasm indicates that the time of crisis is well behind us and that the Parish, God-willing, will have even better days coming ahead.
The following volunteers took part in the effort of cleaning-up the property and removing the accumulated renovation waste: Tomo Trklja, Mile Kotarac, Srđan Stojšić, Duško Knežević, Siniša Cvetković, Radovan Ždrakanović, Gligor and Strahinja Đogo, Dejan Jokanović, Živorad Božić, Jovan Nedeljković and Protopresbyters Zlatibor and Vasilje.
The day was sunny, the ambiance was busy and dynamic. It reminded of the activities we carried out at the time when we established this Parish.
Of note was an interesting detail related to the youngest participant in the clean-up, Strahinja Đogo. Tending to the fire of our “iconic” barrel, he asked us whether we knew who came up with the idea and adapted the barrel for lightning the Yule log.
We said that we did not know.
“My dad did that”, he said.
Very touching was this memory of our late Đorđe Đogo, as well as that unforgettable gesture when we, for the first time, made our way to this estate, and he knelt, kissed the soil and said: “We are not leaving from here.”
What the father began and his sons continue to do, bolsters our hopes and conviction that, God-willing, the grandchildren will also be endeavoring for the betterment of this St. Archangel Gabriel’s Parish.
– Fr. Vasilije Tomić