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A Sharing of Gratitude

120 (768x1024)NOTE:  The following article was written on the occasion of the return of our former pastor Father Gary Mensinger to his parish role. This return was following a heart attack that happened on Holy Thursday 2018, subsequent cardiac surgery, and rehabilitation.  Father Gary returned to us as our shepherd for too short a time (18 months) when he suffered another cardiac arrest on December 3, 2019, this time without recovery.  We pray for his soul in eternal memory as he would ask of us.  We beseech the mercy of God that Father Gary as a good and faithful servant now beholds the beatific vision he felt ready to accept, through the will of God when so beckoned home.   He would want us to live our faith as a community of believers; to continue the work now entrusted to our care and with the warmest of welcomes to our newest pastor and shepherd.


We do not know where God will lead us, where God may take us, but this we do know: Through the eyes of faith we see how our lives intersect with others.  In this, more than anything, we have gratitude for the gift of life itself.   In all of our joys and losses in life, we see the blessings God gives us in our relationships with each other.  Those relationships may seem finite in our limited concept of time, but in God’s Kingdom we are united as believers eternally.




As we celebrated Pentecost Sunday, our prayers of gratitude to the Holy Spirit rose abundantly with the long-awaited return of our dear pastoral shepherd, Father Gary Mensinger.

We are so thankful and happy to have Father Gary “back home” with us at St. Michaels Church, Pittston and St. Nicholas Church, Swoyersville following an absence since March 29 in a health crisis.

We are certain the welcomed news of his return is multiplied many times over among the circle of friends he has in our community, area churches, and eparchies!

Our praise extends to each one of the earthly angels who watched over and provided care in an urgent time of need.  We are so grateful to them in serving as the hands of God.

We offer our praise to God in thanksgiving also for our dear and long-devoted cantor, Mr. Paul Dzurisin.  It was a happy day to “hear” his voice singing praise to our Lord in our two parishes after his own absence with health concerns, unbelievably during the same period of time as Father Gary’s absence.   A troupe of earthly choir angels did an amazing job and they are now pleased to have him back in a leading and teaching role!

Of course, we cannot thank enough all who helped our parishes during this time in every way, especially each of the visiting priests.  Their understanding and time in continuing “the mission” was immeasurable and we pray that God blesses each of them with health and protection for many, many years.

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View from behind the iconostasis. Photo is copyrighted. No permissions granted.


We reserve our highest praise, gratitude, and glory to God on this most glorious feast of new beginnings.

God knows the big picture for each of our lives.   And in his mysterious and loving ways, we are guided along the journey through the power of the Holy Spirit as our source of encouragement and comfort.

None of us can know the paths we will be led on, it is not ours to determine, except in the promises that God gives when we keep his Word.  But along our way, God may even nudge us, yet allowing us to discover his love for us, unfolding the map before us in baby steps, and always walking by our side.

God is with us on this journey, together with others whose routes we intersect for reasons only known in heaven, in ever widening circles.  It is in our looking back with new eyes, it is when we are attuned to God’s love for us, that we may clearly see how it all tracked out and perhaps even why.

From this perspective we find the work of God manifest in our lives.

From this perspective we find the work that God enables us to perform.

From this perspective we know and are assured we are always in God’s hands.