The 28th annual Canadian Diocesan Assembly took place in the Holy Cross Parish of Laval this year, on the weekend of May 27-29, 2011.

The annual Clergy meeting took place on Friday morning, and the Women’s Guild meeting on Friday afternoon. This year, for the first time, the Diocesan altar servers and Deacon Youth met for a 2-day seminar under the direction of Arch Deacon Nurhan Ipek.

Friday evening at 7:30, His Eminence, Bishop Bagrat Galstanian opened Session 1 of the Diocesan Assembly with prayer. The assembly officers were determined:

The President was, of course Bishop Bagrat Galstanian; Chairman – Taro Alepian; English Recording Secretary – Mona Selyan; Armenian Recording Secretary – Antranik Tchilingirian; and Parliamentarian – Arto Basmajian.

Greetings were read from Prime Minister of Canada, Right Hon. Stephen Harper; Premier of Quebec, Jean Charest and Mayor of the City of Laval, Gilles Vaillancourt. Greetings of the host parish were extended by Albert Yeghikian, Parish Council Chairman.

After a review of the previous year’s minutes, adoption of agenda and appointment of Courtesies Committee, the following reports were presented and approved: ACYOC, Christian Education, CYMA, Camp Ararat, CFFA, Women’s’ Guild, Diocesan Endowment Fund, Diocesan Council. A special presentation of research was done by Jirair Dolar for a potential Canada-wide survey of Armenian households, which would be most useful to receive anonymous feedback from prospective and current parishioners across Canada.

During Session 2 on Saturday, messages from His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos, and our own dear Bishop Bagrat were read prior to the presentation of the Diocesan Council Financial Report and review of proposed Bylaw amendments prepared by Shahin Soheili; each of these proposals was reviewed and decided upon as voted by the Assembly.

After the report of the Nominating Committee and acceptance of nominations from the floor, the following vacancies were filled:
• Diocesan Council (Lay): Mego Kanonjian and Apet Alpay, both elected
• Diocesan Council (Clergy): Father Zareh Zargarian and Father Vazken Boyajian, both acclaimed
• Board of Trustees: Madat Mamourian, elected
• Nominating Committee: Antranik Tchilingirian, Hrair Der Kevorkian and Madat Mamourian, all acclaimed.
• Auditing Committee: Aram Isnar, Vahe Keresteciyan and John Satouri, all acclaimed.

A special presentation and discussion was made of the Diocesan fundraising plans and stewardship programs being planned and implemented.
After the report of the Courtesies Committee, the second session was adjourned with prayer by Bishop Bagrat Galstanian, who once again expressed his thanks to all involved in this most successful and fruitful Assembly.

On Saturday night, a “siro seghan” fundraising banquet was held in Aram Khatchadoorian Hall of the Bolsahay Centre in Montreal. Mr. Garo Nishanian was the Master of Ceremonies, and provided his vocal talents for part of the entertainment, along with Sandra Afeyan, accompanied by Krikor Shahverdian. A special piano recital of Mephisto Waltz by Liszt was performed by young guest Simon Yan. There were approximately 165 Delegates, Clergy and guests in attendance at the banquet, and over $100,000 was raised towards continued construction of the new Holy Cross Laval church building.

On Sunday, the Deacon youth that came for the 2-day seminar attended Bishop Bagrat as he celebrated Divine Liturgy in the host parish Sanctuary. After Badarak, the Delegates took their leave of this successful and enjoyable Assembly.

A very special thanks is well-deserved by the Holy Cross of Laval Ladies Guild, who provided the Delegates with the most delicious meals and refreshments, smiling all the while! (by Mona Selyan)