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Bishop Paul visits St. Nicholas Church, Joliet, IL, honors Fr. John E. Kuchta

JOLIET, IL [MW Diocese Communications] — His Grace, Bishop Paul joined the faithful of Saint Nicholas Church, Joliet, IL in honoring their beloved retired Pastor, Archpriest John Elias Kuchta, on the 60th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood on the Sunday of All Saints of North America, July 2-3, 2016.

Bishop Paul visits St Nicholas Church Joliet IL honors Fr John E KuchtaThe weekend opened with the celebration of Great Vespers by Archpriest John Matusiak, Pastor Emeritus of Saint Joseph Church, Wheaton, IL and Archpriest Ned Lunich, Pastor Emeritus of Saint George Serbian Orthodox Church, Joliet, IL, who serve the parish.  After Vespers, Bishop Paul shared his experiences with the congregation and enjoyed a light dinner in the parish hall.

On Sunday, Bishop Paul presided at the celebration of Divine Liturgy with Father John’s son, Archpriest Alexander Kuchta, Rector of Holy Resurrection Church, Palatine, IL; Father John Matusiak; and Deacon Nenad Jakovljevic of Saint George Church, Joliet.  During the Liturgy, the icon and relics of Saint Tikhon of Moscow added a special blessing to the faithful.  At the conclusion of the Liturgy, Bishop Paul presented Father John Kuchta with a Synodal Gramota in recognition of his 60 years of exemplary ministry at Saint Nicholas Church and to the Orthodox Church in America.  Also present were other members of Father John’s family, including his daughters, Rebecca Grabavoy and her husband, Gregory Grabavoy, and Charissa Holwey; and his daughter-in-law, Matushka Natalie Kuchta.  Prayers also were offered for the late Matushka Ruth Kuchta, who fell asleep in the Lord in 2012.  “Many years” was sung for Father John, as well as for Brian Anthony Hilk, who had been received into the Church prior to the celebration of Vespers on Saturday evening.

The celebration ended with an “endless smorgasbord” dinner prepared by the members of St. Nicholas Church, during which an anniversary cake was enjoyed by the many faithful and friends in attendance.

A photo gallery of the event can be viewed here.

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