The Blessings of St. Basil and the Vasilopita
Annually we gather as a community for Vasilopita Sunday in celebration of the feast of St. Basil. The Philoptochos Society on a national level has cultivated St. Basil Academy in Garrison, New York. This feast has been used for years to create awareness of St. Basil Academy and the ministry there.
While the manner in which the St. Basil community cares for children in need has changed over the decades, the love for this place and ministry has not. The love for this ministry is what has really allowed for change. Faced with ever changing societal and social demands, the Academy has out of necessity pivoted from what we once knew as an orphanage and school to more of a residential community for youth facing challenges. Thus, St. Basils has created wonderful working relationships with the local community. Additionally, the grounds are used to house pertinent departments of the Archdiocese.
On a local level, the Cathedral Philoptochos continues to support the ministry of St. Basils in a few ways. First, by continuing the community tradition of cutting a vasilopita and continuing necessary attention for the institution. In fact, we will cut one vasilopita in the church, as a church family, for all the ministries of the parish, and then a second vasilopita during fellowship. When the coin is found, the lucky one, by tradition receives God’s blessings throughout the year.
Secondly, the Philoptochos will provide an opportunity for the faithful to support the ministry at St. Basils through a collection at the end of the service. This collection will be rounded by the Cathedral Philoptochos and sent to benefit St. Basil Academy.
Finally, the Philoptochos provides a wonderful coffee fellowship in appreciation for the generosity of the faithful of the parish. This fellowship, in addition to the regular delectable will provide an opportunity for all the faithful to receive a piece of vasilopita and a chance to receive the coin. Additionally, the Cathedral Philoptochos will make a donation to a charity in the ‘winner’s’ honor. Not only does the individual receive, but we also reflect that the true gift is giving to those in need.
We look forward to this Sunday and the opportunity to share this tradition as a parish family. Maybe you will be the one who receives one of the coins and our Lord’s blessings.