52nd ACYO Sports Weekend

Published on Jun 03, 2016 by Communications Department
52nd ACYO Sports Weekend

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The 52nd ACYO Sports Weekend was held in Clovis, California over Memorial Day Weekend 2016. With Buchanan High School acting as host, the weekend allowed for Diocesan youth on the West Coast to compete in team sports while enjoying each other’s camaraderie.
On Friday, May 27, following individual and team registration, the youth participated in the opening ceremonies which was preceded by a moment of silence in honor of the fallen soldiers who perished as a result of the Azeri military aggression against Arstakh between April 1-4, 2016. The Primate delivered his message to the participants calling upon them to not only strengthen their physical bodies but to also renew their covenant with God. "The ACYO is a journey anchored in the Church. The Church is the anchor in the journey of our lives. We aim to guide our youth live lives with God and to be exemplary Christians. The sports weekend is the time for us to grow in the spirit of camaraderie but above all a time to share with one another the love and wisdom that God has graced upon us.”
For two days, ACYO chapters across the Western Diocese competed for top-prize honors in various sports including basketball, soccer, volleyball, dodge ball, table tennis, backgammon and tug-of-war.

At the close of the competition on Saturday, the youth took part in the “Boomers Youth” social evening, catching up with old friends and making new ones.
Divine Liturgy
On Sunday, May 29, the youth participated in the episcopal celebration of the Divine Liturgy at St. Paul by the Diocesan Primate. Archbishop Derderian was assisted at the Holy Altar by the Rev. Fr. Yessai Bedros, Pastor of the host parish and the Rev. Fr. Avedis Abovian, former Diocesan Youth Director.
During the service, Archbishop Derderian commended the ACYO Central Council for their selfless dedication and enduring affection for the Armenian Apostolic Church.
In his address to the youth Archbishop Derderian stated “Remember that you are the children of the Mother See of Holy Echtmiadzin and you ought to live your lives with the vision of Ecthcmiadzin. This journey has been the vision of our forefathers and your Christian way of life ought to be the journey of your children. It is natural for teams to strive for victory in competitive games; however, the greatest victory in our spiritual lives is the moment when we are led by the greatest victor of all, the Almighty God.”
 At the evening banquet, the teams and individual players received their trophies and were applauded for their dedication and sportsmanship.

Championship Games and Banquet
The championship games were held on Sunday, following the Divine Liturgy. The ACYO Sports Weekend competition results will be published in our upcoming communiqué.
The exciting weekend concluded with an Awards banquet at the Berberian Hall of St. Paul Armenian Church of Fresno.    
Addressing the youth of the Western Diocese, the Primate called upon them to strengthen their relationship with God stating "...make the Word of God the journey of your lives." His Eminence reflected on the success of this year's ACYO games, fondly recalling the vision of the founder of the ACYO, the late Archbishop Tiran Nersoyan. "Archbishop Nersoyan's vision is realized in your commitment," said the Primate.
Archbishop Derderian expressed his gratitude to the pastors for the enduring support they had demonstrated for the youth of their respective parishes. He thanked the Rev. Fr. Yessai Bedros and the Parish Council of St. Paul Armenian Church of Fresno for their warm hospitality in hosting this year's festivities and extended his blessings to the members of the ACYO Central Council for their superb leadership in making the weekend a historic one.
The Primate also thanked his fellow brothers in Christ and Mr. Derik Ghookasian, Treasurer of the Diocesan Council for their cordial presence at the important function for the Armenian-American youth.