FITCHBURG, MA – The Holy Trinity parish of Fitchburg, MA held its annual festival September 14 and 15.
Hundreds of visitors enjoyed the warm summery weather, authentic Greek food, and live Greek music.
Parish priest Fr. Paul Bebis said “we are doing very well. Thank God we’ve have great weather. We did well yesterday. He added that “we are doing fine as a parish. We are united and there is a lot of enthusiasm. We have 150 families; they are hardworking people.” How can the church, in general, attract the unchurched? “You have to go see them; visit them, knock on their doors,” he said. Make sure to send out positive messages, and “bring the kids to church.”
Fr. Bebis is the son of Fr. Constantine Bebis, a prominent Greek Orthodox priest who served diligently for more than fifty years the St. George parish in New Bedford, nephew of Dr. George Bebis, Professor Emeritus of Patristics of Holy Cross School of Theology.
Parishioner Anastasios Stathopoulos said “I give to the church and to the festival all the time I can give. It takes a lot of preparation and I try to take care of the incidentals: to bring out souvlakia, rice, spinach pies, pastitsio, etc. we make them here at the church. I have been doing this for over 50 years, since I was an altar boy. This is my parish. My grandfather came here in 1909 to see his two sisters; he spent eight years working on the railroad, then came back to Fitchburg and helped build this church. I remember my father telling me every Easter they brought a priest from Greece to organize the parishes in the Midwest, Salt Lake City, Omaha.”
Festival co-Chair and Parish Council VP Theofilos Stathas said the festival was doing great. Wonderful people, wonderful food.” He praised all of the hardworking volunteers, and spoke about the authentic and tasty food. A parishioner for over 34 years, Stathas said my wife brought me here. I grew up in Boston. I was a member of St. John the Baptist, I met my wife in Boston and she told me about a city called Fitchburg. I didn’t know where it was how far it was, but here I am.”
Stathas also spoke about the festival’s indispensability to the parish’s survival. “Honestly, if we don’t have this festival, our Church will close its doors. We know that and pray to God to give us strength to keep doing this every year.”
The other Festival co-Chair, Parish Council President Mike Nelson, also praised the strong parish and hardworking people, and said “as the older folks get a little older, we have to ensure that we are keeping our youth involved and engaged,” and said the parish’s most crucial challenge is to get the people involved. Originally from New Jersey, Nelson said he went to school in Rhode Island “and then love brought me here as well. I work for Fidelity Investments. I met my wife at work, actually, and I stayed here because of her.” He also said “Theofilos Stathas is a great man, I learned a lot from him since I came here.”