Over 400 participate in FOCA national basketball, bowling tournament

Bishop Michael presides at Sunday morning Divine Liturgy.

For the first time in its history, the Fellowship of Orthodox Christians in America [FOCA] sponsored a combined basketball and bowling tournament here May 4-6, 2012.

Approximately 400 youth, young adults and others participated with bowling at the Brunswick Lanes in East Brunswick (including laser light bowling for kids) on Friday and Saturday and 23 teams (boys, girls and adults) playing basketball on the campus of Rutgers University in nearby New Brunswick on Saturday and Sunday.  Teams represented Cleveland, Campbell, Pittsburgh, Canonsburg, Central PA and New Jersey.

The clergy foul-shooting contest again was won by Father Paul Suda.

Vespers was celebrated at the hotel, followed by an awards banquet and DJ entertainment.

His Grace, Bishop Michael of New York and New Jersey presided at the Sunday Divine Liturgy at Saints Peter and Paul Church in South River, assisted by seven priests, including the host pastor, Priest David Garretson, a protodeacon, subdeacons and 14 altar servers.  Basil Kozak directed the parish choir, which was joined by tournament participants.

Clergy get ready for foul-shooting contest.

Bishop Michael remarked, “It is truly a blessing for me to be with so many young people from various parishes across this nation – young people who are the future leaders of our Orthodox Church in this country. As you participate in this year’s sports events, the fun and competition afford us the opportunity to reflect on one of life’s most important lessons. Think about this for a moment: to sink a three-pointer on the court, you have to give up the basketball; to make a strike in bowling, you have to give up the ball. So too in life, to truly be a success – as a spouse or a parent or an Orthodox Christian – we have to give of ourselves, of our time and talent and treasure; we have to sacrifice our will, our wants, our ways for the other; we have to share sacrificial love for our family and our friends, for our Lord and His Church.”

A brunch followed liturgy at the parish hall.

The championship basketball games were played on Sunday afternoon. Complete results and photos of both tourneys will appear in the spring issue of the FOCA’s Orthodox Christian Journal.

The South River “R” Club was the host chapter, with Allison and Michael Steffaro as chairs. National Sports Director Anthony Schultz, Ken Baron, and the committee coordinated the athletic events.

For more information on the FOCA, visit orthodoxfellowship.org.