Palm Sunday is ACYOA Day

Palm Sunday is synonymous with ACYOA Day. (Armenian Church Youth Organization of America) 
According to the official ACYOA website, its purpose is “to focus
attention on the vitality of the organization, its members, its
accomplishments, and its role in the local parish community. It is also an
opportunity for the ACYOA to promote its programs and honor individuals who
have made an impact on youth in the Church. ACYOA Day is primarily celebrated
in the local parish.”


ACYOA recollections:
As teenagers, my sister and I – and later my brother – belonged
to St. Leon Armenian Church (NJ) ACYOA. As members, we were taught leadership skills; sponsored dinners, dances, you name it – we spent all of our free time together, creating l
ife-long friendships.

When our children were old enough, they
became members of their respective church’s ACYOA- following in our footsteps. 

For the five years my daughter has belonged to St. David (FL) ACYOA Jrs.,
I co-sponsored the group alongside a long-time friend of mine. As small as the St. David
youth group was, they were an active, integral part of our then relatively new parish. Members participated in various aspects of the church –assisting with Sunday
School, serving on the altar, and singing in the choir. In addition, they
sponsored successful church-related fundraisers, and even provided babysitting
services while parents attended parish events. 

Traditionally, at the conclusion of Palm Sunday church services, ACYOA
members host a luncheon and program for family and friends to
enjoy. 

My special (food-related) recollection:

Photo from causesoftheheart.com

Our annual Palm Sunday luncheon was highlighted with a very special fundraiser – a cake-lighting ceremony – at the conclusion of the program. We had a huge sheet cake – which ultimately
became dessert – set on a beautifully decorated table. Guests were invited to
come forward to light a candle, in honor of – or in memory of – a loved one.
Each name was announced. The guests made a donation, selected a candle, lit
it, then placed it in the cake. It was heart-warming to see the cake completely aglow.


Today, ACYOA chapters flourishes thanks to the Armenian youth who are dedicated to
their church community
, and their supportive clergy,
parents, and parishioners. 
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