Happy 100th Birthday!

Our Dear Friend Frederick Howard
turned 100 on October 5th, 2007


Life-long member of Saint George, our dear friend, Frederick Howard turned 100 on October 5th. To celebrate the occasion, family, friends and the parish community gathered for Divine Liturgy, special presentations and a luncheon on the 7th. Following the service, Fred was presented gifts from the Church School, the Teens, the Ladies and the Choir. Parish Council chairwoman Leeann Plouffe then gave Fred a framed print of the church, on behalf of the whole congregation. The final presentation was the bestowal of the Antonian Silver Medal in honor of Fred's service and commitment to the Church. The award was made by Anthony Bashir, member of the Archdiocese Board of Trustees, on behalf of His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP.

Presentation of the Antonian Silver Medal to Mr. Frederick Abdallah Howard
by Anthony Bashir, member of the Archdiocese Board of Trustees,
on behalf of His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP

I am here with you all today to present Mr. Fred Howard with the Antonian Silver Medal on behalf of Metropolitan Philip, Primate of the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. This is an honor and privilege for me to do this.

In 1969, Metropolitan Philip established the Antonian Medal of Merit to commemorate the long and fruitful ministry of his predecessor, Metropolitan Antony, who put forth much effort in creating the modern Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of New York and all North American. The medal was created by Metropolitan Philip as a way of recognizing the achievements and contributions of members of the Archdiocese to their parishes and their communities. The first recipient of the Antonian Medal of Merit was Mr. Monsour Laham, who many of you knew; together with Metropolitan Antony they established the Archdiocese on the firm basis it now enjoys.

The medal carries the portrait of Metropolitan Antony on one side; this portrait is based on a photograph of him taken in Rome in 1964; for those of you who knew him, his profile is strong and noble…he is wearing his glasses. The other side carries the crossed keys of Saint Peter with St. Paul’s sword of the Spirit. These two were the founders of the Patriarchal See of Antioch and of All the East. Inscribed around the central trophy are the words of Acts 11:26, so dear and significant to members of the Antiochene Patriarchate: “In Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.” The form of the medal was conceived and designed by Father Paul Schneirla, now retired from the parish of St. Mary’s of Brooklyn New York.

This order of merit is conferred on those who worthily follow in Archbishop Antony’s footsteps, in love and service to their fellow Orthodox Christians and their Church. Each of us serves the Church in our own way and some of us are devoted to that service across our lifetime. Such is the case with today’s recipient, Frederick Abdallah Howard, born October 5, 1907, right next door to the Church at 2 Atwood Avenue to Abdallah and Jamelie Howard. Fred’s father, Abdullah, along with other families from south Norwood were instrumental in the founding and building of this Church to the Glory of God. Fred has been a member of this church and lived in service to this parish throughout his years. He is one of the founding members of the New England Council of Churches that seeks to establish programs for youth in the Diocese; his love of children and his intention of taking care of them is part of Fred’s passion in life.

Having been in the very first class at the Balch School where today’s reception will be held, Fred graduated from Colby College, worked for a while for Metropolitan Life, and began his own business in 1938 which operates until this day with his sons Andrew and Philip.

More importantly, in 1938 he married the love of his life, Celia Sakakeeny of Central Falls, RI. The whole affair was a set up by Bishop Emmanuel Abu Hatab…but I’ll let Fred and his children tell you that story. One of the great blessings of this family is the love that Celia and Fred, who were always together, had and have for their children, Judith, Philip, Janice, Andrew and Carol, the spouses of his children and the wonderful grandchildren and their families.

Once you know the truth of your faith, it shapes your life for all time. What passage from scripture would characterize Fred the best? I’ve thought about that and thought about the Antonian and the man for who it is named and said …ah, Micah - He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Fred…on behalf of Metropolitan Philip and the Archdiocese Bishops and Board of Trustees it is my honor to invest you with this Silver Antonian Medal of Merit for your years of service to your family, your church and your community. May God grant you many years. Well done thou good and faithful servant! Axios!