After 55 Years: The Retirement of Fr. Paul Shafran

[Fall, 2003]

   After serving as a priest in the Orthodox Church in America for 55 years and after serving as pastor of St. Vladimir Orthodox Church in Trenton, NJ for 53 years, Fr. Paul Shafran retired as pastor of his church at the end of July 2002. In order to express their appreciation and gratitude, the parishioners held a special banquet for Fr. Paul and Matushka Mary on Sunday, October 6, 2002, at Daria Hall adjacent to the church. Prior to the banquet, a service of thanksgiving was sung in the church that was filled with worshippers. The celebrants at this service were the Very Rev. Sergei Kuharsky who delivered the homily, the Very Rev. Nicholas Fedetz, a seminary classmate of Fr. Paul, the Very Rev. Thomas Edwards, the Very Rev. Steven Belonick, the Very Rev. Daniel Skvir, the Rev. Fr. Martin Kraus, the newly appointed pastor of St. Vladimir Church, and the Rev. Fr. Deacon Michael Sochka.

   At the conclusion of the Molieben Service, the clergy and congregation proceeded to Daria Hall. The hall was filled to capacity and many more people requested banquet tickets, but tickets were sold out. The table decorations and ambience were elegant. The banquet committee, consisting of a large group of people, received high compliments for the excellent arrangements. Fr. Daniel Skvir acted as master of ceremonies. Eloquent speeches were delivered by Fr. Nicholas Fedetz, Fr. Sergei Kuharsky, Fr. Thomas Edwards, Fr. Steven Belonick, Fr. Martin Kraus and Fr. Deacon Michael Sochka.

   During the program representatives of the Womenís Altar Society, the St. Vladimir Menís Society, the Senior R Club, the Church Choir and the Church School came forward and presented Fr. Paul and Matushka Mary with many gifts and kind words of appreciation. The biggest surprise was when Fr. Paul was presented with a large envelope containing a printed certificate informing him that a new 2003 Toyota Camry automobile was awaiting him outside! Fr. Paul and Matushka Mary thanked all the people for their participation, their loyalty and love. Following the closing prayer, parishioners approached Fr. Paul and Matushka Mary and personally thanked them for their years of devoted service and love. During Fr. Paulís pastorate, the parish grew in number requiring the enlargement of the church in 1952 and 1968. During these years a new altar table, iconostas and other appointments were installed. Also the entire church was beautified by the renowned icononographer Pimen Sofronov. In 1964, Daria Hall, the education and social building, was constructed adjacent to the church. Additional land was purchased to enlarge the parish cemetery, and a recreational park was constructed on land donated by a parishioner.

   Fr. Paul was designated as Pastor Emeritus by Archbishop Peter. Father Paul and Matushka Mary reside in their own home in Ewing, NJ in the vicinity of the College of New Jersey.


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