San Antonio, St John Casian Romanian Festival, October 12, 2019
St John Casian Romanian Orthodox Church Annual Festival was a bliss. Even though it was a cold October morning with no hope that many people will show up, the sunrise shined literally and figuratively speaking within few hours once the festival started! My name is Marta and I have represented Saint Paraskeva Orthodox Charity as a volunteer at the Romanian Festival in San Antonio. I was a little skeptical in the beginning, given the cold morning; everything changed however, once I thought that I should read the Akhatist of St Paraskeva. Literally, people start coming form nowhere and everywhere visiting every booth. St. Paraskeva booth was a little different. Instead of buying and consuming right a way, there was something more meaningful offered there: buying and donating for a charity that is committed to support children in need. And I was so happy to observe that people were impressed with such commitment!
Through out of the entire day I have meet all nationalities that stopped to our stand. Majority of them bought something in order to donate for our cause. They had many question about Romania, about our orphans, and about our charity. I answered with the best of my abilities, but I felt that was something more that gave me the strength and courage that particular day. And I am confident that was St Paraskeva. Her feast day was about to be celebrated in the next two days, October 14. Even more so that explained her presence over there to our festival. Speaking latter on with Fr. Valentin (St John Casian Parish priest in San Antonio) and other festival organizers, I noticed that they all felt different this year. The Romanian Festival never had as many visitors as this year. They also witness a ‘vibe’ or an energy that helped us all. A small group of volunteers that successfully responded to hosting a crowd of about 30,000 visitors in one single day was certainly not an easy chore!
Although St Paraskeva booth had to offer icons, books, crosses , people that visited the booth like to carry a conversation and to find more about our charity and about orthodoxy. Impressively enough a majority of the icons were bought by a variety of religions denominations and even asked me for more. How was that possible I asked myself? I was nicely surprised by a reflective answer… The answer rests in our beloved St.Paraskeva, our charity patron that I know she intercedes for all those dedicated to her charity. Again, another prof for myself, that praying and believing in the strength of the intersession power of The Saints and Mother of God to our Lord Jesus Christ is the key of success in helping others less unfortunate. Join us in this blissful and rewarding experience!