My name is Basil Vergados, and I participated in the 2015 Northeast OCF Retreat! As a college freshman and Orthodox Christian, I have found that maintaining a relationship with Christ is of the utmost importance in college. It gives one a sense of peace in a new environment, and setting aside even five minutes for prayer or Gospel reading can actually yield more focus than that seventh cup of coffee the day before exams. Yet in college, it is easy to forget that a relationship with other Orthodox Christians can be just as important as our relationship with Christ. OCF is one such way to forge this spiritual fellowship, and at the Northeast OCF conference I was able to see firsthand the fruits of this holy program.
I got to meet new friends, as well as reconnect with my old friends from other parishes of our Metropolis. We sat down for a discussion lead by Fr. Patrick of the Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church in Allston MA, and together we shared our perspectives on different issues that are so important to Christians in today’s society. This was followed by a beautiful Vespers service, and then some icebreaker games. One of my favorite parts of the night actually took place afterward, right before we went to bed. Some of us went back into the church and held a small Akathist service, illumined by the physical light of a few candles and the spiritual light of Christ.
The next morning we brought breakfast to some of the homeless people in Boston and sat down to spoke with them. Personally, this was very edifying because it helped me learn how to see Christ’s divine image in every person, no matter what life they lived. One of the people we had breakfast with even told us that God was the only strength he had in life, and he thanked God for leading us to him and keeping him company. I was astounded by the man’s faith, and when we went back to the church we were able to reflect and share in each other’s experiences.
The 2015 NorthEast conference was a wonderful way for me to grow as a Christian, nurture my relationship with others, and frankly, it was so much fun. I encourage any college student reading this to search for their local OCF chapter and join me in anticipation for the Fall 2016 Northeast OCF Retreat. God bless!
Basil Vergados is a first year at University of Massachusetts – Amherst. He hails from the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston where he participated in the MBC summer camp and is a Hellenic American Academy alumni.