The Very Rev. Michael Westerberg and his wife, Matushka Lydia, rejoiced with friends and parishioners on Sunday, October 10, 2010, as they celebrated thirty years of service at Holy Transfiguration Church, New Haven, Connecticut. His Grace, The Rt. Rev. Nikon, bishop of Boston and New England, presided at the hierarchical Divine Liturgy in the morning and joined the hundreds of well wishers at the banquet following. Several clergy from the New England Diocese and Connecticut Deanery and their spouses, including The Very Rev. John Kreta, chancellor of the Diocese, and The Very Rev. Vladimir Aleandro, dean of the Connecticut Deanery, came to extend their congratulations as well.
Fr. Michael, who also was commemorating the thirty-fifth year of his ordination to the priesthood, recalled the extraordinary events that led him to his assignment at Holy Transfiguration, from his first parish in Berlin, New Hampshire. He also acknowledged the special support given to him throughout his ministry by Mat.' Lydia, particularly in her faithful direction of the choir. After various speakers had lauded his accomplishments, Fr. Michael took the podium and began humbly, "I would like to meet this fellow you've been talking about."
Over the years, Fr. Michael has been dedicated to mentoring seminarians from St. Vladimir's Seminary, who come to his church on weekends to fulfill their parish placement duties required by the seminary curriculum. The Very Rev. Steven Belonick, chaplain at the Seminary and overseer of the parish placement program, commended Fr. Michael on his exceptional care for SVOTS seminarians, saying, "You open your church doors, your sanctuary, and your home to them. You provide them with guidance, wisdom, counsel, inspiration, and love. But most importantly, you mentor them not only by what you teach them but also by your own example of a priest who loves to be a parish priest. And, there is no better lesson for them than that." Fr. Steven also presented Fr. Michael with correspondence from the seminarians who had been mentored under his wing, as mementos of his faithful and conscientious care.
Axios! to Fr. Michael and Mat.' Lydia as they continue their ministry in God's vineyard.