by Fr. Stepanos Doudoukjian
A week before my ordination to the Holy Priesthood in February 1996, as I thought about what I would offer as a gift for those who were present for that special weekend, I put pen to paper — something I do often when there are important things in my life that I want to express. This poem reflects my thanks to all those people, parishioners, communities, family members and friends who were instrumental in cultivating my call and desire to become a priest. It also serves to encourage those who read the poem to pursue God’s call for them in their lives.
Come follow me
The voice on high proclaimed
For those to listen — for those to choose
A path to follow, a path forever.
The heavenly voice, mankind has heard
Through both Divine intercession
And earthly manifestation.
To disciples, apostles, men and women —
Has come from Heaven above, to one, and one of many,
An unworthy and lowly servant, created through the seeds of man and the love of God,
By a genealogy charted through the old country Malatia and Bolis,
Arriving on the eastern shores of Jamaica, Queens and Lowell, Mass.
Powerful and strong heeding as it does —
2 of a kind, yet both from one mold:
One to be given and one to be taken,
One a child and one an angel, but both as servants —
willing and faithful.
Elaborate, persistent, and mysterious.
Beginning as life, shaped by life, nurtured with life.
Initiated by God and reinforced by man.
Encouraged by many supported by all
Beginning in time, as a child
On the footsteps and sanctuaries of Armenian Churches —
Holy Cross, Union City: St. Thomas, Tenafly;
St. Mary, Elberon: St. Gregory, Fowler: Holy Martyrs, Bayside;
St. Peter, Watervliet — all have beheld and all have sown the element of the call.
Formulated and thorough,
Modeled by few — Archbishops, priests, and deacons alike
To teach and educate, shape and mold, though not many — even fewer so
Who take hold of the seed and follow the fold.
St. Nersess Seminary and the Summer Conferences, cultivate they do —
Those who are interested and those who could.
Indiscriminate and unyielding
Brings together man and woman,
Not to self indulge but to self sacrifice.
From Selma she came — a wife she became — genuine beauty to be felt;
Not just for loving me, but foremost the Lord.
To be heard by creatures and humans alike —
Given to you — family, friends, supporters and parishioners;
An ear to hear, a soul to feel, and a heart to support that special call.
With appreciation and sincerity — a simple thank you and a simple task —
Seek, search, investigate and develop not just the Call of one, but the
Call for You. The voice on high proclaims and still waits:
Come Follow me.