Praying for Miracles, Holy Hour of Prayer for John Aroutiounian, Church of the Holy Family, March 27, 2019

Fr. Roger J. Landry
Church of the Holy Family, Manhattan
Prayer Service for John Aroutiounian
March 27, 2019

 

To listen to the brief meditation given at the beginning of the Holy Hour, please click below: 

 

The following outline guided the meditation. 

  • Miracles
    • We are here to pray for a miracle for our friend John Aroutiounian.
    • We do so in the presence of the same Jesus who worked so many in the Gospels.
      • Blind men
      • Deaf Mutes
      • Lame and Crippled
      • Lepers
      • Those Possessed
    • He also worked them through people’s intercession
      • Friends of the Paralyzed Man
      • Centurion for his servant
      • Royal Official for his son
      • Syrophoenician mother for her daughter
      • Mary for the wedding couple
    • We come here bringing our friend John to Jesus.
  • Jesus in Palestine
    • We know that Jesus didn’t cure all of the people in Palestine.
    • It’s a great mystery why he didn’t, but he wanted people fundamentally to accept him as a savior, as someone who has come to heal the soul.
    • That’s one of the reasons why he bid so many of those he helped not to say a work so that people would treat him as a political Messiah or just as a bodily healer. There’s something greater.
    • We’re certainly praying for that for our brother John, even more than for a physical healing. We’re praying it likewise for ourselves.
  • Fiat voluntas tua
    • We’re called to trust in God, who loves those we love even more than we do.
    • He promised not to give us a stone when we asked for bread, not to give us a scorpion when we asked for an egg, not a poisonous eel when we asked for a fish. But we never know if what we’re asking for is something lesser. He always responds by giving us himself.
    • Sometimes he gives us more than we want. When we ask for something, he gives us 100 fold. When we want a mile, he gives us two.
    • So it’s key for us to trust.
  • Thanksgiving
    • It’s also key for us to pray with a spirit of Thanksgiving, that God will hear us and answer.
    • Mother Teresa and the ten memorares.
    • The grateful leper. He was opened to something greater.
  • The Eucharist
    • John Vianney used to pray when he held Jesus in his hands. He had tremendous confidence in the power of Jesus.
    • The same Jesus is with us.
    • If God didn’t even spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, will he not give us everything else besides? He gives us his own Son here. Everything else we ask for is small in comparison.
    • And so we ask with faith that we will receive, we seek with faith we will find, we knock with faith that God will open the door.

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John died on May 3, 2019.

Here is the brief obituary notice I wrote on that day for the Leonine Forum Fellows to which he belonged.

The Leonine Forum has just entrusted one of its fellows back to the Lord who blessed us by knowing him. John Aroutiounian, whom we were honored to have as a New York Chapter LF Fellow for 2018-9, died this morning after a valiant battle against cancer.

John accomplished much in his 26 years and had a particular charism for deep friendship. He wrote in his cover letter applying to the Leonine Forum, “I am a great believer in the importance of creating and maintaining strong community. In this era of constant dislocation and instant communication, it is critical that individuals maintain communities of those who share their values, whether they are physically close or distant. It is a paradox of history that our interconnected age features so much social decomposition and personal fragmentation. It is a prime moment for the Church to act as ‘salt, light, and leaven’ in emphasizing the transcendent meaning of human dignity across the world, in shining a light on those forgotten in a society that worships power and ability above all, and in breaking through polarized discourse to reorient our politics toward the pursuit of true human flourishing. But this can only be achieved by prayerful individuals, guided by the Holy Spirit, laboring each day in solidarity with one another.” Those are principles by which he sought to live and so many of his friends say he contagiously exemplified.

John was born and raised on the Upper West Side and Washington Heights in New York and also lived in Kentucky, Connecticut, Washington, DC, and the UK. He graduated from Yale in 2015 with a Bachelor’s in Ethics, Politics and Economics, and History, a Masters from Oxford in 2017 in Classical and Ancient Studies and was at Colombia University Law School, with an anticipated graduate in 2020. Prior to law school, he had worked at the New York District Attorney’s Office. He was an elected member of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House), a member of the Capitol Page Alumni Association, the Committee Chair of the Yale Political Union Alumni Association, and one of the Young Friends of the New York Philharmonic. He did volunteer work for The Trevor Project, providing counseling and suicide de-escalation services for young people. He spoke six languages, played the piano, loved journalism and creative writing, and got exercise hiking, cycling, and playing polo. He was a member of Holy Name of Jesus Parish in New York.

For his motto and favorite quotation for the Leonine Forum, he turned to Jesus’ words in the Gospel of Matthew, which he quoted in Latin: “Cum autem tradent vos nolite cogitare quomodo aut quid loquamini dabitur enim vobis in illa hora quid loquamini,” translated, “When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say” (Mt 10:19). We pray that God will give us the words of faith that we most need to say to Him, to each other, and to his family upon this news.

When asked who is favorite saint was and why, he said he had “too many,” but if forced he would choose St. Gregory the Illuminator, “one of the first pillars of the Church in Armenia.” We pray that by God’s mercy, he is now in the presence of St. Gregory the Illuminator and more saints than he could ever enumerate.

I would urge you to pray the prayer that the Catholic Church prays upon the death of one of her sons or daughters:

“Loving and merciful God, we entrust our brother John to your mercy. You loved him greatly in this life: now that he is freed from all its cares, give him happiness and peace forever. The old order has passed away: welcome him now into paradise where there will be no more sorrow, no more weeping or pain, but only peace and joy with Jesus your Son and the Holy Spirit forever and ever. Amen.”

Funeral arrangements are still pending. Please keep his parents, Aris and Rouzan, in particular in your prayers. His father asked that his friends all know just how grateful the two of them are for all the love and support shown to John and them during these last several months and how much it would mean to them for John’s friends to gather with them to mourn this loss at John’s funeral.

Requiescat cum Domino in pace!

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His wake was held at Ortiz Funeral Home in Washington Heights from 4-9 pm on May 6, 2019 and his funeral Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan at 10 am on May 7, 2019.