Phone #: (718) 979-9729
Fax #: (718) 979-9729
Archdiocese of North America
- St. George & St. Shenouda Church
Jersey City, New Jersey
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On July 26, 1953 Hany Bebawy was born to Anis & Olga Bebawy in Cairo, Egypt. Together with his family, he was a dedicated parishioner of St. Anthony’s Church in Shoubra. There he served as a deacon and was ordained a reader in 1968 at the hand of H.H. Pope Shenouda III who, at the time, was H.G. Bishop Shenouda, the Bishop of Education.
As a youth he sought spiritual guidance from his father of confession Fr. Isaac from Ezbet El-Nakhl in Cairo. From time to time, he would visit the monastery in Tamouh where he would meet with his spiritual father, Fr. Agathon who was later ordained as Bishop Agathon from Ismailia.
After graduating high school, he attended Ain Shams University from 1973 to 1975. In 1974, while he was still enrolled at the university, he made a trip to the United States and subsequently migrated in 1976.
With the foresight that there might be some difficulties that accompany a transition from Egypt to America, he ensured that he prioritized his education and most importantly his service to the Coptic Orthodox Church in America. Shortly after his arrival he joined the congregation of St. Mary & St. Antonious’s Church in Queens, N.Y., where he started the project of Coptic Church Sound without haste. This project allowed for the duplication of cassettes of various church services such as sermons, liturgies and hymns which were then distributed to numerous churches and church members. Within the first year approximately 100,000 tapes were duplicated. There was a great deal of positive feedback about this service, especially from those who were not able to attend church services regularly. In 1977, H.H Pope Shenouda III blessed this service and added onto the collection of sermons.
In addition to his dedication to church service, Fr. David was enrolled at Stevens Institute of Technology in 1976 for one year after which he transferred to New Jersey Institute of Technology. From there he graduated on Thursday, May 22, 1980 with a degree in electrical engineering. After graduating, he worked for the Transit Authority and invented a device that detected electricity running through train tracks which was used to prevent danger to passengers. When asked about his greatest accomplishments, Fr. David made it a point to mention that all our achievements are made possible only through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Aside from his successes in his career path, he also was chosen to lead the deacons of St. Mary and St. Antonious’s Church. As a result of his love for Coptic Hymnology, he scheduled weekly classes for various congregations in different areas. Following a hectic work day, he held Coptic lessons on Mondays in his sister’s house in Staten Island. On Wednesdays he would travel to Jersey City to teach at St. Mark’s Church under the guidance of the late Fr. Ghoubrael (may the Lord repose his soul). On Fridays he held a session at St. Mary’s Church in East Brunswick. He also was involved in many Sunday School services.
In 1984, he became engaged to Magda Salama who he married the following year at St. Mary’s Coptic Orthodox Church in East Brunswick. Within a year, he was ordained Subdeacon by H.E. Metropolitan Bishoy. In the same year, they had their first child, David. Soon after, he was ordained a priest on March 6, 1987. After returning from the monastery, he began his first day of service as a priest at St. George and St. Shenouda’s Coptic Orthodox Church in Jersey City on April 10, 1987. He joined in partnership with the late Fr. Antonios Ragheb (may the Lord repose his soul). Later that year, his second son George was born.
As a priest, he continued to hold Coptic hymn lessons and in 1994 he joined a panel of judges composed of the late Fr. Bishoy Demetrious (may the Lord repose his soul) and Fr. Michael Tobia for the Annual Coptic Hymn Competition held at St. Mina and Archangel Michael Coptic Orthodox Church in Staten Island. He continued to attend this competition for thirteen years. Through this service he encouraged many youth, as well as adults, to further their knowledge of the Coptic language. His zeal for Coptic praise is truly an inspiration for us all; as a result, we enable our souls to join with the heavenly saints and partake in the wonderful sacrifice of praise.
The following year, in 1995, their third son Michael was born. And in 1996, the late Fr. Antonios and Fr. David were joined by the late Fr. Sorial Sorial, the brother of H.G. Bishop Karas. Within the same year, Fr. David had another addition to his family; his daughter Maria was born.
After a couple of years, Fr. Antonios fell ill and many of the church duties were divided between Fr. David and Fr. Sorial. And in 1999 when Fr. Antonios departed, Fr. David became the head priest; in 2000 he was promoted to Hegomen. Shortly after, the church of St. George and St. Shenouda purchased an annex building on the neighboring street in hopes of building the first cathedral in Jersey City.
In 2005, the church was blessed with a third priest in addition to Fr. David and Fr. Sorial. After returning from the monastery, Fr. Anthony Basily began his first day of service as a priest at St. George and St. Shenouda Coptic Orthodox Church. The congregation was growing at a rapid pace and as a result there was a great need for another priest; it was then that H.H. Pope Shenouda III sent Hegomen Fr. Makarius Sawires to the church in 2006.
Currently, Fr. David is involved in the dialogue between the Oriental Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church. This committee aims to deal with pastoral issues and enables the priests of each denomination and church to gather and communicate in order to further unify the churches.
Recently, Fr. David initiated Coptic presentations which began as simple powerpoint presentations. When he first started this project, his main goal was to make the rites of the Liturgy, its text, and its hymns readily available to all, so that anyone and everyone could participate during church services. As soon as Fr. David along with a select group of youth completed the Liturgy of St. Basil in presentation form, they expanded and moved on to compile a vast collection of presentations including: the Psalmodia, Synaxarium, hymns, etc. Several neighboring churches then began to add on to the collected works. The Agbeya portion was developed by Fr. Demetrious and Tasoni Nermin in Albany. The Synaxarium was formatted by Fr. Yacoub in Spring Valley. The Unction prayers and Procession readings were compiled by St. Mark’s Church in Jersey City. Coptic Presentations have grown to an unimaginable size and churches all over the world benefit from Fr. David’s efforts. Churches spanning from Egypt to Australia download the presentations from the church website and are enabled to use them in their own churches.
Last Updated: 2014-10-14 14:02:57