Weather doesn’t spoil Annual Pilgrimage to Mount St. Macrina
As I sat on a folding chair during an afternoon Divine Liturgy on a lawn atop Mount St. Macrina on Labor Day weekend, I was reminded of a song from “Winnie-the-Pooh and the Blustery Day”:
“The rain, rain, rain Came down, down, down In rushing, rising riv’lets…”
Well, it wasn’t quite a steady rainfall of “rushing riv’lets” but it certainly was blustery, as the wind whipped through my pullover sweater while my coat was sitting in the front seat of the car. The Liturgy was part of the 83rd Pilgrimage in Honor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, as many priests, deacons and faithful traveled to Uniontown, Pa. to pray and greet familiar faces not seen since the previous year. The theme of this year’s Pilgrimage was “Mary, the Life-Giving Spring” and the clouds above Mount St. Macrina certainly seemed to take it literally.
As Sister Ruth Plante, Provincial, Sisters of the Order of St. Basil the Great, said in her opening remarks: “Even though we plan and plan for Pilgrimage and we try to attend for every detail, that’s the one thing we have no control over.” Intentions during the Liturgy I attended included praying for those affected by flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey on the Texas Gulf Coast.
Victims of Hurricane Irma, which caused evacuations of residents, destruction and flooding in Florida and many countries in the Atlantic Ocean, should also be in our prayers and offered monetary assistance. Archbishop William Skurla asked that special collections be taken in parishes last month to help those caught in the path of the two hurricanes. Funds collected will be forwarded to Catholic Charities USA to use for necessities such as water, food, shelter and medical care.
In a letter to the Clergy and Faithful of the Archeparchy, he wrote: “We pray in thanksgiving with those affected by the storms who survived with little or no loss or harm. And we also hold in prayer those who are suffering, injury, damage to property, or any other distress caused by this disastrous weather.”
Sister Ruth also noted headline stories and photos of despair in the news of the “chaot
ic world we live in” that affect our hearts and spirits if we are truly Christians. This is when “Mary, the Life-Giving Spring” is most needed, whether it be through confession or beauty seen from this particular mountaintop in Uniontown, she said. Falling rain certainly didn’t dampen the spirits of myself and others who attended this year’s Pilgrimage. I considered it a reminder to count my blessings.