Pilgrimage Time

Summer 2019: What do we need? Fewer rainy days and damaging storms? Less bickering and competition among our civic leaders so they could work together for good and effective government? More people to come to church? Crime and violence to be gone? Peace throughout the world? Healing and health for those who are suffering? Healing the pain of broken relationships? This list could go on and on, and these are but a few of the ills with which we struggle in this time in which we live.

However imperfect we think our lives may be with questions such as these, this is the gift of time that God has given to each of us in which to live every day as best we can. In recognizing this, we pray to Him in thanksgiving, for help, healing, peace, consolation, etc. We pray personally, communally at the Divine Liturgy and at special times, places or occasions. One such special time, place and occasion is, of course, the annual Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help at Mt. St. Macrina in Uniontown, Pa.

This coming Labor Day weekend will be the 85th time that the hierarchy, clergy, monastics and faithful people will have gathered to give glory to God and to honor His Mother as Our Lady of Perpetual Help. They come to pray, receive the mysteries of healing, and to reunite as Byzantine Catholic Church. I have often referred to the Pilgrimage as a “phenomenon of God’s grace,” simply because it has endured for these many years through times good and bad, with peaks and declines, and despite inevitable constant change. The 85 years certainly stand as a testimony to its significance and worth.

This year the days of Pilgrimage include Sept. 1, the beginning of the Liturgical year. The troparion for the day most significantly prays as follows: “O Lord, maker of the universe who alone has power over seasons and time, bless this year with your bounty, preserve our country in safety and keep your people in peace. Save us through the
prayers of the Mother of God.”

Kindly consider the gracious invitation of our bishops and the Sisters of Saint Basil to attend the Pilgrimage this year. Bring your hopes, petitions, cares and concerns to our Lord and His Mother, and please know that the gift and blessing of your presence and your prayers are most welcome.