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Praying, Healing, Life Giving Presence
 

Pilgrimage 2010 at Fox Chase

Early in October, the Sisters of the Order of St. Basil the Great, Jesus, Lover of Humanity Province, hosted their 79th Annual Pilgrimage. As in previous years, the pilgrimage centered on a theme: “Let it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). On surface, the words of this theme are humbling and submissive. But as the events of the weekend unfolded, it was the meaning behind the words that became manifest to the more than 700 pilgrims attending—that humbling oneself before God invites God’s presence, God’s goodness, and God’s grace.

The Pilgrimage officially opened with a gathering of young adults in the Basilian Spirituality Center, an opportunity for getting reacquainted or making new friendships in a location and circumstances conducive to openness, friendliness, and kindness. The young people then joined the other pilgrims already waiting to partake in other traditional features of the pilgrimage—the Pilgrimage to the Mother of God at Fox Chase.

Mystery of Reconciliation, followed by the Candlelight Procession to the Shrine of Our Lady of Pochaiv, and the bilingual Akathist to the Mother of God, celebrated by Archbishop Stefan Soroka. The Very Rev. Robert Hitchens’ homily underscored the pilgrimage theme urging all to be open to God’s call. This was followed with the ceremony of blessing of water which underscored the serene beauty of a tradition rooted in centuries past, revived in spirit while reviving the spirit of modern-day pilgrims.

Later in the evening, the young people again gathered at the Spirituality Center for a spirited and thoughtful Young Adult Dialogue on spiritual enrichment under the guidance of Rev. Paul Makar, Sister Ann Laszok, OSBM; and Sister Dia Zahurska, OSBM.

The pilgrimage continued on Sunday, October 3, with the faithful again partaking in the Mystery of Reconciliation and gathering on the grounds of the monastery for the procession to the Basilian Spirituality Center where a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy was celebrated by Archbishop Stefan Soroka. Concelebrating was Bishop Paul Chomnycky, OSBM who stressed the theme of God’s call in the world today. Enhancing the liturgical solemnities were the beautiful voices of the Annunciation BVM Choir and Immaculate Conception Choir.

That afternoon, pilgrims gathered at the Holy Trinity Chapel where the Rev. Archpriest Daniel Troyan and the Very Rev. Ivan Demkiv gave a presentation on the Shroud of Turin. Gracing the Chapel was one of nine replicas of the actual Shroud of Turin, a replica blessed by the Holy Father and given to the Sisters by the Immaculate Conception Cathedral for veneration during the pilgrimage.

Another wonderful and awe-inspiring feature of this year’s pilgrimage was a "Prayer Candle," which burned brightly in the Holy Trinity Chapel, drawing solemn and respectful crowds throughout the weekend. The candle, sent to the Sisters of St. Basil by the Ukrainian World Congress in cooperation with the Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance is being sent to 32 countries where it will burn in memory of the victims of Ukraine's Great Famine—the Holodomor of 1932–1933.

As the weekend drew to a close, solemnities continued with a procession from the Basilian Spirituality Center to the Shrine of Our Lady of Pochaiv for a bilingual moleben celebrated by Archbishop Stefan Soroka, with responses sung by the choir of St. Vladimir’s Ukrainian Catholic Church of Elizabeth, New Jersey. In his homily Archbishop Soroka spoke of the mystical change that occurs as one turns his/her life over to God. Following the Moleben, pilgrims partook in the traditional Mystery of Holy Anointing and Healing, with a bilingual service concelebrated by attending priests and bishops.

Pilgrims were invited to bring their religious articles for blessing by Rev. Archpriest Daniel Troyan at the side lawn of the Basilian Spirituality, a peaceful site surrounded by God’s wondrous natural beauty. As in past years, pilgrims ventured homeward in cars and buses blessed by attending clergy.

It is hoped that all of those attending this year’s pilgrimage will return in October of 2011 and that many other faithful join the Sisters of the Order of St. Basil the Great for a special pilgrimage that celebrates the 80th anniversary of the pilgrimage and the 100th year of the arrival of the Sisters of the Order of St. Basil the Great to the United States of America.


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Archbishop Stefan Soroka, Bishop Paul Chomnycky, OSBM, Msgr,Peter Waslo, Clergy, Sisters and Pilgrims during the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy

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Religious and Pilgrims at Hierarchical Divine Liturgy

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Procession for the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy

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Father Daniel Troyan, Chaplain of the Sisters of St. Basil the Great explain the significance of the Shroud of Turin

which was on display in the Sisters' Holy Trinity Chapel the week prior to the Pilgrimage.

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