84th Annual Basilian Pilgrimage Focuses on the Family
Despite the chill and overcast skies, hundreds of the Faithful gathered Sunday, October 4, 2015, for the 84th Annual Protection of the Mother of God Pilgrimage sponsored by the Sisters of the Order of Saint Basil the Great, Jesus Lover of Humanity Province, Fox Chase Manor, PA.
The theme of this year’s gathering, “A Reflection of God’s Love”, centered first on Families and, secondly, on the Consecrated Life, thus tying in with the recent Papal visit to Philadelphia for the “World Meeting of Families” and, also, with the dedication of the current year as the “Year of Consecrated Life”.
As a memento of the day’s focus on families, each guest, upon arrival, was presented with a booklet profiling the holy members of the large family of Saint Basil the Great and a lapel pin with their images to wear as a remembrance.
Throughout the day, pilgrims were offered the Mystery of Reconciliation and the opportunity to participate in the praying of the Rosary led by Mothers in Prayer in the Holy Trinity Chapel and at the Grotto shrine of Our Lady of Pochayiv.
The highlight of the day was the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy. An honor guard from the Knights of Columbus and members of Plast and SUM preceded the hierarchy, clergy and religious in procession for the celebration of the Liturgy.
In her pre-liturgy address, Sister Dorothy Ann Busowski, OSBM, Provincial Superior, welcomed the attendees and commended them for their participation in a spiritual journey that clearly manifests their love and devotion to the Mother of God.
The main celebrant of the Liturgy, Most Rev. Metropolitan-Archbishop Stefan Soroka of the Archeparchy of Philadelphia, was assisted at the altar by Most Rev. Basil H. Losten, Bishop Emeritus of the Stamford, CT, Eparchy, Most Rev. John Bura, Auxiliary Bishop of the Philadelphia Archeparchy, Most Rev. Bohdan J. Danylo, recently consecrated by Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk for the Eparchy of Parma, OH, and Rev. Msgr. Peter Waslo, Basilian Motherhouse Chaplain. Assisting as deacon was Rev. Deacon Michael Waak. Seminarians from Saint Josaphat Seminary assisted by the altar and responses were sung by the visiting choir from the National Shrine of the Holy Family, Washington, DC.
In his homily, Bishop Danylo drew from the example of Jesus, Mary and Joseph and encouraged present day families to follow their example, fostering familial closeness, encouragement, sharing and love.
At the conclusion of Liturgy, Metropolitan-Archbishop Soroka thanked Sister Dorothy Ann and the Sisters for providing the venue and necessary services for the Pilgrimage and for being true to the calling of their consecrated lives in service to the People of God. Thanks were also extended to the hierarchy, clergy and, especially, to the Faithful and youth present “for seeking to be closer to the Lord and obtaining His blessings through the reception of the sacraments.” The Archbishop also announced the blessing of families following the Divine Liturgy.
Clouds parted and the sun broke through as all proceeded to the Grotto for the afternoon Moleben to Our Lady. In his homily, Bishop Danylo compared Mary’s “yes” at the Archangel Gabriel’s visit to encounters throughout one’s daily life and, especially for those who are seeking to know their true vocation. “Visit the Basilian Sisters, the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate, the Mother of God Sisters. See how they live. Are you missing the ‘yes’ of Mary?”
The bestowing of the Episcopal blessing and the anointing of the Faithful concluded the day of prayer along with the expression of deep gratitude of the Sisters of Saint Basil the Great to the hierarchy, the clergy who assisted with confession, all pilgrims, young adults, children, generous volunteers and all those who donated time, currency and supplies to the successful accomplishment of this spiritual experience.