Pilgrimage 2017: People? Participation?

“Every person who journeys to become a pilgrim brings a blessing to be shared”

I love our Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help at our monastery in Uniontown, Pa. I appreciate the ways in which Jesus is glorified and His Mother is honored. I am very grateful for the prominence and renown it provides for our Byzantine Catholic Church. And maybe most of all, I am taken by the fact that we are all there together.

We Sisters are privileged to welcome our bishops and guests, priests, deacons, seminarians, other religious, families, groups, individuals and everyone who comes. We are all there united in purpose: to pray, to receive the healing and life-giving mysteries of the Church, to enjoy the beauty of Mount St. Macrina, to meet friends old and new, and to be a part of this unique event which in itself is a phenomenon of God’s grace.

We live in a time where “virtual reality” seems in many ways to have become the norm. Even small children can send text messages. Games are played electronically. Play dates are arranged rather than youngsters spontaneously meeting for outdoor games.

Watching television can replace conversation and communication. So, as we become a part of the crowd that is making the Pilgrimage journey this year, let us recognize and be thankful that for these short days our reality is holy, shared and alive.

We may jostle with someone while walking on a pathway. Grumbling might be heard in a too long line at medovniki, light lunch or the gift shop. The favorite spot for your lawn chairs could be occupied. But we are there. We are praying either individually or as one at the impressive liturgical services. We are inspired by the uplifting of our souls as we beautifully raise our voices in hymns.

We are healed by the power of the reception of the mysteries of Reconciliation and Eucharist. We are heartened by the presence of so many young families, children, youth and of the notso-young who have been faithful pilgrims for countless years. And as we see our bishops, priests, deacons, seminarians, sisters, our fellow parishioners, family members and friends all around us, we know that it is very good to be here and to be a part of this Pilgrimage and to belong to our Byzantine Catholic Church.

Every person who journeys to become a pilgrim brings a blessing to be shared. And as always, one who gives receives much more in return. Please plan to be at Pilgrimage 2017.