Monday, September 7, 2009

Pilgrims from our eparchy in Uniontown

This year's Annual Labor Day pilgrimage of the Byzantine Catholic Metropolia in Pittsburgh, organized by Sisters of the Order of St. Basil the Great of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Province was marked with special solemnity, as the pilgrims gathered there for 75th Diamond Jubilee Pilgrimage. As many times in the past, several pilgrims from the Eparchy of Ss. Cyril and Methodius in Canada traveled there to pray and encounter our Lord in peace and spiritual exchange while meeting other faithful. Headed by their shepherd, H.G. Bishop John S. Pazak were present also Fr. Martin Vavrak from Windsor with his wife, Pani Anka, sons Martin, Jr. and Richard, cantor Nikolaj Nagrant, who helps in Windsor, Mr. Peter Snell, Mrs. Mary Snell, Mrs. Zuzana Siroky, Mr. John and Mrs. Irene Revtak, Mrs. Helen Lucky, Mrs. Irene Barbora, Mrs. Gabriela Di Fabio formed the group from our Eparchy. Some of our faithful traveled for seven and half hour one way, so it was a realy spiritual journey, however no one comaplained, as everyone experienced wonderful spiritually enriching weekend. This "odpust" was really like the one in the "Old Country" as it was possible to hear there Rusyn, Saris, Zemplin and also official Slovak there. By far the most moving parts of these pilgrimages are the processions. The Parastas that was celebrated at the tombs of our deceased hierarchs is the most beautiful service and the candlelight procession to and from the cemetery is so uplifting. Sunday night's procession from the Prayer House to the main altar with banners and especially the number of young people is absolutely beautiful. The candlelight procession leaving the altar at the conclusion of services and returning back to the altar is heavenly. The petitions being chanted and the response of "O, Jesus, Lover of Mankind, have mercy on us" is so inspirational. Just close your eyes, listen and respond.

Nice symbol of the unity of the Church was to see all ruling hierarchs of the Pittsburgh Metropolia gathered there including its head, metropolitan Basil Schott, accompanied by bishop John Kudrick of the Eparchy of Parma, bishop William C. Skurla from the Eparchy of Passaic, and bishop Gerald Dino representing the Eparchy of Van Nuys. Each year one hcan also attend the Church Slavonic liturgy being celebrated, and this Fr. Deacon Jaroslav Lajciak from the Eparchy of Kosice participated. This is the heritage of faith brought to the USA and Canada by our ancestors. O Lord, preserve the heritage of our faith!

Fr. Martin Vavrak and Mary Siroky - Snell

Photo Credits: Pani Anka Vavrak and Martin Vavrak, Jr. and Mary Siroky - Snell
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