Pilgrimage 2012 — 100th Anniversary of Blessed Martyr Bishop Nykyta Budka, First Ukrainian Bishop of Canada

Annual Marian Pilgrimage, June 24, 2012, in Ancaster


This year’s Eparchial Marian Pilgrimage commemorated the 100th Anniversary of the arrival in Canada of our first Ukrainian Catholic Bishop, Nicetas (Nykyta) Budka, proclaimed Blessed as a martyr of our Church through his death at Soviet hands, by Bl. Pope John Paul II, on his pastoral visit to Ukraine in 2001.

Guest homilist, Rev. Athanasius McVay, HED, of the Edmonton Eparchy, spoke on Blessed Nykyta’s virtues, connecting them to the Scripture readings of the celebration: “Who can separate us from the love of Christ?”, from St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, and the Beatitudes. (See “Almost Like Being There”) Later in the afternoon, he gave a more historical presentation of the life of Bl. Nykyta, giving a more specific picture of the struggles of the nascent Ukrainian Catholic Church in Canada, for which he was called to lead, and his own ensuing struggles, as he brought it beyond survival to flourishing.

The Pontifical Divine Liturgy was celebrated by His Excellency Bishop Stephen Chmilar, Eparch of Toronto and Eastern Canada. Also concelebrating were guest homilist, Rev. Athanasius McVay, Rev. Roman Pankiw, of Mississauga, Rev. Leo Chayka, of Val d’Or, QC, and Rev. Volodymyr Yanyshevskyj, of Kitchener. Rev. Andrij Figol, of Toronto, was our Liturgical MC.

Concelebrant Fr. Chayka was among several clergy and religious to receive a special jubilarian blessing at the end of the Divine Liturgy. Fr. Chayka came to celebrate with us as a jubilarian of 60 years in the priesthood, many of those years spent ministering to the Ukrainian community in northern Quebec. Since the distance discourages frequent visits, his extended family took this opportunity to honour his long-standing ministry with a presentation of roses to mark this occasion.

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Celebrants (click image to expand)

Gospel reading by newly ordained Deacon Alex Laschuk

Jubilarian Fr. Leo Chayka receives bouquet from family

Ladies who met Bl. Nykyta in person

Youth sing theme song

Of note in this celebration is the fact that Fr. Chayka also had had an opportunity to meet our commemorated Bishop Budka, in Ukraine, shortly before our Blessed’s martyrdom. After the blessing, Bishop Stephen also called up others who met Blessed Nykyta in their lifetimes, and Mrs. Daria Goshulak and Marta Naberezna, came forward to share their experience.

The youth were also called up for a blessing, again this year. The Eparchial Office of Youth Ministry had organized its second annual Arise weekend, a weekend of prayer and faith-enrichment, hed at different parishes in the Eparchy. This year, as last, they culminated their rally here at Vidpust, offering their volunteer services as well as participating in the prayer events of the day. At the time of this blessing, the Bishop invited them to sing their theme song, and after explaining to the people the youths’ plans to travel to Unity by bus, stopping at various parishes along the way, the Bishop exhorted them to return home to witness to their missionary experiences at next year’s Vidpust.

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Rev. Dr. McVay speaks on Bl. Nykyta Budka

Rozeluks pray with medal from Garabandal

Clergy pray and anoint faithful

Relics Veneration Room

Our guest homilist, Rev. Dr. Athanasius McVay, also offered an afternoon presentation in the auditorium, with a more historical account of the life of our first Bishop, Bl. Martyr Nykyta (Nicetas) Budka, particularly emphasizing the struggles he faced with our fledgeling church in Canada at the turn of the last century. Commissioned by his Eparch, His Excellency Bishop David Motiuk, Rev. Dr. McVay has been researching the life of Bl. Martyr Nykyta, towards the publishing of a comprehensive biography, soon to be in print. (Click here for some highlights, or to support his research.)

Of the afternoon events this year, because Rev. Dr. McVay was presenting in the auditorium, the healing prayer was offered in the conference room. Joining us this year were Dr. Michael Rozeluk and wife, Helen, of the Workers of Our Lady, who promote the devotion to Our Lady of Garabandal. Frs. Mario Dacechen, OSBM, of Warren, MI, and Dmytro Hancharyk, of Oshawa, also prayed with the faithful, anointing them with holy oil.

In light of last year’s response of the faithful to the veneration of the relics of our Blesseds, first class relics First class relics are a part of the body of the venerated saint or blessed: a piece of bone, hair, etc. A second class relic is something that the venerated one used: a piece of clothing, particular tool, etc. A third class relic is something which has touched a first or second class relic: e.g. a piece of cloth used to clean the bones of the venerated one. For more on relics, click the term. of Blessed Martyr Sister Tarsykia Matskiv, SSMI, and Blessed Sister Josaphata Hordashevska, SSMI Co-foundress, along with relics of St. Josaphat Kuntsevych and St. Nicholas of FlüePatron of Switzerland, St. Nicholas’ relics were gifted to the Sisters at Mount Mary by a Swiss family. When invoked, clement weather, especially at Vidpust, has been attributed to St. Nicholas’ intercession. were left in a room dedicated to their veneration.

In the chapel, Eucharistic adoration was held, with communal worship before the Blessed Sacrament. In other areas, programs are held for children and youth. Throughout the day, pilgrims have the opportunity to light a vigil candle for private prayer intentions, or to purchase religious articles and books. Throughout the day, pilgrims continue to drop in to the healing service or chapel for Eucharistic Adoration, or to pray before the icon of the foundress of the Sisters Servants, Blessed Josaphata Hordashevsky, leaving written notes of intentions, for which our Sisters will pray throughout the year. For those who wish, Stations of the Cross may be privately celebrated in the extended grounds.

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Moleben to Bl. Nykyta Budka


The day closed with three final events, all celebrated at the little Shrine of Our Lady of Love, of Ancaster: Moleben to Blessed Martyr Bishop Nykyta Budka, Benediction/Suplykatsia,Different in content from the Latin rite Benediction, the Suplykatsia is a brief devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, culminating with the blessing of the congregation with the Blessed Sacrament in a similar manner to that of the West. In pilgrimages of the Eastern Churches, this is considered the climax, of particular significance to those who have received the sacraments of reconciliation and Holy Eucharist. and the blessing of couples celebrating wedding anniversaries. Finally, before departure, our Bishop blesses the religious articles purchased by the pilgrims.