See also our extra preparations for this year.


Pilgrimage 2013 — Year of Faith

Annual Marian Pilgrimage, June 23, 2013, in Ancaster


This year’s Annual Marian Pilgrimage theme was Year of Faith. This year was unique in circumstances, since the date corresponded to the Feast of Pentecost on the Julian calendar, and so, a rather smaller number of pilgrims attended, as well as fewer clergy, since most parishes on the Julian calendar celebrated in their parish churches. But the atmosphere, for those who did attend, was one of deep and intimate prayer. Anticipating the smaller numbers, the Pontifical Divine Liturgy was celebrated in the auditorium this year, rather than outdoors.

The Pontifical Divine Liturgy was celebrated by His Excellency Bishop John Pazak, Eparch of Byzantine Slovaks of Canada. Also concelebrating was guest homilist, Rev. John Sianchuk, CSsR. Rev. Andrij Figol, of Toronto, was our Liturgical MC.

An earlier Divine Liturgy was celebrated in our school chapel by Rev. Andrii Lopatniuk, of Hamilton, for the volunteers, who could not attend the Pontifical Divine Liturgy, because of their volunteer stationings later. Because of the conflict of the Feast of Pentecost, we had only three priests available to hear confessions, for an attendance of about 500 people. We are deeply grateful to Rev. Basil Cembalista, OSBM, of Weston, ON, Rev. Mario Dacechen, OSBM, of Detroit, MI, and Rev. Marek Nowicky, of the Slovak Eparchy for filling this important pastoral role, and indeed for our above mentioned celebrants as well.

The Gospel reading for the Pontifical Divine Liturgy was on Jesus’ walking on water, and calling out to Peter to do the same in trust. Guest homilist, Rev. John Sianchuk, CSsR, of Winnipeg, spoke on faith. At the point of the Liturgy where the Nicean Creed is recited, Fr. John facilitated the renewal of baptismal vows of the congregation, asking them thrice if they renounce Satan and all his evil ways, and thrice again, if they accept and desire to follow Christ into Resurrected life. As in the Rite of Baptism, the Creed — the profession of our faith — followed. This was a moving experience for many of those in attendance.

MC_Anna_Iskat Provincial_Superior_Greets consecration ViewAbove overflow overflow

Anna Iskat, MC, introduces

Sr. Patricia Lacey, Provincial Sup., gives greetings


The congregation...

... overflowing

At the end of the Divine Liturgy, our two concelebrants, along with our Liturgical MC, now vested to join them, blessed the Holy Water, outside, in front of the school building. Blessing the water after the Divine Liturgy, rather than before, as in recent years, allowed more of our pilgrims to take part in this popular segment of our Annual Pilgrimage.

The clergy and people at water-blessing

Knights of Columbus Colour Guard

People receive holy water

After the water blessing, everyone enjoyed an outdoor lunch, as always, in the food court.

Getting lunch

The buffet

Good food, good company

In the afternoon, people gathered in different areas for different prayer events. In the auditorium, pilgrims gathered to be personally prayed over for various intentions, and anointed. Our prayer team this year included Fr. Sianchuk, Fr. Nowicky and Fr. Dacechen, joined by two of our Sisters Servants, Sr. Ambrose Stachiw, of Ancaster, and Sr. Oresta Svorak, of Winnipeg, MB. Concurrently, in the school chapel, Eucharistic adoration was held in silence before the Blessed Sacrament. Throughout the day, pilgrims continue to drop in to the healing service or chapel for Eucharistic Adoration, or to pray before the icon and relics 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.

This year, for the first time, we offered an informal gathering of hymn singing at the Shrine to Our Lady of Love of Ancaster, in the middle of the afternoon. Sisters Janet Kozak and Christine Dudych led the singing, choosing hymns randomly from their hymnals, which they provided for the people as they slowly gathered. A number of pilgrims showed interest in this new event, and one pilgrim from Montreal took the initiative to move a number of chairs from the food court for the growing numbers of hymn-singers, most of whom sang for the full two hours before the closing devotions at the Shrine. Sr. Ruth Yakimishyn, present for the full time of Eucharistic Adoration in the school chapel, commented on the ambience created by the singing in the distance, as the adorers sat in the silence of the chapel.

Father John explains

Healing Prayer

Relics of our Foundress

Our first hymn sing

Throughout the day, pilgrims have the opportunity to light a vigil candle for private prayer intentions, or to purchase religious articles and books.

The day closed with two final events, celebrated at the little Shrine of Our Lady of Love, of Ancaster:
Moleben to the Mother of God, and Benediction/SuplykatsiaDifferent 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.. Finally, before departure, Bishop Pazak blessed the religious articles purchased by the pilgrims.

New items in the bookstore

How can I help you?

Lighting vigils

Moleben to the Mother of God