Annual Marian Pilgrimage, June 28, 2015, in Ancaster

Year of Consecrated Life ~ Prayer with veneration of the Travelling Reliquary Icon of Blessed Josaphata

Year of the Servant of God, Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky ~ Celebrating the 70th Anniversary of his repose and the 150th Anniversary of his birth

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Almost like being there ...
A non-Ukrainian pilgrim’s view.

International Baccalaureate student Ophelia Spinosa experienced our pilgrimage for the first time. This lovely feature of her experience is a special gift to us.

This year’s Annual Marian Pilgrimage had two themes. The first, proclaimed by the Holy Father, Pope Francis, focused on the “Year of Consecrated Life”. With this came the opportunity for the faithful to pray through the intercession of our Blessed Josaphata Hordashevska, with the veneration of her first class relics, embedded in a specially commissioned icon, which is travelling the world, in anticipation of the celebration of the 125th anniversary of the founding of the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate in 2017.

The second theme focused on the life of the Venerable Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky, the foremost leader of our Ukrainian Catholic Church in the early years of the 20th century, during both of the World Wars, in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of his passing to eternity, and the 150th anniversary of his birth.

This year, God wanted that we should pray in a more intimate setting than usual, providing inclement weather, so that we celebrated all our Liturgical and devotional events indoors.

Buses arrive, greeted by our Knights of Columbus

Our tagging team

How it rained!

Guests arrive

As usual, an early Divine Liturgy was celebrated in our school chapel, this year by Rev. Yaroslav Pivtorak, of Montreal, for the volunteers, who could not attend the Pontifical Divine Liturgy, because of their volunteer stationings later. He also served as confessor in these earlier moments, joining Rev. Basil Cembalista, OSBM, of Weston, ON, Rev. Renaldo Kekis, of Hamilton, Rev. Ivan Trush, of Hamilton, and Rev. Ihor Panchyshyn, of Toronto. We are deeply grateful to them all, for filling this most important pastoral role.

Before the Pontifical Divine Liturgy, and before hearing confessions, Rev. Ivan Trush blessed the Holy Water, just inside the front hall of the school building. This is one of the highlights of the Annual Pilgrimage. Soon after, the procession was assembled, to lead the faithful to the Ponifical Divine Liturgy in the auditorium.

Fr_Pivrtorak Confession water_blessing water-blessing-2 Procession Procession

Rev. Yaroslav Pivtorak ~ Liturgy for volunteers

Confessions throughout the day

Fr. Ivan Trush blesses water

... with the cross


The Pontifical Divine Liturgy was celebrated by His Excellency Bishop Stephen Chmilar, Eparch of Toronto and Eastern Canada. Among the concelebrants were Rev. Andrij Onuferko, of the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute and our guest homilist, and Rev. Zenon Walnyckyj, Director of the Eparchial Diaconate Program, since on this occasion, we also witnessed the ordination to the diaconate of Subdeacon Don Dudar.

The bishop was greeted traditionally with bread and salt by children of our eparchy, in Ukrainian by Veronika Pivtorak, of Dormition parish in Montreal, and in English by Milos' Gligoric, of Holy Spirit parish in Hamilton. Thereafter, Sr. Patricia Lacey, SSMI, Provincial Superior, welcomed all to the celebration of this year’s pilgrimage. Responses were led by the choir of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Scarborough, under the direction of Lesia Pasko.

The Scripture readings focused on the nature and purpose of consecrated life: John 15 - "No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life..." and Romans 10 - "How are they to hear (of the Lord’s name), without someone to proclaim him?" In his homily, Rev. Onuferko developed examples of this, in the life of Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky, recently proclaimed Venerable by the Holy See.

Homilist Ordination Bread-Salt Sr.Pat choir

Homilist Rev. Andrij Onuferko

Ordinand Rev. Deacon Don Dudar

Greeting with Bread and Salt

Sr. Patricia Lacey, Provincial Superior, greets the pilgrims

Choir of Sts. Peter and Paul

After the Pontifical Divine Liturgy, everyone enjoyed lunch downstairs, in lieu of our outdoor food court.

Our barbecue and transport team

Our Women’s League in action

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 Rev. Bohdan Choly, of Sts. Cyril and Methodius Parish in St. Catharines, and Dr. Michael and Mrs. Helen Rozeluk. Dr. Rozeluk had a healing at Garabandal, and since then has been sharing in the power of Our Lady’s intercession, as pilgrims kiss a blessed medal from there. Concurrently, in the school chapel, Eucharistic adoration was held in silence before the Blessed Sacrament, with short scripture passages proclaimed periodically through the time of vigil. Throughout the day, pilgrims continue to drop in to the healing service or chapel for Eucharistic Adoration, where they also could pray before the reliquary icon of the foundress of the Sisters Servants, Blessed Josaphata Hordashevsky.

Because of the rain, this year, two outdoor events were cancelled: the informal gathering of hymn singing at the Shrine to Our Lady of Love of Ancaster, and the rededication and blessing of the restored monument to commemorate the unborn. This rededication was rescheduled for October 4, 2015, when the Knights of Columbus, Markian Shashkevych Council #7464 could also celebrate the life of Brother Eugene Smook, Grand Knight, whom God called to Himself suddenly this summer.

healing healing adoration veneration unborn Eugene_Smook

Fr. Bohdan Choly and Dr. Michael and Helen Rozeluk at the Healing Service

Eucharistic Adoration

Veneration of the Reliquary Icon of Bl. Josaphata

Monument to Commemorate the Unborn

Grand Knight Eugene Smook welcoming pilgrims

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 in our School Chapel: a Moleben to Blessed Josaphata Hordashevska, Co-foundress of the Sisters Servants of Mary ImmaculateRecorded at Ancaster, ON, featuring Rev. Ivan Trush and the local SSMI Community, © SSMI, 2013, 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.. Rev. Renaldo Kekis, of Resurrection parish, Hamilton, was the celebrant for these two events. Children from the afternoon children’s program made a presentation to the Sisters Servants, in gratitude for their presence and dedication in working among our people. Finally, before departure, Fr. Kekis blessed the pilgrims present, as well as any religious mementos they had with them.

vigils PublicationsRm Moleben-in-chapel


Religious mementos

Moleben to Bl. Josaphata