Rama pilgrimage held

By Mary Kowalyshyn

RAMA, Sask. — The 73rd annual pilgrimage at Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine, Rama Aug. 14-15 brought together some 1,000 pilgrims from many different parts of the dioceses of Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert.

The annual pilgrimage marks the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, beginning with the Vigil of the Assumption Aug. 14 and continuing next day for the feast itself on Aug. 15.

The vigil began with confessions in the churchyard, while the Yorkton Filipino Choir sang hymns of praise to Mary at the grotto.

Twelve priests concelebrated the eucharist Aug. 14 with Archbishop Daniel Bohan of Regina.

Rev. Marcin Mironiuk, OMI, pastor of St. Anthony’s welcomed everyone and introduced all the priests, as well as seminarian Chinh Vu of Regina.

St. Anthony’s choir led by musical director Trina Pasloski of Cudworth provided music ministry.

Bohan’s homily focused on the meaning of a pilgrimage and of making a journey of faith. He quoted Pope Francis who urged, “Reflect on Mary, the pilgrim.” Mary followed Jesus, her son, on her journey of faith, noted Bohan.

The archbishop also referred to Pope John Paul II, who described the church journeying through time along the path already trodden by Mary. Bohan’s homily emphasized that our lives are a journey through the years as we eventually get to our heavenly home. We must ask Mary “to pray for us now and at the hour of our death.” He concluded by saying that Jesus entrusted his disciples and us to Mary. He also made reference to Mary as “the untier of knots,” with the knots being our sinfulness and difficulties; and how we should ask Mary to help us untie our knots and trust that she will, simply because she loves us.

The Living Rosary followed mass, with participants from the crowd of varying ages praying in their native language, with Rev. Marcin Mironiuk and Lorne Sliva guiding them along the decades and the choir intervening at each decade.

The candlelight procession was a highlight for many as the crowd all lit their candles and walked up the hill in procession stopping at four stations, with the last station being an acknowledgement to all the pioneers who built the grotto under the guidance of Rev. Anthony Sylla, OMI, 73 years ago when the first pilgrimage was held.

Benediction and adoration of the blessed sacrament in the church concluded events on the first day of the pilgrimage.

It was a quiet evening with the entire grotto lit up embellishing the beauty of the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes and the soft melodic music of a flute that was played by Carol Anne Landgraf of Regina as she walked around the Stations of the Cross with her family.

The pilgrimage continued Aug. 15, with morning prayers in Polish with Rev. Tomasz Kresnik, OMI, of Winnipeg and Rev. Marcin Mironiuk, OMI, pastor of St. Anthony, Rama. The Polish mass was celebrated immediately after the prayers.

The divine liturgy in the Byzantine Rite was celebrated in Ukrainian and English with Revs. Rac of Canora, Jeffrey Stephaniuk of Wynyard and Methodius Kushko of Yorkton. The Ukrainian Catholic Church choir provided the singing.

Following the stations of the cross and the anointing of the sick, the final mass was celebrated. Homilist was Rev. Tomasz Kresnik, OMI, from Winnipeg, who gave the history of Mary, explaining how her tomb was found with no body, only roses, for she was taken up to heaven, body and soul. Finally, he encouraged all to commit themselves to Mary’s tender care for she will guide us to our final, peaceful destination.

All followed in procession for the blessing by the archbishop of the mural on the parish hall. The mural was completed with the inspiration and generosity of Cas and Marie Broda and family. The mural was created by John Sidloski of Weyburn, who has made more than 1,000 billboards across Canada.

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