Five Bishops to Celebrate Divine Liturgy during the Annual Call to Prayer Marian Pilgrimage in Centralia, Pa. Sunday, August 25

Five Bishops to Celebrate Divine Liturgy during the Annual Call to Prayer Marian Pilgrimage in Centralia, Pa. Sunday, August 25

 

Centralia, Pa.—On the grounds and in the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church, located on the serene mountaintop overlooking the abandoned, desolate borough of Centralia, five bishops will lead pilgrims in prayer during the Fourth Annual Call to Prayer Marian Pilgrimage Sunday, August 25, 2019.

 

Prayers of the Third Hour and traditional Marian Hymns will be sung by the choir of the Holy Family Ukrainian National Shrine, Washington DC. beginning at 11 a.m.

 

At 12:00 noon Metropolitan-Archbishop Borys Gudziak, Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia; Bishop Paul Chomnycky, OSBM, Stamford Eparchy; Bishop Ronald W. Gainer, Harrisburg Diocese; Bishop Alfred A, Schlert, Allentown Diocese; and Auxiliary Bishop John Bura, Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia will be the celebrants at the Divine Liturgy.  Metropolitan Gudziak will be the homilist.  Father Deacon Paul Spotts will serve as deacon.  Responses to the Divine Liturgy will be congregational singing led by Mr. Dennis Hardock, cantors from local parishes, members of St. Nicholas Choir, Minersville Pa. and Holy Family Ukrainian National Shrine Choir, Washington, D.C.

 

After the Divine Liturgy, a procession will be held from the church with the Icon of Our Lady of Pochaiv where it will be placed in the outside chapel for veneration.

 

At 2 p.m., a discussion “Out of Many, One” on the various churches, from east and west, that comprise the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church will be led by Very Rev. Archpriest John M. Fields.

 

Priests will be available from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the pilgrims at various locations throughout the church grounds.

 

There will be a Living Rosary prayed at 2:30 p.m. before the historic and jeweled 18th century copy of the Icon of Our Lady of Pochaiv.

 

At 3:30 p.m. the Akafist Prayer to the Dormition (Assumption) of the Most Holy Mother of God before the Holy Shroud of the Dormition will be sung.

 

At 4:30 p.m., religious items will be blessed in the outdoor Pochaiv Chapel.

 

At 5:00 p.m. all will gather at the outdoor Pochaiv Chapel for a candlelight procession with the icon of Our Lady of Pochaiv to the church for the celebration of a Moleben to the Mother of God.   At the conclusion of the Moleben, prayers for healing and the anointing with holy oils for the healing of soul and body will take place.

 

Pilgrims will have an opportunity to venerate the Icon of Our Lady of Pochaiv, the Icon of Our Lady of Persecuted Christians (blessed by Pope Francis) and the Holy Shroud of the Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God throughout the day.

 

During his historic visit in November 2015, His Beatitude Major-Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Father and Head of  the world-wide Ukrainian Catholic Church, marveled at the continuing presence of the church in Centralia.  He also noted how this coal region parish fostered four priestly vocations and three sisters to the religious life.

 

Patriarch Sviatoslav felt a sense of true holiness which pervades the entire church property.  His desire is for all people of faith to come and experience this holiness, sanctity and serenity as pilgrims to this holy place on the mountain.

 

From the visit of Patriarch Sviatoslav and with the encouragement of Metropolitan-Archbishop Stefan Soroka of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia, the place was designated a holy site of pilgrimage.

 

The first pilgrimage was held in 2016 and the story of this unique pilgrimage site has been told throughout the world.  It was the cover story for the Christmas 2018 edition of Reader’s Digest and BBC News did a feature story in February 2018.

 

Very Reverend Michael Hutsko, pastor invites all people of faith to join with the bishops and clergy for a day of prayer and spiritual blessings.

 

Eight years ago, on Sunday, August 28, 2011, Archbishop Soroka was the main celebrant and homilist when the parish celebrated its Centennial Jubilee of its founding.

 

“The main thing is that I want you to hear beyond the words,” the archbishop said. “This church is standing after 100 years, despite the mine fire and the town leaving, to deliver a message to the world: We are to be like your namesake, the Mother of God, to be servants to others.”

 

“After 100 years, you are all doing the work the founders of the church wanted to do as well, you are giving service to others, coming together in hard times and good.”

 

While the town of Centralia was destroyed by an underground mine fire, which resulted in the relocation of almost all the residents and the demotion of all but a few buildings, the stately white Assumption Ukrainian Catholic Church capped with its three onion-shaped blue domes still sits on a hilltop overlooking the once-thriving town as it has since the first services were held there in 1912, after the parish was founded on August 15, 1911.

 

Today, while the town is a memory, the church still serves a thriving parish family, with congregants driving to the hilltop on Sundays and Holy Days from communities throughout the area.

 

Food and beverages will be available for sale throughout the day.   Handicap parking will be provided on the church grounds.  Off-site parking and shuttle van service will be provided from the center of town to the church.

 

This is a Rain or Shine event.

 

The church is located on North Paxton Street, 2 Blocks North of Route 42 in Centralia, Pennsylvania.

 

For more information please feel free to contact the church rectory at 570-339-0650.

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