Monday, August 24, 2009

The Assumption of Mary - Rama Pilgrimage

On August 15, the Church celebrates the Assumption of Mary into Heaven.

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her earthly life is a defined dogma of the Catholic Church. The Feast of the Assumption, celebrated every year on August 15, is a very old feast of the Church, celebrated universally by the sixth century. It commemorates the death of Mary and her bodily assumption into Heaven, before her body could begin to decay--a foretaste of our own bodily resurrection at the end of time.

To celebrate this most special feast of Mary, Seminarian Andrew Young and I travelled to Rama and to the beautiful shrine there to take part in the annual pilgrimage and to celebrate the liturgies of the Feast Day in this very beautiful setting.

The Parish of St. Anthony in Rama, which was first settled by people from the province of Galicia in Poland between 1910 - 1914, was confided to the Oblate Fathers in 1933 when Fr. Anthony Sylla O.M.I. was appointed resident pastor. His desire to build a shrine that would be a replica of the world famous grotto at Lourdes, France began to bear fruit in 1939 when work was begun on the shrine. The shrine was blessed in 1941.

Although the weather was threatening, Mass was celebrated at the shrine altar for the Vigil Mass on August 14.

Following Mass the Living Rosary was prayed and a candle light procession followed leaving the extensive grounds of the Grotto glowing with candles which had been placed throughout.

In the morning the Eucharist was celebrated in Polish and this was followed by the celebration of the Sacrament of the Sick. This beautiful and powerful sacrament brings healing in many ways to the lives of those who suffer from different illnesses both physical and emotional.
Since by now the rain was pouring down, the Mass for the Feast of the Assumption took place in the parish church adjacent to the Shrine. The faithful servers Zach and Colby were present and carried out their ministry with great effectiveness. We sometimes forget how important the ministry of Acolyte is in the Liturgy of the Church. These faithful Acolytes contribute to the dignity and sacredness of the Celebration of the Sacred Liturgy of our Church.

The church was filled with people who had come through very nasty weather to celebrate Our Lady's Feast Day at the Shrine.

"All powerful and ever-living God, you raised the sinless Virgin Mary, mother of your Son, body and soul to the glory of heaven. May we see heaven as our final goal and come to share her glory." (Opening Prayer)

At the morning Mass, Fr. Marcin Mironiuk, O.M.I., Pastor and Fr. Wojciech Wojtkowiak, O.M.I. of Lestock concelebrated with me.

The music raised in praise of God during the Liturgy was beautiful with fine participation of all the Assembly.

Following the Mass, I blessed any religious articles. Andrew Young, who is going into his second year of Theology at St. Joseph's Seminary in Edmonton is seen here holding my Bishop's Staff.

Following Mass a heart lunch was shared by the people present.

As you can see, it was a great crowd and with some very nice young people who had a good time demolishing the hamburgers that were barbecued for us.

I get to meet such a good number of our Diocesan Church on these trips, and they are so pleasant and welcoming it's a great pleasure for me to be able to celebrate with them.

As you can see I even got milk for my tea which made me a happy ex-Maritimer indeed.

And special thanks to the indespensible group in the kitchen. I find these remarkable angels of service in every parish and they make everything run so smoothly and the meals that we share so pleasant.

1 comment:

Joseph Genoway said...

My Family and I attended the Pilgrimage in Rama, which is my home Town, but I now reside in Regina.The People of St.Anthony's Parish did a remarkable job in the organization of everything that went on.Even with the weather as it was, seems to have just brought the people closer.The evening Mass was held outside and was well attended which made the Candle Light prosession so great.

Joseph Genoway