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Pilgrims journey to former Pennsylvania coal town to offer Marian prayer

The service was followed by a candlelight procession with the icon to the church for a Moleben prayer service to the Mary led by Archbishop Soroka.

During his homily, Archbishop Soroka recalled the words of Mary to the servants at the wedding feast at Cana: “Do whatever he tells you.” It’s the same advice Mary gives to the faithful today, he said, “to follow Jesus and to do what he inspires us to do.”

Afterward, participants were anointed with the holy oil and venerated the icon as well as the icon and relics of Blessed Nicholas Charnetsky, a martyr of the church who was beatified by St. John Paul in 2001.

Pilgrims traveled from as far as Philadelphia, Washington and New Jersey to focus on their spiritual lives during the afternoon.

The procession was the moment Marsha Brubaker of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, had been waiting for. She and her husband, Phil, made the pilgrimage after reading about the event in the faith section of a local newspaper.

“It’s visually powerful when you see so many people praying for peace and praying for others; it’s outstanding,” she said.

Making the trip from Philadelphia for the second year was Eugene Borys and his family, who received individual blessings from Archbishop Soroka. Borys’ son is a seminarian and joined the pilgrimage with five seminarians from St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Seminary in Washington.

Mary Theresa Mattu, 83, of nearby Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania, was raised in the parish, being baptized and married there. It is also where her parents are buried. She still attends Divine Liturgy at the church.

Barbara Liparela of Shavertown, Pennsylvania, attended as a member of the choir from St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Church in McAdoo, Pennsylvania, which sang the responses during the Divine Liturgy.

Several languages could be heard being spoken during the pilgrimage, reminding those on the grounds of the feast of Pentecost, when the common language understood by all was that of faith.





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