“Pilgrimage is a special place where we can be spiritually enriched and thank God for all the graces he gives us.” Fr. Andriy Mykytyuk

April 14, 2024

On June 8–9, 2024 AD, there will be the Ukrainian Catholic National Pilgrimage of the clergy and faithful of the Melbourne Eparchy to the Shrine of St. Volodymyr in Canberra under the slogan “O Most Holy Theotokos, save us”. Today we offer some thoughts from the Eparchial Pastoral Council about what pilgrimage is and what its purpose is.

“Pilgrimage is a special place where we can be spiritually enriched and thank God for all the graces he gives us.” Fr. Andriy Mykytyuk

A few days ago, the Head of the Eparchial Pastoral Council, Fr. Andriy Mykytyuk, on Facebook, invited all the faithful of the Melbourne Eparchy to go to Canberra for the Pilgrimage (Proshcha). This is an unusual event for our Church in Australia, where, as emphasised in his address, Fr. Andriy, “we can enrich ourselves spiritually and thank God for all the graces he gives us.” Since for many the concepts of pilgrimages may be new and not completely clear, we want to tell a little more about what pilgrimages are and why it is so important to take part in them.

Pilgrimage is a journey to holy places for religious reasons. It is a kind of physical embodiment of our daily spiritual path to unity with God. The motive for making a pilgrimage may be a desire for spiritual purification and improvement, strengthening of faith, penance for committed sins, or a desire to express a request, for example, for health or spiritual healing. The parishioners also go on a pilgrimage to thank God for his favours. All these intentions are united by the fact that a person seeks to meet God and, for this purpose, leaves his usual life for a certain time.

The first pilgrims in Christianity were people who, after the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, went to the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem as the only witnesses of this great event, which became the beginning of our salvation. Today, pilgrims go not only to places associated with the life and death of Jesus Christ but also to places associated with the lives of the Mother of God, apostles, and saints of the Church; to places glorified by the ascetic lives of monks and nuns; to places where are God’s power of miraculous icons and other Christian relics. Every year, thousands of pilgrims from different parts of Ukraine go on pilgrimage to Zarvanytsia, Univ, Goshiv and many other pilgrimage centers. We, Ukrainian Catholics in Australia, also have our own Pilgrimage Centre — the Church of St. Volodymyr in Canberra.

So, why go to Pilgrimage?

If you have never been to Pilgrimage, this is a sure sign that you must go! After all, we do not know “neither time nor hour” when the living God will personally touch our hearts and change everything in them.

You can register for the pilgrimage at the following link: https://forms.gle/nD6 q72 WLx4 MJUmGS8.

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