All Are Called to Prayer during a Holy Pilgrimage on Sunday, August 28, 2016 to Assumption Blessed Virgin Mary Church, Centralia, Pa

ANNOUNCEMENTSunday, 28 August 2016, 12:08
In the abandoned, desolate borough of Centralia, destroyed by an underground mine fire, which resulted in the relocation of all but a handful of residents and the demotion of all but a few buildings, there sits on a hilltop overlooking the once-thriving town a white church capped by three onion-shaped blue domes. The stately Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church has towered over Centralia 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.
 
During his historic visit in November 2015, His Beatitude Major-Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Primate 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 will be held Sunday, August 28 and the Very Reverend Michael Hutsko, pastor invites all to join with Metropolitan-Archbishop Soroka and clergy for a day of prayer and spiritual blessings.
 
The theme of the pilgrimage is: “Beseeching God's Mercy--Praying for the Intercession of the Mother of God.” This date is the Feast of the Dormition of the Holy Mother of God according to the Julian calendar.
 
Five years ago on the same date, 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."
 
 
During this Jubilee Year of Mercy, the church has also been designated a Holy Door of Mercy and all pilgrims are invited to walk through the Holy Door for special blessings.
 
The pilgrimage begins at 12:00Noon with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy with Archbishop Stefan as the main celebrant. Homilist at the liturgy will be Father Vasyl Kharuk, Spiritual Director at St. Josaphat Seminary and an Extraordinary Minister of Mercy during this Jubilee Year of Mercy.  
 
There will be a Living Rosary prayed at 2:30PM before the historic and jeweled 18th century copy of the Icon of Our Lady of Pochaiv.  Father John Szada, Chaplain, Carmel of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, Elysburg, Pa.,will provide a reflection at the conclusion of the rosary.
 
At 4:00PM all will gather at the outdoor chapel for a candlelight procession to the church for the celebration of a Moleben to the Mother of God.  Archbishop Stefan will again be the main celebrant as well as homilist during the Moleben.  
 
Prior to entering the church, the Blessing of Water for the Jubilee Year will take place at the Grotto of the Holy Cross.  That newly blessed Jubilee Water will then be distributed to all pilgrims.
 
At the conclusion of the Moleben, prayers for healing and the anointing for the healing of soul and body will take place, as well as the opportunity to venerate the Icon of Our Lady of Pochaiv.  
 
Confessions will be available throughout the day at various locations on the church grounds.  
 
There will be religious articles for sale, which will be blessed at the conclusion of the Living Rosary in the outdoor chapel.  
 
Food service will be provided from 1:00PM until 4:00PM.  This is a Rain or Shine event.  
 
Handicap parking will be provided on the church grounds.  Off-site parking and shuttle van service will be provided from specially designated areas near the church.  
 
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.
Rev. John M. Fields
 
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