A few days in the life of the Ukrainian pilgrims to Lourdes

A few days in the life of the Ukrainian pilgrims to Lourdes

Tuesday, 19 May 2009, 18:33
On May 9, with a pontifical Divine Liturgy in the Cathedral of Saint George (Lviv) the annual international pilgrimage of the military to the city of Lourdes (France) started. The Liturgy was led by Reverend Bishop Mikhail (Koltun), head of the Department in Matters of Chaplaincy in the Power Structures of Ukraine.
On May 9, with a pontifical Divine Liturgy in the Cathedral of Saint George (Lviv) the annual international pilgrimage of the military to the city of Lourdes (France) started. The Liturgy was led by Reverend Bishop Mikhail (Koltun), head of the Department in Matters of Chaplaincy in the Power Structures of Ukraine. Speaking to the participants he noted that “the purpose of the visit to Lourdes is not only an excursion through Europe but at the appeal of the Most Holy Mother of God, who speaks to each of us." The theme of the present prayerful gathering of military workers from more than 40 countries of the world in Lourdes will be: «Many nations – one people of God,» reported Fr. Lubomyr Yavorskyj, assistant of the Department in Matters of Chaplaincy in the Power Structures of Ukraine. The first stop of the pilgrims was the Polish city of Wadowice, where Servant of God John Paul II lived and worked. After general prayer the pilgrims greeted all the women present on Mother’s Day. After seeing the John Paul II Museum, the Ukrainian delegation left for Prague. After arriving in Prague the pilgrims prayed a moleben [prayer service] to the Most Holy Mother of God in the Church of Pope Saint Clement Then the pilgrims had free time. After a night drive the pilgrims arrived in Munich. The program in Munich included two moments: Divine Liturgy in the Church of the Protection of the Most Holy Mother of God and a memorial prayer service [panakhyda] at the grave of the leader of the OUN, Stepan Bandera. Here Bishop Mikhail and P. I Kostyuk, assistant head of the Department of Humanitarian Policy of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. addressed the participants. The next day the Ukrainian delegation arrived in Paris, where it visited a Greek-Catholic church and the grave of Simon Petlyura. It should be noted that the daily program of the pilgrims consists of daily prayer three times, which is conducted by Bishop Mikhail and present priests of different confessions.

Information Department of the UGCC

Addition: The history of similar pilgrimages to the miraculous shrine in Lourdes started in 1958, when the French military invited their colleagues from Germany in order to pray jointly with families for peace in the whole world. Since that time the amount of participants of such pilgrimages has grown considerably; the representatives of military departments come there from more than 40 countries of the world. Since 1996, a military delegation from Ukraine has participated in the international pilgrimage, also.
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