UGCC communities in Italy complete first joint pilgrimage to St. Peter’s tomb

Tuesday, 27 December 2011, 22:28
On December 26, the second day of Christmas according to the new calendar, a pilgrimage from all over Italy was held to St Peter’s tomb in the Vatican. The celebration in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican began with a Divine Liturgy, headed by Bishop Dionysiy (Liakhovych), Apostolic Visitator for Ukrainian Greek Catholics in Italy and Spain, in concelebration with Archbishop Domenico Calcagno, president of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See; Fr. Marko Yaroslav Semehen, pastoral coordinator for Ukrainians in Italy...
On December 26, the second day of Christmas according to the new calendar, a pilgrimage from all over Italy was held to St Peter’s tomb in the Vatican. The celebration in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican began with a Divine Liturgy, headed by Bishop Dionysiy (Liakhovych), Apostolic Visitator for Ukrainian Greek Catholics in Italy and Spain, in concelebration with Archbishop Domenico Calcagno, president of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See; Fr. Marko Yaroslav Semehen, pastoral coordinator for Ukrainians in Italy; Monsignor Yaroslav Karpiak, a worker of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches; Fr. Ivan Kulik, administrator of the Ukrainian personal parish in Rome, and over fifty other priests – members religious communities, students who study in the papal universities, pastors of Ukrainian communities from different parts Italy. Ukraine’s Ambassador of to the Vatican Ms. Tatiana Izhevsk attended the service. There were many consecrated persons from different orders and congregations. The Ukrainian parish choir of Sts. Sergius and Bacchus in Rome sang at the service. “The presence of the faithful during the Divine Liturgy exceeded all the organizers’ expectations. According to the preliminary registration of pilgrims, they expected 2,500 people. But taking into account all the faithful who came from Rome and surrounding areas without registering, the total number of participants at the service of the St. Peter’s Basilica was estimated to be more than 5,500 people,” noted the UGCC press service in Italy. “Today we celebrate Christmas Mass in the largest sanctuary of the world, in the heart of Christianity to glorify Christ, who is born, with our Christmas carols. After the service we will carol on the square, where this year’s Christmas tree is from Ukraine,” Bishop Dionysiy said during the sermon. “There is a long human history since the time when Christ was born. He was born in a poor stable, not in a warm home or a magnificent palace. Where we are today is buried St. Peter the Apostle, an ordinary fisherman, assigned a leadership role in the church by Jesus Christ. Initially, he was buried in a regular tomb, but today on it stands the largest sanctuary in the world. How the history of the world changes. When Christ was born, Caesar Augustus led the mighty Roman Empire. Today that empire no longer exists. Only the ruins. Later, rose other powerful kingdoms, and they fell.  Unions of countries were created and they break, enter a crisis. Large sanctuaries were constructed, they were built and decorated by the best masters of the world, and many of them are now empty. But Jesus Christ remains the same – the same in Rome, the same in Ukraine, the same in Asia or Africa – the same yesterday, today and forever!”. At the end of the liturgy, Archbishop Domenico Calcagno greeted and blessed the pilgrims. Then after the service, the pilgrims were greeted by Fr. Marko Yaroslav Semehen. Then the participants were addressed by Monsignor Pierpaolo Felicolo, director of Migrantes of the Rome archdiocese, who assured all Ukrainians in Italy that the church will always support them and thanked them for the spiritual and cultural exchange and work that they perform in Italy. Finally, the clergy together with the choir went to the relics of St. Josaphat to give a prayerful tribute to the Ukrainian saint, who rests in the main Catholic church in the world. The pilgrimage ended with Ukrainian caroling on St. Peter’s Square in front of the Christmas tree and nativity scene.  

UGCC Information Department

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