What a wonderful comeback it was to Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine on Aug. 14 and 15 in celebration of the Feast of The Assumption of The Blessed Virgin Mary!
Vehicles rolled in as pilgrims from near and far once again stepped onto the Holy Ground of Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine in Rama. It hasn't been this busy since before COVID-19 and what a pleasure to see so many pilgrims once again journey to Rama to participate in Rama's 77th Annual Pilgrimage.
The first to arrive were the St. Philomena walking pilgrims who began their trek on Aug. 11 from Yorkton. This was the fourth walking pilgrimage with Deacon Dave Hudy of Melville organizing the entire walk. Their perseverance was phenomenal, to say the least.
Next to arrive was the charter bus, Odyssey Coach Lines, from Saskatoon with 50-plus pilgrims from Saskatoon and Humboldt combined. Organizers were Mila Bernales (Saskatoon) and Nestor Trach (Humboldt).
Everyone was eager to get the two-day event underway, beginning with the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and Stations of the Cross led by Rev. Michal Pajak O.M.I., pastor of St. Anthony's Parish.
Following the supper, which was catered by St. Anthony's Parish Ladies, participants were given the opportunity for private confession. Many priests from several different parishes were available to hear confessions.
The Filipino Choir, comprised of singers from Saskatoon and Yorkton, sang many inspirational hymns. Star Relatado (Yorkton) has been organizing this part of the pilgrimage for several years.
Prior to the 8 p.m. Holy Mass, Rev. Andrew Sowa O.M.I. (Melville) sang several "Mary" songs including the 100th Anniversary for St. Anthony's Church song which was composed by Len Gadica (Melville). While he sang and played his guitar, the congregation was able to sing along since Rev. Andrew rehearsed the crowd and provided texts for everyone.
Rev. Michal Pajak introduced the concelebrating priests and expressed regret from Archbishop Don Bolen of Regina who was unable to attend this year. The Holy Mass was presided by Rev. Gerard Cooper (Saskatoon) with homilist, Rev. Colin Roy (Humboldt). Readings were done by Elaine Olson and Mary Kowalyshyn.
The "International Holy Rosary" and candlelight procession took place after the Holy Mass. Exposition and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament took place in the church until 11 p.m. Hot dogs and dessert were available at the Parish Hall after the candlelight procession.
In the serenity of the night as the lit candles flickered, a flute played by Carol Anne Landgraf (Regina) culminated the night as she performed several "Mary" songs. (Carol Anne and her husband, Ed, owners of Burns-Hanley in Regina have provided pilgrims opportunity for many years to purchase many religious articles which are blessed on Aug.15).
The morning of Aug, 15 began with "Godzinki" (Morning Devotional Prayers to Mary) followed by a Holy Mass in the Polish language. Rev. Andrew Sowa O.M.I. was the presider and homilist for this Mass. He played his guitar and sang the entire Mass in Polish, something that has never been done before!
All were invited for toast and coffee to the Parish Hall after the Holy Mass.
The concluding Holy Mass took place at 11:30 a.m. with Rev. Michal Pajak O.M.I. presiding and Rev. Colin Roy preaching the homily. Rev. Roy alluded to reality and emphasized how caring and compassionate our heavenly Mother Mary is. He stressed how we can always be assured of her care by simply asking her to intercede for our needs. Both homilies given by Rev. Colin Roy on Aug. 14 and 15 were very inspiring. Readings were done by Juliette Franke (Yorkton). Anointing of the Sick and Blessing of Religious Articles concluded the pilgrimage.
Sincere gratitude was expressed with an invitation for all to return next year. All proceeded to the Parish Hall for a delicious meal prepared by St. Anthony's Parish Ladies.