“Uniting The Scattered”: The VI All American Youth Pilgrimage

June 18, 2024, 14:15 58

On June 13–16, the VI All American Youth Pilgrimage was held, bringing together clergy and pilgrims from across the United States. More than 700 people from 17 states gathered at the Parish of the Pokrova Ukrainian Catholic Church in Parma, Ohio. “The two wings that rise the human spirit into the vastness of the universe are faith and reason,” these words of Patriarch Josyf Slipyj served as the leitmotif of this year’s pilgrimage, dedicated to the 40th anniversary of his repose.

“Uniting The Scattered”: The VI All American Youth Pilgrimage

This was reported by the press service of the Diocese of St. Josaphat in Parma.

Each day of the pilgrimage began with the Divine Liturgy, presided over by Most Rev. Bohdan Danylo, Venedykt Aleksiychuk, and Paul Chomnycky, with about 20 priests participating from different dioceses alongside their parishioners.

On Friday, during the first panel discussion, Fr. Pavlo Drozdiak, psychiatrist Dr. Donna Dobrovolsky, and Dr. Martha Sauni spoke about the necessity of mental and spiritual health. Pilgrims then reflected on this topic in small groups. The well-thought-out program allowed everyone to enrich themselves spiritually by contemplating passages from the Holy Scriptures, receiving the Holy Mystery of Penance, and praying at the relics of the blessed new martyrs of the Ukrainian people, Blessed Carlo Acutis, and St. Josaphat Kuntsevych. A focal point of the first day was the Taizé Prayer and a candlelight procession, which concluded with the Akathist to the Mother of God of Zarvanytsia. For many pilgrims, the candlelight procession evoked memories of the pilgrimage to Zarvanytsia, leading them to sing the well-known song “From the City of Kyiv.”

Saturday morning started with a walking pilgrimage for youth aged 10–15 and 16–25, accompanied by priests of the Philadelphia Metropolitanate. About 160 young people reflected on their personal journey to God during the hike.

The second panel discussion, titled “Identity and Establishment of the Greek Catholic Ukrainian in Immigration,” emphasized the importance of preserving identity, language, and rite. In addition to the spiritual program, there were sports competitions in soccer and volleyball, spiritual quizzes, children’s games, dances, and songs around the bonfire.

Saturday evening featured a Prayer of Praise and a concert where pilgrims shared their talents, a moving video greeting from Ukraine, and warm messages from Fr. Roman Demush, priests from various Ukrainian eparchies, and youth community representatives. This heartfelt connection to their homeland, for which they prayed continually, deeply moved everyone present.

On Sunday, following the Divine Liturgy, lunch, and a children’s thank-you concert, Most Rev. Bohdan Danylo blessed the pilgrims for a safe journey home. He urged them to carry the inspiration they had gained during the pilgrimage back to their homes and workplaces, so that they could be a reflection of Christ to all they encountered.

The UGCC Department for the Information

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