Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of July 14, 2003
Pilgrimage season begins
Mundare 'vidpust' marks centennial
By RENATO GANDIA
"This icon of the Mother of God is so symbolic of the life of our pioneer people,
- Bishop Lawrence Huculak
His wife Josephine added, "It's the most beautiful and blessed day and we're very happy that we all can be here. We're very close to the fathers and the sisters. It's just been wonderful. We try to come every year. It's just in our heart. It's our faith and we just love it."
Basilian Father Nicon Swirsky said the pilgrimage is just wonderful. But he wishes more people would come.
For Mary Buzinsky, "It's just an exhilarating experience. It's a great spiritual fulfillment. It's very uplifting."
Festivities this year began on June 26 with the celebration of Reconciliation mission, followed by a candlelight procession to the grotto and another mission the next day, June 27.
On June 28, there was a moleben (prayer service for special intentions) to Christ, the Lover of Mankind. To culminate the centenary celebration, Sts. Peter and Paul vidpust was observed June 29.
The vidpust led by Bishop Lawrence Huculak of Edmonton was attended by pilgrims including Bishop Paul Chomnycky of Great Britain, retired Bishop Cornelius Pasichny of Toronto and Bishop Severian Yakymyshyn of New Westminster.
The people come to venerate the icon of the Mother of God of Pochaiv.
In his homily at the final moleben, Huculak reminded the more than 500 people of the history of the icon.
"This icon of the Mother of God is so symbolic of the life of our pioneer people, for it had a very humble beginning and yet now copies of this very icon are found not only throughout Canada but throughout the United States, South America, Europe, Australia and even Ukraine."
In the late 1950s and the early 1960s, the superior of the Basilian Fathers, Father Myron Daciuk, thought it would be important to have a special icon of the Mother of God so people could express their devotion and offer their prayers.
He wrote to the Basilian Fathers in Rome and asked if they could get an icon of the Mother of God. And they did.
Painted by Italian artist de Filippi, the icon was patterned in a general way upon the icon of the Mother of God found in the monastery of Pochaiv in Ukraine.
After the icon was written, the Basilian Fathers in Rome took it to Pope John XXIII to have it blessed before it began its journey to Mundare.
When the icon arrived in Mundare they put it in the old church for veneration.
In the diary of the Basilian monastery, there is an entry for May 3, 1961 that says, "Today, we received the obraz, a copy of the miraculous icon of the Mother of God of Pochaiv. This icon was painted in Rome and blessed by Pope John XXIII. The icon cost $210 (including) shipping."
The icon was then given for veneration at the annual Sts. Peter and Paul vidpust in Mundare. Again the diary chronicled on July 1, 1961, "For the first time the icon was given for veneration during the praznyk; the frame was made by Brother Passiw."
When the new church - the present one - was built in 1968 a special corner at the entrance of the church was made for this icon where people can find it today.
A group of faithful at St. Nicholas Cathedral Parish in Chicago wanted to have a travelling icon that could be venerated in parishioners' homes to revitalize their piety. It was envisioned as part of the prayer chain for the Ukrainian Catholic Church throughout the world and especially for the building up of the faith of Ukrainians who are persecuted in their homeland.
One of the cathedral parishioners, Alexandra Spytal, had seen a picture of this Mundare icon of the Mother of God and was very moved by it. This parishioner got the permission from the Basilian Fathers and a photocopy was made.
It was blessed by the bishop of Chicago on Sept. 8, 1972. Since then, the copy of the Mundare icon continues to be received in homes like a pilgrim, not only throughout the eparchy of Chicago but in other places in Argentina, Australia, France, Germany, the U.S. and the former Yugoslavia.
"Dearly beloved in Christ, from its humble beginnings, this icon of the Mother of God now is so meaningful not only to us here in this area but also for our faithful Ukrainian Catholics throughout the world. And it is by praying in front of this icon that the people are encouraged to ask for the intercession of the Mother of God," Huculak told the pilgrims.
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