The pilgrimage at Rama in August celebrated three historical events. It began on August 14 with the Vigil of the Assumption of The Blessed Virgin Mary
Many pilgrims gathered in the evening at The Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in Rama. Priests were available for hearing confessions, The Yorkton Filipino Choir sang hymns of Praise to Mary before the Mass and Burns-Hanley of Regina were on site for those who wished to purchase any religious articles that would later be blessed on August 15. The Celebration of the Holy Eucharist began with nine priests and Bishop Bryan Bayda who came in procession from the church to the grotto. St. Anthony's Choir also in procession and altar servers along with the Knights of Columbus and the banner carriers also joined in the procession. Fr. Marcin Mironiuk OMI, parish priest, welcomed everyone and introduced all the concelebrants who came from many areas even as far as Brooklyn, New York and Madagascar.Bishop Bryan Bayda presented the homily while Fr. Mitch Burdzy OMI presided. Following the Mass, the rosary was prayed in many different languages and then the candle light procession took place going up the hill while stopping at three different locations. The Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament took place in the church with Adoration till 11:00pm
On August 15th Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was celebrated. The day began with "Godzinki", morning devotional prayers to Mary with Fr. Mitch Burdzy OMI followed by Polish Mass. Then the Divine Liturgy in the Byzantine Rite took place in the grotto with Bishop Bryan Bayda of Saskatoon being the main celebrant and Fr. Joakim Rac and Fr. Methodius Kushko concelebrating with him.
"I come here to pray" were the words spoken by Bishop Bryan Bayda of Saskatoon who was among the many pilgrims attending the 74th Annual Pilgrimage at The Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in Rama, SK . He not only presided for the Divine Liturgy in the Byzantine Rite on August 15, but was also the main homilist on August 14, the Vigil of the Assumption of The Blessed Virgin Mary. He took part in every aspect of the pilgrimage including the Stations of the Cross and Anointing of the Sick and Aged. In his homily, he spoke of how this is heaven on earth and how we should be doing everything for the Will of God. He referred to Mother Teresa and how she dedicated every letter in her name to God.. Then he emphasized how every moment of your life is transfomable, giving any situation to the Mother of God and She will transform it to God. Jesus prayed for each one of us choosing the most horrifying way by dying on the cross and transformed it into our salvation.
Stations of the Cross and anointing of the Sick and Aged followed. Fr. Mitch Burdzy OMI explained how the pilgrims this year could earn a plenary indulgence.
This marked history for Rama as it was the first time that this could happen as permission must be received from the Vatican in Rome.
Main presider for both days was the Yorkton-Melville Dean, Fr. Mitch Burdzy of St. Henry's Parish in Melville.In his homily, he began by stating"Today, here in Rama we offer thanks to God and our physical and spiritual offering to God for Mary who was and is the Ark of Jesus" He stated how God willed that THe Blessed Virgin Mary be exempted from original sin. " She, by an entirely unique privilege, completely overcame sin by Her Immaculate Conception, and as aresult she was not subject to the law of remaining in corruption of the grave, and she did not have to wait until the end of time for the redemption of her body." He also stated how Mary is leaving an impression in so many millions of people throughout the world." "Finally it is our hope that belief in Mary's bodily Assumption into heaven will make our belief in our own resurrection stronger and render it more effective"
Historical moments took place on two occasions on August 15. First and foremost was that for the first time ever, pilgrims were able to receive a plenary indulgence. This will be possible for future pilgrimages in Rama.
Also, the second historical moment took place when the final images were blessed on the Parish Hall. The images were of "The Burning Bush"," The Parting of the Red Sea" and "Moses" and "The Ten Commandments" It was through the generosity of Cas and Marie Broda who came up with the idea that because the grotto is a Marian Shrine that The Life of Mary should be depicted through images on the wall of the Parish Hall and that the Ten Commandments are the way to follow Mary into heaven whose Feast we celebrate every August 14 and 15 on Her Glorious Assumption into Heaven.
The "Third Annual Mass for the Unborn" took place following Rama's Annual Pilgrimage at the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes on Sunday, August 16. The rosary was lead by the Knights of Columbus prior to The Celebration of the Holy Mass. Homilist, Fr. Marcin Mironiuk, began his homily by stating that his friend, Fr. Pawel from Madagascar(who concelebrated this Mass with him) said that abortion clinics are also available in Africa."Imagine, here is a country that cannot provide fresh water, people have so little, yet they can provide abortion rather than a better life!" He emphasized that " as Christians, we are people of life and we value the gift of life!" He also described the new ultra sound program that each year the number of babies saved increases. He recalled a true-life experience about a young mother who asked to have her baby baptized. Upon having her fill out the required information, he noticed that she failed to complete the name of the father of the baby. It was then that she told him, "I don't know the name of the father because I was raped." He was lost for words at that moment and offered her some words of comfort. At the baptism, as she held that baby in her arms so lovingly it was so obvious that this child will never lack love. "The child is 8 or 9 now and IS loved" he stressed. In his closing remarks, he stated" Do what we can, do our best to save each life. We value life and we must fight for it and let us never stop doing it!"
Following the Mass, all went in procession to the statue of St. Gianna Beretta Molla, the pro-life Saint at which time Fr. Marcin said a prayer for all mothers and blessed the relic of St. Gianna that was presented to St. Anthony's Parish on May 10 in Winnipeg by Dr. Gianna Emanuela who is the baby that St. Gianna Beretta Molla sacrificed her life for. It was a very great moment as St. Anthony's once more marked history. It was 2012 when the statue of St. Gianna Beretta Molla was placed in the churchyard of St. Anthony's. It was the first statue of this kind made in Italy, the homeland of St. Gianna and now 2015 a relic of hers personally presented to St. Anthony's Parish. Indeed a historical moment many will never forget!
All were then invited to the parish hall for a luncheon and fellowship. Guest speaker, Colette Stang, president of Saskatchewan Pro-life spoke insisting " Your prayers are so needed in a world that does not always respect motherhood and the gift of life." She gave many examples of the groups helping women, men and young girls like Rachel's Vineyard, The Silent No More Campaign, Shock the Waves of Abortion Campaign, and the Sask Pro-Life Convention. She described the impact The Youth Trip for the March for Life to Ottawa had on the youth that had attended.
She quoted," The SPLA has 3 arms: 1) prayer 2) political action 3) education " She presented a lot of information on her mission of the previous 3 arms mentioned and expanded on how she would like the support of everyone to help out by encouraging the youth of this province to become pro-life activists.
She concluded ," Pro-life is very serious; literally a matter of life and death. But I just want to remind you that life is such a blessing that we must still take time to enjoy our families, our friends, our communities... be joyful people of God, keep smling and loving LIFE!"
Lorne Sliva, one of the organizers of the event concluded by thanking Colette and asking everyone to join in a prayer.