by Sister Elaine Kisinko, OSBM

DSCN9598Today the word Pilgrimage seems to be appearing often in Catholic news sources everywhere. Readers are being invited and urged to travel especially to the churches and shrines that have a Door of Mercy named so during this Year of Mercy as proclaimed by Pope Francis.

Sadly in contrast, the secular news brings reports of increasing turmoil, violence, terrorism and confusion every day. History tells us that it is during difficult times such as these that people turn to prayer.

During the years of the second world war more than half century ago, record numbers of Pilgrims came to Mount St. Macrina for the annual Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. They prayed for peace and for their loved ones to return safely from the raging battles.

This Pilgrimage has endured through the best of times and the worst of times for 82 years. As always, the Mother of God beckons for her children to come to honor her and to ask for her Son’s mercy and her help for their personal needs and for peace in every area of the world.

Whether this would be your first Pilgrimage or you have come for many years, please know that this unique event of our Byzantine Catholic Church welcomes you. It offers a few days apart from your regular routine. Here the graces of liturgy, prayer, reconciliation and anointing await you. You will be part of a gathering of bishops, priests, deacons, sisters, families and friends who have traveled from near and far. With them you will present your needs, petitions, cares and concerns to the Mother of God for help. The gift of your presence will be a blessing for all those with whom you share your time.

So that time approaches. The Mother of Perpetual Help gently calls. The Door of Mercy to her Shrine is open, and the prayers of the Sisters of St. Basil ask a safe journey for you to Pilgrimage – Mount St. Macrina, Uniontown, Pa., Labor Day weekend, September 3-4, 2016.