For several years, members of the Association of the Miraculous Medal of the city of Kyiv had planned to go on a pilgrimage to Zarvanytsia, also known as the Ukrainian Lourdes – the largest sanctuary of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. Due to various circumstances the trip was delayed, but this year a miracle happened and on July 15-16 Marian Sisters of the Miraculous Medal from Kyiv and Zakarpattia, members of Association of the Miraculous Medal, and Fr. Michael Talapkanych of the Congregation of the Mission visited this sanctuary. Annually nearly 100,000 pilgrims from different parts of Ukraine come to Zarvanytsia to pray, to ask for grace, to offer their time and prayers …
This year’s pilgrimage was dedicated to the 150 th anniversary of the coronation of Zarvanytsia’s miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary and to the 125 th anniversary of the birth of Patriarch Joseph Slipyi. The pilgrims prayed for peace and the integrity of the Ukraine. Head of Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Apostolic Nuncio in Ukraine Claudio Gugerotti and Archbishop and Metropolitan Ivan Devchich from Croatia prayed together to God with the faithful.
After greeting the honorary guests, a message about the Immaculate Virgin Mary and her medal here in Zarvanytsia was presented by the Association of the Miraculous Medal members of Ukraine. For almost two months they prepared for this trip by tying thread to each medal so it could be immediately worn around the neck after receiving it. Fr. Michael gave a 15 minute presentation to the pilgrims about the Apparition of the Blessed Mother at the rue du Bac in Paris. The pilgrims were very interested in the medal and wanted to receive one. In two days 48,000 medals were distributed. Many pilgrims came to the Association and took home these little medals to share hope and grace with their relatives, friends and acquaintances.
Thank you to the organizers who gave us this opportunity to be with the pilgrims and to distribute medals during these days. We pray together “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!” Mary wants to help us in asking for grace from her Son! Let’s join the mission of the Immaculate with all our hearts!
By Maryna Krutko, volunteer of the Office of Vincentian Family in Ukraine