(Participants of the Day of Prayer with the Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, which was guided by Fr. Dmytro Dnistrian, CSsR.)
The Yorkton Province began the Jubilee Year of Our Mother of Perpetual Help with several special events in Saskatoon, Winnipeg and Yorkton, Canada.
On Saturday, June 20, 2015, a “Day of Prayer with the Icon of Our Mother Perpetual Help” was held at Saints Peter and Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Sixty people participated in the event, which included times of prayer and brief talks. Each presentation acted as a “key” that helped unlock the message of the Icon. This experience not only provided a greater understanding of the Icon but also drew the participants closer to God’s Redemptive Love.
At the Shrine of Blessed Bishop and Martyr Vasyl Velychkovsky, CSsR, at St. Joseph’s Ukrainian Catholic Church in Winnipeg, Manitoba, a “double holyday” was celebrated on June 27, 2015: the start of the Jubilee Year and the feastday of our Ukrainian martyrs, especially Blessed Vasyl. Three hundred people attended throughout the day.
The particular Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help that was chosen for veneration throughout the day was also “martyred.” This Icon was venerated in the church in Zboisk, Ukraine, where Blessed Vasyl had been ordained. During the Second World War, a soldier shot the Icon. A bullet hole is clearly seen in the halo of Christ. This Icon was moved to Blessed Vasyl’s apartment during the time of the underground church. A replica of this “martyred” Icon was blessed and venerated throughout the feastday celebration.
(In Winnipeg, Fr. John Sianchuk, CSsR preaches about our Blessed Martyr, Vasyl Velychkovsky, CSsR and his special connection with the “martyred” Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help.)
At St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Church in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, the annual pilgrimage in honour of Our Mother of Perpetual Help was held from June 25 -28, 2015. During these days of prayer, a century old Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, which was touched to the original Icon in Rome, was brought into the main church for the faithful to venerate.
It is interesting to note that the Icon that is located in the sanctuary of St. Mary’s is most likely the largest Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Canada.
(Father Larry Kondra, CSsR, Provincial of the Yorkton Province, stands before the Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, at Saint Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Church in Yorkton, Saskatchewan.)
During the week of June 29, 2015, Saints Peter and Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church in Saskatoon held its annual Vacation Bible School (VBS) for the children of the parish. At the start of each day, the children learned about one feature of the Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. At the conclusion of each day, the children sang a special hymn to the Mother of God, “Rejoice O Virgin Mary.”
(Staff and Children of Saints Peter and Paul Ukrainian Church in Saskatoon during Vacation Bible School 2015)
Throughout the Yorkton Province, special parish bulletin inserts about the Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help have been distributed. Also, a Jubilee prayer card was given to the faithful, with the following prayer:
O Mother of Perpetual Help,
We come before your holy Icon seeking to follow Your Son.
Mary, please gently guide us to enter more deeply into the mystery of Redemption.
Help us as we contemplate the Incarnation, Passion, Death and Resurrection of
Your Son, Jesus, Our Redeemer.
Help us to receive and accept the Light of Christ present in your arms.
Mary, we present our needs to you and ask that you place them in the hands of your Son.
Most Holy Mother of God, Our Mother of Perpetual Help, save us. Amen.