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August 18, 2017

Centralia Pilgrimage, A Call to Prayer

On the grounds and in the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church, located on the serene mountaintop overlooking the abandoned, desolate borough of Centralia, the second annual Call to Prayer Pilgrimage will be held Sunday, August 27. This date is the eve of the Feast of the Dormition of the Holy Mother of God according to the Julian calendar.

The pilgrimage begins at noon with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy with Metropolitan-Archbishop Stefan Soroka as the main celebrant and area clergy as concelebrants. Homilist will be Very Reverend Archpriest John M. Fields. Rev. Mr. Paul Spotts will serve as deacon.  Responses to the Divine Liturgy will be led by the choir of the Patronage of the Mother of God Church, McAdoo, Pa.

After the Divine Liturgy, a procession will be held from the church with the Icon of Our Lady of Pochaiv, where it will be placed in the outside chapel.

From 1:30-3:30 p.m. Confessions will be heard for the pilgrims at various locations throughout the church grounds.

There will be a Living Rosary prayed at 2 p.m. before the historic and jeweled 18th century copy of the Icon of Our Lady of Pochaiv. Father Martin Kobos, OFM Conv., pastor of Mother Cabrini Parish in Shamokin, Pa., will provide a reflection at the conclusion of the Living Rosary.

At 3 p.m., Rev. Msgr. James T. Melnic will celebrate with the pilgrims the Akafist to the Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God before the Holy Shroud of the Dormition.

At 4:30 p.m., all will gather at the outdoor chapel for a candlelight procession to the church for the celebration of a Moleben to the Mother of God. Archbishop Soroka will again be the main celebrant as well as homilist during the Moleben honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary.

At the conclusion of the Moleben, prayers for healing and the anointing with holy oils for the healing of soul and body will take place. Pilgrims will have an opportunity to venerate the Icon of Our Lady of Pochaiv and venerate the icon and relics of Blessed Martyr Bishop Mykola Charnetsky, C.Ss.R., the healer of souls.

The icon and relics of Blessed Martyr Bishop Charnetsky will reside in the church for veneration throughout the day.

While the town of Centralia was destroyed by an underground mine fire, which resulted in the relocation of almost all the residents and the demotion of all but a few buildings, the stately white Assumption Ukrainian Catholic Church capped with its three onion-shaped blue domes still sits on a hilltop overlooking the once-thriving town as it has since the first services were held there in 1912, after the parish was founded on August 15, 1911.

Today, while the town is a memory, the church still serves a thriving parish family, with congregants driving to the hilltop on Sundays and Holy Days from communities throughout the area.

Food service will be provided during the pilgrimage from 1-4 p.m. Handicap parking will be provided on the church grounds. Off-site parking and shuttle van service will be provided from specially designated areas near the church.

The event will be held rain or shine. This is a Rain or Shine event.

The church is located two blocks north of Route 42 in Centralia, at the following mailing address: 1130 Summit Hill Rd., Aristes, PA 17920.

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