Pilgrimage for Peace
A brightly colored flyer with a blue border and sunflowers, national flower of Ukraine, drew our attention to the Pilgrimage for Peace in Ukraine, jointly organized by our parish of St Theresa’s and the neighboring Immaculate Conception Ukrainian Catholic Church in Palatine. The community and Residents quickly and favorably responded.
On Thursday, March 3, the bus was ready for a group of apartment Residents while 5 Little Sisters set out for St Theresa’s on foot. Arriving before 2:45 p.m., we watched the Church gradually begin to fill with persons seeking to support our suffering Ukrainian brothers and sisters. The prayer service began as the Bishop and priests of the Ukrainian Rite processed to the sanctuary with our priests from St Theresa’s and several parishes in the area. Father Tim, the Pastor, gave a moving introduction, expressing the spiritual battle that the world is enduring at this time in face of war. His words were followed by the singing of the beautiful penitential psalm 51 and the Litany of the Saints.
Father explained the details of the procession to follow, with the Ministers of the Ukraine carrying a large and beautiful icon of Our Lady of Russia, and the priests and Knights of Columbus of St Theresa’s carrying on a bier the large statue of Our Lady of Fatima.
All left the Church one by one, heading towards Northwest Hwy where we would walk the route and hear many drivers honking in solidarity with Ukraine. Overhead we heard the constant droning sound of 2 helicopters sent by ABC Chicago news. For us this continual sound was a friendly sound, yet nevertheless, it reminded us of sounds in the skies overhead the Ukraine. Surely not friendly sounds to the ear there.
We were happy that ABC had cameramen above and, on the ground, to help rouse the growing awareness of the situation in Ukraine. This was a moving time when all people of good will and various nationalities and faiths raised their voices in prayer and support. Families were very visible, as well as the young and not so young. No one seemed to mind the little sacrifice of the circuitous route that originally, we thought would be 1 ½ miles, and in the end was 3 ½ miles! It was reported that perhaps 300-400 persons were present.
At the end of our route, we saw how quickly the very lovely Ukrainian Church was filling up, with parishioners of the Church greeting and welcoming the pilgrims. The very beautiful voices and chants of the cantors in this Eastern Catholic Church drew us into an even more prayerful spirit, and the reading of the Gospel and the encouraging words of the Ukrainian priests on what we must strive for this Lent – faith, hope and charity – steadfastly praying the Rosary – gave us fresh courage to face this unexpected war with our thoughts turned toward our brothers and sisters in Ukraine.
The service ended, and we gathered outdoors, ready to board our buses home. It had been a calm and serious afternoon, in which we tasted the goodness of all present and knew that our trust in the loving solicitude of God our Father and our tender Mother would carry us through this very unfortunate world event.