Pilgrimage to our Lady of Lourdes Shrine at Rama, SK, returns to mark Feast of the Assumption Aug. 14-15

The annual Rama Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine at St. Anthony Church, Rama, SK was held Aug. 14-15, 2022. (Photo by Mary Kowalyshyn)

By Mary Kowalyshyn

What a wonderful comeback it was to Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine Aug. 14-15, 2022 for celebration of the Feast of The Assumption of The Blessed Virgin Mary at Rama, SK.

Vehicles rolled in as pilgrims from near and far once again stepped onto the holy ground of Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine in Rama. It hasn’t been this busy since before the COVID-19 pandemic and what a pleasure to see so many pilgrims once again journey to Rama to participate in Rama’s 77th annual pilgrimage.

The first to arrive were participants in the St. Philomena Walking Pilgrimage who began their trek Aug. 11 from Yorkton. This was the fourth walking pilgrimage with Deacon Dave Hudye of Melville organizing the entire walk.

Next to arrive was the Odyssey Coach Lines charter bus from Saskatoon with 50-plus pilgrims from Saskatoon and Humboldt combined. Organizers were Mila Bernales (Saskatoon) and Nestor Trach (Humboldt).

Everyone was anxious to begin the two-day event which opened with the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and Stations of the Cross led by Fr. Michal Pajak OMI, pastor of St. Anthony’s Parish.

Following the supper which was catered by women of St. Anthony Parish, participants were given the opportunity for private confession. Many priests from several different parishes were available to hear confessions.

A Catholic Filipino choir of singers from Saskatoon and Yorkton sang many inspirational hymns. Star Relatado of Yorkton has been organizing this part of the pilgrimage for several years.

Prior to the Aug. 14 evening Mass, Fr. Andrew Sowa OMI of Melville sang several Marian hymns including the song for the 100th anniversary for St. Anthony Church, which was composed by Len Gadica of Melville. While he sang and played his guitar, the congregation was able to sing along after Fr. Sowa rehearsed the crowd and provided texts for everyone.

Fr. Gerard Cooper of Saskatoon and a number of other priests from around the province concelebrated Mass during the 77th annual Rama Pilgrimage in August 2022. (Photo by Mary Kowalyshyn)

Fr. Michal Pajak introduced the concelebrating priests and expressed regret from Archbishop Don Bolen of Regina who was unable to attend this year.

Fr. Gerard Cooper, pastor and rector of Cathedral of the Holy Family in Saskatoon presided, with the homily given by Fr. Colin Roy of parishes at Humboldt, Muenster, Burr and Pilger. Readings were proclaimed by Elaine Olson and Mary Kowalyshyn.

During the Rama pilgrimage, Fr. Colin Roy, pastor of Humboldt-area parishes, presented the homily at Eucharistic celebrations on both Aug. 14 and Aug. 15. (Photo by Mary Kowalyshyn)

The “International¬† Holy Rosary” and candlelight procession took place after the evening Mass Aug. 14.¬† Exposition and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament took place in the church till 11:00 pm. Hot dogs and dessert were available at the parish hall after the candlelight procession.

In the serenity of the night as the candles flickered, a flute played by Carol Anne Landgraf of Regina culminated the night as she played several Marian hymns. (For many years, Carol Anne and her husband, E Landgraf, owners of Burns-Hanley in Regina have provided pilgrims opportunities to purchase many religious articles which are blessed during the event.)

The morning of Aug. 15 began with “Godzinki” (morning devotional prayers asking for the intercession of Mary) followed by a Holy Mass in the Polish language. Fr. Andrew Sowa, OMI, was the presider and homilist for this Mass. He played his guitar and sang the entire Mass in Polish, something that has never been done before!

Fr. Andrew Sowa, OMI of Melville, SK, led Marian hymns Aug. 14 and sang the morning Mass in Polish Aug. 15. (Photo by Mary Kowalyshyn)

All were invited for toast and coffee to the Parish Hall after the morning Mass

The pilgrimage concluded with Mass celebrated at 11:30 a.m. by Fr. Michal Pajak OMI presiding and Fr. Colin Roy presenting the homily. Fr. Roy emphasized the care and compassion of our heavenly Mother Mary! He stressed how we can always be assured of her care by simply asking her to intercede for our needs.

Readings at that Aug. 15 Mass were proclaimed by Juliette Franke of Yorkton. Anointing of the Sick and blessing of religious articles concluded the pilgrimage. Many thanks were expressed, with an invitation for all to return next year. All then proceeded to the parish hall for a meal prepared by the women of St. Anthony Parish, Rama.