Greek Catholics of the United States held the largest pilgrimage, where they presented the highest award of the UGCC - the Order of Metropolitan Sheptytsky
The pilgrimage was conducted by the congregation of the Sisters-Servants of the Immaculate Virgin Mary in Sloatsburg, New York. The feast of the Assumption of the Virgin is a special day for service sisters all over the world because on August 27, 1892, the solemn consecration of the first House of Service Sisters in the village of Zhuzheli and acceptance of the first six candidates.
The theme of this year's pilgrimage was "Mary, Mother of the Savior, and Joseph, the Righteous Betrothed, support us in God's Providence."
The festive Liturgy on August 15 was led by Archbishop-Metropolitan Boris Gudziak of Philadelphia, eparch Bishop Pavlo Khomnitsky of Stamford and eparch Bishop Bohdan Daniel of Parma, with whom priests of the UGCC Metropolia in the United States co-celebrated. Numerous believers traditionally gathered for forgiveness from different parts of the world.
In his sermon, Metropolitan Gudziak noted that the feast of the assumption is widespread in the UGCC — there are many churches, cathedrals, and most of the farewells are held on the Dormition of the Virgin. In his sermon, he gave the pilgrims a small task — to tell others about the essence of the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin.
This year's pilgrimage to Sloatsburg was a special occasion to congratulate Bishop Emeritus Basil Losten, who is celebrating the 50th anniversary of his episcopal ministry this year.
Metropolitan Boris Gudziak listed the merits of Bishop Losten:
"In Philadelphia, Bishop Basil built a house for the elderly, which is now a sign of our service to the wider society, because there are many non-Ukrainians there, it was the driving force behind the celebrations of the 1000th anniversary of the baptism of Ukraine-Rus and thanks to it, mosaics of Saints Volodymyr and Olga appeared in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome."
Also during the pilgrimage, on behalf of the head of the UGCC and members of the Synod of bishops, Metropolitan Borys Gudziak presented Karl Anderson, who for 20 years led the "Knights of Columbus" around the world, with the highest award of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church-the order of Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky. Carl Anderson became the seventh Knight of the order.
This distinction is awarded by the UGCC to individuals, public or ecclesiastical institutions, representatives of Churches and religious communities, as well as secular persons, in particular public figures, who, through their work, implement the principles and principles that the righteous Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky lived and served the church and people.
The Knights of Columbus is the largest lay Catholic organization in America, with more than two million members worldwide.
"Knights give millions of hours of volunteer work and tens of millions of dollars to charity. Mr. Anderson ran an ultra-sound diagnostic program that saved the lives of thousands of babies – mothers were able to see their babies in the womb and gave up the idea of terminating the pregnancy. He also actively supported the initiative to create a branch of the Knights of Columbus in Ukraine, "Metropolitan Borys Gudziak said as he presented the award.
The long-standing Supreme Knight of the "Knights of Columbus" noted that the modern diaspora of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church has a task that no one else can perform. This task is to be an example of those who experience great suffering, but at the same time do not cease to bear witness to God. He stressed: "This is exactly what Christians around the world need today, and especially our Catholic brothers here in the United States of America, as we all face the challenges of a secular society that is becoming increasingly hostile."