I.H.M.S. Takes Part in Enshrinement of Holy Relics
By: Natalka G.
 
  • "A once in a lifetime event."
  • "Something you will never again see in Winnipeg"
  • "Something you could only imagine happening somewhere else."

These are only a few examples of what was said on the weekend of Sept. 20-22, 2002, a weekend that will go down in Ukrainian Catholic history.

The Ukrainian Catholics of the Archeparchy of Manitoba witnessed something this weekend that they will probably never see again - the enshrinement of the holy relics of a martyr.

On June 30, 1973 Bishop Vasyl Velychkovsky C.Ss.R. died here in Winnipeg. He died for his Ukrainian Catholic faith. Then on June 27, 2001, Pope John II recognized him and 26 other martyrs, and declared them venerable, and beatified them as intercessors for Our Lord. This is the second of three steps for becoming a saint.

The first day of the festivities was actually on Monday, September 16th. On this day, the relics of Blessed Vasyl were exhumed from where he was buried at All Saint's Cemetery in Winnipeg. His body was then transported to St. Boniface Hospital where he was examined by the provincial medical staff .

On Friday September 20th, the relics were carried into St. Vladirmir and Olga Cathedral by eight Redemptorist priests from Canada, the U.S.A, and Ukraine. The faithful prayed the Moleben in honour of Blessed Martyr Vasyl. Then choirs from Winnipeg, St. Boniface, Edmonton, and Ukraine performed special musical selections.

After this, the parishioners from each Ukrainian Catholic parish in Winnipeg had an opportunity to pray and venerate the relics of Blessed Vasyl. This vigil lasted until the celebrations on Sunday morning. Late Saturday afternoon, between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m., something amazing happened! During the Divine Liturgy at St. Joseph's, while blessing the shrine, a rainbow appeared above the church. Most parishioners interpreted this sign to be a miracle.

On Sunday, we all gathered at Sts. Vladimir and Olga Cathedral where there was a special section reserved for Immaculate Heart of Mary School. Many of the students, teachers, and parents took part in this special event. After a Moleben, the procession began to St. Joseph's Church. We, the students of I.H.M.S., were privileged to walk right behind the cart where the relics of Blessed Martyr Vasyl were pulled. We sang hymns, prayed the rosary, and other prayers on the pilgramage. Some of our teachers, students, and parents had the privilige of pulling the relics of Blessed Vasyl.

Newspaper reporters and news teams were also present to record this historic event. Click HERE to see photos of two members of our school community in "The Winnipeg Free Press".

  

It was a very memorable and emotional weekend that most people will remember for the rest of their lives. Thirty years ago, Bishop Vasyl walked through the halls of Immaculate Heart of Mary School, and now we are able to participate in such a very special event - the veneration and enshrinement of the relics of such a holy martyr. Everyone talks about the possibility of miracles and I think it is just as much of a miracle to have his relics among us. It really is a miracle for our Ukrainian Catholic faith.