Uniontown, PA - Preparations are nearly complete for the 83rd annual pilgrimage in honor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, to be held Saturday and Sunday at Mount St. Macrina, just west of Uniontown along Route 40.
“A lot of things can’t be done until the last minute,’’ explained Sister Ruth Plante, provincial of the Byzantine Catholic Sisters of St. Basil, who hosts the event.
Volunteers and staff this past week have been preparing the outdoor sound systems, readying to place benches and to do food set up. People have been donating their time throughout the summer.
“We couldn’t do it without all the volunteers,’’ said Plante, noting they paint, weed and make beds. “During the course of preparation and the pilgrimage, over 200 people help in some way. If it wasn’t for their help, we wouldn’t be able to do it.’’
Volunteers are found among local residents and those who travel from out of state.
Byzantine Catholic churches in the district include St. Nicholas, Brownsville; Holy Ghost, Charleroi; St. Michael the Archangel, Donora; St. Stephen, Leisenring; St. Mary of the Assumption, Monessen; St. Mary Assumption, New Salem; St. Nicholas, Perryopolis; St. John the Baptist, Scottdale and St. John the Baptist, Uniontown as well as Holy Protection of the Mother of God in Morgantown, West Virginia.
Members of these churches and local communities are expected to be at Mount St. Macrina this weekend as well as pilgrims from as far away as Arizona and California.
Plante said, “I’m moved by the sacrifice they make to be at the pilgrimage. They say they can’t imagine not being here.’’
The largest and oldest Byzantine Catholic pilgrimage in the nation is conducted under the patronage of the Byzantine Catholic Metropolitan Church of Pittsburgh.
Bishops who will participate include Archbishop William C. Skurla of the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh, Bishop Kurt Burnette of Passaic, New Jersey; Bishop John Pazak of Phoenix, Arizona; Bishop Milan Lach, apostolic administrator of Parma, Ohio; Bishop John M. Kudrick, bishop emeritus of Parma, and Bishop Gerald N. Dino, bishop emeritus of Phoenix.