In the summer of 1992, in the city of Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine, I quite unexpectedly made the acquaintance of Dr. Michael Rozeluk and his wife Helen from Canada. Their children, Natalka and Andriy, were taking part in a concert tour of Ukraine with the Toronto based "Baturyn" marching band, directed by Ostap Brezden. Following their performance in our city, my wife, Luba, invited them to our home. Almost ten years have passed since then, but the memory of my meetings with this unique and wonderful couple has left a deep impression on my soul. Little did I know at that time, that they would be instrumental in my journey back to God and in my own healing. That is why I would like to talk about them and to witness to others how I was healed, thanks to the prayers of Dr. Michael and Helen Rozeluk.
In autumn of that same year, I was fortunate to be able to visit Canada with a small concert group. We performed in almost every province of Canada and then at Christmas time we went caroling to the Rozeluks. I was a guest at their home on more than one occasion.
I visited Canada once again in the fall of 1993. At that time, besides my usual accordion and sheet music, I brought a couple of paintings for sale and an icon of the Sacred Heart. All three were the work of Fedir Maika, a well known artist in Western Ukraine. Upon arriving in Montreal, I had the good fortune to meet someone who was interested in two of the paintings, but the icon I kept back. Holy things are not for sale. I decided that I would donate it to a church at the first opportunity. Several days later, a trio of musicians joined me and we began another concert tour. Eventually we performed in Toronto. After our concert there, we were introduced to Bishop Roman Danylak, who invited us to St. Josaphat's Cathedral. It was here that I donated my icon of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
While in Toronto, I met with the Rozeluks again. I also had the opportunity to visit with Dr. Rozeluk's mother, who was already ill and died shortly afterwards.
On my third visit to Toronto in 1998, I could never seem to get together with my friends, the Rozeluks. Although I phoned them several times, they were always busy, so I just assumed that they were not interested and left it at that. It was only blind necessity that finally helped us get together, i.e.: I developed a toothache. Knowing that Dr. Rozeluk was an excellent dentist, I called his office and made an appointment. He took care of my tooth and then he and Helen invited me to their home for dinner.
At the dinner table, the Rozeluks talked to me about themselves, their life, about their work in the Ukrainian community, in the youth club, the choir in which they sang. But I was most impressed with the story of the medal of Our Lady from Garabandal, through which many miracles of healing have happened during prayer. Dr. Michael told me how, while returning home from a choir practice in 1986, he was in an accident which resulted in serious injuries: damaged neck, back and jaws. Top specialists from Toronto, New York, Philadelphia could not help him. Their prognosis was that he would have increasing arthritis in those areas and that within five years he would become a total cripple.
In April, 1994, Dr. Michael and Helen Rozeluk went on a pilgrimage to Garabandal, to fulfill a promise made to their now deceased mother. On Easter Sunday, Dr. Rozeluk was blessed with a medal that the Blessed Mother had kissed during Her apparitions in Garabandal. From that moment on, Dr. Rozeluk has been completely healed.
The Rozeluks also told me about a young boy who was cured of leukemia, of an Italian lady who was carried into church because she could not walk and many, many other miracles! And all these people were healed.
When Dr. Michael and Helen invited me to come to St. Josaphat's Cathedral for the healing Mass, I was deeply moved. Just think... there are so many churches in Toronto. The Rozeluks live on the north-eastern side of the city. St. Josaphat's is completely on the opposite side. Yet they travelled there every Wednesday to pray. I also understood that it was no coincidence but Divine Providence that this was the very church to which I had donated the icon of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Before leaving for Canada, I was warned by my doctors that I had serious heart problems and needed treatment as soon as possible. In addition to that, I had a strong allergy to dust, which flared up particularly badly when I was at work tuning or repairing pianos.
Several days after my conversation with Dr. Michael and Helen, I decided to go to St. Josaphat's Cathedral for the healing Mass. My friend, Petro, who had serious back problems, came with me. After Mass, Father Bohdan anointed everyone, then all those who had gone to confession and Holy Communion, approached either Dr. Michael or Helen Rozeluk. When Dr. Michael placed the medal on my forehead, then on my chest, I felt a definite warmth. The medal itself became hot. Many other people fell to the floor when touched by the medal and lay there as in a mysterious dream, smiling. This made a tremendous impression on me, especially since nobody was at all hurt. When I asked Dr. Rozeluk, "How is this possible?", he answered, "Bohdan, in all these years, nobody has ever sustained the slightest harm!" I was even a bit sorry that I had not fallen into this "state of sleep", because the faces of those who had, especially the smiles of children, expressed an unworldly peace and serenity. As for what one experiences during the general prayer, it is impossible to describe in any human language.
During the prayers of Dr. Michael and Helen Rozeluk with their medals from Garabandal, I was completely healed and I am healthy to this day. Two friends of mine who believed were also healed.
We all experience various emotions: happiness, love, joy, but these are ordinary earthly emotions. However, not everyone is able to attain the highest form of unselfish love - "agappe" - the love of God, which I began to understand and experience during the prayers led by the Rozeluks. A sense of obligation and purpose by these unselfish people provided them with strength from the Holy Spirit which they then passed on to those who most needed it. Many in Ukraine are especially in need of this kind of Faith and sincere prayer as well as hope in God's grace, which heals body and soul. It is my sincere hope that Dr. Michael and Helen Rozeluk will soon be able to visit Ukraine to spread the message of Our Lady of Garabandal among our people. I pray that our bishops and clergy will also welcome and bless their ministry of healing prayer, which we all need so much.
Bohdan Shyptur, July, 2001