Come to Mary
O, Mother of God, turn not your gaze from us, pilgrims on earth.(from a prayer to Our Lady in Hoshiv)Translated from NOVA ZORYA newspaper, December 2002, 48 (518), Ukraine
O good Christian soul! When you find yourself in trouble, because life is a path of thorns, when it seems to you that the whole world is against you and there is no help in sight, don't fall into despair. Go to Mary, search for Her. And see: before you lies the path to Yasna Hora (Shining Mountain), that, from as far away as the entrance to the village of Hoshiv (past the town of Dolyna), Ukraine, peeks out and shines from afar with its white walls and the golden domes of the Basilian Monastery of the Transfiguration of Our Lord.
The Queen of the Carpathian Foothills, in Her gentle loving-kindness, awaits you in this Marian pilgrimage centre, provided by God Himself. She awaits you here to heal the wounds of your soul, to generously shower you from the treasury of God's graces.
As we ponder on the warnings of Fatima, let us call to mind the words of Pope Pius IX: "God made Mary the treasury of all graces, which everyone can obtain through Her intercession and assistance. Every hope, every grace and salvation comes through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary." Let us call to mind the prophecies and messages given to us by the Mother of God on October 18, 1961 at the pines in Garabandal, Spain, where She appeared for the salvation of mankind. Let us also call to mind the thousands of miraculous healings of body and soul that Our Blessed Mother granted to Her many crippled, maimed and seriously ill pilgrim-children, that have been coming to Her throughout the centuries, with hope and faith, here on Yasna Hora in Hoshiv.
So it was some two months ago when, following an overnight vigil, over twenty thousand (20,000) pilgrims gathered at this Basilian monastery on Yasna Hora in Hoshiv. Holy Liturgy after Holy Liturgy were celebrated all day long. Thousands of people received the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist. Priests and brother-monks did their best to keep order and peace -- it was, after all, an extraordinary occasion -- everyone was awaiting Dr. Michael and Helen Rozeluk. It was an act of God's Providence that this Canadian couple, husband and wife, received a great grace from God: the full recovery of Dr. Michael from an incurable illness during the couple's pilgrimage to Garabandal, Spain, the site of the apparitions of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.
Since that time, in accordance with the messages of Our Lady during Her apparitions, Helen and Michael dedicate all their spare time to religious practice, and the healing of the sick and disabled with medals kissed by the Blessed Mother during Her apparitions in Garabandal.
The Basilian priests spent two whole days and two overnight vigils at the end of September, 2002, in spiritual labour with the ever-swelling numbers of pilgrims who were arriving, preparing them for the prayers of healing. At 4 p.m. Father Zinovy Kasko (pastor of the village of Radcha) arrived with Dr. Michael and Helen Rozeluk, as well as Luba and Bohdan Shyptur. (It is to Bohdan Shyptur that we should give credit for arranging the Rozeluks' visit to Ukraine.)
We celebrated a Moleben (Devotions) to the Blessed Virgin, following which, from 1700 hrs (5pm) to 12:30 a.m. Helen and Michael, along with the Basilian priests and brothers, became human instruments of the Heavenly Intercession with which the Blessed Mother enfolded Her tired and impoverished, yet faithful, people of the Carpathian foothills on that blessed day here on Yasna Hora.
Two endless streams of people stretched down from the church doors all the way to the entrance gates of the monastery complex. In their hands were rosaries, on their lips were prayers, their faces serious and focused, in their eyes -- a deep faith and hope. Peace, love and mutual respect reigned over all on Yasna Hora. Everyone present was filled with an all-encompassing sense of compassion and the unfathomable presence of the Grace of God. The rosaries from the lips of the sick and the disabled in wheelchairs. No nonsense, just the sounds of prayer, the Heavenly Mantle outspread over all.
Tall in stature, with clear faces and open hearts, with goodness and kindliness in their smiles, with a deep faith and spirituality in their prayers -- that is how the pilgrims remember Helen and Michael. An extraordinary respect and unfathomable prayer contact and trust was evident between them and the pilgrims.
Even today, it brings tears to one's eyes, when one remembers how a disabled sick woman, whom relatives had been bringing to Hoshiv every Sunday and feast day for the last ten years, for the first time in her life, following Helen's prayer, got up from her wheelchair and stood on her own, weak and skeletally thin legs. Thousands witnessed this momentous act of Our Lady while tears of joy streamed down the faces of grateful pilgrims. Dr. Michael made the observation that the sincerity of people's compassion and the strong faith and prayers of those around them, added to their strength.
Everyone watched with fear and trepidation as relatives brought a young possessed woman to Dr. Michael. Led only by their faith, conviction and love, they had spent the previous hours at the church just physically restraining this poor demoniac. The priests had been praying over her. Wild screams, roaring and howling shook her entire body. The people prayed and sympathized while the battle raged. And, only after the fourth attempt, when Dr. Michael placed his medal with the kiss of the Blessed Mother of Garabandal on the temples and forehead of the poor woman, was he able to compel her to permit Jesus to enter her wounded heart. Through the power and might of the Immaculate Virgin, Dr. Michael chased the evil one from the body of this tortured person. The priests then led her into the church, where she received the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Communion. People were filled with joyful awe at this great victory and prayers of gratitude rose above Hoshiv.
The wonders of that heavenly evening at Yasna Hora were countless. Our profound gratitude for the spiritual victories of the Rozeluks, these Ukrainian-Canadians who, as true patriots, came to their burdened and unfortunate countrymen, in this difficult and complex period in the history of their fatherland, to proclaim loudly and publicly: "Come to Mary!".
Today, the Lady of Yasna Hora, the Queen of the Carpathian Foothills, awaits each and every tired soul and frail body here in Hoshiv.
We raise up our prayers of gratitude for Michael and Helen Rozeluk, for their enormous work of healing and cures among our people, for giving of themselves so selflessly and without compensation to Our Lady's apostolate, and especially for their gift to the Basilian monastery in Hoshiv of a medal with the kiss of Our Lady of Garabandal.
Dear pilgrim soul, choose the only road to salvation: the road of struggle against sin, the road of prayer and penance. Let us go together to Mary at Yasna Hora!
Fr. Ivan Shmadylo, OSBM
Superior of Basilian Monastery in Hoshiv, Ukraine