May 27, 2018


On All Saints Sunday, 27 May 2018, the annual fundraising event "WALKING FOR MARY" was held at Holy Eucharist Ukrainian Catholic Parish Church in Winnipeg's East Kildonan. It was a particularly special occasion that day as this year the Walk reached its 20-year milestone. The extraordinarily large crowd of participants gathered from practically all parishes around the city of Winnipeg. In past years there was a huge Vietnamese style Blessed Virgin Mary statue proudly escorted on an elegant, wheeled cart. This year there were three beautiful, albeit different, Mary statutes carried on litters by volunteers throughout the procession. The walk wound its way through the streets of East Kildonan, directed by a Winnipeg Police escort.

The goal of the annual event is to raise enough funds - and awareness - to keep the daily "Marian Hour" program of the praying of the Rosary that can be heard every night at 10:30 PM on Winnipeg Radio Station 810 CKJS. The Walking For Mary event has always been successful in raising the necessary funds.

The program, is prepared every year by Joan Lewandoski-Kuzia and a capable team of collaborators and volunteers. They always choose a unique and timely theme each year. This year they decided to pray "For the Souls of Purgatory". It began, as always, with a Moleben' prayer service in the church in honour of the Mother of God, which was led this year by parish priest, Fr. Michael Kwiatkowski. Then the procession is organized and it moves out onto the streets and... the prayerful walk begins. Throughout the Walk, the 'mysteries' of the Holy Rosary are prayed, interspersed with hymns and meditations. Leading the Rosary and the singing this year was well-known cantor Lesia Sianchuk. A number of individuals from Winnipeg's many ethnic communities took turns leading the prayers of the Rosary in various languages. The walk was relatively not very long - about an hour - however, refreshments, a rest van and emergency staff accompanied the large group all the way. Those who were unable to make the Walk, stayed at the church and prayed. In past years, the Blessed Sacrament was left exposed for veneration, however, as Doors Open tours were being conducted at the same time throughout the afternoon, it was decided to wait until the Benediction at the end.

When the procession returned to the church, the principal statue of Mary was crowned by the children and then, as has been the tradition from the very first Walk, a benediction took place with the Blessed Sacrament. At the end , Joan expressed words of thanks to everyone, also remembering a number of participants and volunteers that were no longer with the effort as the Lord had "called them home" since last year. She also invited everyone to the parish auditorium for hotdogs, sweets, watermelon and other refreshments. Everyone did come down - for the nourishment and especially to continue the fellowship that already began as they prayed along the way through the streets of Winnipeg.

It was no surprise that the the talk downstairs also included queries as to when and where would the 2019 Walking for Mary event take place...

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