By Fr Ciro Perez, C.Ss.R.
The Redemptorist Community and Redemptorist Associates of Saskatoon hosted a Mission at St Mary’s Parish to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help being entrusted to the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists). The mission was led by Bishop Bryan Bayda C.Ss.R. (pictured below).
During the three-day Parish Mission, which was held from May 2 through May 4, 2016, parishioners of St. Mary’s Parishes and Guadalupe including the Hispanic Community, Saints Peter & Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church and other parishes in Saskatoon gathered together to hear Bishop Bryan Bayda preach, and reflect on the beautiful Icon of Love, to pray the Rosary, sing hymns and gather in the hall afterwards for a time of fellowship.
In celebration of the multi-cultural diversity found at our parish, each night of the mission gave various ethnic groups an opportunity to lead the decades of the Rosary, a hymn in honour of Our Holy Mother, and the well-known prayers (Our Father and Hail Mary) in their native tongue. It was very powerful to hear the decades and well-known prayers spoken in the different languages and in these to also hear the similarities in the languages.
On the first evening, Bishop Bayda invited everyone to take a personal inventory of our lives, both physical and spiritual, to determine which aspects of our life are weighing us down. He also reminded us of the importance of making time to read and reflect on God’s word daily. Bishop Bayda reflected on why our fears stop us from making this part of our daily routine. Together, we reflected on the story of the Samaritan woman who encountered Jesus at the well, who was asked to give up her possessions and in return received the gift of Living Water and mercy – mercy not only expressed for herself but the gift to be merciful to others. We reflected on the things we possess, not only material items but yes, anything that is destroying the peace that God wants for us, and then bringing those woes to Our Mother Mary through the Icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, for her intercession. Day one ended with the Filipino, English and Hispanic communities leading the decades of the Rosary and singing a Marian Hymn in their native languages.
On the Second evening, our journey of reflection continued with Bishop Bayda sharing his amazing sense of humour, including an embarrassing moment that happened to him and encouraging us to share our embarrassing moments with those sitting around us. The evening continued as the reflection once again turned to the Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help with an in-depth reflection on her compassionate gaze. To conclude his sermon, we were privileged to hear Bishop Bayda sing a song he personally composed. On this evening, the Ukrainian, Portuguese and Cree communities led the decades of the Rosary and also sang a Marian hymn in their native languages.
To conclude our mission, the third evening began with the traditional Devotions in Honour of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, led by Fr. Mick Fleming C.Ss.R. (pictured at right) which was then followed by the celebration of a beautiful and reflective Mass presided at by Fr. Ciro Perez C.Ss.R and with Bishop Bayda’s third and final sermon on the Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help for this special mission. The Mass was concluded with the blessing of different Marian images that people brought forth (pictured below).
To make the mission truly complete, the walls of St. Mary’s church and parish hall were covered in Icons of Our Mother of Perpetual help that were coloured by children from different Saskatoon Catholic Schools. Below each picture, so beautifully coloured, was a prayer written in different languages by the children. Reading a number of the prayers written by the children asking for peace in the world, for sick loved ones, for peace in their families, for their friends, family, pets etc. was quite moving and brought tears to the eyes of many who took time to pray for these children and their special intentions.
This parish mission was truly a success with the amazing attendance, inspirational and entertaining sermons from Bishop Bayda, prayerful Mass, paintings and prayers from the children, participation of the different multicultural groups and the fellowship in the hall.
Mother of Perpetual Help
Pray for Us