Diocesan Pilgrimage Commemorates Fr. Nicola Yanney
Bishop BASIL writes:
BY YOUR PRAYERS, the Diocesan Pilgrimage held this past weekend in Kearney, NE was a truly blessed event. Twenty priests, five deacons and over 150 laity from twenty-three of DOWAMA's fifty congregations joined our hosts Fr. Christopher Morris and the Christ-loving faithful of St. George/Kearney, NE for a weekend filled with divine services, homilies, historical talks and presentations (not one business meeting!). Numbered among the pilgrims were many of Father Nicola's grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.
The Pilgrimage (held in lieu of our Fall Gathering) began on Friday afternoon with the Akathist to St. Raphael at St. George Church. The rousing congregational singing was led by Subdeacon John Wolf, Protopsaltis of St. George/Kearney.
We then caravaned to Kearney Cemetery for the consecration of the grave of Fr. Nicola Yanney, the blessing of his new gravestone offered by our Clergy Brotherhood, and the Trisagion Prayers of Mercy on the 90th anniversary of his repose. That evening the pilgrims took supper together at the hotel, during which I gave the opening address on the topic of the Meaning of Pilgrimage combined with an Overview of the Life of St. Raphael of Brooklyn as it relates to St. George/Kearney, NE and Fr. Nicola.
On Saturday morning, the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy was served at St. George Church and Trisagion Prayers of Mercy for all of the departed clergy and clergy wives of our Diocese. The choir composed of singers from throughout DOWAMA was directed by our Diocesan Choir Director Mrs. Chris Farha. The service was followed by a luncheon at the hotel during which Fr. Paul Hodge of St. Thomas/Sioux City, IA gave a superb presentation on the Priestly Ministry of Fr. Nicola, skillfully setting it within both its theological and historical context.
The day ended with Great Vespers at St. George Church and a visit to the graves of Khouriya Martha Yanney (who died giving birth to the Yanney's fifth child on February 11th, 1902) and Catherine Yanney, the daughter to whom she had just given birth (who reposed nine days after Martha) for the consecration of their common grave (located in the rural Burgess Cemetery near Gibbon, NE, eleven miles outside Kearney), the blessing of their gravestone offered by Mr. Nicola Shada (a relative of Khouriya Martha who was named for Father Nicola) and the Trisagion Prayers of Mercy for the repose of their souls.
On Sunday morning Orthros and Divine Liturgy were celebrated at St. George Church after which the Trisagion Prayers of Mercy were again prayed for the repose of Father Nicola. The Pilgrimage ended with a bountiful luncheon prepared by the women of the parish.
A copy of the Pilgrimage Journal, compiled and edited for our Clergy Brotherhood by Kh. Marsha Longofono of Ss. Peter and Paul/Topeka, KS, was presented to each pilgrim and was received with rave reviews! A complimentary copy of this Journal has been reserved for the hierarchs of our Archdiocese and for each DOWAMA priest and parish/mission library. Additional copies of this book are available for purchase through Eighth Day Books in Wichita, KS at $15 per copy plus postage and handling (Orders@EighthDayBooks.com).