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On Saturday, March 8th, 2008 I attended the first ever Youth Pilgrimage in New York City. Everyone thought that no one was going to show up for the event because of the weather, but more than seventy youth, clergy and young adults made it to St. Nicholas of Myra on East 10th Street. The plan was to carry a seven foot cross one mile to St. Mary of Egypt Monastery and then back to St. Nicholas of Myra Church. I believe that this location was a perfect place for this pilgrimage because not many times do you see a group of people, especially young kids, walking the streets of New York with a cross.
Once everyone settled in, they gathered in the Church to have a Moleben to the Holy Cross. During the service the cross that was going to carried was blessed and then venerated at the end of the service. After the Moleben everyone readied themselves for the journey to St. Mary of Egypt Monastery. Once we began the walk I was thinking about many things like how the citizens would react to the cross.
I believe that everyone who attended this pilgrimage witnessed a miracle. Just as Fr. Andrew Fetchina mentioned, usually all New Yorkers are quick to punch the gas or hit the horn when the light turns green at an intersection, but this was different. The light turned green and we all stopped and waited for the light to change but the driver in the car told us to go before him. Another thing that happened on our way to the Monastery was that some citizens bowed and blessed themselves.
After the mile journey filled with miracles, we arrived at the Monastery. We went inside the Monastery and they took us to their chapel where the monks introduced themselves. After visiting the chapel they took us to one of the larger rooms where there were drinks provided. Once everyone settled, the monks began talking about who they are and what they do. They taught us about what the monastic life is like. I thought it was very interesting to learn about what they do.
After the monastery, we made our final journey back to St. Nicholas Church. We all then gathered in the church hall where Fr. Fetchina led a group discussion about what everyone witnessed. After the discussion everyone had lunch. Some of the clergy and youth left after lunch and some stayed for Vespers.
I believe that everyone who attended this pilgrimage enjoyed themselves. They had the opportunity to meet with their friends and make new friends from other churches. They also got an education about the monastic life. The miracle filled day turned out to be very joyous. After all of the talk about the weather it turned out to be tolerable, with only a mist of rain falling from the sky. I strongly believe that this day was a huge success and was a blessing from the Lord.
by Nicholas Worobey