Two Black Madonnas in Cuenca

Already after dark but still on Sunday, January 20, at 8 PM the Black Madonna of Częstochowa arrived in the town of Cuenca in the region of Kastylia-La Mancha. This beautiful old town is located on a mountain over a crevice between two rivers Huecar and Jucar.

The police was waiting at the town boundary to escort the Mother of God during Her visit in Cuenca. “Life Mobile” came to the famous bridge of St. Anthony on the river Jucar. Next, Our Lady of Częstochowa was carried on the shoulders of the people carrying the Icon and stopped on the bridge.

Immediately next to the bridge there is the church of St. Anthony which houses the famous Shrine of the Virgin of Light (Virgen de la Luz), the patroness of Cuenca, called here the Black Virgin. The statue of the Virgin of Light, showing the Mother of God with Infant Jesus on Her left arm and with a candlestick in Her right hand is dressed in ceremonial robe. The faces of the Mother of God and the Baby Jesus are dark, so they are called “black”. The Virgin of Light has been worshipped in Cuenca since the 12th century, when King Alfonso VIII saw a light over the river where the Mother of God was standing during a siege of the town. Every September the 1st the statue of Our Lady of Light goes into the streets of the town in a solemn procession on a special platform, adorned with flowers, carried by 30 men, surrounded by crowds of the inhabitants of Cuenca.

Now, the statue of the Virgin of Light left the church to welcome the Icon of Częstochowa Black Madonna. The two images of the Mother of God, both “Black Madonnas” met on the bridge on the Jucar river. The solemn procession was attended by the local brotherhoods, numerous standards and banners. Bishop Jose Maria Yanguas of Cuenca Diocese was present and accompanied by many priests and a great crowd of people. Despite bad weather – it was cold, it was raining and even snowflakes appeared from time to time – the number of the faithful to attend the celebrations was enormous, as the meeting of two Black Madonnas was considered an exceptional event.

In the solemn procession both the Icon of Our Lady of Częstochowa and the statue of the Virgin of Light were carried into the church with spontaneous singing of Marian songs and guitars playing. The people cheered the Mother of God loudly. After prayers and the homily of Bishop Jose Maria Yanguas the procession went into the streets of the town.

Next the Częstochowa Icon was driven in a procession to the Chapel of the Catholic Action. In front of the chapel the Icon was taken out of Life Mobile and again carried on people`s shoulders to pass by the building of ADEVIDA – the organisation which has been helping single mothers for 30 years. From the balcony of the building children were throwing flowers and shouting “Si a la vida!”(Yes for life!).

Having been carried into the Chapel of the Catholic Action (Pozo de las Nieves) the Częstochowa Icon was welcomed enthusiasticly. The chapel was full so it was impossible to enter it. Prayers and a vigil at the Most Blessed Sacrament in the company of the Mother of God lasted till 7 in the morning. Next the Icon was carried to the convent of the Carmelite Sisters.

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