Solemn welcome Our ​​Lady of Czestochowa in America

After a safe journey from Gdansk representatives of the international pro-life organization - Human Life International welcomed the Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa at the airport in Washington, DC.

  Escorting the icon Lech Kowalewski gave her into the care of Fr. Peter West, HLI Vice President for Missions. He will be coordinating the  pilgrimage in America. This visit will last until November 1, 2014.

First Our Lady entered briefly the office of Human Life International, located in Front Royal, Virginia. She was surrounded by pro-life workers there, their families and friends.

On Saturday, August 24, 2013 the official ceremony of welcome of Our ​​Lady of Czestochowa to America took place.

Morning Mass was celebrated  in the Holy Angels Church in Avenue, Maryland. The icon was brought to the church by Knights of Columbus, who are known in America for their devotion to Our Lady. After the Eucharist, we all went to the shore of the Potomac River to get on boats to the island of St. Clement. Last time, in July 2012, Our Lady sailed a boat on one of the largest rivers in the Siberian in city of Krasnoyarsk, Russia. Now, she is going to the island in the heart of the United States.

Knights of Columbus haw been caring for the Icon,  carried the feretrum both on to the boat and during the procession. The ceremony was attended by only the most dedicated group of pro-life leaders, as the island is small, and the platform can not dock at once more boats, causing fast passage of large numbers of people virtually impossible. The Icon with guests sailed first, so while waiting for the arrival of remaining guests there was a time to say the rosary.

Our Lady stopped near a beautiful, large white cross, under a shade tent. It was very hot. In this climate important invited guests are always protected from the sun. Here in 1634 English colonists took upon their shoulders a great wooden cross and erected a trophy to Christ the Saviour and to commemorate the place where Fr. Andrew White SJ celebrated the first Catholic Holy Mass in Anglo - American colonies. In 1934 (ie, 300 years later), governor of Maryland, Albert Ritchie, founded a great white cross, which is set in a place where  American religious freedom was born. Our Lady once again reminded of the deep Christian roots, this time of America.

History of colonization of the area is very symbolic. So a group of about 150 English Catholics decided to emigrate because of constant persecution for the faith. They sailed from Coves a town on the Isle of Wight in England with two ships "Ark" and the "Dove". After a difficult and dangerous journey they have reached the Potomac River and on the feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (today Sanctity of Life Day) March 25, 1634, they landed on the island and gave it the name of Saint  Pope Clement I.

This island is only 400 acres and therefore too small to establish a settlement. So the colonists sailed on to the mouth of the Potomac River about 50 km and on the north bank founded a city, which they named St. St. Mary's City. To avoid any kind of injustice and violence, they bought the land from a local Indians the Yaocomico tribe.

Among the passengers of the two vessels were: Leonard Calvert and Thomas Greene, the first governors of the province of Maryland. Leonard Calvert was the younger brother of the second Baron of Baltimore, who was the owner and made ​​him the governor of the Maryland province.

The Icon welcoming ceremony began with  singing the anthem "God Save America". Word of welcome was given by Fr. Shenan J. Boquet, president of Human Life International. He recalled that in 1846, U.S. bishops in Baltimore (the oldest diocese of the U.S.) dedicated the United States of America to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Icon moved in procession three times around the cross.

After returning to shore the Knights of Columbus led a "Living Rosary", situated around the Mother of Light statue which faces St. Clement's Island, for the defense of life in North America and around the world.

In the evening the Czestochowa icon began its journey across America, going to Baltimore.

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