Super gala at the Polish Catholic Mission at the Holy Trinity Polish Mission in Chicago

On the evening of May 14th, a delegation from the Church of the Holy Trinity with its pastor, Father Andrzej Maślejak TChr, received the pilgrim Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa into their care at the farewell ceremony at St. Hyacinth's Church.  Assisted by a small motorcade, the Life Mobile took Our Blessed Mother to Holy Trinity Polish Mission in Chicago.  Polish, American, and Papal flags on the cars were fluttering merrily in the wind.  Other drivers on the streets were honking their horns in response to Our Lady's motorcade.  Admittedly, the cavalcade was well visible and attracted the attention of many passers-by.  It was nice to see many locals stop in the streets to take a closer look at Our Blessed Mother as she gracefully passed by. They seemed to have seen Her travelling in this manner for the first time in their lives, and their faces expressed a pleasant surprise.  Some of them clapped their hands.  Even a passing police officer switched on his siren and indicated with his hand that he was with us, but there were also those who were indifferent to this whole event.

The priests, along with the parishioners in national costumes, holding flags and banners, were waiting in front of the Holy Trinity Polish Mission church for the delegation with Our Lady. The Polish Brass Band, "Trójcowo," was playing a welcoming song.  After the welcoming ceremony, the procession began.  The Icon was carried by young Highlanders in regional costumes from Zakopane, Poland.  The church was full.  People were holding lighted candles, which created a unique atmosphere.  The Icon was placed in the sanctuary at the right of the altar, on a specially made podium, among white and red flowers. The Icon was beautifully illuminated.  In front of the altar was a banner with these words:  "Mary, teach us faith."  The hard work and effort of the Sisters Missionaries of Christ the King for the Polish People in America was visible.  Four of the Sisters work at the parish.

The history of the Holy Trinity Church, which is also known by the Polish community as "Trójcowo," dates back to 1873.  Chronologically, it is the second Polish church established in Chicago.  In 1986, the parish's future was seriously questioned. Due to a small number of the faithful attending the services, the Resurrection Fathers had left the parish and gave it to the archdiocese.  Cardinal Joseph Bernardin wanted to close down the parish and the church, but that did not come to fruition, thanks to the tremendous involvement and efforts on the part of the Polish community of Chicago who came together to defend this church.  They even notified the late pope, St. John Paul II, about the problem. The Holy Trinity church was saved.  The Society of Christ has since taken over in caring for this parish.  The parish came back to life and became the central church of Polish pastoral work in Chicago.  The church has been fully renovated.  It is the seat of the Polish Catholic Mission in Chicago.

The Litany of Loreto was sung before the Icon of Our Lady, and the Reverend Pastor Andrew Maślejak TChr, assisted by two other priests working at the parish, Robert Będziński TChr and Tadeusz Baniowski TChr, concelebrated the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  Fr. Maślejak gave a very powerful homily.  He talked about a very important problem of the spiritual suffering of mothers after abortion and their very difficult return to God and His Mercy.  He also said: "What should we do to fight evil? Isn’t it like the battle between David and Goliath? (…) But we are dealing here with spiritual warfare.  We can get down on our knees and ask for the protection of the civilization of life.  We will have to account before God for our indifference and support of the evil of abortion. (…)  We must not give up asking questions about the Truth. (…) Satan most fiercely attacks women who have conceived because he is the enemy of life. He is afraid of Our Lady.  Virgin Mary, intercede for us and our civilization, that we may take a new direction towards respect for life."

After a very moving Prayer of the Faithful with intentions for the protection of life, people pledged the Spiritual Adoption.  Standing in front of the altar with candles in their hands, around a hundred people committed themselves to spiritual adoption of an unborn baby, even though just recently a similar spiritual adoption ceremony had taken place in the parish.  Many people are praying for an unborn baby in danger of abortion, whose name is known only to God.  The Spiritual Adoption Movement has existed at Trójcowo since April 7, 2005.

After the Holy Mass, Fr. Peter West, the custodian of the Icon for the United States, presented his testimony about how the Mother of God has been changing and touching hearts during this pilgrimage in defense of life.  He spoke about children saved from abortion, about the great prayer in defense of life, and about his experience of traveling with Our Lady in the Icon.  Next, Mrs. Ewa Kowalewska invited everybody to venerate the Icon.  "The Icon is a way to Heaven. Over 6 million people have prayed at this Icon. We can be assured that this is a living path. We may be sure that this wounded, suffering Mother understands us and will lead us to Her Son," she said.

After the Holy Mass the Jasna Góra Appeal was sung and the Act of Entrusting the Parish and Families to the Mother of God was renewed.  A male choir sang "Bogurodzica" – the oldest Polish hymn to the Mother of God.  Individual veneration started.

At midnight, Mass was celebrated with the assistance of the "Vox Domini" music ensemble. Afterwards, the pastor presided over the expiation service and recited the Litany of Loreto. The all night vigil was led by the members of the Live Rosary and the Knights of the Divine Mercy.  The prayers continued throughout the night.

The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary was sung in the morning of the following day, at 7:30 AM.  Following the Mass, at 8:00 AM, the continued prayer vigil was led by subsequent Roses of the Rosary.  At 3:00 PM, the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy was led by seniors of the parish and by the Knights of the Divine Mercy.  Between 4:00 and 5:00 PM a Holy Hour for Vocations took place.  At 5:00 PM, a farewell Mass was celebrated and while the hymn "Ciebie Boga wysławiamy" (We Praise You, God Almighty) was sung, the Icon was carried outside the church.  Girls were throwing rose petals in front of the Blessed Mother.  Many people later collected them to dry them as a memory token. The pastor of the Church of Our Lady of Czestochowa, Father Waldemar Wielądek, CSSR attended the farewell ceremony at Trójcowo with Fr. Zbigniew Piękos.  Subsequently, they both assisted Our Lady, by joining the motorcade accompanying the Life Mobile on its journey to the church of the Redemptorist Fathers.

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