With the Pauline Fathers at St. Rosalie's Church in Chicago

On Friday evening, May 16th, at 5:00 pm, the Czestochowa Icon, peregrinating across the world in defense of life, stopped to visit at St. Rosalie’s Church in Harwood Heights on the outskirts of Chicago.  The Pauline Fathers serving at this parish came out to greet Our Lady; among them was the Reverend Pastor Tadeusz Olzacki OSPPE and Father Bogdan Olzacki OSPPE.  The Icon was carried into the church in a procession and placed carefully in the sanctuary on a pedestal covered with a beautifully embroidered lace tablecloth.  The church was already filling out with the faithful, as others continued to stream in at the end of their work day.  The faithful gathered began to pray the Mysteries of the Holy Rosary.

The parish of St. Rosalia of Palermo – a virgin and martyr – has been in existence since the year 1956 under the pastoral care of the faithful in both languages – English and Polish.  The builder and founder of the church is Fr. Clement H. Conrad.  On December 4th, 1960, the ceremony of putting in the building cornerstone took place, and the first Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was celebrated here soon after, on July 2nd, 1961.  Around one hundred children received their First Communion that day. Towards the end of the 1990s, the number of Polish families moving into the neighborhood was drastically rising.  In November of 2002, the Pauline Fathers took over with the pastoral care of the parish.  The regular celebration of Polish Masses was added in 2003.  Many pastoral groups are very active at this parish; among them are the Senior Club, pastoral youth groups, children’s choir, AA group for addicts, and the Knights of Columbus.  Wherever the Pauline Fathers are present, there is also the Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa.  Here, the Icon of the Black Madonna has been placed permanently in the sanctuary behind the main altar, at the foot of the Crucifix.

At the end of the Holy Rosary prayer, the Reverend Tadeusz Olzacki OSPPE, extremely friendly and elated with Our Lady’s visit, asked Ewa and Lech Kowalewski to talk about the “From Ocean to Ocean” pilgrimage.  Many people were able to take advantage of the ongoing Sacrament of Confession during that time.

The Reverend Pastor Olzacki presided over the solemn Holy Eucharist, assisted by four other priests:  Fr. Peter West, Fr. Jacek Wrona – the rector of the Mundelein Seminary – together with his colleague priest, and Fr. Bogdan Alzacki.  Fr. Peter West gave the homily.  After the celebration of the Holy Mass, the Act of Entrustment of the Civilization of Life and Love to Our Lady was recited in Polish and English.  Afterwards, the faithful approached the Icon for individual prayer and veneration, while beautiful Marian hymns were sung.

After the Jasna Góra Appeal (Apel Jasnogórski) was sung, Ewa Kowalewska gave a testimony telling the faithful about the miraculous fruits of Our Lady’s pilgrimage through twenty-six different countries thus far.  The talk was continued by her husband, Mr. Kowalewski in English, so that everyone in the church could understand the story.  The veneration of the Icon continued all night.

The next day began with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in English, celebrated by Fr. West.  The Saturday devotions in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary took place and the Holy Rosary was recited.  The children from the Pulaski parochial elementary school celebrated the end of their school year at the 11:00 am Mass, and venerated the Icon of Our Lady.

The farewell of the Blessed Mother took place after the recitation of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy at 3:00 pm.  The hymn Ciebie Boga wysławiamy (We praise You, o God) was sung and the Act of Consecration to Our Lady was renewed.  Then, the Icon drove off in Her Life Mobile to the distantly removed Church of Our Lady, Mother of the Church run by the Cistersian Fathers in Willow Springs.

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