The decision is made! The Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa will embark on a new journey. On March 25 the Sanctity of Life Day her official visit to Ecuador will begin. Invited by Bishop Bertram Wick, who comes from Switzerland and is a great devotee of Mary. Father Leon Juchniewicz will be custodian of the icon, Polish missionary, who received the missionary cross in 1987 in Warsaw from the hands of St. Pope John Paul II. For 30 years he is working in Ecuador, and comes from the Diocese of Elblag. He is a pastor of the Assumption of Mary parish in Santo Domingo de los Colorados, chancellor of the Curia and the director of a Catholic school.
The end of the Mexico visit
Our Lady ends the visit to Mexico. There will be a farewell ceremony and public recognition of the effort that the leaders of VidaFlorida movement put in - Beatriz Gonzalez and her husband Jose Luis Garcia Chagoyan, who have worked hard and dedicated family funds to help Our Lady in visiting Mexico. The ceremony will be exactly on the anniversary of their wedding!
The Icon visited three times the Shrine of Guadalupe and many parishes throughout Mexico. The first part of the visit we were able to fairly accurately describe on the website. Later the icon still visited other parishes and villages. The visit to Mexico is since December 2014, more than two years and now is the time to say goodbye and continue the journey.
Stopover in Panama
We have to fly because the distance is too big. An informal stop in Panama is planned, where we will need to do some maintenance. This is important, because she will enter the equatorial zone, where it is hot and humid, and in March raining. The pilgrimage to Panama is in preparation. Bessie de Frauca - coordinator of the pilgrimage in Panama is very operative. The official visit is planned for the autumn of this year or next year.
At the equator
For the first time during the peregrination "From Ocean to Ocean" the Czestochowa Icon will cross the equator. It will happen in Ecuador. It is quite symbolic, because the Spanish Ecuador means equator. Thus ends the pilgrimage through the northern hemisphere. 170 thousand. km - from Vladivostok to Fatima and across US, Canada and Mexico - and it is the start of a visit to South America.
Sanctity of Life Day in the Cathedral in Santo Domingo
The welcoming ceremony in the cathedral in Santo Domingo will for sure bring a big crowds of people. In Ecuador, half of the population are mestizos, descendants of the Incas and the Spanish conquistadors. Catholic Church is more than 80% of the population. There is much poverty, approximately half of the people live below the poverty level, however, as no one else these people are able to enjoy life and are very hospitable. Certainly with great joy they will welcome Our Lady of Czestochowa in this rich and small country with different climates with beautiful beaches, snowy mountains and extreme jungle. Organizers plan in parallel to the visit a number of educational pro-life meetings.
Benedictine nuns from Santo Domingo
Home of the Benedictine nuns is to be a permanent base for the Czestochowa icon during the visit to Ecuador. This monastery was founded in 1996 on the initiative of Polish missionaries. There, Our Lady will surely be well and safe. The sisters work in Santo Domingo for many years, helping in the parish of the Assumption of Mary in the school of St. Maximilian Kolbe and leading care center for street children and children's home.
It is nearing a year since the dramatic earthquake, which Ecuador experienced. It was very destructive. Many poor families still have not recover after this tragedy. A lot of houses have been completely destroyed. They desperately need hope and strengthening, which Our Lady always brings.
As Fr. Juchniewicz recalls: On 16.04. 2016. approximately at 7pm there was an earthquake in Ecuador. That is we just thank God that there was no damage, when it comes to our school, church or the rectory. Only minor cracks on the walls. The greatest destruction was closer to the ocean (...) And from those villages a lot of people arrived to our City. (...) It caught me at the end of the Holy Mass. I was just finishing the Holy Communion. It started to shake very strongly, People ran out of the church, lights went out, it was raining outside and still shaking. I walked out of the church as the last with the hosts on the paten in my hand. Living 29 years in Ecuador this was the first time I experienced something so strong, that was amazing.
Everything is ready
Our Lady arranged for herself a great secretary and a translator into Spanish. She is from Ecuador. Her name is Maria Veronica Vernaza who is full of enthusiasm and very hardworking. She already translated into Spanish the whole website, liturgy for use during visits, as well as the 3.5 hour documentary, which now is ready in this language version. Yet we never met, but we often talk on Skype because of the time difference mostly in the night for us. Her big dream is hosting Our Lady of Czestochowa in Ecuador, so she is very happy for the upcoming visit.
We are counting on your help!
Please pray, that we do not disappoint the Mother of God in Her journey through the world in the intention of protecting the civilization of life and love. Financial help is also greatly appreciated.