The Icon of our Mother arrives in the capital of Ecuador

Fr. Leon Juchniewicz, custodian of the Pilgrim Icon in Ecuador, and Fr. Bartolomeo Marciniak OSPPE, of the Monastic Order of St. Paul the Hermit who was visiting the country, brought` the Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa to the capital, Quito. The road from Santo Domingo to Quito is approximately two hours.

Near the Primate's Cathedral, in the Colonial Center of Quito, Fr. Leon got lost because he was following the indications of his GPS, and there were streets closed other one-way as the Municipality of the city was making some sort of rearranging. They were very worried since they were short on time, so Fr. Bartolomeo began to pray the rosary asking for help from heaven. On an uphill bend, they saw two motorcycle traffic officers approaching so they asked for assistance. "They were very friendly, stopped the traffic, turned on the lights of their motorcycles and drove Our Lady straight to the Cathedral. They were for us like two angels sent by Jesus", says Fr. Leon.

Mons. Danilo Echeverria, Auxiliary Bishop of Quito and promotes the pilgrimage in the Archdiocese of Quito, received them, but since it was not possible for the Mama Mobile to park in front of the Cathedral, they went to a nearby parking lot in the Monastery of Concepcionistas Franciscanas. The sisters were very enthusiastic about this unexpected visit and did not miss the opportunity to admire the Icon and pray briefly before Her.

Then, they quickly walked with the Icon through Garcia Moreno`s street, which is  for pedestrian only and which passes in front of the Presidential Palace of Carondelet. There they stopped for a moment and Fr. Leon, Fr. Bartolomeo and Mons. Luis Tapia, who is the rector of the cathedral, blessed in the presence of the Icon the President of the Republic.

The Primate of Ecuador and Bishop of Quito, Mons. Fausto Gabriel Travez, was already waiting for them to welcome the Icon and to celebrated Mass. It is interesting to note that the Metropolitan Cathedral of Quito was elevated to a Primate Cathedral of Ecuador in 1995, making it the highest Catholic church in the country. In procession the Icon was carried to the presbytery where a special place for veneration was prepared. The Mass was preceded by Mons. Travez; Mons. Rene Cobo, Military Bishop; Fray Miguel Sabatowski OFM, of the Franciscan Minor Conventual Friars and who will be the custodian of the Icon during the pilgrimage in Quito; as well as Fr. Leon and Fr. Bartolomeo. Bishop Echeverria was helping in the sacrament of confession.

Mons. Travez, in his homily, presented the history of the original Icon found in Jasna Gora, surprising everyone with his historical knowledge of Poland. He highlighted the role of Mary in the Church and the Polish and Ecuadorian devotion so deeply rooted in the Mother of God. At the end of the Eucharist all the faithful received prayer cards with the image of the Icon and the prayer of Saint John Paul II from his encyclical Evangelium Vitae on the back.

The Icon remained until February 1 in the Cathedral by the will of Bishop Travez so that the faithful have the opportunity to approach and contemplate Her.

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