Fr. Leon Juchniewicz: "I am impressed by the great devotion you have to the Mother of God"

Interview for www.vicariatopuyo.org

The march in favor of family and life, held on Thursday November 9 and which brought together thousand people, also had the character of a procession, as it was headed by the image of the Virgin of Czestochowa. The icon, reproduction of the original that is in the Shrine of the same name, in Poland, was brought to Puyo by Polish father and missionary Fr. Leon Juchniewicz.

Where does this image come from?

It is a great project (see www. fromoceantoocean.org) that takes this replica of the Virgin of Czestochowa in a pilgrimage all over the world. She left Vladivostok, a Russian city on the Pacific coast, in 2012, crossed all of Asia and Europe and crossed the Atlantic to America. Since March 24 this year, She has been in Ecuador, where for the first time She has gone to the southern hemisphere.

You emphasize that it is an initiative of Catholic and Orthodox laymen.

We share the same thought regarding the defense of life and family according to God's plan.

How was the reception here in Ecuador?

It is great, very positive. In the entire world it is like that and for that reason now she is going cross all of the Latin America.

Here, in Puyo, the response to the call has been excellent.

The Ecuadorian people are very Marian and have a great devotion to the Virgin in her different names. People feel love for the Mother of God. So the response here has been great, with spontaneous acts of endearment very nice. And then, in the Cathedral, I was impressed by the welcome.

In addition, there were all the Bishops of the country.

It's something historic, yes. In the five years of pilgrimage around the world, it is the first time that the replica of the image of the Virgin of Czestochowa has been received by all the prelates of a Catholic Episcopal Conference.

What should we know about this icon, apart from the fact that it was that of Saint John Paul II?

According to an ancient tradition, the original painting is the work of Saint Luke, who made it on the table of the same house of the Holy Family of Nazareth.

Awesome! And how did She get to Poland?

She had many adventures. The icon was discovered by Constantine's mother, Saint Helena, and taken by her to Constantinople. Later, She was transferred to what is now Ukraine and, 600 years ago, with the invasion of the Tartars, a Polish king, after a battle, saved the image and, in his way home, passing through the village of Czestochowa, the miracle was at work and the painting did not want to continue the trip, She wanted to stay in that place.

And there She continues, being venerated as patron of the Poles.

There is a monastery of the monks of Saint Paul and a sanctuary where she is. It is the spiritual capital of Poland. Every year, for 300 years, a national pilgrimage has been celebrated, in which the Poles go on foot, walking some more than 600 km. It is very special.

Do pilgrims come from other countries?

Oh Yes. Myself, as a pilgrim, I have met devotees from Spain, Italy, France and other European countries, who came walking, praying, praising God and asking for different intentions. It is something incredible!

Where will the replica of the icon travel from now on?

She will return to Santo Domingo, to complete the pending visits to the parishes. Then, according to the wishes of the Bishops, She will go to the different dioceses of the country. And, in the next three years, it is planned to accompany young people to the World Youth Day in Panama in 2019 and visit Belize, Colombia and Brazil.

The task of a Mother never ends.

A missionary with 30 years in Ecuador

Father Leon Juchniewicz is a Polish priest who has been a missionary in Ecuador for thirty years. He is based in Santo Domingo de los Tsachilas as a parish priest and raising awareness in favor of the family. Four years ago, in a congress of families held in Guayaquil, he was called from Poland to ask for his collaboration accompanying the replica of the icon of the Virgin of Czestochowa on her tour of Ecuador, and he is doing so. For this reason, he was in Puyo, leading the march for the family. Impressed by the fervor of the Puyenses by the Mother of God, he sends us a message: "Do not lose this devotion to the Virgin. And know how to manifest what is the family according to the will of God and the defense of life from conception until its natural death ".

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