Farewell to Poland

The parting with Our Lady on Sunday morning was very emotional.  The faithful had white handkerchiefs in their hands, which they used to wave farewell to Our Blessed Mother in the Icon of Czestochowa.  As the pastor, Father Krzysztof Ryszka said, since we are from Bielska-Biala then we have to bid Our Blessed Mother goodbye "in white."  (The word "biala" means "white")  It looked really beautiful.  Many had tears in their eyes.

Lots of flowers on Our Lady's feast – Bielsko-Biala

The parish of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the city of Bielsko-Biala has received Our Blessed Mother very solemnly.  The altar was surrounded with the most unusual, colorful flowers, and after the official greeting ceremony, the faithful were approaching the Icon individually, in order to offer Mary flowers and well-wishes, as this was the Eve of Our Lady of Czestochowa's own feast day (celebrated in Poland on August 26th).

Half a thousand of motorcyclists in Wadowice

Wadowice is the place where everything began — as Bl. John Paul II had stated.  Here, he was born, baptized, went to school, and served as an altar server.  He lived with his family in a flat, right nearby his parish church.  The flat has been turned into a museum.  His mother and older brother had died here.

The House of Mary – Kalwaria Zebrzydowska

After the departure from Krakow (Cracow), the Life Mobile carrying Our Lady in the Icon of Czestochowa, had stopped in the area of the largest, oldest, and most renowned - Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, a town in southern Poland.  At the beginning of the 17th century, Jan Zebrzydowski erected a replica of the Way of the Cross (Via Crucis) in Jerusalem, and had also funded many beautiful chapels.

Visit on St. Faustina's birthday – Divine Mercy Shrine

The visit to the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Lagiewniki in Krakow (Cracow) during the peregrination of the Icon of Czestochowa fell on August 25th, in the early morning hours.  At first, no one paid attention to the significance of this date.  As it turns out, on this particular day, St. Faustina Kowalska, the great apostle of Divine Mercy, was born in 1905.  This was the 107th anniversary of her birth.  Obviously, Our Lady had planned her visit to this Shrine on St. Faustina's birthday.

With the Augustine Sisters

In Krakow (Cracow), next to the church at Skalka and the old monastery of the Pauline Fathers, is also an equally old convent of the Sisters of St. Augustine.  This religious order exists in the Krakow area for over 400 years.  The Augustine Sisters specialize particularly in caring for and educating children and youth.  They run preschools, schools, a home for children with special needs, and also organize retreats and days of recollection for the young people whom they catechize.

With Pauline Fathers at Skalka – at the National Shrine in Krakow

Early afternoon, on Friday, August 24, the Icon of Czestochowa, peregrinating across the world in defense of life, had arrived in Krakow (also known as Cracow) at the Pauline Fathers shrine at Skalka on the bank of the largest Polish river - named Wisla.  The Basilica of St. Stanislaus Bishop and Martyr at Skalka, along with the crypt underneath it, is the National Shrine of Poland, and has strong ties to the nation's history.

Piekary Slaskie – Care for Life

On Thursday, August 23rd, the Icon of Czestochowa, peregrinating "from Ocean to Ocean" departed from Jasna Gora, Czestochowa.  The next place of Our Lady's Visitation was the city of Piekary Slaskie in the region of Silesia.  A beautiful sanctuary (shrine) near the Basilica of the Blessed Virgin Mary is known far and wide in Silesia.  The walking pilgrimages from all over Silesia are the local tradition; in May for the men, and in August for the women.  Thousands of people participate in these pilgrimages.

Back home at Jasna Gora

On August 22nd, on the Queenship of Mary, the peregrinating Icon of Czestochowa returned home, meaning - she was placed at the Jasna Gora Monastery.  Solemnly brought into the Chapel of the Miraculous Image, She rested at the right side of the altar and the original Icon.  The Pauline Fathers began with the vespers.  Because of the great numbers of the faithful, it was decided to move the scheduled Mass to the outdoor summit of the "Bright Hill," where the crowds had more room.

Crowds at the Cathedral of Lodz

In the morning of August 22nd, on the Memorial of the Queenship of Mary, the Czestochowa Icon had arrived at the Lodz Cathedral assisted by the police and the motorcade of the Katyn Rally.  Archbishop Wladyslaw Ziolek accompanied by approximately 100 priests, welcomed Our Lady.  This meeting was mostly for the consecrated and religious.  Yet, many lay faithful also came to this event.  They all formed a great crowd that filled the cathedral and praised Mary.