It came as hope
The idea of the peregrination of the Picture of Our Lady of Czestochowa was conceived in 1956 as the effect of the Jasna Gora Vows. On 29 August 1957 the copy of the Miraculous Picture of Our Lady of Jasna Gora began its journey in the Archdiocese of Warsaw. Nowadays the peregrination of the Picture is conducted in the Archdiocese of Lodz and then the Picture of Our Lady will be received in the Dioceses of Kalisz, Elblag, Torun and Elk.
They swept streets, decorated windows, made carpets of flowers. Someone bought a holy picture. Some bought new rosaries. Then they stared at Our Lady of Jasna Gora. And they were not ashamed of their tears when the Picture left their parish. What traces did the peregrination of the Picture of Our Lady of Jasna Gora leave in the Diocese of Sandomierz?
Zeal, reflection and deed
Many priests think that the fruit of the peregrination will be revealed later because the seed grows slowly. Fr Stanislaw Misiak from Nisko says that at first zeal is born, then comes reflection and finally – deed. This opening to the grace and reception of this grace through the sacraments. And he has already noticed that his parishioners were more involved in the construction of the Church of Our Lady of Fatima.
Conversion in confessional
The evidence of God’s actions through the intercession of the Most Blessed Mother is the moment of conversion, which is made visible in the confessional. One could see that during the peregrination. Numerous people received the sacrament of penance and reconciliation. Some went to confession after many years. Fr Rafal Golonka, a priest in the parish of Archangel Michael in Ostrowiec Swietokrzyski, stressed that the peregrination that had been held in his parish a year ago, was reflected in the confessional, in deepened confessions.
Unity in families
– A lot happens in man’s inner being. Some people find it difficult to say how the Mother of God influenced their lives but I have noticed feelings of deeper bonds in families – says Rev. Canon Adam Nowak from Klimontow. – Many people who stayed abroad came for the peregrination. – I was looking at Mary of Jasna Gora and at my wife who was praying hiding her face with her hands. I have worked in Austria for five years. I come home on holiday. I desire that life and easy money. However, my wife is alone in the farm; my son is building a house. They need me here. I think that the Mother of God has admonished me – a man living in one of the villages gave his testimony.
Preparing a parish for the worthy reception of God’s Mother unites people. Most people in the parish try to prepare some material gifts as the expression of their gratitude for the gift of the peregrination. It is also a testimony that many people begin showing responsibility for the material condition of their parish and church. The churches were constructed quickly, for example in Nowosielec or Lipa. Chapels were built, churches were renovated, stained glasses were made and polychromes were restored.
Faith still vivid
This fervent prayer has continued. Special services are celebrated in many churches. In some parishes believers gather to pray at little chapels located at crossroads. There are parishes where the peregrination of the picture of Our Lady of Czestochowa takes places, visiting very home. Rev. Canon Krzysztof Palac from Jezowiec thinks that Mary reminded believers that the daily optimism comes from the Divine Providence, that it is God that directs all things. And the land of Sandomierz, struggling with the problems of unemployment, forced migration, increasing laicisation of life, has needed this hope.
They gave thanks in the house of the Mother
Two months passed after the peregrination but as the believers from the Diocese of Sandomierz say the Mother of God is still with them. In the middle of October they came to Jasna Gora, together with their families, with Bishop Krzysztof Nitkiewicz of Sandomierz, with their parish priests and assistants, to give thanks again for what happened in their hearts and communities. ‘The presence of numerous people at this place testifies that after the peregrination something more than memories has left. This is to confirm that our hearts are still burning with love for the Most Blessed Virgin and that the fruit of the peregrination still abides in us and the fruit will continue to grow and become ripe’, Bishop Krzysztof Nitkiewicz expressed his hope.
Bishop Edward Frankowski: The fruits of this peregrination are versatile. The peregrination was a big experience for the priests who prepared their parishes. There were missions preceding that time. Throughout the year priests met the former Bishop Andrzej Dziega who is now the bishop of Szczecin-Kamien. Parishes became integrated because there were a lot of tasks to do together. Many couples received the Sacrament of Matrimony. Many families, married couples, neighbourhood and places of work get reconciled. It was a common mobilisation and integration of all environments. The local authorities, the police, the road services, schools got involved. People tried to express to the Mother of God their veneration, love and joy flowing from the meeting in various ways. We hope that thanks to the peregrination there will be bigger involvement in communities, associations, more priestly vocations, bigger responsibility for the family, local environment and for the Homeland.