MARY, BE OUR GUIDE IN FAITH
For nearly nine months, in the diocese of Elk, the copy of the Miraculous Image of Our Lady of Częstochowa was travelling. The peregrination started on 21 September 2013 in the concathedral in Suwałki, and ended on 7 June 1014 on the Square of St. John Paul II, on which there towers an enormous and beautiful monument of the Polish Pope.
That day was a ceremony for the diocese of Elk, as well as for the very city Elk. The ceremony was attended by many significant guests from Poland and abroad.
Farewell with Mother
Ceremonies started with the vigil prayer in the cathedral of Elk, and later the image was moved to the place of the ceremony via streets of the city in a procession which was presided over by bishop Jerzy Mazur SVD. Before the Eucharist, during a rosary prayer Magda Buczek gave a speech. The Holy Mass was presided over and the homily was given by the metropolitan of Cracow, a long-time personal Secretary of St. John Paul II cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, who passed over a special gift to the diocese: relics of the first degree – blood of the Holy Father taken on the day of his death. The relics will be deposited in the sanctuary of the Divine Mercifulness in Elk.
Bishop Mazur, greeting guests, expressed his gratitude to God and Our Lady for the time of visitation in which the image of Our Lady of Częstochowa had reached to 151 parishes. The ceremony was attended by among the others: archbishop Marek Zalewski – the apostolic nuncio in Zimbabwe, archbishop Wojciech Zeimba – the metropolitan of Warmia and bishops from Lithuania and Papua- New Guinea. A lot of priests from the diocese of Elk arrived as well as from other dioceses, and representatives of the parliament and self-governing authorities.
John Paul II a patron and an advocate at God’s for Elk city
The day of 7 June is not only the end of the peregrination but also a new phase in the life of the city. To the request of many inhabitants of the city addressed to the local authorities, on that day St. John Paul II proclaimed ‘a patron and an advocate at God’s for Elk city’. It is a historical event which is inscribed in the 15th anniversary of the Holy Father’s visit in this city. The mayor of the city Tomasz Andrukiewicz said about it, expressing his gratitude to John Paul II. The decree of the Vatican Congregation for Divine Cult and Sacraments Discipline which was edited on 27 May 2014, under the authority of pope Francis was read out by the chancellor of the diocesan Curia Fr. Dr. Marcin Maczan.
He arrived again at the land of Mazury – in relics
In the homily cardinal Dziwisz paid a special attention to the person of St. John Paul II – to his sensitivity to social matters and injustice which touches many people, especially the poor. He emphasized similarity of the current pope Francis to him in this dimension of the apostolic ministry. He also referred to the visit of the Holy Father on the land of Elk 15 years ago saying that he appreciated the land of Mazury and still before he was elected for the Holy See, he had often visited it, and today he is arriving again in the form of relics. Referring to the great sensitivity and care of Pope about every man, every state of life, the Cardinal reminded that the Holy Father always looked at everything and fulfilled his ministry in the Christological optics, that Christ was sense of his life and the whole priestly and bishopric ministry.
Entrustment to Our Lady
At the end of the Eucharist bishop Mazur expressed his gratitude to all the present, everyone who had enriched that ceremony, and he also assured cardinal Dziwisz that the diocese had already been getting prepared to host the youth from all over the world, who are going to arrive for the World Youth’s Days 2016. The bishop thanked the Pauline Fathers – Fr. Michał and Fr. Mariusz, the custodians of the Image, for their effort put during the peregrination, and bishop Romuald Kaminski, responsible for organizing the peregrination in the diocese. The speech was also given by bishop Ramintas Norvila from Lithuania and bishop Anton Bal from Papua-New Guinea. The summary of the ceremony was entrustment of the whole diocese – every inhabitant of the diocese, all states, jobs and social groups by bishop Mazur to Our Lady of Częstochowa. The image of visitation was being solemnly seen off to the car-chapel.
After the ceremony cardinal Dziwisz met with young people on the square, who are getting prepared for the World Youth’s Days which will be held in Cracow, and he also laid flowers in front of the monument of St. John Paul II, the patron of Elk city.
The ceremony ending the peregrination in the diocese of Elk was being broadcast by the Radio Maryja and the Television Trwam.