On Thursday, April 25 2013 at 10 am. in Sala Rycerska (The knights` hall) at Jasna Góra a photo-exhibition “From Ocean to Ocean – the first stage of the peregrination of the copy of the Icon of Our Lady of Częstochowa across the world in defence of life” was opened.
The opening ceremony was started by Ewa Kowalewska, the European coordinator, who briefly summed up the pilgrimage. It covered 65 thousand kilometres in 24 countries of Asia and Europe. The Mother of God in Her Częstochowa Icon visited 75 cathedrals, 73 shrines, about 50 orthodox churches, and about 400 towns. There has never been such a great peregrination, particularly in defence of human life, before. The pilgrimage was accompanied with many additional events: conferences, lectures, workshops, open discussions, prayer vigils in front of abortion clinics and hospitals, as well as concerts. Mrs Kowalewska emphasised the fact that the initiators of the pilgrimage were lay pro-life leaders and it was ecumenical in nature due to the great involvement of the Orthodox Church in the East. She also said that the testimony of faith presented by around 4 million people who had met the Icon of Our Lady during Her journey was of enormous significance. 250 thousand leaflets with the image of the Icon and the Act of entrusting the protection of the civilization of life and love into the hands of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary in 15 languages were published and distributed.
Archbishop Wacław Depo, the metropolitan bishop of Częstochowa, expressed his appreciation for such a big exhibition, which showed the story of the peregrination and the splendid welcome Our Lady of Częstochowa, the Queen of Poland, received in so many countries and cities.
“I would like to call this exhibition, just as the peregrination itself, in the spirit of the Year of the Faith, a new unification with Christ through the intercession of the Virgin Mary” he said to the congregation. “We must remember the basic fact for us, which was the touching, or as we call it “the holy kiss” of the Icon of Our Lady in the Chapel with the copy which has been peregrinating for over 50 years. This “holy kiss” is confirmed today by this next peregrination, and as the Servant of God, cardinal Stefan Wyszyński said: “Let it continue, let Her travel around Poland”. And She has not only travelled around Poland, but around Europe and the world. And today we thank God that in this Year of the Faith, which we are celebrating, we can spread the joy of the new discovery of the space of heart and mind for God, for Jesus Christ through the intercession on our Mother and Queen” – the metropolitan bishop of Częstochowa said.
The next person to speak was father Zachariasz Jabłoński the Definitor General of the St. Paul`s Order. He remembered that he took part in the first meeting of the Preparation Committee, when he presented the Polish idea of peregrination of cardinal Stefan Wyszyński to the international pro-life leaders. He stressed that he was sure back then that such a great action was impossible to organise. Today, when the first stage of the peregrination from Vladivostock to Fatima, has finished at the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, he is full of admiration and appreciation. Father Zachariasz said: “Let this peregrination get prolonged to the other continents and bring joy to those who so far have been closed to God and perhaps stood against life in different ways.”
Next, archbishop Depo, asked to curry out the ceremonial act of opening the exhibition, took the scissors and cut a little of the blue ribbon. To the surprise of those gathered he did not cut it all and suggested that those who were involved in the organisation of the peregrination cut it bit by bit. And they were: bishop Jan Wątroba, father Zachariasz Jabłoński OSPPE, Ewa Kowalewska, father Włodzimierz Ogorzałek OSPPE, father Robert Jasiulewicz OSPPE, Anna Wyszyńska, Stenia Nowicka i Lidia Dudkiewicz. The ribbon was finally cut and the exhibition was opened and blessed by Archbishop Wacław Depo and bishop Jan Wątroba.
Ewa Kowalewska acted as a guide and show around the first group of visitors. She told them about the events presented in the beautiful big photos in a very interesting way. She stressed, that at present they are working on the next stage of the peregrination of the Icon of Our Lady of Częstochowa, which will most probably start in the autumn in America. The visitors were really interested in the exhibition.
The exhition „From Ocean to Ocean” has been made in a very modern way on 30 two-side boards, framed in blue aluminium and fixed on blue poles. The big photographs have been printed on professional laminated foil. The information is written in Polish and English.
The exhibition is waiting for the visitors in Sala Rycerska (the knights` hall ) at Jasna Góra.