The pilgrim icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa visited the Parish of S. Julião da Barra, in Lisbon, from the 29th of April till the 5th of May, Mother’s Day in Portugal.
The program included various moments of prayer and veneration to the Blessed Virgin Mary, having as special highlights the Via Matris and the Taizé prayer on April 29, as well as the recitation of the Rosary and the Marian Crown (Seven Joys of the Virgin) on May 1. On the following day, there was a conference with the theme: “The representations of Mary in Eastern Art (Marian Icons)”. On May 4th, there was 24 hours perpetual adoration and the celebration of the First Saturday’s devotion, as it was requested by Our Lady in Fatima.
On Sunday, 5th of May, Mother’s Day, there was the Eucharist with a full packed church, including the children of the Catecheses classes, who celebrated on that occasion the “Ave-Maria” feast and their consecration to Our Lady. In the afternoon, farewell was bid to Our Lady who travelled to another parish in the centre of Lisbon.
In the words of Fr. Nuno Westwood, Parish priest of S. Julião da Barra and of Nova Oeiras, “receiving the pilgrim icon was an opportunity to regain a bigger awareness and commitment for the defense of life. The various moments lived throughout the week helped us to intensify our faith and to place our hope in the Virgin Mary, praying and fighting for life and for love. Thankful for the abundant graces and blessings sown in the hearts of so many parishioners, we remember the joy and gratitude of Mary during the visit to her cousin Elizabeth, making us say, just as she did, at this time: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!” (Luke 1, 46)