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On Sunday evening, after the Pulaski Day Parade in New York City, the Linden, New Jersey Police escorted the icon of Our Lady and Archbishop Wenski of Miami to St. Theresa of the Child Jesus Church in Linden, NJ.  There Archbishop Wenski incensed the icon and Our Lady was brought into the church in a solemn procession where the Archbishop offered the Mass in Polish. 
It was a long and very tiring day, and I am grateful that Archbishop Wenski was so generous with his time in leading the veneration of the Blessed Mother both in New York City and Linden.

The second largest concentration of Polish-Americans is in the New York Metropolitan area, which includes Northern New Jersey. A week earlier, St. Theresa of the Child Jesus Church was officially designated as an Archdiocesan Shrine of Blessed John Paul II.

Linden NJ2Father Miroslaw Król, the Pastor of St. Theresa of the Child Jesus Church, has a long association with Human Life International.  Our Founder, Fr. Paul Marx, O.S.B., spoke at his seminary in Gdansk, Poland when he was a seminarian, which led him to an active membership in HLI’s Seminarians For Life.  Father Król continues to strongly defend life and family in his priestly ministry.

I spent the night at my home in Fairfield, NJ and the next day put the vehicle used to transport the icon in for some much needed repairs and maintenance.  The day before, I had trouble closing the electric doors on the van while driving through New York City.  I thought it was important to be able to drive a vehicle with reliably closing doors!

Linden NJ3Throughout the day people came to St. Theresa’s to venerate the icon. I returned to St. Theresa’s later in the evening for a Mass on the Feast of the Holy Rosary.  In my homily, I spoke about the victory accomplished through the intercession of Our Lady when a vastly outnumbered Christian fleet defeated the Turkish fleet in the Battle of Lepanto on October 7, 1571; and the great victory at the Battle of Vienna won by King Jan Sobieski III on September 12, 1683. Both victories were credited with saving all of Christian Europe.  If Our Lady’s prayers can bring such great victories, she can also help us to win a victory today over the Culture of Death and help us build a Culture of Life.

At the end of the Mass the people bid the Blessed Mother farewell with another solemn procession and singing of Polish Marian hymns. The faith and devotion of the Polish people to the Mother of God is truly inspiring and refreshing!

Fr. Peter West
Vice President for Missions
Human Life International
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