The city of Panevėžis said good-bye to Our Lady of Czestochowa, as the faithful formed a large and noisy crowd with their bishop Jonas Kauneckas at the forefront. Our Blessed Mother began her pilgrimage through little old towns in the Diocese of Šiauliai. The first such quaint town was Šeduva. The Icon was greeted there by the Pastor.
The first stop was planned in Šeduva. The Icon was visiting a beautiful church, the parish of The Exultation of the Holy Cross. As everywhere else, a large crowd of the praying faithful surrounded the Icon. Unfortunately, the Icon had to quickly travel to the next town of Radviliškis. On the town’s edge, Our Lady’s Icon was being awaited by the Dean of the local deanery, Father Vidmantas Kapučinskas, along with the town police who formed an escort on the way to the Church of Nativity of Our Blessed Mother. The prayers were led by Father Gintas Sakavičius. The members of the Legion of Mary assisted wonderfully in their beautiful blue attire. At 15:00 hours (3:00 p.m.), the Icon of Czestochowa also visited the local Orthodox church.
On August 6th, the Icon arrived at Šiauliai, where she stayed at three different parishes. The local bishop, Bishop Egenijus Bartulis, accompanied Our Lady throughout the whole time and brought her ceremoniously into the Cathedral of Ss. Peter and Paul. The faithful came in large numbers to greet Our Blessed Mother and formed live corridors with their bodies at the entrance to the cathedral, as the Icon was being processed inside and the church bells were ringing joyfully. During this solemn celebration, the Choir of St. Cecelia under the direction of Roland Kalakauskienės, for the first time performed the Akathist, one of the most ancient liturgical hymns in honor of the Virgin Mary.
Our Lady‘s next sojourn was at the Church of the Immaculate Conception of the BVM, where she was embraced by a most solemn veneration of the faithful. Men, dressed in red capes, carried the Icon ceremoniously into the church, which was already filled with the faithful eagerly awaiting Our Blessed Mother in the Icon. Some people have come from distant locations. Numerous families with children caught the eye of the observer. Many of the faithful gathered remained in the chapel in prayerful veneration all night long. His Excellency, Bishop Eugenijus Bartulis gave a very touching speech of great importance - that everyone might protect and defend life from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death.
The driver of the vehicle carrying the Icon of Czestochowa, Vidmantas Gulbinas, who is a volunteer of the Center for Families in Šiauliai, shared his own experience from his travels with the Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa on the road: All greet Our Lady with great honor, even those, who did not go to greet her inside the churches. When we pass the people on the road, they are making the Sign of the Cross and greet her reverently. Despite the forced atheization in the Communist style for almost 50 years, the faith of the people in Lithuania is still alive.