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In the evening of the 12th of August, the Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa arrived in the Polish city of Białystok, where great crowds of people awaited Her.  The first meeting took place at the Roman-Catholic Cathedral, where the Holy Rosary was prayed.  The great church was filled with the faithful gathered.  The young people led the liturgy, and the scouts kept watch.  The crowds were so numerous that a great number of faithful had to remain outside the cathedral.

 It is estimated that about 12 thousand people came to meet the Icon "in defense of life".  At the end of the arrival ceremony, Dr. Tadeusz Wasilewski, an obstetrician/gynecologist who has turned away from the practice of "in vitro" fertilization and began treating infertility using the NaPro Technology, renewed the Act of Entrustment for the Protection of the Culture of Lifeand Love to Our Lady on behalf of the crowd gathered.  He emphasized these words contained in the Act of Entrustment:

"... So many innocent people are dying - the unborn children, the elderly, and the infirm. The death toll now exceeds two billion human lives. Each day another 50 thousand children die in their mothers' wombs [worldwide].  Many people do not want to have children at all. Common means of preventing and destroying fertility and human life are becoming increasingly popular. Married couple infertility rate is increasing. The human child becomes a product of modern technology, the donor of cells and organs.  Children are "produced" with specific genetic characteristics, the remaining ones subject to selection.  Hundreds of thousands of unborn children are waiting frozen in liquid nitrogen and suspended between life and death. "

Prior to the Appeal of Jasna Góra, the faithful united themselves spiritually with Jasna Góra [in Czestochowa], where that very evening the walking pilgrimage led by the Archbishop, Edward Ozorowski, from the Diocese of Białystok had arrived.

After the ceremony, the Icon of Czestochowa was processed through the main streets of the city and was moved to the beautiful cathedral of the Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas, the Miracle Worker, where Bishop Jacob with the Orthodox clergy greeted Our Lady.  At first, the Roman-Catholic priests, participating in the procession, kissed the Icon and exited the church.  The Akathist was sung and the faithful had the opportunity for individual prayer and the touching of the Icon.  On the morning of August 13th, the Divine Liturgy was celebrated and time was allowed for individual prayer of the faithful, making it possible for them to kiss and to lovingly cling to the Icon.  The solemn prayer ceremony was attended by multitudes of the faithful.  At the beginning of the ceremony the crowd was so great that it made entering the church very difficult.  The Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa was received in Białystok with great love and a tremendous witness of faith by many.

On August 13th, the Icon will depart Bialystok and will head for the Marian Shrine in Gietrzwałd.

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