On Thursday, August 23rd, the Icon of Czestochowa, peregrinating "from Ocean to Ocean" departed from Jasna Gora, Czestochowa. The next place of Our Lady's Visitation was the city of Piekary Slaskie in the region of Silesia. A beautiful sanctuary (shrine) near the Basilica of the Blessed Virgin Mary is known far and wide in Silesia.
The walking pilgrimages from all over Silesia are the local tradition; in May for the men, and in August for the women. Thousands of people participate in these pilgrimages.
The Icon was brought inside the basilica by the coal miners dressed in their gala uniforms and greeted by the pastor and custodian of the shrine, Monsignor Wladyslaw Nieszporek. The prayers were continued by individual communities and parish groups. Archbishop Emeritus Damian Zimon of the Diocese of Katowice presided over the Eucharist that followed. In his homily, he referred to a large pilgrimage of women, which had been made to this very place a week earlier. A vast group of women, older and younger, mothers, sisters, and daughters, who coming to this place – similarly as in May their husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons – give a great testimony of faith and love of the Blessed Mother.
The Archbishop recalled the times, when in the sixties a copy of the Czestochowa Icon was peregrinating throughout Poland, causing a great stir, which was not very welcomed by the then Communist authorities. The Icon was arrested, here in Silesia, and then was imprisoned in one of the chapels at Jasna Gora. The Communists were counting on the fact that they will be able to stop the peregrination. But Our Lady continued to peregrinate in the empty picture frame, which people moved with great reverence. This type of spiritual pilgrimage no one was able to stop in any way, hence it brought abundant fruit.
It is worth noting that it was here, in Silesia, where 35 years ago the first pro-life organization "Care for Life" was founded. It was on this foundation that, later in 1981, the well-known Association of Responsible Parenthood was founded. Prior to that, the existence of any such type of organizations was strictly forbidden.
During the meditations, the topics of a happy death and euthanasia, currently strongly propagated by the media, were being touched upon. Reflections on these topics were led by the local Apostolate of Happy Death affiliated with the hospice movement.
At the same time, in Katowice, a discussion panel took place under the slogan "Rebuilding a damaged society and restoring hope," which dealt with the problems related to the post-abortive suffering.