In Cork, the Icon was hosted for only 3 hours at St Augustine's church before leaving for France via Rosslare. The Icon was brought there at 9 am and left after 12 noon, but people had gathered since 7 am to pray while waiting for the arrival of Our Lady of Czestochowa. St Augustine's church, too, is the home of many Polish people. Mass was celebrated in English at 9:30 am.
At 11 am, John Buckley, Bishop of Cork & Ross, celebrated an English/Polish Mass together with seven other priests of the community.
Fr Pat Moran OSA, the Prior of St Augustine's, gave a very informative sermon about the Icon and the history behind it. He also recalled his visit to Czestochowa which he made last year together with Fr Piotr Galus, who runs the Polish Chaplaincy at St Augustine's church.
An act of entrustment to Our Lady followed which was said both in English and in Polish. Throughout the whole morning at Masses and during the Rosary, beautiful Polish songs were sung. Again a constant flow of people (hundreds and hundreds) made their way before the Icon to venerate Her and approximately 1000 people were present at the Mass with the bishop.When Pope John Paul II visited Ireland in 1979 he commended the Irish to Mary, Mother of Jesus and Mother of His Church and he exhorted them to entrust themselves to Her.
On the last day of his visit, during the homily he gave at the Mass in Limerick on the 1st of October 1979, the Pope, who had come to Ireland "as a servant of the Gospel and as a pilgrim", reminded the Irish people that once again they were at a crossroads and that they had to choose their way forward amidst the temptations presented by the economic growth, the 'new' ethic of temporal enjoyment and the way of false freedom. This was his warning at that time: "Your country seems in a sense to be living again the temptations of Christ: Ireland is being asked to prefer the kingdoms of the world and their splendour to the kingdom of God." His prophetic words are confirmed today by the reality the Irish have to confront. The vocation of giving life and caring for it is under constant attack. Back in 1979, John Paul II expressed his strong hope and desire that Ireland would "never weaken in her witness, before Europe and before the whole world, to the dignity and sacredness of all human life, from conception until death." He also reminded all Irish parents that the future of humanity and that of the Church depend in great part on parents and on the family life that they build in their homes. In his own words: "The family is the true measure of the greatness of a nation, just as the dignity of man is the true measure of civilisation." At the end of his visit on the Irish shores, he entrusted all his intentions regarding Ireland to Mary, bright 'Sun of the Irish race'.
Ireland could certainly not have been more blessed with the Visit of the Travelling Icon of the Black Madonna at a time when all the Irish are called to act decisively and pray fervently - perhaps more than ever before - for the protection of human life and the family.
She came to Ireland this past November just like the Pope had come thirty-three years before as a pilgrim and as a servant and messenger of the Gospel of Life.
Between 3,000 - 4,000 people gathered in 10 venues greeted and venerated Her with deep joy, humility and gratitude as She travelled across Ireland between the 16th and the 24th of November, 2012. The outcome of the Visit stands firm under the sign of grace, but even as it took place, Our Lady touched visibly many hearts and draw many closer to Christ. Many of the priests who welcomed Her in their parishes were indeed amazed at the great numbers of people who came to pray before Her and to place their intentions into Her care...
In the Icon of Jasna Góra, Our Lady is depicted holding her Child and Our Redeemer, true God and true Man. She thus reminds us that Christ joined all humanity to God in Himself. That includes the humanity of the unborn. She invites us also to consider that before Christ could be found in her arms, she carried Him in her womb for nine months. Thus faith in the Incarnation commits us, believers, inescapably to the defence of unborn children. We are called to be messengers of the sanctity and dignity of every unborn child.
Our Lady of Czestochowa, pray for us!
In Ireland, the Visit of the Icon (16-24 November) was organised and sponsored by Family & Life (www.familyandlife.org).