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The following morning, Sunday December 16, another farewell Mass was celebrated at Irun, and the Pro-Vida party from the neighbouring Diocese of Bilbao took charge of the Icon.

The Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa entered the city of Bilbao (capital of the province of Vizcaya) via the bridge opposite the Guggenheim Museum, driving through the main streets to the Church of San Nicolás de Bari, where she was greeted with a ceremonial “aurresku”, a Basque dance of welcome, performed by a “dantzari” (Basque dancer) to the strains of a “chistu” (Basque flute) and drum. In the ceremonial reception of the Icon in the church, the reasons for the pilgrimage were explained, stressing the importance of this taking place during Advent.

At 8 pm Holy Mass, the celebrant stressed in his homily the serious problem of society’s present insensibility about abortion and the WHO worldwide abortion statistics since the establishment of permissive legislations: over 800 million abortions, about 46 million a year. Spain has seen one and a half million abortions since 1985. Initially, abortion was explained as an “exceptional need”; today, it has become the general rule. Political parties are not going to solve society’s moral problems; it is for all of us to solve them without being discouraged. During the Vigil of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Prayer after Mass, he mentioned Blessed John Paul II and Blessed Teresa of Calcutta as examples of saints who were not discouraged, but abandoned themselves to the Will of God. The Rosary followed, with Our Lady’s Icon honoured by her faithful until 10 pm.

The following day, 9 a.m. Mass was celebrated by the Bishop of Bilbao, Mons. Mario Iceta, and Our Lady of Czestochowa’s Icon was afterwards venerated throughout the morning, before heading westwards bound for the next diocese, Santander.

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