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On Thursday, January 24, the Icon of Our Lady of Częstochowa left Albacete as early as 6.00 AM with another group of pro-lifers from the Diocese of Cartagena in Murcia. This is a famous pilgrimage town, having had a privilege of perpetual indulgence for ages. In Basílica de la Santisima y Vera Cruz (the basilica of the Holy True Cross) there is a reliquary with splinters from the Cross of Jesus Christ.

According to tradition and the chronicles  the Cross appeared in the 12th century to father Gines Chinino of Cuenca when he was celebrating the Holy Mass for the  Moorish King Almohade Buceit. The king told the priest that he would lose his life if his work did not give any material gains. The priest said he was able to celebrate the Holy Mass. To test him and to satisfy his curiosity the king allowed him to celebrate the Holy Mass in his presence and with all the king`s court in attendance.  During the Holy Mass fr. Gines realised that a cross was missing on the altar. Then the king and all the people gathered saw a cross appear over the altar. The king was so moved that he converted to Catholicism with all his court. The reliquary where the splinters from the Holy Cross are kept is cross-shaped and resembles the patriarchal cross (two horizontal arms, of which the upper is shorter). The cross of this shape is known as caravaca and in Poland it is considered as the one to protect people against epidemics.

The Icon of Our Lady of Częstochowa arrived in Caravaca de la Cruz after 8.00AM and was placed in the famous basilica of the Holy Cross. At the site where the Moorish king was converted, the Holy Mass was celebrated at 8.30AM. During the Eucharist the celebrating priest prayed for the conversion of hearts and for the defence of life. After the Holy Mass there was an adoration of the Holy Cross. Despite very bad weather and electricity damage, about 100 people attended. The ceremony had to be lit only by candles but this gave it a special charm. Next they said the Holy Rosary in defence of life and family and the Most Blessed Sacrament was exposed.

The farewell ceremony took place at 11.00AM and to the surprise of all the people attending it a beautiful rainbow appeared in the sky.

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