Dress of dedication 'Totus Tuus' and papal crowns for the Jasna Gora Icon
Fr Robert M. Lukaszuk, OSPPE
The celebration of our Lady of Czestochowa began on 25 August with the Marian procession from the Czestochowa Archcathedral to Jasna Gora. The procession was lead by Archbishop Stanislaw Nowak, Metropolitan of Czestochowa. Bishop Adam Smigielski of Sosnowiec presided over a Mass at 7.00 p.m. at the Jasna Gora peak (a field outside the church) and Bishop Zygmunt Zimowski of Radom delivered a homily. The Prior of Jasna Gora Fr Bogdan Waliczek greeted the gathered crowds. The Mass ended with the traditional Jasna Gora Appeal, which was led by Archbishop Stanislaw Nowak.
On 26 August, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, Metropolitan of Krakow, blessed a new amber-and-diamond covering, called 'Dress of Dedication', decorated with gold crowns, which were donated and blessed by the Servant of God John Paul II a day before his death. It is a votive gift, the Pope's thanksgiving for 26 years of his pontificate. The prior of Jasna Gora reminded the faithful the words of the papal message, which were directed to the General of the Pauline Order on 1 April 2005 and attached to the gold papal crowns.
During the celebration of blessing Archbishop Dziwisz said, 'God, we ask You to bless this new gown, the gift of our hearts in the jubilee year of the 350th anniversary of the miraculous defence of Jasna Gora. May it be for all pilgrims a continuous invitation to deepen our dedication to Mary following the example of the Servant of God John Paul II: Totus Tuus, which he strengthened by giving the crowns to Jasna Gora Queen of Poland'.
On behalf of SKOK Stefczyka, the Polish Credit Union Movement, Grzegorz Bierecki, President of SKOK, read the Act of Consecration of Votive Gift to the Mother of God Queen of Poland. Mariusz Drapikowski, the artist who created the panel, said the prayer of personal dedication.
Archbishop Dziwisz presided over the Pontifical High Mass at 11.00 a.m. at the Jasna Gora peak. There were 50 cardinals, archbishops and bishops, including Cardinal Joachim Meisner of Cologne, Cardinal Adam Maida of Detroit, Cardinal Bernard Francis Law of Boston, Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia, Archbishop Josef Michalik, President of Polish Bishops' Conference, and 280 priests. About 100,000 people participated in the Eucharist. Fr Izydor Matuszewski, General of the Pauline Order, greeted the faithful. 'The strength of Jasna Gora is made by all Poles, pilgrimages and hours of prayer during vigils before the Miraculous Icon', he said. 'It is built by great beautiful icons of our Mother and Queen, sent all over the world, and also small medallions, worn at the heart, or pictures put in prayer books of our fellow countrymen who are scattered all over the world. Mary unites us all'.
Cardinal Jozef Glemp delivered the homily. He referred to the 350th anniversary of the miraculous defence of Jasna Gora, which fell exactly on that day. 'The Swedish troops of King Charles Gustav invaded all voivodeships. Polish marshals, commanders and hetmans surrendered to him. Only Fr Kordecki, Prior of Jasna Gora, did not want to surrender. People thought: Poland was defeated but then she was being restored' the Primate said. 'That jump from the bottom of fall revived a new spirit. This renewed spirit caused King Jan Kazimierz to consecrate his kingdom to a new Queen and Ruler of hearts - the Great Mother of God-Man'. Then the pilgrims renewed the Vows of the Polish Nation (the Act of Consecration of Poland), which had been made on 26 August 1956.
At the end of the Eucharist Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz said, 'Totus Tuus was the programme of the whole life of the Holy Father John Paul II, till his last moments. They might have been his last words spoken and written with a trembling hand but with a hot heart. He went to the Father's House with these words; the house where he met Mary and confessed: All Yours. These words are written on the crowns for Jesus and Mary, which the Holy Father blessed as his last gift for Mary Queen of Poland. Today I had the grace, for which I am very thankful, to put these exceptional crowns on the foreheads of Jesus and Mary, together with all those present here, and thus to fulfil somehow the last will - testament of the Pope John Paul the Great'. Cardinal Meisner also spoke to the gathered people, 'You, God's People in Poland, I would like to thank that you are following Mary's command 'Do whatever he tells you' in the best way. I do not know any country in Europe and in the world which fulfils this task so seriously'. At the end of the celebration Cardinal Meisner spoke to Archbishop Dziwisz, 'Dear Brother Stanislaw, take the Mother of Jasna Gora to Krakow and make her the First Manageress of the Diocese. Then in Krakow, in the Curia, there will be such joy as at the wedding in Cana of Galilee.'
The liturgy was graced by the Choir 'Poznanskie Slowiki', conducted by Prof. Stefan Stuligrosz, as well as the choirs of Jasna Gora and an orchestra. Archbishop Stanislaw Nowak presided over an evening Mass at the Jasna Gora peak.
The Council of the Bishops' Conference and Diocesan Bishops met at Jasna Gora day before the feast. We are going to publish the bishops' message next week.