JASNA GÓRA IN THE YEAR 2013 – SUMMARY
In 2013 Jasna Góra was visited by about 3.5 million pilgrims – said the custodian of the sanctuary, Fr. Ignacy Rękawek. The number of pilgrimages to the Sanctuary are increasing. The foot pilgrimage still remains a phenomenon. Tourists and believers are coming from abroad.
Last year in 200 nationwide pilgrimages were attended by over 805 thousand people. The most popular ones were prayer meetings of: the Radio Maria Family, the Renewal in the Holy Spirit movement, farmers, people of labour and Anonymous Alcoholics.
Besides the groups which have been visiting Jasna Góra for years, in 2013, for the first time there were pilgrimages such as: Columbus’ Knights, caravan pilgrimage, pilgrimage of anglers, Living Rosary, pilgrimage of paragliders and the National Pilgrimage of Catechists.
Most believers from Częstochowa arrived in parish groups at Jasna Góra. This year there were 2.3 thousand of them, and about 134 thousand people arrived.
As every year, secondary school graduates were a big group of pilgrims, too. The prayer meeting of secondary graduates at Jasna Góra takes place in autumn, in the beginning of the school year and in Spring shortly before their secondary school leaving examination, when they arrive at the monastery from various parts of Poland, nearly every day.
In 2013 it was estimated that 713 groups of secondary graduates, numbering over 141 thousand people, arrived at Jasna Góra. However, these data do not comprise smaller groups, for example, when student of one school or one class decide to participate in a pilgrimage.
Last year 260 foot pilgrimages arrived at Jasna Góra. The pilgrimages were attended by 133 thousand 287 people. The pilgrimages were very difficult because of heat waves. Some pilgrims had to leave their pilgrimage route. Pilgrimages in the Year of Faith were an occasion for renewing and strengthening one’s relationship with Jesus and His Mother.
Most foot pilgrimages in 2013 were groups of 8.5 thousand pilgrims from Kraków, Radom, numbering 7 thousand pilgrims and a pilgrimage from Warsaw led by the Pauline Fathers, in which nearly 7 thousand people arrived.
The longest route was travelled by: a group from Kaszuby from Hel – 638 km in 19 days, a pilgrimage from Szczecin, a group from Łukęcin – 636 km in 20 days and Świnoujście – 626 km in 19 days and also a group from Ustka – 630 km in 19 days.
On their way, pilgrims were praying for multiplying faith for the Church, Pope, Homeland, they were inviting Mary to their route of pilgrimage and were getting prepared for the World Youth Days. They also expressed their attitude in the defence of the Crucifix, so that it would be respected and have a dignified place in the public life.
Besides several diocesan pilgrimage groups there were also other pilgrimages of: firemen, soldiers, students, the disabled, and even the homeless and prisoners. The lancerson horses from Lublin also arrived.
In 2013 the Jasna Góra sanctuary was visited by pilgrims and tourists from 77 countries of the world. Most of them were from Germany, Italy, the United States, France and Spain. There were also many groups from far Japan. There were 34 hierarchs from 14 countries of the world.
Jasna Góra still remains one of the places where every day at least a few Holy Masses are celebrated. In total, the Holy Eucharist was celebrated this year nearly 70 thousand times. There were over 6.5 thousand sermons, homilies and Jasna Góra Appeal prayers preached. 2 million 335 thousand communions were given. Jasna Góra confessors devoted 34 thousand 250 hours to pilgrims, serving in confessionals through administering the sacrament of reconciliation.
Jasna Góra still remains one of the most visited holy places of Christianity. It is also the biggest centre of Mary’s cult in the world, connected with worship of the Holy Icon, not apparitions of Our Lady. Many pilgrims visiting Jasna Góra often admit that they arrive here at least three times in their life: during the time of the First Holy Communion, before their secondary school leaving examination and after their weddings – with their families.
Reported by Fr. Ignacy Rękawek OSPPE, the custodian of Jasna Góra