Prayer for Europe’s Christian foundations
Fr Stanisław Tomon, OSPPE
On 28-30 June 2011, ca. 1,000 Hungarians participated in their national pilgrimage to Poland. The pilgrimage was organised on the occasion of the end of the Hungary’s presidency in the EU and symbolic transfer to Poland presidency in the EU. The route embraced the most important places of worship, connecting Poles and Hungarians: Krakow, Czestochowa and Stary Sacz.
The Hungarian guests devoted most time to prayer at the Jasna Gora Shrine where they came from Krakow on the evening of 28 June. The group of one thousand included: Kövér László, the Speaker of the Hungarian Parliament, and bishops: auxiliary János Székely of the Archdiocese of Esztergom-Budapest (Hungary), Antal Majnek from the Diocese of Mukachevo (Ukraine) and József Tamás, Titular Bishop of Valabria, Archdiocese of Alba Iulia (Romania). Fr Bátor Botond, superior of the Hungarian Province of the Pauline Fathers, accompanied the pilgrims. This order was found in Hungary and then the Pauline Fathers came to Poland.
‘The pilgrimage was connected with the transferring of presidency in the EU and the thing is to show Europe that our community is built on spiritual foundations. I hope that Poland will take over the lead in the relay race of faithfulness to the Christian values,’ stressed the main organiser of the pilgrimage Mr László Budai, an alderman from Szigetszentmiklós and the chairman of the commission of culture and media in the local government.
The pilgrims gathered in front of the Pilgrim’s House and proceeded to the Sanctuary. Fr Roman Majewski, prior of Jasna Gora, met them at the entrance to the Chapel of the Miraculous Picture of Our Lady. Then he greeted them warmly in Hungarian. ‘Catholic Poland admires You and thanks You for the example how not to lose one’s national identity in the European Union. Because of that we are every happy since Poland taught that she was alone in this Europe and now You are the first and we are just behind You,’ the prior of Jasna Gora said.
During the meditation of the Jasna Gora Appeal Fr Bátor Botond mentioned, ‘Our hearts are full of gratitude since we can see with what love You have arranged our common history throughout ages. Since Divine Providence to which You, Mary, said ‘yes’ gave us friends and our Polish-Hungarian friendship was formed on Your ‘yes,’ on Your ‘fiat.’
Votive offering of the Hungarians
The pilgrims brought their votive offering to Jasna Gora – a painted shield (Polish: ryngraf) with the Hungarian emblem supported by two angels and the inscription in two languages: ‘We thank you.’ The offering, blessed by Bishop János Székely, was placed in the Chapel of Our Lady. Mr Kövér László, the Speaker of the Hungarian Parliament, said the meaningful words, ‘The European Union must be the Union that will guard values, and assuming this attitude we are looking towards the future of the EU. Many people understand these values wrongly. Sometimes the values they speak about are not as if connected with their lives but we, Poles and Hungarians, know […] what the mystery of these values, which the EU speaks about, is. There cannot be another mystery of these values – only our Christian roots.’ After the Jasna Gora Appeal the pilgrims prayed before the Picture of Our Lady till midnight.
The pilgrims brought a gift for Jasna Gora – a model of the well surrounded by the Hungarian saints, including Blessed Eusebius of Ezstergom. The gift was handed to the prior of Jasna Gora by Kövér László.
The central point of the pilgrimage was Mass presided over by Bishop János Székely in the Chapel of Our Lady on 28 June. The celebrant greeted the faithful saying, ‘We have come here to offer our thanksgiving for one thousand years of our Polish-Hungarian friendship, for one thousand years that brought so many blessings to our nations. We have come to thank for our great saints: Saint Jadwiga, Blessed Jolanta, Saint Kinga; for our great leaders: Stefan Batory, Jan Sobieski; we thank especially for Blessed John Paul II. We thank for Blessed Eusebius. We thank you, Heavenly Father, for one thousand years of protection of our nation. Mary, we thank You for Your intercession.’ During the Mass the Act of Dedication of the Hungarians was read.
The Hungarian pilgrims also participated in the Way of the Cross and rosary prayer at Jasna Gora.
Gift from Jasna Gora
The Pauline Fathers gave the Hungarians a copy of the Jasna Gora Icon for the chapel in St Stephen’s Basilica in Budapest.
The icon was given during the ceremony in front of the Hungarian Parliament in Budapest, then carried in a procession to St Stephen’s Basilica and placed in the chapel in which the relics of the saint’s right hand are preserved. Hungarians as well as Poles, Slovaks and Germans living in Hungary participated in this ceremony.
A film about the National Hungarians’ Pilgrimage to Poland, shot by TV studio of ‘Niedziela,’ has been placed at: www.niedziela.pl