Wieslawa Kowalska talks to Fr Stanislaw Jarosz, OSPPE, Definitor General of the Order of Saint Paul the First Hermit.
Wieslawa Kowalska: - August is the month of making pilgrimages to Jasna Gora. Every year thousands of pilgrims from our country and abroad go to the throne of our Lady of Czestochowa. What does a pilgrimage mean to you?
Fr Stanislaw Jarosz, OSPPE: - For me it is a time of special grace, a stop on the move, putting aside 'thousand urgent matters' and looking back at my life. It is a joy of walking to the house of the Mother to enjoy her presence, to find shelter with her, to listen to her advice.
- A spiritual pilgrimage can be a special form of making a pilgrimage. What does it mean and who can make it?
- Spiritual pilgrimage is for those who cannot take part in pilgrimages because of old age, illness, complicated family situation, service in the army or being far away from their countries. However, they can go on a pilgrimage under some conditions, joining in prayer with pilgrims going to Jasna Gora and thus multiplying spiritual good and receiving many graces.
- You said 'under some conditions". What are these?
- There are several conditions. Firstly, one should take such a decision. Before going on a spiritual pilgrimage one should reconcile with God, forgive those who trespass against us and - commencing with a concrete day - begin a pilgrimage. For there are no barriers for the spirit. Fulfilling your duties at home, at work or being in hospital, being on duty on land, in the air or on the sea you can be on the move spiritually and when you add your prayer and sacrifice you can find numerous spiritual benefits.
- Do you mean certain prayers and other pious practices?
- That's right. Although some are very concrete and others are not.
- Can you specify what you mean?
- As I have already mentioned, at first one should go to confession and if it is possible, go to Mass every day and receive the Holy Communion. But this is not an indispensable condition. Those people who cannot go to Mass may listen to Mass on the radio and receive Lord Jesus in a spiritual way. The concrete practices of pilgrims are daily prayers and the Angelus for the Holy Father's intentions. I would also recommend to make some good resolutions, which can be additional prayers, fast, mortifications, alms or a concrete help to the sick or someone in need. I would like to add that we are not concerned with the number of religious practices but rather with their quality. I would also recommend, especially in this time, reading the Bible, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, praying the Way of the Cross, rosary, Divine Mercy Chaplet, the Hours of the Virgin, etc.
- You mentioned spiritual Communion. Could you say something more about it?
- There are times we cannot participate in Mass and receive the Holy Communion. In such cases, with contrition we can ask Lord Jesus to enter our hearts in a spiritual way and fill us with his presence. We can express this in a very simple way saying, 'Lord Jesus, I want to receive you in my heart and I cannot do it in the sacramental way. Therefore, I ask you to come to me and fill me with your presence, peace and love. Grant me the graces I need most.' Believing in the real presence of Jesus who can come to us as many times a day as we want, we remain in silence, thanking and praising the Lord.
- Going on a pilgrimage people write their names in the Book of Spiritual Pilgrim and they get a card and badge of the group they want to join. And what about spiritual pilgrims?
- Spiritual pilgrims have their own book. They are a separate group that goes to Jasna Gora in their spirits and not in their bodies. So they write their data, which are: name, address and the intentions they want to go with. Afterwards they receive the Spiritual Pilgrim's Card, which contains: Jasna Gora message to pilgrims, conditions of spiritual pilgrimage and Pilgrim's Prayer for daily use.
- Where can one get the Spiritual Pilgrim's Card?
- One can write to Fr Stanislaw Jarosz, the Pauline Monastery, Ks. A. Kordeckiego Street 2, 42-225 Czestochowa or get a card in the shop 'Claromonatana' at Jasna Gora, in the office of Radio Jasna Gora, and in July one can also get a card in the Pauline Monastery in Warsaw, 3 Dluga Street.
- And what about those who live far away? Must they come and write their names in the Book of Spiritual Pilgrim and receive a card?
- No. Those who want to make a spiritual pilgrimage can inform about this by sending a letter to one of the above-mentioned addresses. One can make a list of pilgrims in the parish and send it by post. Remember to write your address on the envelope to which the card will be sent. Encouraging everyone to spiritual pilgrimages I want to add that in the hour of the Appeal of Jasna Gora we will remember all spiritual pilgrims in daily prayers in front of the Miraculous Picture of the Mother of God at Jasna Gora.
- Thank you very much for the conversation. And see you on the pilgrims' paths. God bless you.
Our Lady of Jasna Gora, Virgin Mother of God.
Unto Your Immaculate heart I offer my spiritual pilgrimage.
Being united in spirit and prayer with pilgrims going towards Jasna Gora
I dedicate this day for (say your intention...).
Holy Mother, I offer my joys and concerns,
meetings and conversations, desires and good deeds.
I connect my work with Yours in Nazareth, my sufferings and humiliations
with Your abiding at the cross of Jesus at Calvary.
Mother of God, Patroness of pilgrims,
You who were helping Saint Elisabeth,
You who were making a pilgrimage with Your family to Jerusalem,
save me from all snares of the evil spirit, command the Holy Angels to guard me
on the way and lead me safely to my destination.
Be my Guide on all ways of my life, teach me to do the Will of the Father,
deepen my relationship with Jesus
and teach me to discern the inspirations of the Holy Spirit.
And when this life is over for me, be with me and lead me safely to the Heavenly Homeland. Amen