Invitation to Jasna Gora 2005
Fr Bogdan Waliczek - Prior of Jasna Gora
Sisters and Brothers,
Pilgrims going to Jasna Gora,
Every year we extend to you, Dear Worshippers of our Lady of Jasna Gora, words of special invitation so that the summer months of July and August become the time of deep reflection and prayer at the Throne of our Lady and Queen. However, this year our words of encouragement are of a special character. At Jasna Gora we are celebrating a great jubilee -350th anniversary of the miraculous, victorious defence against the Swedish siege. Remembering this event is an occasion to sing with thanksgiving the great hymn 'The Magnificat', together with Mary whose intercession brought about the victory. 'Let us not forget mighty deeds of God'. These words become some kind of a refrain during prayers, meditations and homilies at Jasna Gora. When they are uttered at this sacred place about which John Paul II said, 'Here we have always been free', they do not only become for us a lesson of history but also a catechesis of faith and testimony of our ancestors.
350th anniversary of Jasna Gora defence
The rich content of the 350th anniversary of the miraculous defence of Jasna Gora calls us to reflect on our heritage of faith and on the need to consecrate our lives before the Miraculous Picture of Mary in our times. Remembering great events we learn here to follow God's inspirations and signs. Looking at the figure of the great Prior Fr Augustyn Kordecki we make an effort to arouse responsibility for personal decisions, which exert a great influence on the future of our Nation. Here, at Jasna Gora, the words of the Jasna Gora Appeal, which we daily cry from the heart to our Mother, 'I am, I remember, I am on the alert', remind us of what is great, wonderful and holy. We renew our Christian thinking in order not to lose the dignity of God's child, Pole and servant of Mary. The great and solemn event we are celebrating is at the basis of our national identity and the Polish culture, which has developed for centuries and which has been permeated with Christian values that are very important to understand the dignity of man and nation. The time of our walking pilgrimage to Jasna Gora is an occasion to reflect on these matters. Therefore, we encourage you to go on pilgrimages to the Throne of Mary, Queen of Poland. We invite children, adults and the youth. It is the time of retreat on the move. Everyone can experience a meeting with God through listening to God's Word, change of heart in the sacrament of penance and daily Eucharist. We remind you and encourage you to benefit from those mighty graces in the Year of the Eucharist in which the Servant of God John Paul II left us his spiritual testament as his testimony of faith and his giving himself over to Jesus completely. The words he repeated again: 'Totus Tuus', become his personal consecration in service to the Mother of God and a lesson to us, pilgrims, that Mary is our Guide on the pilgrimage of faith. We want to consecrate our lives to her and thus through her we offer our lives to Jesus.
People from various parts of our Homeland go on walking pilgrimages in summer months in order to gather here, in the heart of Poland, before the Miraculous Picture of Mary, during the time of the great celebrations. How important the meeting is! And one would like to say 'May no one who wants to be a child of Mary is missing here!' We can hear the Good News again, we can experience the joy of being with our sisters and brothers again, those who make the effort to pray as pilgrims and to offer themselves to Jesus through the Mother of God. Let us want to experience that especially during this year when the spiritual testament of John Paul II does not only sound in our ears but also in our hearts. Let us make use of this special moment so that the Jubilee, 350th anniversary of Jasna Gora defence, becomes a good time to invite Lord God to win in our personal lives.
The last gift of the Pope
On the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Jasna Gora, 26 August, we will participate in one more extraordinary event. This is the day of our consecration to Mary, Queen of Poland. We will renew the Act of Consecration of Poland in Service to the Mother of God, the Mother of the Church, for the Freedom of the Church of Christ, and we will pay homage to our Lady and Mother. A special element of the celebration will be the offering of the crowns on the Jasna Gora Altar of the Nation. These crowns together with the papal message are a votive gift of the Holy Father John Paul II. He blessed them on 1 April 2005, the day before his passing away to the House of the Father. The crowns offered by the Pope to the Queen of Jasna Gora are thanksgiving for his life and pastoral ministry as well as testimony of his total consecration to Mary. We rejoice that we can live in the times when we can experience such great acts of faith of our Great Fellow Countryman John Paul II.
We invite all those who can come to Czestochowa on 26 August to be united with us at Jasna Gora and take part in solemn Mass with the Act of the Consecration and offering of the papal crowns. Those who cannot join the walking pilgrimage we invite to go on a spiritual pilgrimage. The prayers we offer at the Throne of our Queen will be our cry for graces for the Holy Father Benedict XVI and for the whole Church. We will pray for our Fatherland and all our national matters. We will offer our hearts, every family, all lonely people, the sick and the suffering to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The young generation that is the hope of the Church and Nation of the third millennium needs a shining example and protection of the Mother of God. We cordially invite young people who face numerous dangers to consecrate their lives and all future to Mary.
The Mother is waiting
Sisters and Brothers, Dear Pilgrims! The Queen of Jasna Gora and our Lady is waiting for you as if she called each of you with the words of the song, 'Come to me, my children, the time has come, yes, the time has come'. Let us not forget our Mother and let her lead us to Jesus, to the Source of Living Water. We need this pure water in our daily lives so that Jesus would change the stone water jars of our hearts into the wine of God's love. Sister and Brother, come to the of Cana Jasna Gora to make possible such a change in your life. Jesus will make such a miracle in your life here at Mary's request. We cordially invite all to participate in the richness of God's grace which Mary has interceded for us.
Jasna Gora - facts & figures 2004
3,500,000 people visited Jasna Gra;
1,920,000 Holy Communions were distributed in the Shrine;
165,874 pilgrims walked to Czestochowa;
1,783 parishes paid homage to the Queen of Poland;
135 national pilgrimages;
66 countries were represented by pilgrims to Jasna Gora;
1 horse-riding pilgrimage at the Jasna Gora peak.