26 sierpnia 2021 /FP | Family News Service
“I am always very moved by how whole families come on pilgrimage,” Izabela Tyras, director of the Jasna Góra Press Office, told Family News Service. The XXXVII Pilgrimage of Married Couples and Families to Jasna Góra took place from September 25 to 26. Because of the year dedicated to St. Joseph, it was placed under the theme “Come to Joseph.” Families have a special place among Jasna Góra’s numerous pilgrims.
The pilgrimage was the central celebration in Poland of the Year of St. Joseph and the Year of the Family Amoris Laetitia. “It is dramatic that a society, instead of caring for those who are weakest, knows how to kill them. It is unheard of that a society that has not allowed itself to be raised by the family as that basic human community from which all others should draw their ways of thinking and acting. The State, the Church, all of us, we all learn from the family in some way, and we learn when we have this special attention for the smallest,” said in his homily Msgr. Grzegorz Ryś, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Lodz, who presided over the solemn Mass on the walls of Jasna Gora on Sunday at 11 a.m.
Archbishop Ryś also referred to the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which will be celebrated on 26 September: “For years, the Church in Poland has been making efforts to finally open itself to serve migrants and refugees in a proper way, in collaboration with all those who need this service. When this space is opened and made available to us, it is important that we are spiritually ready for it, that we want to take advantage of this opportunity, by welcoming people in search of a home,” Archbishop Ryś stressed.
Families make pilgrimages to Jasna Góra not only on the occasion of the Pilgrimage of Married Couples and Families, but they come in large numbers throughout the year, including on foot. “Parents even set out with their young children. I talked to a young mother who brought her child to Jasna Góra; she asked Our Lady to keep her faith throughout her life. This is an extraordinary testimony that we Poles have such trust in Our Lady; we believe that She will not abandon us, to Her we entrust our greatest treasure: the next generations,” said Izabela Tyras. “I know from my own experience that a pilgrimage with a baby in a stroller is really exceedingly difficult. When everyone is resting the mother has to take care of her child. There is no time to sit alone and rest, you have to take care of your baby first,” she added.
As the director of the Press Office of Jasna Gora stressed, there are cases of children who make the pilgrimage in their mother’s womb.
A pilgrimage, especially a walking one that lasts several days or more, is a concrete effort. This year because of the epidemic restrictions the pilgrimage to Jasna Gora was more like a relay race, that is, each day separate groups set out on the road. As the pilgrimage guides notice, this year many people dared to set out on the route for the first time. Pilgrimage debutants said that they will go on a full-distance pilgrimage next year.
The pilgrimage is a unique Polish phenomenon that many Poles miss, especially when sanitary restrictions are in effect. This shows even more how Poles need the Mother of God. It is a kind of retreat on the road.
Izabela Tyras summarized this year’s pilgrimage “peaks.” There are two: the first was on the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, on August 15th, and the second was on the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Czestochowa, on August 26th.
From the beginning of the year till the end of August this year, 220 walking pilgrimages came to Jasna Góra, and over 80 500 people participated in them. Most of these were walking pilgrimages; in the first half of August, there were larger ones coming mostly from diocesan, and in the second half they came from the three metropolises of Lodz, Katowice, and Czestochowa.
The number of cycling pilgrimages is also increasing (over 200). There were also 15 running pilgrimages, a traditional one on horseback, and another on roller skates (54 people).
The last walking pilgrimage arrived on September 8th, for the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
“There are very many young people participating in the pilgrimages. The pilgrimage strengthens them a lot in their faith. The next generation is taking over the pilgrimage relay. It is edifying,” Izabela Tyras emphasized at the end.
No longer on foot but… pilgrims continue coming to Czestochowa. Among them are high school graduates who are facing important life choices.
Family News Service