Nearly 80,000 people attended the celebrations of the 140th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady in Gietrzwald, on Sunday, September 10th. These apparitions are among the twelve recognized by the Church.
The Holy Mass at the sanctuary near the town of Gietrzwald was presided by Poland’s Primate, Metropolitan Archbishop of Gniezno, H.E. Msgr. Wojciech Polak. In his homily, he stressed that Mary’s apparitions had given the Poles great hope for their homeland divided by annexation. Archbishop Polak recalled that, in Gietrzwald, Our Lady spoke in Polish, language that, just a few years earlier, the Prussian invaders had forbidden in the schools, ordering that only German be spoken there.
The Marian apparitions in Gietrzwald took place from June 27th to September 16th, 1877, that is, 19 years after Mary appeared in Lourdes. The main visionaries were the teenagers Justyna Szafryńska and Barbara Samulowska, to whom Our Lady appeared nearly 160 times. In her message, among other things, Mary asked that the Rosary be recited daily and called for conversion.
Like in Lourdes, she presented herself as the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, the Immaculate Conception.
On the 125th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Gietrzwald, John Paul II wrote: “Together with you, I want to listen to her words again: ‘Do not be sad, for I will always be with you.’” On the 140th anniversary of the apparitions, Pope Francis sent a special message, assuring his spiritual communion and encouraging the prayer of the Rosary.
Archbishop Józef Górzyński thanked the Bishops, the State Authorities, and all those present at the celebrations and invited them to visit the sanctuary.