August 26, on the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Czestochowa, Poles honor Mary as the Mother, the Queen and the Protectress of the Polish nation. Jasna Gora is – as Pope Francis said – the spiritual capital of Poland.
In the most difficult moments of history, the Poles go to her, whom they chose for the Protectress of the Nation. “Pilgrims went to Jasna Gora even during the partitions, occupation and communist regime. In free Poland, pilgrims go to the Mother of Jasna Gora in numerous pilgrimages – walking, cycling, motorcycling, on horseback and even on rollerblades – to entrust to Mary their personal and national intentions. The main intentions of this year’s pilgrimages are thanksgiving for the 100th anniversary of Poland regaining independence and the 40th anniversary of the election of Karol Wojtyla as Pope John Paul II” – said Fr. Paweł Rytel-Andrianik, spokesman of the Polish Bishops’ Conference.
Pilgrims come to Jasna Gora throughout the whole year. Every year 4 million pilgrims visit the Jasna Gora sanctuary in groups and individually. The pilgrimage peak falls on July and August when pilgrims in over 40 diocesan and several dozen regional pilgrimages walk to Jasna Gora. The longest route – 617 km – must walk pilgrims from the Archdiocese of Szczecin-Kamien. Moreover, 113 bicycle pilgrimages have come to Jasna Gora this year.
On the eve of the celebrations of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Czestochowa, the Council of Diocesan Bishops will meet at Jasna Gora. The subject matter of the meeting will be issues concerning the Catholic Church in Poland and in the world. On the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Czestochowa bishops will take part in the Mass attended by thousands of pilgrims. The Eucharist will be presided by the Primate of Poland, Archbishop Wojciech Polak.
The Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Czestochowa was established by Pope Pius X for Jasna Gora Sanctuary in 1904. Then, Pope Pius XI, in 1931, established the celebration of the feast on August 26. Four years later, the liturgical texts for the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Czestochowa were approved, which praise Mary’s protection over Poland. Since 1956, the feast has been celebrated throughout Poland.
Press Office of the Polish Bishops’ Conference