3,000 Priests Pilgrimage in Czestochowa

Recall Clergy Killed During Wars, Communist Regime

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CZESTOCHOWA, Poland, MAY 7, 2010 (Zenit.org).- In honor of the Year for Priests, some 3,000 clergy made a pilgrimage to Czestochowa, recalling their brethren murdered in World War II and during the Communist regime.

The theme of the pilgrimage echoed that of the priestly year, which ends June 19: “Fidelity of Christ, Fidelity of the Priest.”

The priests were joined by 50 Polish bishops, Cardinal Claudio Hummes, prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, and Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, the Archbishop of Krakow and former secretary of John Paul II.

The two-day pilgrimage, which began April 30, included a prayer vigil before the Black Madonna in Jasna Gora Monastery, also known as Our Lady of Czestochowa.

Participants also offered a priestly prayer in the city’s Cathedral of the Holy Family of Nazareth.
The clergy took part in a procession with the relics of St. John Vianney, the patron of parish priests, which left the cathedral and ended in the monastery.

The procession was headed by the two cardinals as well as Archbishop Stanislaw Nowak of Czestochowa.

Cardinal Hummes addressed the pilgrims during a homily in a Mass, urging the Polish priests to take the Bible to the different realms of social life, to cultural circles and among those who do not have faith.
“You must go to families, to workplaces, to schools, to the academic world,” he said.
The prelate stressed the importance of the mission and the apostolic and evangelizing action of the priests.
He pointed out that “when a priest has enthusiasm, courage and faith, he is able to fulfill his mission and finds the true meaning of his identity.”
The cardinal recalled the examples of the Servant of God John Paul II, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, known as the “Primate of the Millennium,” and of martyred priest Jerzy Popielusko, who will be beatified June 6.
A special telegram of Benedict XVI was read on the occasion of this pilgrimage.
At the end of the event, the pilgrims presented to the Black Madonna of Czestochowa a book with more than 3,000 names of priests killed during World War II and the Communist period, as well as the names of murdered missionaries and seminarians.
The priests gave Mary, Jesus’ Mother, a special urn that contains earth from the places where these Polish priests were persecuted and killed.
The last national pilgrimage of priests to Jasna Gora took place 40 years ago, in 1970.
 [With the contribution of Father Mariusz Frukacz]

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