On July 23, 2017, Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, inaugurated the title of “minor Basilica” accorded to the church of Saint Nicholas at Rychwald in Poland. The church has been a Marian Shrine since the 17th Century, reported Vatican Radio in Polish.
Cardinal Sarah went to Poland at the invitation of the Polish Conventual Franciscans. He also visited Krakow. In his homily he stressed that this Shrine of “Our Lady of the Land of Zywiec” was a privileged place for a personal and intimate encounter with God, who gives true happiness.
During his visit to Krakow, Cardinal Sarah spoke of the importance of silence in the liturgy, stressing that the end of the celebration is to praise God. “We cannot praise him with noise but only with the purity of our hearts, with our faith,” said the Prefect.
“It’s a distinction,” stressed Father Bogdan Kocanda OFM Conv., guardian of the Shrine, because in this way [the church of Saint Nicholas] becomes a papal church, however, with the honours come new tasks, new responsibilities, primarily connected with the exercise of the liturgy in the Basilica.”
The Rychwald Shrine houses a miraculous image of the Virgin with the Infant Jesus in her arms, painted at the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries. On July 18, 1965, the miraculous image was crowned by Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, Primate of Poland, and the Archbishop of Krakow, Monsignor Karol Wojtyla, the future Pope John Paul II.