Pilgrims set off for Poland’s Black Madonna shrine
PR dla Zagranicy
A group of some 3,300 pilgrims on Monday left Warsaw heading for the famous Black Madonna shrine in the southern city of Częstochowa.
Photo: PAP/Leszek Szymański
They plan to walk the about 250-kilometre trek in nine days and are expected to arrive in Częstochowa on the eve of the Feast of the Assumption of the Holy Virgin Mary on August 15.
In a homily during a mass for the pilgrims, Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz, the archbishop of Warsaw, referred to the centenary of Poland regaining independence after 123 years of foreign rule. He said Poles should offer their thanks to God for the gift of freedom.
Nycz also said that the late Pope John Paul II, who was elected to the papacy 40 years ago this year, did a great deal for the cause of freedom in Poland and worldwide as well as in people's personal lives.
The tradition of the Warsaw pilgrimage to the Black Madonna shrine goes back to the early 18th century. This year’s pilgrimage is being held for the 307th time.
It has been joined by groups from Germany, Lithuania and Hungary.
August is the peak of the pilgrimage season in Poland, with some 200,000 people expected to arrive in Częstochowa on August 15. Some people, from cities such as Szczecin and Białystok, cover more than 500 kilometres.