Meeting of HLI Europe pro-life leaders in Czestochowa, Poland, 26-28 October 2018
Twenty European Human Life International (HLI) leaders participated in a meeting held in Czestochowa, the spiritual capital of Poland, under the spiritual guidance of Father Shenan Boquet, President of HLI. Czestochowa is the place where you cand find The Black Madonna, worshiped as Queen of Poland, the one who kept the faith of the nation alive during difficult times in history. Therefore, it is easy to observe the fact that Poland appears as a pain in the neck for the European Union, which frantically desires to spread its secular, anti-Christian values; furthermore, Poland remains a fortress of Christianity, the country who gifted Saint Pope John Paul II to the Catholic Church.
We gathered to celebrate 25 years since the birth of HLI Poland with its immense work in the defence of life and family – one of the few subsidiaries which proved capable to produce effective pro-life laws. Ewa Kowalewska led the HLI Office in Gdansk and has been travelling throughout Russia and other slavic nations from Eastern Europe. She was empowered by Father Paul Mark himself, the founder of HLI. Furthermore, Ewa painted a copy of the Icon from Jasna Gora for Kazakhstan.
HLI held strategic meetings with the leaders as well as a day of retreat under the spiritual guidance of Father Shenan Boquet. Among participants were Joseph Meaney from Paris, International Director for Missions; Joannes Bucher, HLI coordinator for Europe; Father Francesco Giordano, representing the HLI Office in Rome; HLI leaders from Albania, Ireland, Czech Republic, Slowakia, Croatia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Romania, Hungary, Kazakhstan and of course Poland.
Our special guest was His Excellency Tomas Peta, Archbishop of Astana, who received the Icon of The Black Madonna from Jasna Gora in a solemn ceremony marking the beginning of Her pilgrimage in Kazakhstan.
The ones who paid a visit to the Black Madonna in the Jasna Gora Sanctuary in Czestochowa had the opportunity to experience Her miraculous work: one does not simply walk into Her Sanctuary, you fall on your knees, whether you are a devoted Christian or not. The floor is covered with marble, but somehow you get to feel an inexplicable heat, one does feel completely unbothered staying in that position, needless to say that there were 7-8 Celsius degrees outside on a cold and rainy day. Get up for a moment and you will notice that absolutely everybody finds it easier to kneel during a whole Rosary. You just felt the urge to get back on your knees as soon as possible, just in case you were losing the miraculous work of Our Lady that warmed our souls through that floor, by bending the knee and opening your heart to Her. That is our Lady’s way to teach us humility, the meaning of true prayer, a prayer which, in the presence of the miraculous Icon, holds you captive, warms you and transposes you into another dimension.
Jasna Gora is the biggest centre of Marian devotion which has not been founded as a consequence of any apparition of Our Lady, comparable only to Lourdes in terms of numbers of pilgrims.
The Hungarian Duke Vladislav Opole gifted in 1382 a hillock of milestone with the height of 293 m to the Hungarian monks from the Order Of Saint Paul, the First Eremite. They called it Jasna Gora (Bright Mountain). The donation included an Icon of Our Lady with Baby Jesus painted by Luke the Apostle himself, which the Duke found in the Castle of Belz.
The Sanctuary was miraculously defended during the Swedish Invasion in 1655. One year later, King John II Casimir of Poland named Our Lady ’’Queen Of Poland’’.
Let us remember the words of Pope John Paul II from 1979:
„So many times we came here to this holy place with attentive pastoral ear, to listen to the beating of the heart of the Church and of that of the motherland in the heart of the Mother . . . For her heart beats, we know, together with all the happenings of history, with all the events of our national life . . . But if we want to know how this history is interpreted by the heart of the Poles, we must come here, we must attune our ear to this shrine, we must hear the echo of the life of the whole nation in the heart of its Mother and Queen. And if her heart beats with a tone of disquiet, if it echoes with solicitude and the cry for the conversion and strengthening of consciences, this invitation must be accepted. It is an invitation springing from maternal love, which in its own way is shaping the historical processes in the land of Poland” (Homily at Mass, Jasna Góra, 4 June 1979; in L’Osservatore Romano English-language edition, 11 June 1979, pp. 10- 11).
There are no better words to synthetize the reason for millions of people to put Jasna Gora on their priority list when it comes to pilgrimages.
May Romania, the country with the highest abortion rate in Europe, the biggest loss of the pro-life movement through the recent failure of the referendum and with one of the most corrupt politicians in history, the country which is still treating its post-communistic wounds, where the majority of the youth intellectuality decides to emigrate and where the heresy of faith is more than allarming, take Poland’s example and run to Our Lady and ask for help through prayer and sacrifice, in order to return to the true Law of God.