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Friends of Human Life Club

ul. Jaskowa Dolina 47/1A
80-286 Gdansk, Poland


PL 11 1240 1242 1787 0010 1225 9846

PL 77 1240 1242 1978 0010 1225 9875

PeKaO S.A. I/o Gdansk
ul. Reja 13/15
81-874 Sopot, Poland



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my Beautiful Lady
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Klub Przyjaciół Ludzkiego Życia
ul. Jaśkowa Dolina 47/1a
80-286 Gdańsk, Poland

tel. (48) 58 341-19-11
fax (48) 58 346-10-02
e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

1. What Is An Icon In The Christian Tradition?

According to ancient Christian tradition, an icon is a "window" to holiness, to heaven.  In it or through it one can come into the presence of God or look at the world and eternity through the eyes of God.  Contemplating an icon, a person can enter the spiritual world and approach that which is sacred.  An icon allows one to experience time from a divine perspective.  Everything that occurs in the icon takes place simultaneously and always.  It enables one to see the invisible and sense what is eternal and indestructible, to contemplate the spiritual world.  And further, it allows a believer to enter into a direct relationship with God, the Mother of God, or the saints.  An icon is the prayer of a person, a hymn to the Glory of God.  It is a channel of grace.  Some bluntly speak of energy emanating from an icon.  The fact is that many people experience the "touch" of God's presence when they enter into its depths.  Thanks to that, God brings to pass many signs, spiritual and physical healings.  It is even said that the most venerated icons are "miracle makers".

2. How Is An Icon To Be Read?

While maintaining the realism of the world it presents, an icon is at the same time a unique language, the painted word of God, the living Gospel.  Therefore, icons are not painted, but rather, written.  They use color, luster, shape, symbol, change how  proportion is expressed, and reverse perspective.  This particular language of an icon is well-known in the East.  The West, however, has moved away somewhat from this tradition and needs to be reeducated in it.  For example, the color gold signifies holiness, imperishability, eternity.  The figures of Jesus and Our Lady have traditionally colored garments, which signify their natures.  Gestures are especially important, e.g. the arrangement of fingers in blessing hands.  The figures in an icon are always displayed frontally, which witnesses to their reality and sincerity.  The eyes simultaneously look through to the interior and to eternity.  Similarly the ears are directed to the interior, listening to the voice of God.

The types of iconographic images are strictly defined, e.g. there are various ways of representing Our Lady:  HODIGITRIA--A guide pointing the way, ELEOUSA--cuddling the baby Jesus to her face, or ORANTA--the Praying one, and many others.  Famed icons of a defined type carry their own names.  And so, of  those which are most well-known and considered the oldest, the Czestochowa icon is HODIGITRIA and the Vladimir icon is ELEOUSA.  Most important however is the path of a living spiritual relationship between the heavenly and earthly worlds.  Thus, when we stand before an icon and contemplate that reality, we can establish a spiritual connection with the world of the sacred.  If one doesn't understand completely that fascinating language, he needs to let himself be carried away by the sublime sensations that come over a person who prays through the icon.

As an image, an icon is not and cannot be the object of worship, because the image is not God Himself.  It only makes possible, facilitates the spiritual contact of a man with the Creator and with saints.  The Christian does not worship the icon itself, but the living God, who through the reality displayed in the icon, draws the person to Himself.

3. The Role of the Iconographer

An iconographer gives his hands, talents, mind, and heart over to the service of the Gospel.  His task is to open the way to the presence of God.  To accomplish that, he must obediently conform to the canon of traditional iconography.  He is not free to launch his own world view, change the language of the icon and introduce innovations.  He must humbly and patiently imitate the ancient examples.  In practice, the idea of a copy does not apply, since each blessed icon is a road which leads to the authentic presence of a holy person.  Thus, each icon is a true original.  All changes must fit into the boundaries of the biblical canon. In order to show the way to the divine reality and lead a person to God, the iconographer must enter that path himself.  That is his personal mystery.  He does this while praying, fasting, and offering his work to God.  If he doesn't do that, the icon he writes will be dead.  He must also be completely transparent.  According to the ancient Christian tradition, the icon does not have a human author.  Icons are not signed like pictures, because the Author of the icon is God Himself.

4. How does the icon differ from a painting or image?

The language of the icon is based on Sacred Scripture, the unique manner of evangelization.  It is thus governed by a strict canon which may not be altered,  just as one is not allowed to revise Sacred Scripture.  A painter is the creator of his painting, in which he presents his own world view.  An iconographer must humbly conform to the canon of language and content in order to remain faithful to the teaching of the Church.  In this context one can see the immense difference between the most beautiful religious painting and the canonical icon.  It is like comparing a philosophical tract with the Holy Scripture.  This also applies even to the most beautiful image, which is not and cannot become the language, the actual content of the Word of God and window to the spiritual, heavenly reality.

5. Why the Czestochowa Icon?

The Czestochowa icon is of the Hodigitria type or the "Guide to the Path".  This means that the Our Lady leads us to Christ, points out the way to God, the giver of life.  Therefore, her right hand points to Christ.  Like a loving mother, she protects life.

According to the ancient Christian tradition, the Czestochowa icon is one of  the oldest icons and was written on the surface of a table from Mary's home in Nazareth by St. Luke the Evangelist.  It is honored greatly throughout the world.

There is a well-known prophecy by Fr. Serafin Sarowski, a great Orthodox saint, monk, eremite and ascetic of the first half of the 19th century.  He said that unless Russia returns to the faith, a river of blood will flow and there will be great persecutions.  But afterwards, God will give Russia time to return to Him, for which we must pray before the Czestochowa icon.  He died in 1833, and the appearances in Fatima did not take place until 1917.

The Czestochowa Icon is found in Poland in the monastery of the Pauline Fathers on Jasna Gora in the center of Europe.  In this icon, east meets west and north meets south.  It is known throughout the entire world.

Representatives of the Orthodox movement from Russia chose the Czestochowa icon for the pilgrimage as the most venerated and well-known icon, uniting east and west.  On 28 January 2012, in the monastery at Jasna Gora,  leaders of pro-life movements from 18 countries prayed before that icon and solemnly made an "Act of dedicating the defense of the civilization of life and love" into the hands of their Mother and Helper.  At the same time, the copy of the icon assigned to the pilgrimage "From Ocean to Ocean" through the world in defense of life was touched to the original and blessed.

6. A Bit of History

The documented history of the Czestochowa icon began in 1382, when it was delivered and donated to the Pauline Fathers at Jasna Gora by Wladyslaw, prince of Opole.  According to his written declaration, he received it as a gift in Belz, Rus.  In order to learn the prior history of the Czestochowa icon, we must turn to Christian tradition, which decisively maintains that it is one of the oldest icons, written by
St. Luke the Evangelist, on a panel that was the table top of Our Lady's family home in Nazareth.  It was certainly taken to Byzantium, where evidence of its presence can be found.  Next it was taken to Rus as a wedding gift.  The lack of historical documentation has generated discussions among specialists who present various hypotheses regarding the time and place of its origin and the roads it travelled.

The substrate of this icon consists of three boards, which were not reinforced by special grooves on the back.  If it really was a tabletop, it would not be necessary to use  such reinforcement.  Over the course of its history, the icon was twice split and restored.  The greatest damage occurred as a result of the robbery by assault on the monastery of the Pauline Fathers at Jasna Gora in 1430. In an aggressive act of profanation, the icon was stripped of the silver plate in which it was covered along with many jewels.  It was broken into three pieces, and the face of Our Lady was twice cut with a sword.  After its restoration, the scars were left on the cheek of Our Lady, and to this day they make a great impression and remain as a characteristic feature of the Czestochowa icon.

The copy designated for the peregrination "From Ocean to Ocean"  was made in Poland, touched to the original and blessed by Archbishop Stanislaw Nowak, the Metropolitan of Czestochowa.  It is the same size as the original and made on a solid carved board of linden wood.  It was made by the traditional method using egg tempera and natural dyes as well as 23 carat gold leaf. It was also supplemented by elements necessary for canonical orthodox icons, which disappeared during the historic restorations and repainting.  These are: a cross in Christ's halo (made with white gold on yellow gold), changing one of the lilies on the right arm to a star (there should be three stars--on the arms and forehead--which signify that Mary is a virgin before, during and after the birth of Christ. The Child Jesus is the third star.),  and the ancient orthodox inscriptions on the background signifying who is portrayed on the icon.  A characteristic feature of that copy are tears on the left cheek of Our Lady.

The leaders of pro-life movements from 20 countries are members of the International Peregrination Committee which decided to make a pilgrimage "From Ocean to Ocean" in defense of life, from Vladivostok to Fatima.

Is the Czestochowa Icon Polish?

The Czestochowa icon has been in Poland in the monastery of the Pauline fathers at Jasna Gora in Czestochowa since 1382.  Over the centuries, the presence of the Czestochowa icon became rooted in Polish history.  Jasna Gora, surrounded with great reverence by Poles, became a national shrine.  In the 17th century the victorious defense of the monastery was the turning point in the war with Sweden.  It marked the beginning of the expulsion of  the invaders and the icon became a symbol of the unity of the nation.  The Polish King, Jan Kazimierz, proclaimed Our Lady of Czestochowa the Queen of Poland.

Over the course of time, Our Lady of Czestochowa was crowned several times by papal crowns.  Blessed John Paul II had great devotion to the icon of Czestochowa and returned to Jasna Gora several times.  As a personal relic, he gave the Mother of God his stole, which was bloodied from the assassination attempt in St. Peter's Square.  It is contained in a special capsule located above the altar next to the icon.

Poles greatly revere the Czestochowa icon and visit it often.  They consider Mary their Mother and Queen.  They go to her with all their problems.  Millions of people visit the monastery at Jasna Gora.

Despite such strong ties with Poland, however, it cannot be said that the icon is exclusively Polish.  It is known and revered in many countries around the world.  Its origin is undoubtedly connected with the beginning of Christianity and with Byzantium.  It also has connections with Rus.  This icon is also venerated by the Orthodox Church and other western Christian faith communities.

In summary:  the Czestochowa icon is one of Christianity's holiest relics and is widely known and venerated throughout the whole world.

7. The Czestochowa Icon in Russia

The Czestochowa icon is known and valued in Russia.  The Orthodox Church venerates it as one of the oldest of the so-called Lucan school.   It can be found in Orthodox homes.  Holy cards depicting it are  widely  available in Russia.  It is considered to be an ancient Orthodox icon, which comes from Byzantium and was also present in Rus in Belz.  Old and new copies of it are frequently found in Orthodox churches.  The Orthodox name for it is "Invincible Victory".  The hymn "Victorious Queen" is sung in her honor.  It is the patron of those who desire a restoration of national and family values.

8. What inspired the pilgrimage with the Czestochowa Icon "From Ocean to Ocean"?

The icon was presented to the Russian Orthodox pro-life movement, whose leaders decided to transport her in a pro-life pilgrimage through Russia, beginning in Vladivostok, located in the Far East on the shore of the Pacific Ocean.  The goal of the journey had to be determined, and the possibility of its going further, through all of Europe to Fatima, to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean was considered.  The leaders of the movements for the defense of life from Europe came to Czestochowa where they formed  an International Committee and with joy accepted that idea.  While at first it seemed like a foolish, impossible concept, the peregrination "From Ocean to Ocean" became a reality.

According to a time-honored custom, Christians brought a holy icon to the front lines, like the Ark of the Covenant, asking God for help  in the time of the greatest threats and wars.  Today, we want to bring the icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa to the front line of the great struggle for  the civilization of life, which is under attack by the more and more powerful and very aggressive civilization of death.

9. Why are both the Orthodox and Catholic Churches hosting the Czestochowa icon during this peregrination?

The peregrination of the Czestochowa icon "From Ocean to Ocean" through the world in defense of life is a joint initiative of pro-life movements from many countries and the international organization Human Life International.  The copy of the Czestochowa icon, which was touched to the original and blessed at Jasna Gora, is a gift of the Polish pro-life movement to the Russian movement.  The leaders of the movement in the east are Orthodox, while the majority in the west are Catholic.  They have gone to their bishops, asking for their blessing and acceptance of the pilgrim icon in defense of life.  For that reason, the Orthodox church is hosting the Czestochowa icon in Russia, but in Belarus, both churches together decided on the route and locations of meetings.  The Catholic Church will host it in Poland, Hungary, and in Spain.  To the extent possible, the icon will also visit Orthodox churches in the west.  The cult of the Mother of God in the Czestochowa icon and the defense of human life and its dignity are powerful elements uniting both churches.

10. Why is the Czestochowa icon so important for the defense of human life?

Our Lady of Czestochowa is considered by the Christian tradition to be written by St. Luke the Evangelist on the tabletop from Mary's home in Nazareth.  In that icon, Mary is presented as Hodigitria, a guide, a Mother who points out the way.  Her right hand points to Christ.  The current threat to the civilization of life and love has a global character.  Defenders of life realize that alone they have no chance of winning the struggle with the extremely aggressive civilization of death.  They ask for help from the Mother of God, who defends life and crushed the head of the eternal killer.  They chose the Czestochowa icon as the most well-known and unifying tradition in the east as well as in the west.  They stood before the Mother of God in the Czestochowa icon and dedicated the defense of the civilization of life and love to her.  The pilgrimage "From Ocean to Ocean" is a great act of faith in victory.  After all, the Czestochowa icon carries the title "Invincible Victory" in the east.

11. Good websites for doing some research no icons

1. http://campus.udayton.edu/mary/resources/icon4.html
2. http://lemko.org/books/ikony/index.html
3. http://www.traditionaliconography.com/theology.asp


2019-08-27 Guayaquil Hogar de la Madre

Farewell to Panama - in the parish of St. Anthony of Padua - August 8, 2019 (fragment 3)

Farewell to Panama - in the parish of St. Anthony of Padua - August 8, 2019 (fragment 2)

Farewell to Panama - in the parish of St. Anthony of Padua - August 8, 2019

Chitré Panama - on the way to the cathedral - January 12, 2019

Chitré Panama in the monastery of St. Joseph Augustinian Sisters - 12 January 2019

Ecuador - the first moments of the Virgin Mary's visit to the Carmelite Sisters - April 10, 2017


Ecuador - Arrival in Santo Domingo - March 24, 2017 and March for Life the next day


Tijuana, B.C. Northern Mexico - May 2, 2015

Lech Kowalewski - The Holy Icon of Black Madonna of Czestochowa - Voice from American Czestochowa

Ewa Kowalewska - The Holy Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa - Voice from American Czestochowa

Ewa Kowalewska - Coordinator of the pilgrimage "From Ocean to Ocean" - Voice from American Czestochowa

The Black Madonna of Częstochowa w/ Fr. Peter West at ChurchMilitantTV

Our Lady of Czestochowa Icon in Ottawa - Photos by Pat and maureen - Ave Maria sung by The Priests

2014-03-18 St. Patrick Basilica Ottawa, Canada - Processional out of the Church to SCAVI

2014-03-18 St. Patrick Basilica Ottawa, Canada - Fr Peter West

2014-03-18 St. Patrick Basilica Ottawa, Canada - Homily Archbishop Terrence

2014-03-18 St. Patrick Basilica Ottawa, Canada - Procession with the icon

Fr. West Gives an Update on the Ocean to Ocean Pilgrimage - See more at: http://www.hliworldwatch.org/?p=2993#sthash.XkEIQOr0.dpuf
Fr. West Gives an Update on the Ocean to Ocean Pilgrimage - See more at: http://www.hliworldwatch.org/?p=2993#sthash.XkEIQOr0.dpuf

2014-03-17 Holy Mass in Montreal


February 25, report from KiiiTV news - Corpus Christie, Texas


St. Joseph's Church in Macon, Georgia - 2014-01-04 Homily of Fr Peter West



EWTN Live - 2014-01-08 - Fr Mitch Pacwa with Fr Shenan J. Boquet and Fr Peter West



EWTN Daily Catholic Mass- 2014-01-08 Fr. Wade Menezes



Our Lady of Czestochowa in Charlotte N.C.



Our Lady of Czestochowa Visits New York City



2013-08-26 Prayer with the Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa



Black Madonna Pro-Life Pilgrimage Across North America



Fr. Peter West Gives Update on Ocean to Ocean Pilgrimage



Information about the upcoming pilgrimage in America - an invitation



Russian film "From Ocean to Ocean"







Hiszpania - Jerez



Spain - Cádiz



Spain - Cádiz, Ceuta



Spain - Benalup-Casas Viejas



Spain - Mairena del Alcor



Spain - Valladolid - 02.01.2013



Spain - the first day - 15.12.2012



Our Lady of Czestochowa in Chiswick 6 Nov 2012



Procession of the Black Madonna in Brussels



Czech Republic - 31.8.2012, Brno





Czech Republic - 30.8.2012, Brno



Czech Republic - 29.8.2012, Praga



Czech Republic - 28.8.2012, Hradec Králové



Czech Republic - 27.8.2012, Olomouc



Czech Republic - 26.8.2012, Ostrava



Poland - Warsaw



Poland - Bydgoszcz



Poland - Gdańsk




Poland - Sokółka





Latvia - Riga - night vigil



Belarus - Homel




[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qc8YD9GySy8&feature=youtu.be&a align:center]

Belarus - Grodno





[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8df7Hkqt1EY&feature=youtu.be align:center]



[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aP_lmjQGpzc align:center]

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXr9Sp6uUSs&feature=player_embedded align:center]


With Czestochowa icon in defense of life


Short Film (10:30)

1 Czestochowa

2 Russia

3 Belarus - with the Orthodox

4 Ukraine

5 Belarus - with the Catholics

6 Latvia

7 Lithuania

8 Poland

9 Czech Republic

10 Slovakia

11 Hungary and Romania

12 Slovenia

13 Croatia

14 Italy

15 Austria

16 Lichtenstein

17 Switzerland

18 Germany

19 Belgium

20 Great Britain

21 Ireland

22 France

23 Spain

24 Portugal

Our Lady will visit Poland on August 12 - 26. We are building a glassed altar on wheels especially for her in order to comfortably  go and be seen in all the towns she will passed. We organize meetings, there is a lot of work.

We have collected nearly one third of the funds needed. Thank you everyone for the gifts of heart, and especially the person who gave a whole 1000, - zloty. for this purpose. This raises hope that we will manage. Although to Poland the Mother of God in her journey through the world in defense of life will come on  August 12, our friends from the Baltic countries and Belarus, really, really ask us to lend them the altar on wheels. For example, in Belarus she is scheduled to visit about 30 cities and towns - the Orthodox and Catholics together. It is unrealistic to expect that in the difficult position they are in they would be able to participate in the costs of the altar. For them, the visit begins on  July 15, so time is very limited.

We have not constructed the altar yet and already it got a name "Pro-life mobile", like the van, which carries her through Russia. It will be a glassed altar on wheels. First we built the chassis in a form of a custom cargo trailer with overrun brakes. It is already registered. What we are building now is from the law point of view only cargo. The cargo trailer and the license plate is already paid.

Currently the slotted grid platform is welded (relatively light and stiff), the sides and the skeleton for the glass cabin. We hope that by the end of next week, it will all go to galvanizing, because it has to be shiny, flexible and durable. We still need to work out many details.

We did the advance payment for sufficiently large and strong glass( P4), which is expensive. However, it can not be replaced by any plastic, since only glass will remain transparent after kilometers of travel. We came also to a conclusion that we need to design and construct additional frame and tarpaulin in order to shield the altar, for example, when driving at night, in rain or on a ferry. The altar will also be equipped with lighting and its own power, but unfortunately it will cost a bit more than initially anticipated.

Status of the altar on wheels, placed on a trailer show attached photos.

Most private companies participating in the project literally do all the work at cost. Very important is also the expert advice. Everybody says that after building this amazing vehicle it will be worth ten times more than what we pay for its construction. I hope that it will serve Our Lady for many years.


Currently we are still missing about 6 thousand. 400 zloty!

We do not want to cause debts to Our Lady and abuse kindness of companies that have undertaken the work without advance payments. We believe that we can always count on Friends and together we will make it happen.

 Gifts of heart can be paid to Friends of Human Life Club account. (bank data on the left)

a warm God bless to you all,
who help save lives!

Ewa H. Kowalewska
Friends of Human Life Club
Human Life International - Poland

What is Ocean to Ocean? Interview with Dr. Thomas Ward

oc ward150

Interview by CF News with Dr. Thomas Ward member of the International Executive Committee of From Ocean to Ocean:

Towards the new Evangelisation and the Civilisation of Love and Life, Marriage and the Family.

CF NEWS : What is From Ocean to Ocean?

Dr WARD : It is a act of entrustment of the Civilisation of Love and Life into the hands of the Mother of God.

CFN : But why the name From Ocean to Ocean?

TW : It is a pilgrimage of an icon of the Mother of God from the Pacific Ocean at Vladivostok to the Atlantic Ocean at Fatima.

CFN : Why Entrustment to the Mother of God?

TW : Because the scale of the global attack on life, on marriage which is the union of one man one woman and the family is massive and without historical precedent. We know that alone we can not overcome the Culture of Death.

CFN : What is unique about this pilgrimage?

TW : After one thousand years of fratricidal distrust the Mother of God is bringing her Orthodox and Catholic sons and daughters to work together to bring about the new Civilisation of Love based upon the family in the Third Christian Millennium.

CFN : Why choose the icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa?

TW : It is the most well-known and unifying tradition in the East as well as in the West and in Russia Our Lady of Czestochowa is the patron of those who desire a restoration of family values. It is one of Christianity's holiest relics.

CFN : What is the history of the Icon of Czestochowa?

TW : The documented history shows that Wladyslaw, prince of Opole donated the icon to Jasna Gora in 1382 and that he had received it as a wedding gift in Belz Rus.

There is evidence the icon having been in Constantinople. Prior to this we must turn to Christian tradition which maintains that it was written by St. Luke. The icon dates from before the schism between the Church in the West and the East and therefore like the Mother of God belongs to both Orthodox East and Catholic West.

CFN : Why did Poles write this beautiful replica and then give it to the Russian Orthodox pro-life movement?

TW : I think quite simply as an act of fraternal solidarity with Russian families. What happened was that Human Life International and HLI Poland gave it to a coalition of Russian Orthodox pro-life/pro-family groups including Zhizn (Life) , the Charity Fund for the Protection of Family, Motherhood and Childhood and the All Russian organisation For Life and the Protection of Family Values.

CFN : Is the icon of Czestochowa revered by the Orthodox?

TW : The Orthodox Church venerates it as one of the oldest of the so-called Lucan school and consider it to be an ancient Orthodox icon. Old and new copies of it are frequently found in Orthodox churches. It can be found in Orthodox homes. The Orthodox name for it is 'Invincible Victory'. The hymn 'Victorious Queen' is sung in her honour. It is the patron of those who desire a restoration of national and family values. They chose the Czestochowa icon as the most well-known and unifying tradition in the east as well as in the west

CFN : Tell me about the support of the Russian Orthodox Church for From Ocean to Ocean

TW : Writing of our pilgrimage Metropolitan Hilarion, chairman of the Department of External Church Relations of the Patriarchate of Moscow, observed that in the contemporary world, people increasingly aim to achieve material prosperity, and unfortunately family and children are often regarded as an obstacle to self-realisation. He hopes that our endeavour, which he has blessed, would contribute to the protection of life and the strengthening of family values.

CFN : And the Poles?

TW : Quite simply I believe the icon of Czestochowa is the heart of Poland and that it was She who delivered the East from atheistic Communism. In very few words - Maryja Królowa Polski Mary, Queen of Poland.

CFN: And in British Isles?

TW: I am delighted to say that the the Pilgrimage of the Black Madonna of Częstochowa from Vladivostok to Fatima in defence of life and the family will visit England and Scotland from the 5th to the 16th November 2012 just shortly after the launch of the Year of Faith.



By Father Peter West

Our Lord compared the growth of the Kingdom of God to the growth of a small mustard seed into a large shrub. (Mark 4, 30-3-32).  This is a reminder that sometimes great enterprises have very small beginnings.  At this moment, a small band of pro-life missionaries are on a pilgrimage across Russia.   From a worldly perspective their efforts might seem insignificant. However, seen through the eyes of faith, their journey has the potential to be of enormous significance for the building of a culture of life and the family in Russia all of Europe.

The small band left the port city of Vladivostok on the Pacific Coast of Russia on June 14th with a replica of the famous icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa. The revered image of our Blessed Mother, displayed on a specially designed secure trailer, will be venerated across eight time zones in Russia, and eventually will zigzag across Europe to Fatima, Portugal and, hopefully, will even come to the United States in the spring of 2013.

What would motivate a small band of believers to undertake what is being called the “From Ocean to Ocean International Campaign in Defense of Life” – to go to such extreme measures for what many will perceive as a quaint religious observance? The pilgrimage, or peregrination, of the icon, is intended as a response to nearly a century of legalized abortion in Russia, and to stop the spread of this deadly scourge to the rest of the world?   Anyone who has studied Scripture or Church history will recognize the purpose of this extraordinary event. They believe that the victory of life will come about through the powerful intercession of Mary, the Mother of God, as foretold in the Book of Revelation (Rev. 11,19-12,18)

In the Old Testament, the Jews carried the Ark of the Covenant into battle (cf. Joshua 3, 3-6). Many Fathers of the Church compare Mary to the Ark of the New Covenant, such as St. Ambrose.  Saint Ambrose wrote “The Ark contained the Tablets of the Law; Mary contained in her womb the heir of the Testament. The Ark bore the Law; Mary bore the Gospel. The Ark made the voice of God heard; Mary gave us the very Word of God. The Ark shone forth with the purest gold; Mary shone forth both inwardly and outwardly with the splendor of her virginity. The gold which adorned the Ark came from the interior of the earth; the gold with which Mary shone forth came from the mines of Heaven.” (Serm. xlii. 6, Int. Opp., S. Ambrosii)

Though the practice of peregrination with icons of the Blessed Mother has fallen out of favor in much of the Catholic world, its history is worth noting. Even in the West, the faithful have over the centuries venerated the images of the Blessed Virgin Mary and called on her intercession in times of great distress.

In 1571, when the Bishop of Mexico heard that Europe was threatened with an invasion from the Turkish Navy, he sent a replica of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe to Pope Pius V. The Pope gave the image to Admiral Andrea Doria, who carried it into battle on one of the lead ships at Lepanto. On October 7, 1571, Christian forces defeated the much larger Turkish Navy and saved Europe from invasion.

In 1812, Russian forces carried the icon of “The Reigning Mother of God” into battle as they drove Napoleon and his invading army out of Russia. Just over a century later, on March 1, 1917 a pious Russian widow named Eudocia received a revelation from the Blessed Virgin Mary to look for the icon, which had been lost for many years. The next day, at the same moment that Tsar Nicholas of Russia abdicated his throne, 3:00 PM on March 2, the icon was found, having been hidden in a basement in the village of Kolomenskoye, just outside Moscow.

Many people began to venerate the icon and miraculous healings began to occur, even as what would become known as the October Revolution was launched against the ruling Tsars of Russia. Eudocia, after another vision, said the Mother of God told her that if the icon was marched around the Kremlin seven times it would not fall. But it was taken around only once, before gunfire was heard. The Bolsheviks captured the Kremlin, marking the onset of Russia’s century of darkness.

These and other stories are not often heard in the West, as icons are particularly venerated in the East.  An icon, as opposed to paintings, sculptures or other artistic depictions of persons is considered to be almost a living presence of the person who is venerated. 

The icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa has a fascinating history of its own. Tradition holds that St. Luke the Evangelist himself “wrote” the icon of what has now become known as “Our Lady of Czestochowa” on a cypress table in the home of the Holy Family. The Icon was damaged by anti-Catholic, Hussite raiders in 1430 who slashed it and attempted to burn her, so much so that today she is referred to as the “Black Madonna.”  In a sense, she is a symbol of Poland herself, scarred but persevering in faith.

Our Lady has interceded for the Polish people many times in her history.  Just one modern example: From May 1 -7, 1979 many people in Poland held what became known as “The  Siege of Jericho” at the shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa they prayed continuous rosaries for the intention that the Communist Polish government would relax its restrictions on the visit of Pope John Paul II to his native land. On May 7, the Polish government unexpectedly relented and dropped the major obstacles that were preventing the Pope’s visit. We know now the fire that now-Blessed Pope John Paul lit with his bold proclamation of the Gospel “behind enemy lines,” and how he large a role he played in the most remarkable peaceful revolution of the century, eventually even bringing down Communism in Poland and eventually the Soviet Union.

These and similar historic events testify to the all too-often forgotten power of prayer—particularly in asking for the intercession of the Blessed Mother to deliver the faithful from problems that seem too overwhelming for any practical human solution. And this is precisely the situation in which Russia again finds herself today.

In 1920, Russia was the first country to legalize abortion for any reason. Josef Stalin again outlawed abortion in 1936, not because he respected human life, but he saw that it was weakening his nation, decimating the population of Russia along with war, the various purges and the starvation of millions. Shortly after his death in 1954, abortion was again legalized, and the number of babies lost again skyrocketed, peaking in 1964 with 5.6 million abortions performed. Abortion remains the primary means of birth control in Russia, although the rate is falling (still at a very high rate of just under 40% of all pregnancies ending in abortion in 2010).

In 1917, Our Lady of Fatima predicted that Russia would spread her errors throughout the world. Although several volumes are filled with the depth and breadth of these errors, the greatest is undoubtedly the state endorsement of the killing of children in the womb.

But now again, Russia knows she has a problem. Her population continues to decline at an alarming rate. The total fertility rate of Russian women hit a historic low in 1999 of 1.16. By 2010, it had risen slightly to 1.59. Even President Vladmir Putin, who does not oppose abortion on moral grounds, has encouraged Russian families to have more children by offering economic incentives.   However, his policies are having little effect.

Against this backdrop of demographic collapse, widespread abortion and an apparent inability for Russia and other dying European countries to marshal a return to openness to life, a faithful few are looking for more dramatic, and more traditional, solutions. Pope John Paul’s monumental encyclical Evangelium Vitae, which he called “central to the whole Magisterium of my Pontificate”, closes with a prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary for victory over the culture of death.

So the faithful again turn to Our Lady under her title of Our Lady of Czestochowa, who is venerated both in the East and the West. In January 2012, along with pro-life leaders from 18 other nations, I travelled to the Shrine of Jasna Gora in Czestochowa, Poland to take part in a planning session for this project. Together we joined the Archbishop of Cracow in a special Mass on January 28th to make a special act of entrustment to the cause of the defense of life and family to Our Lady of Czestochowa and pray for the success of the From Ocean to Ocean International Campaign in Defense of Life.

Even before the official start of the campaign, the icon was brought from Moscow to four cities Kazakhstan where local media covered the event along the way. People of all ages came to adore the sacred icon. Coordinators of the pilgrimage, Lech and Ewa Kowalewski of Human Life International (HLI) Poland, reported that the faces of Orthodox priests and laymen beamed with joy.

The icon arrived in Vladivostok on June 11th and was venerated in several churches including main Cathedral of St. Nicholas.  Good size crowds have accompanied the Blessed Virgin asking for her prayers and have also attended pro-life conferences which will be part of the pilgrim mission all along the way.

A prayer before the icon was offered by Archpriest Aleksandr Talko, the head of the Department of Church Charities and Social Services of the Vladivostok Eparchy. Father Aleksandr said “For all of the days of the stay of the Czestochowa icon in Vladivostok, there will be prayers before the miraculous icon requesting the Mother of God to strengthen family ties."  Church leaders are also praying for a reduction of the problem of alcoholism in Russia.  When people lack faith and hope, they often turn to alcohol which harms their own life and often leads to the dissolution of their family.

This also is no small feat – Russian Orthodox leaders are working together with Roman Catholics to coordinate the historic pilgrimage through Russia.  Because of delicate relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church, the icon will,  at least in Russia, visit only to Russian Orthodox churches.  We pray that our shared devotion to the Blessed Mother may be an occasion for the building of mutual respect, and collaboration in other such efforts for the promotion of faith, life and the family in the future.

Please pray with us that the Blessed Virgin Mary will use this extraordinary event to inspire the people of Russia and all of Europe to return to faith in God and devotion to her.  We  pray  that God will bless the efforts of this tiny band of missionaries and that Our Blessed Mother will awaken the people in every place she visits, to be open to  life and a respect marriage and family life.


EkwadorMapaPL 01

Pilgrimage of the Czestochowa Icon in Ecuador from March 24, 2017

Route in the Diocese of Santo Domingo to January 21,2018

First Municipal Deanery of Ascension - from March 24, 2017 to April 30

March 24 - 25, Parish of the Ascension
March 25 - 26, The Cathedral and the parish of the Good Shepherd
March 27 - March 28, Guardian Angels parish
March 29 - April 4 Parish of Mary Queen of Peace
April 5 - 6, Parish of Blessed Mary Theresa of Jesus (Caroline Gerhardinger)
April 7 - 9, Parish of the Miraculous Medallion
April 10 - 21, Monastery of the Carmelite Sisters - Holy Week and Easter Octave
April 22 - 23,  Parish of the Nativity April
April 24 - 26, Catholic School Complex "Nazareth"
April 27 - 30, Parish of the Queen of Martyrs

Second Municipal Deanery of the Sacred Heart of Jesus - from May 1, 2017 to May 26

May 1 - 5, Congregation of the Missionary Benedictine Sisters
May 5 - 8, Parish of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
May 8 - 9, St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic School
May 9 - 12, Corpus Christi parish
May 12 - 16, Parish of the Sacred Heart of Jesu
May 16 - 17, Sanctuary of Our Lady of Bombolí
May 17 - 21, Parish of Our Lady of Sorrows
May 21 - 26, Prayer Community of Agnus Dei

Rural Deanery of the Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary
(Northwestern part of the Diocese) from May 26, 2017 to June 21

May 26 - 27, St. Vincent parish in Andoas
May 27 - 30, Our Lady of Mount Caramel parish in Puerto Quito
May 30 - June 1, Our Lady of Cisne Parish in Pedro Vicente Maldonado
June 01 - 03, Queen's Parish of Cisne in Celica
June 03 - 09, St. Michael Archangel Parish in Los Bancos
June 09 - 11, St. Vincent Ferrer in Mindo
June 11 - 16 Parish of the Mother of Good Shepherd in Nanegal
June 16 - 18, Parish of Christ the King and Immaculate Conception in Gualea - Armenia
June 18 - 21, Parish of the Holy Cross of Pakto

Rural Deanery of Saint Joseph from June 21, 2017 to September 2

June 21 - 24, Our Lady of Las Mercedes Parish in Las Mercedes
June 24 - August 12, Our Lady of Grace Parish in Tandapi
August 18 - September 2, Catholic School Complex "Nazareth"

Deanery of Crowning of the Blessed Virgin Mary from September 2, 2017 to October 1

September 2 - 7, St. Jacinto Parish in San Jacinto at the Bua
September 7 - 10, St. Vincent Parish in San Vicente at the Bua
September 10 - 19, Christ the King Parish in New Israel
September 19 - 25, Parish of St. Vincent in Nila
September 25 - 27, Jesus de Gran Poder Parish in Luz de América
September 27 - 29, Parish of the Queen of Angels in Puerto Limón
September 29 - October 1, Parish of St. Vincent de Paul in El Esfuerzo

Deanery of Christ's Resurrection from October 1, 2017 to October 3

October 1 - 3, Parish of the Queen of Heaven in Monterey

Continuation - Deanery of Crowning of the Blessed Virgin Mary from October 3, 2017 to October 20

October 3 - 6, Parish of Our Lady of Toachi
October 6 - 13, Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Julio Moreno
October 13 - 20, Christ the Light of the World Parish - non-territorial -  personal parish of Tsachilas Indians

Urban Deanery of the Holy Spirit

October 20 - 31, Parish of the Holy Spirit
October 31 - November 9, St. John Vianney Parish

November 9, Apostolic Vicariate in Puyo. 18:00 procession for the protection of life and family with the participation of all the present bishops of Ecuador and Apostolic Nuncio of Ecuador from the church of St. Vincent Ferrer to the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary.

November 10 - 22, St. Joseph Calasanz Parish
November 22 - December 8, Saint Martha
December 8 - January 20, 2018 Saint Nicholas Parish
20 - 21 January, Parish of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
    - 10:00 AM Solemn Eucharist ending the pilgrimage in the diocese of Santo Domingo and farewell to the Icon.

Program for peregrination of the Czestochowa Icon in Ecuador

in the Primate's Archdiocese of Quito

January 21 - February 1 Quito Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
February 1 - 4, Parish of the Good Shepherd in the Kenedy District in Quito (Franciscans. Conventual fathers from Poland)
February 4 -18, Parish of the Immaculate Conception in Tumbaco
February 17, Archdiocesan Catechist Meeting - Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador (PUCE)
February 19 - 25, Parish of St. James the Apostle in Puembo
February 26 - March 4, Parish of St. Lawrence in Yaruqui
March 04 - 11, Shrine of the Presentation of the Mother of God in Quinche
March 12 - 18, Parish of the Lord of Good Hope in Checa
March 19 - 25, Parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Azcazubi
March 25 - April 8, Parish of the Good Shepherd in the Kenedy District in Quito (Franciscans. Conventual fathers from Poland)


August 2 - 10, Parish of the Pilgrim Lady of Puengasí
August 12 - 15, Parish of Christ the Savior of Chiriyac
August 15 - 18, Parish of The Lord of Good Hope in Villaflora
August 18 - 21, St. Anne's Parish
August 22 - 29, Parish of Saint Mary Magdalene of La Magdalena
August 29 - September 1, Parish of Our Lady of Calzado

November 26, 2018 - August 10, 2019 - Panama

Pilgrimage of the Czestochowa Icon in Guayaquil Diocese for the month of August 2019

August 10 (Saturday), Reception at the José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport
August 10 - 13, María Reina Parish
August 13 - 15, Center for Studies of Holy Spirit Shool
August 15 - 27, Czestochowa Parish
August 27 - 28, Chapel of the Divine Child, Servant of the Mother´s Home
August 28 - 31, Cathedral of St. Peter of Guayaquil
August 31 - September 4, Rectoral Church of St. Josemaria Escriva
September 4 - 8, Mary, Mother of the Church Parisch
September 11 - 13, Our Lady of The Dawn Parish
September 13 - 15, Our Lady- The Health of The Sick Parish
September 15 - 20, Saint Albert Magno Parish
September 20-21, Saint John of The Cross Parish
September 21 -25, Saint Alejo Parish
September 25 - 27, Our Lady of Lourdes Parish
September 27-28, Queenship of Mary Parish


Peregrination of the Mother of God in the Częstochowa Icon
South deanery

September 29 - 30, St.  Hyacinth YACINTH Parish in Cascol and Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Pedro Pablo Gómez
October 1, St. John the Baptist Parish in the town of Pajan
October 2, St. Lawrence the Martyr Parish in Jipijapa
October 3, Saint Mary the Mother Parish in Jipijapa
October 4, Our Lady of the Incarnation Parish in Jipijapa
October 5, Immaculate Conception Parish in Puerto López
October 5, Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Puerto Cayo
October 5, St. Peter and Paul Parish in Machalilla
October 6, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Noboa

Deanery of the Sorrowful Mother of God

October 7, Holy Family Parish in Manta
October 8, Baby Jesus Parish in Manta
October 9, Parish of Saint Martin de Porrès in Manta
October 10, Our Lady of Peace Parish in Manta
October 11, Virgin Mary of Mercy Parish in Manta
October 12, Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Manta
October 13, Virgin Mary of the Rosary Parish in Tarqui (Manta)

Our Mother's deanery of Monserrate

October 14, Mary Help of the Faithful Parish in Los Esteros
October 15, Our Lord of Miracles Parish from Jaramijó (Charamicho)
October 16, Our Mother of Monserrate Parish in Montecristi
October 17, Parish of the Risen Christ in Colorado
October 18, The Corpus Christi Parish in Urbiríos
October 19, The Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish from the Jesús de Nazaret settlement
October 20, The Parish of St. Matthew and. St. Lawrence in San Mateo

Deanery of Our Mother of Guadeloupe

October 21 – 22, Saint Narcissa Parish in Portoviejo
October 23,  Holy Trinity Parish in Portoviejo
October 24, Our Mother of Guadeloupe Parish in Crucita
October 25 – 26, Saint John Bosco Parish in Sosote
October 27, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Rocafuerte

Deanery of Our Mother of Mercy

October 28, Saint Paul the Apostle Parish in Portoviejo
October 29, Saint Ignatius of Loyola Parish in Portoviejo
October 30, Parish of the Holy Spirit in Portoviejo
October 31, Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Portoviejo
November 1, Saint Peter the Apostle Parish in Portoviejo
November 2, Saint Pius IX Parish in Portoviejo
November 3, Parish of the Good Shepherd (the cathedral) in Portoviejo

Eastern deanery

November 4, Saint George Parish in La Unión
November 5, Our Lady of the Angels Parish in Honorato Vásquez
November 6, Saint Louis Gonzaga Parish in Ayacucho
November 7, Saint Andrew's Parish in Olmedo and Lascano
November 8, The Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Bellavista
November 9, Saint Ignatius of Loyola Parish in 24 de Mayo
November 10, Saint Anna Parish in Santa Ana
November 11, Saint Raphael Parish in Colon

Middle East deanery

November 11, Saint Barbara Parish in Ríochico
November 12, Parish of Saint Roch in Pueblo Nuevo
November 13, Saint Francis of Assisi Parish in Calderon
November 14, Saint Lucia Parish in Alajuela
November 15 Parish of Saint Andrew in Pichincha
November 16, Saint Marianita Parish in El Progreso
November 17, Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in San Plácido

Northern Chone deanery (Chone)

November 18, Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Junín
November 19, Saint Augustine Parish in Calceta
November 20, Saint Francis and Saint Rose Parish in Canuto
November 21, Saint Augustine Parish in Flavio Alfaro
November 22, Saint Rita Parish in Chone
November 23, Saint Kajetan Parish in Chone
November 24, Saint Maria Bernardy Parish in Chone

Northern Bahía deanery

November 24 – 25, Parishes: Mary Immaculate in Tosagua and Saint Józef in Bachillero
November 26, Saint Stephen Parish in Charapotó (Czarapoto)
November 27, Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish at Leonidas Plaza
November 28, Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Bahia
November 29, Saint Vincent Parish in San Vicente
November 30, Saint Isidore Parish in San Isidro
December 1, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Jama (Hama)

Northern deanery of El Carmen

December 2, Parish of Our Lady the Help of Christians
December 3, Saint Francis of Assisi Parish in Cojimíes (Kochimijes)
December 4, Saint Joseph Parish in La 40
December 5, Our Lady of Peace Parish in El Paraiso La 14
December 6, Our Lady of the Rosary Parish in La Bramadora
December 7, Saint Daniel Comboni Parish in El Carmen
December 8, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in El Carmen

The first stage:


The second stage:



Russia and Kazakhstan: May 8, 2012 - July 12, 2012 - details
Belarus: July 13 - 23, 2012 - details
Ukraine: July 23 - 26, 2012 - details
Belarus: July 27 - 28, 2012 - details
Latvia: July 28, 2012 - August 5, 2012 - details
Lithuania: August 5 - 12, 2012 - details
Poland: August 12 - 26, 2012 - details
Czech Republic: August 26 - 31 2012 - details
Slovakia: August 31, 2012 - September 8, 2012 - details
Hungary and Romania: September 8 - 17, 2012 - details
Slovenia: September 17 - 20, 2012 - details
Croatia: September 20 - 25, 2012 - details
Italy: September 25 - 29, 2012 - details
Austria: September 29, 2012 - October 14, 2012 - details
(including October 4 - 8  VI World Pro-Life Prayer Congress in Vienna)
Lichtenstein: October 14 - 15, 2012 - details
Switzerland: October 15 - 24, 2012 - details
Germany: October 24, 2012 - November 2, 2012 - details
Belgium: November 2 - 5, 2012 - details
Great Britain: November 5 - 16, 2012 - details
Ireland: November 16 - 24, 2012 - details
France: November 25, 2012 - December 15, 2012 - details
Spain: December 15, 2012 - March 1, 2013 - details
Portugal: March 2, 2013 - July 23, 2013 - details

Transfer to Poland with two stops in Spain July 23 - July 31 Flight from Poland to America August 21, 2013

USA & Canada: 24 August 2013 - 3 December 2014 - details
Mexico: December 3, 2014 - March 20, 2017 - details

Flight to Panama on March 21, 2017, maintenance and departure to Ecuador on March 24

Ecuador: March 24, 2017 - November 26 - details
Panama: November 26, 2018 - August 10, 2019 - details
Ecuador: August 10, 2019 - details

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