Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Children's Rosary Welcomes Our Lady of Czestochowa

On December 18th the traveling Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa visited St. Thomas the Apostle Church in West Hartford, Connecticut.  Our Lady had traveled over 40,000 miles beginning in Poland and then crossing Russia, Kazakhstan, and 24 countries in Europe before crossing the Atlantic ocean and arriving in the United States this summer.  Slowly, Our Lady has traveled along the East Coast of America.  She has been entrusted with the prayer intention of Respect Life.  Fr. Peter West of Human Life International is accompanying Our Lady's Icon across the US.

It was particularly special that Our Lady was able to visit St. Thomas the Apostle Church as it is the home of the Children's Rosary prayer group movement.  As Our Lady entered the Church she was met with so many children all around her.  The Knights of Columbus were there to help lead the procession and the children holding roses followed.  Upon reaching the altar the children split and gathered on each side of her allowing for her proper set up.  Then they circled round in front kneeling.  The children then began a Children's Rosary.  Little ones as young as 5 were there kneeling and praying the Rosary.  In turns the children led decades at the podium and others placed roses at the end of the decades before Our Lady while and adult was saying, Mary we humbly place this rose at your feet and ask for the grace of faith, for the first Glorious mystery.  Some of the members of the Children's Rosary have disabilities.  One of our members with Down Syndrome, with help from his mother, was able to come forward and place a rose at her feet.  Another mom held her daughter who has significant disabilities rocking her before Our Lady.  They too were able to place a rose at Our Lady's feet.  It is a beautiful witness of life to see children praying the Rosary at the Feet of Our Lady.  These humble little ones coming to pray the prayer, Our Lady herself gave us.

Fr. Peter West then celebrated Holy Mass.  He spoke beautifully about Our Lady in his homily.  He described her standing between us and Our Lord.  Fr. West likened her to a pair of glasses that perfectly focus us on her Son.  He also later spoke to some of the children about the Icon telling them that Our Lord is dressed in red signifying His divinity.  Our Lady is in blue representing she is human.  However, inside her garment is red signifying that what she carried was Divine.

After Mass individuals then beautifully began singing hymns during the veneration of Our Lady’s Icon.  There was a wonderful feeling in the parish as the lights were dim further on in the evening and Our Lady’s Icon was illuminated in a frame containing lights while clusters of individuals sang to Our Lady.  Some present graced us with music in their native language of Polish. As we sat in the pews a regular rhythm of individuals would make their way to the Icon kneeling, praying, pressing their precious Rosaries or keepsakes to Our Lady’s Icon. One mother would later share with me the following day at Mass that her son who had helped lead the Rosary was deeply moved by praying in front of Mary and the baby Jesus in her arms.  As she shared he came to her saying, Mommy we are so lucky to have had Our Lady visit us.  
Two members of the Children's Rosary
who traveled from Boston to help lead the Rosary

Yes we were blessed to have Our Lady come. Later we would find out Our Lady's visit was bitter sweet as our retired pastor passed away the day after she left.  It was  as if Our Lady had come to give her dear priest, who had served the Church for over 50 years, a tender kiss before her Son came to take him home for Christmas.

Thank you to all who helped with Our Lady's visit and unified prayers with us when she came.  Two other Children's Rosary groups have hosted Our Lady of Czestochowa in their parishes so far. I would like to encourage others to host the Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa.  Fr. West has begun his travels westward across the US and is adding new parishes to his schedule almost every day.  More information can be obtained on the website
email: to schedule a date for your parish.
Fr. Peter West will also appear on EWTN with Fr. Mitch Pacwa tonight (January 8th and tomorrow January 9th) to discuss Our Lady of Czestochowa.

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