Friday, 7th September began in Prešov, the second biggest city in Slovakia, which lies in the South of the country. The Icon of Our Lady of Częstochowa was being venerated through the whole night at the Orthodox Cathedral of St. Prince Alexander Nevsky. The Divine Liturgy was then celebrated by Fr. Peter Dobrík.
Early morning Thursday, on September 6th, Our Blessed Mother during Her peregrination in Slovakia, visited a most beautiful gothic-baroque style Seminary Church of St. Anthony of Padua in the center of Košice, where a large group of Slovakian priests were just finishing their retreat. The Sacrifice of the Holy Mass was celebrated by the Archbishop Bernard Bober, the Metropolitan of Košice.
Awakening a great interest of the local residents, the Life Mobile brought the Icon of Our Blessed Mother from Kežmark to Mount Zvir in Litmanova, on Wednesday - the 5th of August. The name of Mount Zvir comes from the Slovak word "zwor," which means connection. This old symbolic name is associated with the spiritual link of people who are making a pilgrimage to Our Lady.
The subsequent meeting with Our Lady in the Icon of Czestochowa in Slovakia took place on September 4th, at the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Banská Bystrica, where Our Lady arrived at the Nitra Calvary of the Divine Word missionaries. Father Marian Bublinec, the administrator of the Diocese of Banská Bystrica, welcomed Our Blessed Mother.
Our Lady in the Czestochowa Icon continues "Her" journey across Slovakia. On September 3rd, She arrived at the oldest diocese in Slovakia, the Diocese of Nitra, where the beginnings of Christianity are tied to the mission of Saints Cyril and Methodius. The first place of visitation was Horné Lefantovce, where a large crowd of parishioners with their local pastor, Fr. Petrom Michalovom, greeted Our Lady accompanied by ringing church bells.
On Sunday morning, on the 2nd of September, the Icon of Czestochowa peregrinated to Žilina from the hot springs of Rajecké Teplice. There, in front of the cathedral, Our Lady was welcomed by the canon, Fr. Anton Noga, who presided over the first celebrated Liturgy of the Eucharist. The following Mass was celebrated by Fr. Ladislav Stromček, vicar general of the Diocese of Žilina.
Our special O2O correspondent has been speaking to Kateřina Ucháčová (head of Czech pro-life organization “Hnuti Pro zivot CR”) in the Czech Republic about the progress of the Black Madonna.
CF NEWS : Did all of your family take part?
KATERINA UCHÁCOVÁ : My husband Radim drove to Bielsko-Biale, Poland along with our photographer and cameraman to meet Ewa and Lech Kowalewski and take over the Icon on the ’Life-Mobil’. I joined my husband at the second stop, in Olomouc, Czech Republic. Our children joined us in Prague. Our youngest son went with us all the way from Prague to Bratislava and then back home.
Saturday morning, after Mass in Trnava, Our Blessed Mother went to visit an old Marian shrine, well known for its pilgrimages. The shrine is called Staré Hory (like the mountains) and is located near the town of Banská Bystrica. The additional good news was the fact that this visit fell on the first Saturday of the month. Around one thousand faithful were already awaiting the arrival of the Icon.
On Friday afternoon, on August 31st, the Czestochowa Icon crossed the border between the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The peregrination in this country will last until September 8th, after which "She" will be transferred over to the Hungarians. The Orthodox priest, Fr. Libor Serafin Halik, father of a large family, had brought the Icon from Brno, Czech Republic.
On Thursday, August 30th, the Icon of Czestochowa travelled on the most frequented highway from Prague to Brno. There, the Icon stopped in the city square at the Franciscan church of the Friars Minor (so called Minorites), under the patronage of St. John the Baptist. Our Lady of Czestochowa was welcomed with the solemn fanfares of Jasna Gora (Bright Hill).