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Cathedral Hosts Feast Day of Our Lady of Czestochowa

Cathedral’s consecrated Marion chapel is unique in region

OHIO – Polish Youngstown and St. Columba Cathedral will honor the feast day of Our Lady of Częstochowa, Eastern Europe’s most beloved Marian icon, with a special mass and reception on Saturday, August 26, 2023, at 4 PM at St. Columba Cathedral 159 W Rayen Ave, Youngstown, OH 44503. Very Rev. Msgr. Robert J. Siffrin will serve as celebrant with other Diocesan Slavic priests invited. A Polish meal will be served in the Cathedral hall afterward. A free-will donation of $15 pp is suggested. Music will be provided by accordionist Luke Politsky. The public is invited.

The Reverend Eric Orzech, Past President and Board Member of the Polish-American Priests Association will be the keynote speaker. He will speak to the miracles associated with the ”Black Madonna” and her role in Catholic lives today. He is the pastor of the Shrine Church of St. Stanislaus in Cleveland’s Slavic Village and the miracle church of St. Casimir Church in Cleveland.

The Diocese of Youngstown Shrine to Our Lady of Częstochowa, located in the former St. Columba baptistery, was dedicated on October 30, 2012 by the Most Reverend George V. Murry, S.J. This was done to welcome the parishioners of St. Casimir and St. Stanislaus into the cathedral parish upon the closure of their reorganized churches. The parishioners of St. Stanislaus Kostka graciously bestowed their incredible mosaic icon to serve as the centerpiece of the shrine. It serves as an enduring symbol of the sacred mission of Our Lady as protector of Poland and her people everywhere.

The icon of Our Lady of Częstochowa has been intimately associated with Poland for more than 600 years. In every Polish church, there is a reproduction of the Black Madonna. When Poles emigrated, they brought their devotion to the Mother of God, creating home altars and innumerable churches, chapels, and shrines in her honor. A special place is always reserved for her.

PHOTO CAPTION: The Most Reverend George V. Murry, S.J. poses in front of the newly installed icon of Our Lady of Częstochowa on October 30, 2012. The members of the Krakowiaki Polish Folk Circle (L-R) are Bella Khoury of Poland, Millie Heschmeyer and Sophie Heschmeyer, of Liberty.

For more information, contact
Aundréa Cika Heschmeyer, President
PolishYoungstown
330-646-4082

Background on Our Lady of Częstochowa

“You’ll find quiet in her arms and you’ll find shelter from the evil, ’cause she has a tender heart for all of her children.” – lyrics from the song “Czarna Madonna”

In every Polish church there is a reproduction of the Black Madonna. When Poles emigrated to America, they brought their devotion to the Mother of God with them, creating home altars and innumerable churches, chapels, and shrines in her honor. A special place is always reserved for her.

The beloved, miraculous icon of Our Lady of Częstochowa is housed in the Monastery of Jasna Góra in Częstochowa, Poland. It is the national shrine of Poland and, combined, they are the center of Polish Catholicism.

According to tradition, the icon was painted by Luke the Evangelist on a tabletop built by Jesus himself and arrived in Poland in 1382 with a Polish army fleeing the Tartars.

It is said that the presence of the holy painting saved its church from being destroyed in a fire, but not before the flames darkened the flesh tone pigments. The two scars on the right cheek are said to have been inflicted when the Hussites stormed the monastery in 1430, stealing the icon. After putting it in their wagon, the thieves tried to get away but their horses refused to move. They threw the portrait down to the ground and one of the plunderers drew his sword upon the image and inflicted two deep strikes. When the robber tried to inflict a third strike, he fell to the ground and squirmed in agony until his death.

There are numerous miracles for which the Black Madonna is credited. The most famous occurred in 1655, when Swedish troops were about to invade Częstochowa. A group of Polish soldiers prayed fervently before the icon for deliverance, and the enemy retreated. In 1656, King John Casimir declared Our Lady of Częstochowa “Queen of Poland” and made the city the spiritual capital of the nation.

During Nazi occupation, Hilter prohibited pilgrimages to Jasna Góra, but many still secretly made the annual journey. During the Cold War, Jasna Góra was a center of anti-Communist resistance.

Today, it is the third-largest Catholic pilgrimage site in the world, it is considered the national shrine of Poland and the spiritual capital of the nation.